Prolific Buffalo rapper Westside Gunn celebrates his 38th birthday today, July 27. Born Alvin Lamar Worthy, Westside has dominated the western New York rap scene along with the help of his brother, fellow rapper Conway the Machine, and their cousin, Benny the Butcher. The three have made a name for themselves in the current hip hop landscape through the formation of Griselda Records in 2014 which led the “Griselda gang” on their trip to stardom.
2016 saw the release of Westside’s debut studio album Flygod which lent further credit to the rapper’s name. The following year saw Griselda Records made a deal cosigning with Eminem’s Shady Records which further accelerated the groups career. The groups deal with Shady Records, a subsidiary of Interscope records, made Westside and his brother Conway the Machine the first Buffalo based rappers to sign to a major record label, giving the two an almost untouchable status in the Buffalo rap scene.
Recently, Westside Gunn has been a hot feature for artists such as Rick Ross and Anderson .Paak, collaborations that would have been hard to land without the backing of Eminem’s label. Westside has also made a name for himself in the music festival route playing massive summer events such as Coachella and Governor’s Ball.
This past April Westside Gunn released his Pray for Paris LP which debuted at number 67 on the Billboard 200. The album features sample heavy production handled by both The Alchemist and Tyler, The Creator who also guest stared in a verse on the track “327.” Other features on the album include Freddie Gibbs and Wale along with the rest of the Griselda gang, Conway The Machine and Benny The Butcher.
During the recording process for Pray for Paris, Westside learned that he had contracted COVID-19 which, he recounts, led to much of the promotion for the album to be handled while sick and isolated. Pray for Paris is yet another musical project that has faced obstacles placed by the global coronavirus pandemic. Following the mandated cancelation of large gatherings, the initial release party was postponed and traded in for a live stream event which took place on Twitch.