BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Westside Gunn Talks "And Then You Pray For Me"
Griselda Records has become one of the biggest rap group names of modern times, forming in Buffalo, New York, with Westside Gunn being one of the co-founders. The label comprises 11 members, including Gunn, Benny The Butcher, and Armani Caesar. Gunn kept it in the family, as he's cousins with Butcher and siblings with now former group member Conway The Machine.
Gunn formed the group in 2012, with the faction receiving a deal with Eminem's imprint Shady Records in 2020 after signing a management deal with Roc Nation with his Butcher in 2019. With four solo albums under his belt, the 41-year-old rapper released his fifth album, And Then You Pray For Me.
In a conversation with BET.com, Gunn discusses the album process and how his upbringing bridged his love for hip hop.
BET.com: Your fifth album, And Then You Pray For Me, was one of the most highly anticipated albums this year after you made the announcement. What went through your head after receiving the mass love after announcing the album was coming?
Gunn: I had to announce because people knew it was coming, but when? I was receiving a lot of DMs where people kept asking me when was it coming so we here now and it's out.
BET.com: Describe the creation process for the album.
Gunn: I started working on the album during fashion week in Paris and never returned to the States. I went to Greece, London, Dubai, Egypt, and Denmark because I inspired myself since I love to learn. To take over the world, you have to see it first. I'm self-taught as nobody has ever taught me how to run a label, pick out fabrics, or anything of the sort. This album was pure energy and curated differently because I was in a separate space recording everything overseas. It was a different energy this time around.
BET.com: Can you reflect on what made you this risk taker who can create this label and put your feet on the ground?
Gunn: My mom had me when she was 16 years old, still a kid running the streets, leaving me with my Aunt Michelle, who was 10 or 11 years old. MY grandma is the overseer watching my mom, so my grandmother raised me because she was raising all of us. My mom is my mom, but she's like my sister. My aunt is holding me down and watching me because my mom is of age to run the streets. I grew up in the crack era and seeing it play out. When all of this going on, my Aunt Michelle was a cool kid in school. Hip-hop has been in my blood because she liked Salt-N-Pepa and Slick Rick, so my aunt was immersed in it so because of her, I was able to see all the stages in hip-hop. When she got a job and started making money, she made sure I got the Jordans and everything, wanting me to be fly when I'm with her because I'm her nephew, brother, and son all in one.
You can watch this interview above.