REVIEW: ‘Drip or Drown 2’ is ‘respectable release from Gunna’

Drip or Drown 2

Drip or Drown 2

Jake Bell

The name of this album is “Drip or Drown 2.” I think that name perfectly spells out that this album is to be enjoyed, not deeply analyzed. So put down the CBD latte because I think you’ll need something a bit stronger to properly digest “Drip or Drown 2,” the latest studio release from the enigmatic Gunna.

This project is the culmination of Gunna’s transformative 2018, when he propelled into the forefront of the rap mainstream via an impressive feature run, dropped an acclaimed installation in his “Drip Season” mixtape series and his collaborative album with Lil Bay, “Drip Harder.” The work that Gunna put into last year shows his dedication to his craft and his love of hard work — a sentiment he echoes on several tracks off of “Drip or Drown 2.”

What Gunna lacks in substantive, lyrical content, he makes up for with his advanced knowledge on the trappings of the high-class lifestyle, a world he has just recently been acquainted with. Those with a high taste level will love rich anecdotes, such as:  

Ah Richard Millie Plain (Plain)

Maybach with the woodgrain (Woodgrain)

Clearport, know the pilot by the name, yeah

Eight hour flight out to Spain (Spain)

Gunna Gunna got a lil’ fame now

Ain’t no cap in my game (My game)

-Gunna, “Richard Millie Plain”

Not only does Gunna have woodgrain in his Maybach, but he also knows his Learjet pilot by name — a flex your #MCM could not conjure due to his lack of knowledge of the finer things in life, and his insistence on flying Spirit to Daytona Beach for Spring Break … sad. Gunna, on the other hand, has no problem flaunting his maximalist lifestyle on nearly every track.

Gunna simplifies his assets and often refers to them as “drip.” Now don’t even try explaining “drip” to your grandma, because she’s not going to get it — but “drip” is essentially your new Amiri jeans, your Hermes belt, your new Goyard bag or anything expensive you can flaunt. Many people hate on Gunna for pretty much exclusively writing about “drip” and other superficial possessions, and those haters are correct: Drip is superficial, but I don’t think Gunna has anything to say about Ed Sheeran only writing songs about relationships.

Now on to the production; this album’s beats are intoxicating. There are so many strange instruments used on each track, combined with your typical trap beat background. Gunna has fully convinced me that a harp can work next to spattering high hats and floating synths. It sounds like Wheezy, Gunna’s frequent producer, certainly downloaded some new sound packs before working on “Drip or Drown 2,” and he was just trying to get his money’s worth by using every synth possible. All in all, this fusion works well with his deadpan, but melodic delivery. He actually does have a good bit of range and can hit lower notes and higher notes with ease. I’m sure his choir teacher loved him! His wit does shine through occasionally — “The salesman that know me in Barney’s say I smell like Biscotti mixed with Creed.”

One of the standout tracks in “3 Headed Snake,” featuring the man responsible for popularizing Gunna, confirmed Atlanta GOAT, Young Thug. Gunna clearly takes inspiration from Thug’s idiosyncratic delivery, but he has truly come into his own. The two tag team a verse on the back half of the track, and their cadences pair well together.

Another standout is ‘Big Shot’ where Wheezy resurrects a gritty, distorted guitar sample from your dad’s Nirvana collection and makes it the soundtrack of Gunna running to the bank in Balmain joggers.

Unfortunately, some tracks do blend into each other and are rather forgettable. The single “Speed it Up” is one of the more uninspired songs — Gunna repeats ‘Speed it up’ on the hook so many times I said, “I can’t go any faster” to myself while driving around town listening to this.

Overall, I think this is a respectable release from Gunna. He blends familiar tactics with some strange instrumentation. He’s tightened his bars — becoming more concise and wittier than ever on “Drip or Drown 2.” The album cover, Gunna floating beneath the water in an in-ground pool, is representative of the fact that this is not a highbrow release. Rather, this album is the soundtrack to indulgence, and it serves that purpose so well. Read between the lines, and the title actually speaks for the current superficiality of our generation — if you don’t have drip, you will drown. Now, I have to go take a midterm in my $300 sneakers — and I will be singing, “Lotta money, I can have a cash war; flew back across the water with a passport” in my head the entire time.

RATING: 6.5/10

Jake Bell is a contributor. Contact him at [email protected]