If you've been sleeping on Westside Gunn, it's about time to wake up.
Since the release of his 2016 acclaimed debut album FLYGOD, I’ve kept a close eye on the Buffalo native, and have yet to be disappointed. His grimy brand of East Coast hip-hop harkens back to the glory days of New York, complete with ample cocaine references and stark imagery.
To kick off 2017, Westside Gunn announced the release of his upcoming Riots on Fashion Avenue EP with producer Mil, and today (January 13), he released the single “Don’t Trust A Soul” in the form of a short visual/lyric video.
“Don’t Trust A Soul” plays out like a surprisingly glorious mash-up of Ghostface Killah—whom I’ve always thought Westside shared an inflection with—and Danny Brown. Yeah, you read that right.
It may sound like an odd pairing and, of course, that’s an approximate association, but it’s eerily fitting. Westside sounds constantly hyped, eliciting auditory memories of Danny Brown at his most excitable moments.
The instrumental itself sounds like it could’ve easily landed on Atrocity Exhibition, a grim and jazzy update of the sounds that built the foundation of 90s hip-hop, particularly on the East Coast.
Throughout the track, Westside shout-raps an intoxicating mixture of street tales and pointed threats in true Ghostface fashion, somehow weaving it all together with a hook that would sound just as comfortable inside the lyrics of an Atlanta trap banger.
Westside is clearly not limiting his pool of influence to his East Coast forebearers, a quality that should ensure some longevity for an artist who’s already working with names like The Alchemist, Apollo Brown and Statik Selektah.
Considering the strength of this song, especially after hearing the EP’s first single “Brains Flew By,” Riots on Fashion Avenue could end up being a standout project this year. And yes, we know, it’s only January.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: YouTube