Frequently one of the most nondescript and low-effort rappers in the game, you’d think a fire might have been lit under Gunna due to recent events. Caught up in drama after reaching a plea deal in the RICO case that put numerous members of Young Thug’s label Young Stoner Life in legal crosshairs, Gunna is quick to return with a new album to address the situation and respond to the label fans who accuse him of being a “snitch.” Instead, what we get is mostly business as usual, with a couple of confusing and contradictory lyrical moments slapped on top of it. In addition to his typical tired trap instrumentals and rarely raising his robotic droning voice above a disinterested murmur, Gunna spends a lot of time trying to deflect blame onto “the system,” claiming that he was fooled and did nothing to convert it. he turns his back on his siblings as he talks and talks about how things have changed dramatically between them as a result of his decisions, though his way of speaking doesn’t seem to match his emotions. While every once in a while he lands on a somewhat catchy flow of triplets, Gunna’s work remains somewhat sleep-inducing.
The album’s most laughable moment might be on its first track, “back at it,” because the idea of Gunna making his big comeback, titles it that, and then kicks off one of his most percussive tracks. it flows in years like it’s supposed to be a huge, energetic mic, it’s absolutely hilarious to me when, inexplicably, the beat never drops. It’s a three-minute preview of absolutely nothing, with all the aspects of a compilation of something big, from hi-hat rolls popping up at random moments to an electric guitar spinning through the mix. I was also hoping to never hear anyone say “Asian persuasion” again, but Gunna dashes my hopes on that one. “Back to the Moon,” on the other hand, might just be the best song on the album. The synth work certainly gives off the cosmic vibe the title suggests, while a single wailing guitar note reaches into the stratosphere. Gunna begins to introduce some of the album’s main themes while talking about her sadness at being abandoned by her YSL family, though based on her confessions elsewhere on the album, it seems like they had a reason for doing so, through flows that are intricate and on- beat at once. Still, the awkward sections in the middle where the beat cuts out reveal that Gunna doesn’t really have the charisma to run things on her own. The track “idk nomore,” which feels like Gunna’s placeholder name for a track as she realizes she has nothing left in her creative tank, is a fitting title considering Gunna’s delivery. I hate to conjure up the term mumble rap, but Gunna doesn’t seem to know where he is. The hook doesn’t fit melodically or rhythmically, and it may not be the best time to call Young Thug a “cold-blooded killer,” even as she expresses love for him.
Especially when it seems like he’s only saying what he needs to, hearing the phrase “I hate the government” come out of the mouth of a rapper we’ve only ever heard talk about designer brands is another unintentionally comedic moment on the track “paybach.” With a dull bland melody you could almost literally call a note, if this is Gunna’s definitive statement about how he didn’t do what everyone thinks he did, it doesn’t sound very convincing. “ca$h $h*t” is a bit more energetic just following the formula of a typical modern trap banger, and I’m often a fan of ATMs interspersed into the beat, but you can’t help it. but listen to all the influences and trends bleeding into Gunna’s faceless frame. Sometimes it sounds like a feature of his own song (talking in the third person doesn’t help much in his case) and while it’s nice to hear some versatility from Gunna for once, he sounds like Young Thug with Travis Scott or Lil Uzi. vert. “f*kumean” has been getting most of the attention, but I can’t figure out why beyond the catchy gang vocals shouting the title in the chorus. It’s a pretty standard Gunna song otherwise, and the high-pitched “eeyah” in the back is so off-putting. There’s a seamless transition to “rodeo dr” but it just goes to show how every song on Gunna sounds the same when it comes in with the exact same flow and voice as the last track.
Introducing the second half of the album, Gunna takes the opportunity at the “bottom” to claim that he is the “talk on the subject”, as if that’s something people say. Some of the best instruments on the album appear closer to the end, and the music box-style synth on this one stands out when paired with the string section, even when mixed strangely softly, but Gunna takes away some of the good stuff. will you could have provided. with a forced flow and a horrible ridge on the hook. “p angels” is a perfect sequel to “pushin p” in the sense that it is a decent, slightly nodding trap song to play in the background and not pay attention to except for the catchphrases being spread on social media. social. Aside from the offbeat central melody “ay-ay-ay-ay,” “born rich” is actually one of the catchiest tracks here, as Gunna sings over some pretty engaging instrumental trap while offering the promise of generational wealth to any romantic. interests, before “going wild” finds him unhesitatingly in some of his usual proficient triplets streams over another decent piano instrumental. Aside from Gunna essentially summing up everything he’s been through with “wow, that’s crazy,” it’s another one that falls short of the lows of his past.
Just when you thought you were coming to the album’s conclusion, Gunna puts all the longer tracks on the album last. The “bread & butter” single features a little more of Gunna’s annoyingly tuned, processed nasal singing voice in the upper register that he doesn’t. It feels like a freestyle: there’s a moment in the hook where he hesitates awkwardly as if he realizes he won’t conform to established flow patterns. Sending a few shots at mainstream rappers who are no longer associated with him, Gunna continues the projection routine of him in “he got his back” while continuing to pose as the victim. The layered off-key harmonies layered into one of Gunna’s wailing vocalizations, which are later reversed, has to be one of the worst musical moments of the year. “I was just thinking” is another standard tune devoid of all passion, before Gunna closes things out with “okay,” where he manages to be off-beat despite the lack of percussion.
There is much on this album that could be described as a curse, but the gift is nowhere in sight. Gunna does nothing here to make him seem more likeable, and his music, despite a couple of moments of unusual competition, is as smooth as ever. If his current situation isn’t going to inspire him, nothing will.
Favorite songs: back to the moon, ca$h $h*t, born rich
Least Favorite Track: Good