Y‘know, I really want to like Gunna. When my true dude Ben showed me his Drip Season 3 tape, I was hopeful. He reminded me of Young Thug, but I could tell the difference. As time went on, however, Gunna has revealed himself to be a carbon copy of the man who signed him. His joint album with Lil Baby went in one ear and out the other for me. “Drip Too Hard” is undoubtedly a banger. Yet the project as a whole had little else to offer. I prefer Lil Baby’s sound by a small margin. His voice is more distinct. Gunna, on the other hand, needs a very specific sonic style to thrive. If the beat is minimal and synth-heavy, his voice tends to bleed into the track. With a bouncier aesthetic his flow pops. Alas, he only works with about two or three flows.
Which is a bummer, because flow is essentially all Gunna has going for him at the moment. Nevertheless, when he actually picks a beat that suits him, his sound connects. “Yao Ming” and “Out the Hood” are standouts for me. Although the track is nothing to write home about, I like the slick guitar and raindrops in the background. Similarly, “Out the Hood” features complementary guitar licks. His wavy delivery functions well here. This is the most I can praise this album nonetheless. A couple of other tracks are decent. “Outstanding” has another solid set of flows throughout. And “Baby Birkin” caught my ear at first. After four listens, though, I realized I only liked it because it resembled Travis Scott’s “3500.” Despite its aquatic atmosphere, Drip or Drown 2 is drier than weeks-old bran flakes. I hate to say this but it’s true.
Following a handful of mixtapes and a collaborative project, I’ve concluded that dude doesn’t know how to make an album. Perhaps it’s not his fault. Not everyone labeled as an artist behaves like one. Making it out of the streets is hard enough. Learning how to craft songs, experiment in the booth, and ask the right questions doesn’t come natural to everyone. Gunna earns plenty of guap releasing so-so trap tracks. Why should he switch up his formula? Allow me to counter that question with another. Are you making an album because it’s what drives you, or because it’s the only way to keep your name relevant? Songs like “Speed It Up,” “Big Shot,” and “Who You Foolin” are prime examples of how not to make a good first impression. If I had to humor this album’s ultimatum, I would choose to drown before listening top to bottom again.
Despite me sounding like an asshole, I can’t sit here and pretend that this is a hot record. Gunna’s tone stagnates across the entire runtime. He makes 48 minutes feel like 48 hours. Three flows, one delivery, and a smorgasbord of generic trap beats expose this album for what it is: a waste of time. None of these 16 songs have single potential. I imagine the Young Thug-assisted “3 Headed Snake” will get promo push. But that’ll dissipate sooner rather than later. Typically I’m a fan of Wheezy’s producer skills. Here, though, it seems as if he gifted Gunna a bunch of hand-me-down instrumentals. The College Park native has time to revive his discography. He could revamp his vocal approach and start putting forth some level of energy on the track. But again, what is his incentive to do so? For now, he is a decent feature at best.