Gunna Can’t Float on “Drip or Drown 2”

The up-and-coming Atlanta rapper presents us with 16 tracks that sound all too familiar


Trevor Wilson, Assistant Entertainment Editor

Over the last year, Georgia native and Young Thug protege Gunna has seen a stream of unbound success.

Following the release of his 2018 mixtape, “Drip Season 3,” Gunna’s brand and notability has soared. With widely successful tracks like “Top Off” and “Almighty,” Gunna quickly became one of the hottest young talents of the year. Gunna brings what many Atlanta trap artists bring to the table. A variety of flows over cold, dark yet bouncy trap production is a sound that is all too familiar. What made Gunna stand out was his ability to effortlessly bounce on the track, which he expresses greatly on the COLORS performance of “Top Off.” Gunna’s rise did not stop there, for he was featured on a number of albums including Travis Scott’s “Astroworld” on the song “Yosemite,” his plethora of features on Metro Boomin’s latest release “Not All Heroes Wear Capes” and his collaboration project with Lil Baby titled “Drip Harder.”

Now we arrive at the second installment of Gunna’s “Drip or Drown” saga. Listeners are immediately greeted with familiarity, and perhaps way too much of it. Despite all the drip that Gunna brings with him, the project itself is bland and void of any attempt at being creative. Gunna delivers the same flows, with the same lyrics, with beats that I swear I’ve heard before. The singles “One Call” and “Speed it Up” were precursors to this as Gunna gravely struggles to carry his own weight through this project, rendering the weaknesses of this revered newcomer all too obvious.

Opening with the track “Wit It,” fans are instantly presented with a Gunna sound that is all too familiar. Soft, watery pads layered over snappy hi-hats and boisterous 808s drive the rhythm and bounce of the opener.  Gunna starts spitting, and well, it’s exactly what you would expect it to sound like. Bars about luxury immediately come to the forefront. It never matters how many jewels or cars Gunna owns, he’ll make sure you know all about it throughout the duration of this album.

Unfortunately, this is a theme that plagues the rest of the project. There’s no denying the production on this is cohesive and wavy, but Gunna himself just makes this album too bland. I’ve never been one to knock style, but “Drip or Drown 2” is a prime example of why people see trap music as shallow. Throughout half of the album, Gunna sounds quiet, like really quiet. In addition to that, Gunna’s seemingly effortless flow is gone. Instead, we’re left with Gunna sounding incoherent. There are times I have no idea what he’s saying but it didn’t even matter because to no one’s surprise, he’s still rapping about all of his money.

While I understand this is the essence of Gunna’s delivery, Artists like Young Thug and Future have ushered in this wave of trap music where what you say isn’t as significant as how it sounds. Except, Gunna doesn’t make it sound good. He continuously makes it sound boring, dull and uninspired. “Richard Millie Plain,” “Cash War,” “Idk Why” and “Who You Foolin” are all great examples of this. These tracks end up sounding a lot like other Gunna tracks. The production on this album carries an essence of emptiness, almost like you’re actually underwater. While this works conceptually, a lot of these tracks end up sounding like old Gunna tracks. Songs like “Drippin’” and “Spending Addiction” from his 2018 project “Drip Season 3” make these tracks sound interchangeable.

There are, however, a few redeeming qualities of this album. Gunna manages to piece together a handful of tracks that sound unique from the others while conveying a different message. On “Outstanding,” Gunna revitalizes that smooth delivery that’s essentially missing from “Drip or Drown 2.” On this track, he raps about providing for his family and the profound impact his new life has had on himself and those around him. He raps, “When I made my first million, I ain’t panic / I only drank out the seal, now I’m done with Xannies / I bought my mama a crib, I’m outstanding / I’m pressin’ my cousin appeal, ‘til it’s granted.” Here Gunna brings some more substance to life. While the verses don’t convey the same message, it’s nice to see Gunna dive into a topic slightly more complex than V Lone and Off-White. “Yao Ming,” “3 Headed Snake” with Young Thug and “Same Yung N****” with Playboi Carti are the standout tracks on this project.


I don’t know what expectations I had for this project if any at all, but it doesn’t matter. “Drip or Drown 2” is a poor showcase of what Gunna can create as an artist. The project itself severely lacks any creative endeavors and Gunna sticks to a formula that has routinely worked. However, we start to see the weaknesses on “Drip or Drown 2.” Sonically, the album does well to fit the “Drip or Drown” theme, but Gunna just doesn’t offer a whole for the listener to enjoy. Yes, other rappers may exclusively rap about luxury, but Gunna does it in such a manner where it just isn’t engaging. I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of Gunna this year – he’ll be at Mullins Center for the spring concert this Saturday – so let’s hope he can change that.

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