Gunna cashes out on highly anticipated debut album ‘Drip or Drown 2’



Courtesy of Billboard

Gunna, otherwise known as Sergio Kitchens, has become infamous for his “drip.” From rap songs portraying his expensive lifestyle ranging from million dollar Audemar Piguet watches and foreign cars to renting out an aquarium and hosting a live listening party alongside fish and sharks, Gunna has proven to have a lavish style like no other.

Gunna sprung on to the mainstream hip-hop scene in 2018 after emerging as a popular Soundcloud artist, releasing “Drip Season 3” (the third entry in his Drip Season mixtape series), “Drip Harder” (Lil Baby and Gunna’s debut collaborative album), as well as being featured on Travis Scott’s “Astroworld”, Young Thug’s “Slime Language”.

Courtesy of Apple Music

On Feb. 22, Gunna released his long-awaited debut solo studio album “Drip or Drown 2,” a sequel to his November 2017 EP “Drip or Drown.” Instead of the abrasive, violent and hard-hitting style that many other rappers utilize today, Gunna takes advantage of the smooth, elaborate and 808 bass filled beats produced by Wheezy and Turbo to deliver melodic and catchy verses about heavy medication, exotic vehicles and, of course, designer clothes.

The album begins with “Wit It,” a track that utilizes the Gunna’s deep vocal ability to speak upon the importance of loyalty over an underwater synth type beat to match the album cover portraying Gunna drowning in his “drip.” While I have found that most albums are traditionally formatted with the best songs coming first, in my opinion, Gunna did the exact opposite, as my favorite songs came last on the tracklist with songs such as “Who you foolin” and “Same Yung N****.”

Gunna has become famous for frequently using sampled guitar melodies in his songs and he continues this pattern in tracks such as “Yao Ming,” “On a Mountain” and “Out the Hood.” However, “Out the Hood,” which was my favorite song on the album, offers something that no other song is able to do. The simple slow guitar sample mixed with hard-hitting 808s and a Chinese flute perfectly complement Gunna’s monotonic and in-tune verses about Mercedes and Rolexes. Not only does Gunna deliver two perfect verses on this track, but he finishes it off with an insanely catchy chorus that you can’t seem to get out of your head, singing, “I’m out the hood, but I’m hood melodic, I smoke good narcotics, keep my diamonds polished.”

Courtesy of LookLive

Wheezy continues the theme of using Chinese derived samples, using the melody of Tong Li’s “伶人歌” to create the beat for “Who You Foolin.” This variation allows Gunna to step out of his comfort zone and explore a new style of flowing over an unfamiliar beat. Gunna varies his pitches through the track and speaks about the loneliness that comes with fame. However, this is not what causes this track to stick out. In today’s hip-hop era, many of the hit tracks sound exactly the same, using the same drum kicks, the same guitar melodies and the same 808s. However, this track is widely different, much in part due to Wheezy’s Chinese sampled beat, to what is being produced by many mainstream rappers and Gunna is able to capitalize to produce a hit song.  

While I thoroughly enjoyed the album, Gunna still has room for improvement for his future tracks. To begin, due to Gunna’s conventional flow, voice and, in some tracks, a lack of variation of beats, many tracks sound exactly the same. For example, “Wit It” and “Outstanding” are back to back tracks that sound extremely similar, with both using an underwater type theme and similar synth melodies. Another complaint of mine is that I truly don’t believe Gunna challenged and stretched himself enough on this album. On tracks such as “Who You Foolin” and “Same Yung N****,” Gunna uses unconventional flows and beats to offer a new sound to the hip-hop scene, but tracks such as “Derrick Fisher” and “On A Mountain,” that although are quality songs sound like reformed copies of “Sold Out Dates” and “Oh Okay.” Gunna can only expand his music in the future by broadening his horizons and exploring new sounds, flows and lyrics as he did on a few tracks on this album.

While there were chances for Gunna to improve the album, overall, it lived up to the expectation and hype that many had for it and provided a number of hits that will continue to climb the top charts.