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"I Didn't Want to Rap at All": Westside Gunn Shares the Motivation Behind His Rap Career

The Buffalo emcee reveals he began his rapping career as a means to an end.

I don’t know if I believe in the idea of fate, but I’ve certainly witnessed plenty of people end up exactly where they need to be due to what seems like an insurmountable coincidence.

Hip-hop is packed full of these cases, where an artist finds their biggest success in the most unlikely of places. For example, take Killer Mike and El-P, who are experiencing the biggest surge in their respective careers more than a decade after it looked like they might have reached their peak. A “chance” encounter through Adult Swim Vice President Jason DeMarco brought the two together, eventually forming Run The Jewels, now a seemingly unstoppable force in hip-hop.

While watching Westside Gunn’s recent appearance on Real Late with Peter Rosenberg, the Buffalo-based rapper admitted that he never aspired to be a rapper, working instead to diligently promote his brother Conway. When a shooting left Conway hospitalized, Westside stepped in to keep the buzz going for his Griselda squad.

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"Me personally, I felt I had to just make the sacrifice to just get us through the door, but I was going through the door to always try to get them more. Like that's how it started, I was managing my brother. When he get shot, that's when I started rapping. I wasn't rapping before that, I was still in the streets putting money behind my brother. I didn't want to rap at all."

Think about that for a moment. Gunn wasn’t plotting his rap come up for years; he was working on the business side to promote his brother. It wasn’t until a fateful tragedy that his rap persona was forged, being thrust into the spotlight by circumstances outside of his control.

Four years later, both he and his brother are churning out some of the most captivating, authentic street rap we’ve heard in years and, with a recent deal between Shady Records and the brothers' Griselda Records, the industry has aligned to make sure they leave a mark.

Westside isn’t the only reluctant rap star in recent memory, either. ScHoolboy Q had no plans of being a rapper until his criminal past caught up with him, and now he’s one of the frontrunners of TDE’s ever-expanding empire.

There’s nothing serendipitous or cute about Conway being a victim of gun violence, but it is interesting to see how that occurrence has not only butterfly-effected the trajectory of his career but produced another fantastic artist in his brother Westside Gunn in the process.

Life is fucking weird, but sometimes it’s weird in the best way possible.



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