And Then You Pray for Me (also known as Pray for Paris 2) is the fifth and final studio album from Westside Gunn, following up his October 2022 mixtape, 10. We’ve always vibed with the Griselda aesthetic and respected Westside Gun’s artistic vision and business acumen. However, we’ve never been fervent supporters of WSG the emcee. It’s a bit hard to connect with a 40-something man who spits bars sounding like a 10-year-old, not to mention his tendency to overdo those trademark adlibs that can get, well, annoying.
The beat selection on this project is more diverse than on most earlier WSG albums and tapes, which might be why it feels a bit hit-or-miss. The sequencing, unfortunately, is a bit messy too, taking us on a rollercoaster ride from trap to boom-bap and back again. The transitions are abrupt, and the album’s atmosphere undergoes a complete overhaul at every turn. The result is an album with some highs but also plunging lows. Both trap enthusiasts and boom-bap fanatics will likely curate their own playlists from this release, but it seems neither camp will fully embrace the entire album.
Regrettably, this might be Westside’s weakest effort since Who Made The Sunshine. It’s a project where a lot of people showed up, but the man himself not so much. His rapping is not very good here, with some lumbering and awkward flows, especially on the trap-infused tracks but even on the more traditional Griselda cuts. Parts of the album sound inexplicably cheap; Miguel the Plug’s overinvolvement in production raises eyebrows.
The features on this album are a mixed bag—ranging from phoned-in to fire. While we get a sample of JID’s incredible writing or Boldy James and Rome Streetz delivering strong features for Griselda (even if it is over weak beats), we also have to get through annoying Conductor Williams (‘we have a problem’ with that same old bit on every damn song he produces) or DJ Drama shouts and limp contributions from the likes of Rick Ross, Ty Dolla $ign, and others. There’s potential for a dope 12-track album buried in the 75-minute and 21-song tracklist, but in its current form, it is a disappointing final chapter for Griselda’s head honcho.
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