Gunna and the YSL production crew truly collaborated on the sound for WUNNA and fully embraced, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
They have established a successful tone that, at this point, should be known as the “Gunna sound.” It’s what you could call “feeling yourself music,” as you can lay back on your pool chair, lean into your driver’s seat, or just zone out with your headphones in and take on a sort of casual, unforced confidence.
With now certified time-tested tapes Drip or Drown and Drip Season 3, Gunna emerged with his own even-toned yet potent delivery. Then last year with Drip or Drown 2, it seemed Gunna and his crew had truly found the formula for the exact type of production that lends itself to his vocal style. The beats made you move and knocked, but never lifted their intensity level over a 6 out of 10. The full body of work became the most listenable Atlanta trap styled album from front to back of 2019.
On WUNNA, it is clear that the team knew they had tapped into something. The beats on this new album feel maybe even more ethereal than the previous project, but the tone remains consistent. You can listen to it intently or zone out, but you feel elegant and unfazed if you let the music affect you. On the standout track “MOTW,” Gunna raps, “All I see is hundreds all day/ Top Chef fish sautéed/ Condo in L.A.” The subtle piano with the wavy drum kicks just fits with lyrics, and it all transports you to Gunna’s debonair aesthetic.
There are some unique choices composition-wise throughout the album. On the track “Dollaz On My Head” featuring Young Thug, some of Gunna’s raps are layered with an even-keeled Alvin the Chipmunk voice. When you first hear it, it provokes a little laughter, and then as you nod your head to it, you can only retort, “wait, that’s hard.”
Maybe the most exciting moment is the production transition on the track, “Nasty Girl/ On Camera.” Gunna describes a lustful relationship with a quick flow in the first half, fused with a significantly potent beat. You can tell the relationship is a bit shady. Then the song has a transition to a new beat, and the two sections are linked by a voice message saying a line is disconnected. As it goes into the second half, there becomes this sort of ringing synth in the background that fits with the rest of the production, but also creates a slightly different feel than anywhere else. For just about a minute and a half, Gunna’s essence becomes a little more chaotic and exciting. This glimpse is effective and intriguing.
Another highlight of the project is “Addy’s,” where Gunna instills a double meaning of the word with lyrics, “We geekin’ up on the Addy/ Spin the block, we got the addy.” Not only is this flicker of wordplay clever, but this may also be the best beat on the album. The little quicker pace is orchestrated here by producers Taurus and Turbo.
Lastly, it would seem remiss not to mention what feels like a “Hot” part 2 in the track “Top Floor” featuring Travis Scott. Wheezy and Turbo re-highlight Gunna’s match made in heaven tone, over a horn-based anthemic beat. This wildly successful combination was introduced on Young Thug’s So Much Fun album. Simply, this one slaps.
Did Gunna really show us anything new? Maybe not. Does the album potentially work better at 10-12 tracks instead of 18? Absolutely. But most importantly, does Gunna know his lane? And is it hard to foresee his formula not working for at least a while? Unquestionably so.