Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Westside Gunn: Pray for Paris [Griselda, 2020]
Beginning with a recording of the obscene $400 million auction of da Vinci's Salvator Mundi, which the auteur finds more enviable than disgusting but also grotesquely comic, and ending with a tap solo by enviable fashionista fave Cartier Williams, this album enjoys old-fashioned hip-hop materialism with dauntless esprit. Still exploiting a Frankie Lymon tenor as he pushes 40, Gunn drafts his very young son Westside Pootie for timbral relief and enlists Ghostface Killah, Freddie Gibbs, and Roc Marciano to spell resident rough customer Benny the Butcher--plus, for that woke touch, Joey Bada$$ and Tyler the Creator. Skrrrts and booh-booh-booh-booh-boohs add further sonic variety, as do the civilized poetics of Keisha Plum before she drives an icepick through a whoremonger's eye and reports his demise as a heart attack. A-