Label: Griselda Records
Released: April 17

The Griselda crew has been on an incredible run for the last half-decade or so, and Westside Gunn is a big reason why. Conway the Machine and Benny the Butcher had both been trying to make a go of things for years, but it took Gunn’s vision to really make things happen. That vision, from the beginning, has involved mixing high and low culture. Pray for Paris, inspired by Gunn attending Virgil Abloh’s January 2020 Off-White show in Paris, provides a perfect canvas for these obsessions. On the very first song, following an art-auction intro, Gunn raps about having “bulletproof Bentleys parked outside the Whitney,” and the dichotomies keep going from there. The rapping is excellent, and the beats (from the likes of Premier, Alchemist, Muggs, longtime associates Camoflauge Monk and Daringer, and even Tyler, the Creator) are lush. But more importantly, Gunn, a reluctant rapper from the beginning who makes constant threats of retirement, plays a curatorial role as well, bringing in just the right guest voice at the perfect moment—including a standout rap verse from Tyler. With projects this high-quality and well thought out, there’s no need to pray for anyone. Westside Gunn’s got everything under control. —Shawn Setaro