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Who Made the Sunshine fails to radiate Westside Gunn’s typical talent

Shady Records

After a two-month delay, out of respect for DJ Shay’s death, fans of Griselda Records, a collective DJ Shay frequently worked with, finally got their hands on Who Made the Sunshine on Oct. 2. This album, featuring cover art by his daughter, marks Westside Gunn’s Shady Records debut since being signed in 2017.

Who Made the Sunshine is Westside Gunn’s third album of the year and by far his most disappointing. Comparing this project to a classic like Pray For Paris or even Hitler Wears Hermes 7 almost doesn’t feel fair. This could prove worrying for the fanbase, who were gleefully waiting for the abutting drops, but this release points out significant issues.

Known for considering himself a curator by giving his friends a platform through features on his albums, Westside Gunn gives listeners some impressive features this time around. House musicians Keisha Plum and Armani Caesar anointed audience ears with delicate yet impassioned melodies and verses complimenting Westside Gunn’s timbre.

His rapping on this project stays faithful to the grimy ‘90s hip hop audience, not taking part in the glam rock phase of present day hip hop. Standout features include Busta Rhymes and Slick Rick, coming together on a single track, “Ocean Prime,” for what may be one of the few good things this year has to offer.

Though this album flows coherently, many of the beats featured on this project sound like standard boom bap, which is not to knock on the work of producers Daringer and Beat Butcher, but nothing sets this project apart from Westside Gunn’s older work.

Still there remains one repetitively dislikable aspect to Westside Gunn’s music: the ad libs. It’s almost migraine-inducing to listen to some songs, for not only do they overpower the tracks but they also render them monotonous and indifferentiable. The listener almost has no clue when the Spotify algorithm skips to the next track.

This project had raised high expectations. Who Made the Sunshine did not live up to its potential, with forgettable Alchemist production, a wasted Jadakiss feature and what could’ve been a better compilation of features from other Griselda members.

This brings up an imminent question to whether the mediocrity of this album has anything to do with the constraints between Griselda and Shady Records, and if this wasn’t just a convenient drop to get the major label off their back.

Released alongside the album was the mini documentary Who Made The Sunshine: Connie’s Son. This project is a solid and somewhat consistent piece of work, though more hype than anything. At 11 songs total, it does not cram in more songs than necessary, as is typical these days.

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