Is Hitler Wears Hermes a 10/10?
The Buffalo MC and Griselda record label founder dropped his 10th and final instalment of his Hitler Wears Hermes series on Oct. 28th. The 12-track mixtape concluded a decade-long legacy of HWH, which started in 2012.
It’s very difficult for Westside Gunn to miss. Since first listening to Griselda’s perfectly eerie WWCD project in 2019, I was hooked. From then on, I’ve put every new album of his on repeat for at least a week. This one is no different. However, there are some elements from 10 that contribute to missing its spot on the shelf with his other stellar projects.
The album felt rushed. Gunn’s last album, Peace “Fly” God, was released 5 months earlier, on July 8. There were many of the same features and similar beats, which may produce a déjàvu feeling for fans. The return of AA Rashid talking over the beat in “Intro” felt like a repeat of Peace “Fly” God, which I was listening to up until 10’s release.
This album felt less like a Westside Gunn album than it did a Stove God Cooks album. There are twelve tracks, eleven if you exclude “Intro,” which is more of a skit than a song. Stove God contributed significantly to six of the remaining songs. A featured artist should not be in half of an album’s tracks. No discredit to Stove God — he has immense talent in his verses, voice and hooks, and I couldn’t stop listening to his part on “BDP.”
As a finale to such a grand series, I expected to hear a variety of other features on it, and found some happy surprises. This album felt more upbeat than other Gunn productions, with cheeky features from artists that we love. There were contributions from members of the Wu-Tang Clan, including RZA’s production of the Intro track, and the appearance of Raekwon and Ghostface Killah on Science Class (also featuring Busta Rhymes). It was produced by Swizz Beats of all people!
DJ Drama continues his trend of guesting on many recent albums such as Tyler the Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost and Dreamville’s D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz Mixtape by making two appearances on Gunn’s album. The rap duo Black Star appears on “Peppas,” and A$AP Rocky makes an appearance on “Shootouts in Soho.”
This album was very solid, and I’ll certainly listen to it on repeat. It’s superior to any other album released in the past months. I’m giving it a hard time simply because it’s not the standard I’d usually expect from Westside Gunn. It was heartwarming to hear elements of the many friends and affiliates of Griselda, and a decent conclusion to such a legendary series. It just felt rushed, and a shame that the artist had to cater to the decennial date.
Trial Track: “BDP” (feat. Rome Streetz & Stove God Cooks)