Gunna’s voice and flow is the equivalent of water running seamlessly through a stream; it’s only right that his album cover features him underwater. Drip or Drown 2 is the sequel to the southern rapper’s well-known Drip or Drown mixtape. Released in conjunction with a slew of other hip hop releases such as Lil Pump’s “Harverd Dropout” and Offset’s “Father of 4”, this is definitely the black sheep of the group. However, this shouldn’t be perceived as negative. Drip or Drown 2’s inconspicuous nature adds to the tone and nature of the album.
Gunna’s debut is preceded by 2 singles that on their own, were at best, average. It is only within the context of the album that “Speed it Up” and “One Call” hypnotically transport the listener to Gunna’s underwater paradise. The album starts off with “Wit It”, an infectious and braggadocious that details the different consumerist delights that Gunna attributes to his success. This seems to be a prevalent theme throughout the album. Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, grew up in College Park, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. It’s transparent that his sound is characterized by the trap influence of the city.
Only three features appear on the album, and while this may be concerning to many listeners, this doesn’t hurt the album in anyway. In actuality, it makes the album much more consistent. Young Thug’s feature on “3 Headed Snake” stood out as the best among the three. The vocal gymnastics and mutable flow that Young Thug brings is like a fish, or rather a whale, swimming effortlessly through a tide. The other two features, Lil Baby and Playboi Carti, were disappointing and only added unnecessary filler time.
Other highlights on the album include the energetic “Cash War”, another ode to a brash, rich lifestyle, the triplet flow inspired “Richard Millie Plain”, and the soothing, lullaby-esque “Baby Birken”. With songs like these featured on Gunna’s debut, it categorizes him into a niche of the hip hop and trap genre: cloud rap. Cloud rap includes rappers such as Lil B, Playboi Carti, and Yung Lean; it is characterized by its hypnotic beats and flows.
Perhaps the most surprising song on the album was “Out the Hood”, a sentimental track detailing the hardships that Gunna manifested into success. This manifestation is an overarching theme throughout the album and is a subject that many rappers delve into. Though “Out the Hood” is sonically and lyrically pleasing, this strength to detail one’s life in such an idiosyncratic can be interpreted as a weakness. The subject matter on the album doesn’t stray far away from materialistic joys and hard come-ups.
Drip or Drown 2 is an album that is tenacious in its concept. The literal meaning is portrayed on the cover. The metaphorical meaning lies in the lyrics and subject matter. One must either try hard to get where they want to be or die trying. While this concept of self-interest has problematic implications, it is through Gunna’s story that the listener can begin to sympathize.