Westside Gunn - Who Made The Sunshine
Buffalo rapper, Westside Gunn released his 4th album, Who Made The Sunshine on October 2nd, 2020. This makes Westside Gunn his first project under Shady Records and his second album release this year where Pray For Paris being the first one as it was released on April 17th, 2020. I've heard a couple of tracks from Westside Gunn and on featured tracks with his half-brother Benny The Butcher, Boldy James, and Freddie Gibbs, but I've personally never listened to an album or a mixtape from Westside Gunn himself, which makes Who Made The Sunshine, my first one ever so this is a challenging review for me. The album features Benny The Butcher, Conway The Machine, Black Thought, Jadakiss, Slick Rick, Busta Rhymes, and more.
The album starts with an introduction called "Sunshine Intro" featuring AA Rashid who explains the difference between the shine of the sun and the shine of the moon as a metaphor that the sun doesn't need to hide anything because it will shine at its full potential while the moon wants to shine in the dark because it doesn't want to show its scars. Next up we have the song "The Butcher and The Blade" featuring Benny The Butcher and Conway The Machine. The track has a dark vibe in it but the 3 rappers had bars for days like Westside Gunn saying "Fire out the nozzle, Ricky "Dragon" Steamboat (Brr, brr, brr), Inshallah, it's more clips in the peacoat, Bodyslam, two thousand grams, Steve Regal", (sorry I'm a wrestling fan). Then on the second verse, we got Conway The Machine saying "Bitches think I'm vegetarian, these carats on my neck (Hahaha)" and on the third verse with Benny The Butcher finishes his verse and the song with the bar "I came to smoke everything just like '07 Wayne (Uh)". "Ishkabibble's" is a full rap song with no chorus featuring Black Thought and what a lyrical beat it was. The song "All Praises" is produced by one of my favorites, The Alchemist and it also features one of my favorite lyricists, Jadakiss and Boldy James. Despite having two of my favorite artists in the song, I'm not a fan of Westside Gunn singing on the chorus, it actually ruined the song for me but both Jada and Boldy had good verses, and following that we have the song "Big Basha's". The following song "Liz Loves Luger", where the title makes a wrestling reference to Miss Elizabeth and Lex Luger where Elizabeth was not only managing Luger in WCW (World Championship Wrestling) but they were dating in real life. The song features Armani Caesar and it's produced by The Alchemist. The song has a good and relaxed vibe with a nice and real chorus and verse from Armani Caesar where she explains that all she needs from her man is his loyalty and the rest will come with, and as for Westside Gunn's verse, he raps about how he likes it rough with his girl and how ruthless he can be, I guess everybody has their own definition of love.
Halfway through Who Made The Sunshine, we have the song "Ocean Prime" featuring 2 legends, Busta Rhymes and Slick Rick followed by "Lessie" featuring Keisha Plum who delivered a nice rap poet after Westside Gunn's verse. "Frank Murphy" is an 8-minute track featuring Smoke DZA, Elcamino, Estee Nack, Flee Lord, and Stove God Cook$. The beat might not be for your regular hip-hop fan because it's slow and kind of dark, but it fits well with each rapper in the song and they all delivered a good verse. Slick Rick makes a second appearance in the album, on the song "Good Night" and you have to be a good storyteller when you got Slick in your song and that's exactly what Westside Gunn delivered on his verse and he did a good job as he even took Slick Rick's own finishing move bar by saying "Good night" at the end of his verse, where Slick Rick did the same on his 1988's classic song "Children's Story". Being at least 35 years in the hip-hop game, Slick Rick still has a cool flow and can still put a story together when he raps. What a way to finish an album with a track produced by another of my favorites, Just Blaze on the song "98 Sabers." The song features Armani Caesar, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher, and all rappers including Armani Caesar all delivered an amazing and raw track together. I also love how Armani Caesar had a nice singing voice on the song "Liz and Luger" earlier in the album but then delivers a raw verse on "98 Sabers".
As my first experience listening to a Westside Gunn album, I got to say the production of the album itself was nicely done, with producers such as The Alchemist and Just Blaze, and the album was entirely mixed and engineered by Young Guru who is mostly know to work on most of all Jay-Z's albums. Westside Gunn is a good and dark storyteller which is the style of rap from his fellow Buffalo emcees like Benny The Butcher, Conway The Machine, and Boldy James. The metaphors and wrestling references were everywhere on the album, but Gunn and the others as I just mentioned are known for that but as a personal opinion it was hard to feel and like Gunn because of his voice but he can definitely hold his own on a mic. As for my favorite tracks from Who Made The Sunshine, I got to go with "The Butcher and The Blade", "Liz Loves Luger" and "98 Sabers"
Beat Instrumental: 4/5
Album Production: 4/5