The Bills may not have made it into the playoffs for yet another year but Upstate NY finally has a team to cheer for. Westside Gunn came out of nowhere last year with a torrent of dope and seemingly endless material and continues his streak into the new year with Roses are Red… So Is Blood. Produced entirely by The Purist, and with features from Roc Marciano and his always-strapped brethren Conway, the brick-slinging, dice-tumbling rawness continues to roll as Gunn drops off another stupid dope effort.
The Purist, the London-based beats-smith with credits for Gibbs (“Pimp Hand”), Danny Brown (“Jealousy”) and more, must have the same weed link as Alchemist because his hazy, jazz-laden production are reminiscent of earlier days when gritty drums superseded EDM bass drops and bars held rank over everything. His presence on this project provides enough texture to keep every one of the records interesting, a pivotal addition given that the entire tape is a solid 14-minute release in a single track. In some regards, this is dope because it forces people to listen to the entire sequence as intended, although skipping to favorite parts becomes trickier.
While not all of the interludes stand strong on third and fourth listens, the Buffalo newscasts and spoken word joints do add layers to Westside’s story that help listeners understand where he is coming from. Gunn added, “The kolor Red is so beautiful, but just as it represents beauty it also represents pain, death, struggle…” And in just seven tracks, another chapter has been written.
Stream Roses… before choosing between a free digital download or physical copies, both available on Bandcamp.