A Short Guide to Westside Gunn’s “Hitler Wears Hermes” Series (1-5)

A Short Guide to Westside Gunn’s “Hitler Wears Hermes” Series (1-5)

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Prominent Buffalo MC and Griselda Records chief, Westside Gunn, decided to give us all a treat on Halloween by releasing the 6th installment in his Hitler Wears Hermeseries. Gunn is fresh off his release of Supreme Blientelean album that will most certainly be in the “album of the year” talks at the end of 2018. Hitler Wears Hermes is a series of projects that ranges all the way back to the beginning of Westside Gunn’s career. He’s dropped a new installment in the series almost every year since 2012 (aside from the year 2013).

The running controversial title of the series was intentional, according to Gunn, and served as a metaphor for the grimy, yet luxurious, feel of the music he makes. Here is Gunn’s reasoning behind the title, pulled from a mini documentary:

“The whole Hitler Wears Hermes, you know the title, man, was just, I wanted to come with, you know, some of the grimiest but flyest shit I could come up with, cuz like, that’s basically my whole style, you know. Just the grimiest, flyest shit I could think of, so. You know, everybody was already used that Devil Wears Prada, and I’m just like, you know I want to flip that right there. Like that was something, I just wanted to come with somebody that soon as you hear it, you be like, ‘Yo that shit’s crazy, but fly at the same time.’ So that’s how I really came up with it.”

So, in honor of the release of Hitler Wears Hermes 6, (which you can purchase here) here is a short guide of installments one through five in the Hitler Wears Hermes series!

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Hitler Wears Hermes 

Released: 2012

The original (OG) installment of the Hitler Wears Hermes series. It is also the shortest out of all the installments, only including six tracks. It also features only two tracks containing original production. However, Westside Gunn does a hell of job making those tracks his own, one track in particular being “Rayful’s Plug”, which includes the beat from Wiz Khalifa and 50 Cent’s, “Telescope”, produced by Harry Fraud. If you’ve never heard any of the Hitler projects, feel free to start with this one and work your way up.

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Hitler Wears Hermes 2

Released: 2014

This installment is my personal favorite of the Hitler Wears Hermes series. It includes several memorable songs, including the first track representing the iconic duo, Hall & Nash (Westside Gunn and Conway). The production from Gunn’s in-house producer and right hand man, Daringer, is stellar. The way he flipped “Sleepy People” on “City, Sos & Me” will forever be ingrained into my eardrums…it’s quite beautiful. Do not let this one slip by your ears. Don’t believe me? Take KA’s word for it.

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Hitler Wears Hermes 3

Released: 2015

This is easily the longest of all the installments (17 tracks), and also includes some of the most potent features of the bunch (Sean Price, BennySkyzoo, Durag Dynasty and Vast Aire). The Vast Aire (member of Cannibal Ox) feature on “Rixh Lord Poor Lord” in particular is quite a standout. Aside from Daringer handling business as usual on the boards, fellow Buffalo producer, Camoflauge Monk, takes the opportunity to shine on this project, producing tracks such as “Dear Winter Bloody Fiegs” and “Oil Base”.

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Hitler Wears Hermes 4

Released: 2016

Around the time this project was released, Westside Gunn (and Griselda Records in general) began to get a lot more attention (shown through the “Combat Jack Speaks” sketch on the project…R.I.P.). He was fresh off his release of FLYGOD, which had dropped earlier that year (check it out here). Like usual, this is yet another solid installment in the series that not only showcases Gunn’s talents, but his label mates as well. Conway’s verse on “The Cow” is easily one of his most emotional and memorable verses he’s ever done…and it’s the VERY FIRST verse you hear on the album. Conway also appears on the track “Nitro” alongside fellow Griselda representative, Benny. The chemistry between all the emcees of Griselda Records is undeniable.

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Hitler Wears Hermes 5

Released: 2017

You could argue that Hitler Wears Hermes 5 may in fact be the grimiest installment of the series. The first two tracks, “Hebru” and “MAC 15’s”, strongly support this statement. Also…shoutout to Buffalo poet, Keisha Plum, who has appeared on every installment of Hitler Wears Hermes (as well as FLYGOD and Supreme Blientele). On HWH5, she appears on “Hebru”. Her dark, chilling vocabulary is extremely fitting with the aesthetic of Westside Gunn’s music. In fact, a Westside Gunn project without her presence wouldn’t feel quite right. Conway and Benny once again make appearances. Conway in particular makes an appearance on “R.I.P. Bobby” and glides with Gunn over a beat produced by The Alchemist. The beat includes a gorgeously flipped sample of “I Can’t Stay Away From You”.

Hitler Wears Hermes 6 is available exclusively on Westside Gunn’s website. It will be available on other streaming platforms on November 9th.

 

Jake Milgate (@MILFENCE) is a staff writer for DeadEndHipHop. He resides in Rochester, NY.

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