Rising to the top of a mostly uneventful week in the wake of UTOPIA, DJ Drama’s prolific late-career run continues by reuniting with Yo Gotti for I Showed U So, the spiritual sequel to a project that the two dropped back in 2006 apparently before demonstrating their power – titled I Told U So. With four years since Gotti’s last Billboard hit, teaming up with Drama’s unstoppable energy and attention-commanding ad-libs is always a solid option, and the two deliver a ten-track run that proves Gotti still has a little bit left in the tank. Still leaning into the harder-hitting sound that colours his Memphis hometown and exhibiting the kind of prowess that made him a leading figure in his lane, a couple certifiable bangers share space with tracks that get a little wearisome even with such a short runtime on the album itself – whether its because of a lack of polish, dips into easy formulae, or outdated lyrical content. Still, if you’re a fan of the sound, I Showed U So should be an enjoyable listen.
Opening as expected with a speech from DJ Drama – this time nodding to the last seventeen years of Gotti’s career and building up his command of his lane since the two linked up for the original mixtape – “Driveway Furniture,” which is what Gotti calls his cars, features his classically smooth delivery that somehow alternates between an airier and a grittier cadence. It’s truly a great rap voice, but at the same time, it can veer into sounding a little disinterested – especially when it’s the kind of Southern rap beat that we’ve heard a million times. At a certain point, the low piano keys and 4/4 eerie synths don’t quite work for the experienced rap fan, and moments where Gotti tries out riskier flows in the beat’s lulls in energy make it sound like he didn’t plan for it, and it was just a placeholder. Still, he unleashes some speedy and surprising moments near the track’s end. “1st Hunnid Bands” works better at reminding listeners of how Gotti got to where he is today, adapting to his tried-and-true formats more effectively with some repetitive and infectious flows on a hard-hitting trap beat. With some bars about how his earliest successes had him celebrating prematurely, Drama flips the narrative in the way that only he can by saying that the amount that excited a young Gotti is now the same amount he needs to simply drop a few boasts on a mixtape.
Despite some more techniques that are verging on overdone popping up throughout the album – “Mind My Business” kicks off with a news reporter talking about crime, for example – Gotti often adds a sprinkle of something that keeps listeners on their toes. Recruiting frequent collaborator (and fellow Yo) Moneybagg Yo on the aforementioned track, Gotti eases into a slow but steady and menacing flow behind the best-produced beat on the album. The avalanche of high-pitched synths is a concept we’ve heard before as well, but this one is more complex and all-encompassing, while the concept behind the song is pretty novel as well: Gotti considers sitting down with elected officials to solve the issues in his city, but thinks better of it, opting instead to mind his business. “No Fake Love” keeps up the energy, but after two great hard-hitting tracks, the verses here aren’t quite as fiery or quotable, while the off-key chorus about illicit activities sounds like a “Super Gremlin” knockoff. There’s a baseline level of enjoyability to Gotti doing what he does, but he’s certainly on autopilot at points here. The mix of pros and cons continues onto “Pop My S**t,” with the instrumental serving as a microcosm of the album as a whole. Mixing overdone siren synths with an innovative percussion style that offers tiny moments of silence with each percussive thump, every so often Gotti comes through with something noticeable, but for the most part you can imagine how things are going to sound.
The peak of generic tunes on the project might be “The One,” though Gotti’s tireless triplet flows still show that he knows what he’s doing. With a cascade of synths that isn’t as attention-grabbing as the one that came before, the ringing bell in the beat and the only flow pattern that’s seemed to fit on this style of instrumental as of late, this one is over before you know it and it’s not even a TikTok-style short track. Still, it’s not as questionable as the track “Mandarin,” which resurrects Rich Homie Quan from the dead to drop a variety of chopstick puns and make a couple references that were seemingly supposed to go along with the title, but instead refer to things from the Japanese culture. The chorus crams too many syllables into one place, making for an unstructured mess to go along with the casual ignorance. It’s followed up with the minute-and-a-half “Ha Ha,” an extremely repetitive track that at least shows Gotti knows to stop before it gets too obnoxious.
The last two tracks both have the same kinds of positives and negatives: “POV” has some fun alphabet wordplay and punchlines to accompany a ghostly trap beat, but Gotti has some truly bizarre and distracting pronunciations (most likely paying tribute to a Memphis dialect, but it throws off the rhyme scheme), while “I’m Out” has another eyebrow-raising line that essentially includes “I ain’t homophobic, but.” Still, the chopped-up soul sample that accompanies it is a refreshing change of pace, and gives Gotti the space to sound triumphant as he signs off with some flexes, bars about making it out, and a state of the union address.
Yo Gotti is the kind of artist who has established himself in the game, built up a fanbase, and can now coast along with it while being set in his ways, exhibiting flashes of the skillset that drew interest from time to time along the way. A worthy sequel that likely won’t recruit many new listeners, I Showed U So at least sees Gotti backing up the promise of the title.
Favourite Tracks: Mind My Business, 1st Hunnid Bands, Pop My S**t, I’m Out
Least Favourite Track: Mandarin