Gunna‘s Drip or Drown 2 is out today, and it’s been met with glowing reviews from what seems like every relevant press outlet, so we put on our headphones this morning to find out what all the hype is about. Much to our delight, we found a uniquely heartfelt, compellingly instrumental, and sonically diverse album that’s light on features and complex production but heavy on melancholic feels. Frequent collaborator Lil Baby, as well as Playboi Carti and Gunna’s mentor Young Thug, make appearances on three of these 16 tracks, which are produced by Thug, Wheezy, and Turbo.
There’s an air of psychedelic volatility throughout these songs: repetitive sounds and vocals have a hypnotic effect that seems to put us under a spell that won’t allow a single song to be skipped. Personal favorites include “Outstanding,” where he raps about quitting Xanax and buying his mom a house. It’s still threaded with standard-issue hip-hop materialism, but his innate authenticity acts as a grounding force that makes this one feel like a relatable slice of life. “Yao Ming” is led by layered keys and strings that sound quite appropriately like they’re being played underwater; it’s gently trippy with a crispy trap progression that’s sparse yet elegant in its simplicity. The Lil Baby feature “Derek Fisher” is another stand-out track, minimalistic yet moody, slightly frenetic but always returning to a smooth groove.
“3 Headed Snake” featuring Young Thug has a bite to it — rapid-fire rhymes contrast with a spaced-out, anesthetizing production. “Big Shot” is snarling and ominous, but the foreboding melody is so captivating I’m more excited than scared to hear what comes next, which is the bright and shiny, string-led “On a Mountain.” I’ve never known acoustic hip-hop to be a thing, but Gunna makes the case for it on this song. He leaves us with the most unusual song on the album “Who You Foolin,” the glittering, string-led melody that sounds like a dance between a harp and a sitar and provides a spectacular support system for his heavy, slow-rolling verses.
What a weird, cool album that doesn’t rely on a bunch of bells and whistles to make it sound more interesting than it really is: dive into the magic of Drip or Drown 2 below.