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by Westside Gunn

Released March 11, 2016 via Griselda Records

Reviewed March 4, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Bodies on Fairfax (43%), Shower Shoe Lords (33%), Free Chapo (30%)

FLYGOD is the greatest submission in the loaded Griselda catalog, as it highlights the label's greatest attributes. Those being the revivalism and reimagination of boom bap styling, their gaudy intersection of art and urban culture, and most importantly, their strikingly obtuse presentation of black excellence. In a world that turned its back on Westside Gunn and his city, he and his extended family played the game of life by a different set of rules. Listening to this album, you'd never know there was another option. A world beyond high crime and getting it by any means necessary simply didn't exist, so they took up arms to overcome the obstacles set before them. With every sneering boast, every filth-covered triumphant loop, and every willing accomplice, this record screams success (and excess) in the face of persecution. Westside Gunn is not a role model, but he is undeniable proof that anyone and everyone can make it out. He's a king in the queen city, a legend who just wants to talk fly for a second. – Enth (9.5/10)

While Griselda Records has been running a marathon over the hip-hop landscape throughout the last three years, their most intriguing member marked the beginning of the takeover back in 2016 with his debut studio album, FLYGOD. Westside Gunn had put out music prior to this album, but FLYGOD signifies the adoption of a sound that the rapper and his colleagues have emulated to various degrees in more recent years. The harmony between high-end luxury clothes, art, and music, and the perilous, gritty nature of street vices is a motif familiar in underground hip-hop, but Westside Gunn has an air of legitimacy that not many artists possess. FLYGOD’s ebb and flow between street shit and the finer things is mirrored in the production, with some songs being unmistakably raw and foreboding, and others glamorous and beautiful – both of which house Westside Gunn’s polarizing voice and drawn out syllables quite comfortably. This album set the stage for the collective style approach that Griselda would employ, and with help from Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Roc Marciano, as well as the label’s usual cast and crew, Westside Gunn crafted one hell of a debut album. – Pax (9/10)

As Westside Gunn said on “Vivian At The Art Basel,” he can’t be compared. Sounding like the evolution of an assumed-dead subgenre and no one else at the same time, WSG’s debut studio album, FLYGOD, introduces himself and his extended Griselda family to the world. As is usually the case on his albums, the production is fantastic, with an all-star cast of producers to match the all-star features. His versatility is complemented by the wide range of instrumentals he plays with, from the slow-paced, rock-influenced beat on Omar’s Coming to the triumphant, Solaris-sampling “Bodies On Fairfax.” The skits pulled from TV, movies, and news clips, plus the larger-than-life style and humor that adorn this album, enhance the listening experience considerably. FLYGOD is an excellent piece of work, but its true merit is in being a catalyst in the rise of one of the best and most unique artists in hip-hop today, along with pioneering the overarching Griselda sound. – Alan (8.4/10)

Enth: 9.5/10 | DeVán: 9.2/10 | Pax: 9/10 | Jared: 8.5/10 | Alan: 8.4/10

Dominick: 7.6/10 | Hadley: 7.5/10 | Cam: 6.5/10


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