What is Westside Gunn’s whole thing with Hitler? Gunn has built a whole reputation on being a sort of artistically refined street-rapper, as someone who can transition comfortably from the block to the balcony, and yet he continues to play around with Hitler’s name as if that’s just some kind of transgressive luxury good. It’s very strange! It seems very bad! Nobody is calling Westside Gunn a Nazi, but the persistent invocation of Hitler’s name seems like the exact opposite of the tasteful gutter shit that Gunn generally represents.
Ever since 2012, Westside Gunn has been releasing a series of mixtapes called Hitler Wears Hermes. Sometimes, he uses images of Hitler in the cover art, too. In a 2012 mini-doc, Gunn attempted to explain the title: “I wanted to come with, you know, some of the grimiest but flyest shit I could come up with ’cause that’s basically my whole style.” Nope! Still don’t get it! But Westside Gunn does not care about my misgivings. Today, Gunn followed his very good 2020 album Who Made The Sunshine with the new mixtape Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf.
If you can get past the title — a big if — the new tape is another collection of Westside Gunn’s bone-solid boom-bap, and it’s definitely the biggest and most ambitious mixtape in the series. The tape is short and concise, 13 tracks in 40 minutes, and it’s got appearances from actual stars like Lil Wayne and the resurgent Jadakiss. Along with those big names, Westside Gunn also shares space with many of the figures from the extended Griselda universe: Benny The Butcher, Conway The Machine, Boldy James, Mach-Hommy, and Stove God Cooks. Houstonian scene-stealer Sauce Walka is in there, too. You can stream the new tape below. Stream the mixtape below.
Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf is out now on Griselda Records/EMPIRE. According to a press release, this is actually the first volume of a two-volume mixtape, and the second edition of Hitler Wears Hermes 8 is out 9/3.