If you’ve paid attention to hip-hop in the last few years, you should at least know of Gunna. But you could listen to every Gunna project and feature twice and still have no idea who he actually is. He’s the raisin of rap: unappealing, unexciting, yet somehow still found everywhere.
Given how underwhelming he is on other people's tracks, it’s no wonder that full-length Gunna projects are exercises in tedium, lifted up only by producers like Metro Boomin and London on da Track or fellow rappers, like on Drip Harder, last year’s collaborative project with Lil Baby. His dull flow blurs the songs together, ensuring you’re ready for things to wrap up well before the halfway point. The reassurance of a producer tag at the beginning of a track is just barely enough to power you through.
Despite its title sounding like another mixtape to throw on the pile, Drip or Drown 2 is actually Gunna’s full-length album debut. It’s largely on the back of vibrant production from Turbo and Wheezy, who provide melodic and textural depth to compensate for Gunna’s shortcomings. Gunna smartly chose "One Call" as the lead single, and even if his lyrics are surface level (“It's a nine in the bag that I tote/ Workin' hard, we ain't havin' no hope”), he’s able to convey some kind of feeling and tell us more than just about how much sex he gets and how rich he is.
A limited range in lyrical topics isn’t the biggest liability, and it’s something you have to accept as a fan of trap. As bland read as his lyrics on paper, they come across even weaker on record. His flow is unaffected and unchanging, and he seems contemptuous about the idea of even making a record.
There’s so much hype around him, but you’re just left dumbfounded as to why. So many tracks slip through your consciousness, particularly with how much he sticks to the formula of chorus/verse/chorus. His dullness sucks the life out of typically energetic guests like Playboi Carti, whose feature is less Die Lit and more Diluted. On "3-Headed Snake," his mentor, Young Thug, offers this bit of absurd wisdom: “Jeepers creepers, the gators got measles, shit.” Call it nonsense, but it still lands better and says more than Gunna ever has.