There has been no shortage of quality music released in the past couple of weeks. Ranging from the return of Lil Wayne with Tha Carter V which re-established the rapper’s spot in the pantheon of hip-hop greats, to newer artists like YoungBoy Never Broke Again adding even more material to his expanding catalogue.
Two albums which should be in constant rotation among the litany of releases are Drip Harder, a collaborative effort between Atlanta’s up-and-coming stars Lil Baby and Gunna, as well as the long-awaited return of Kevin Gates with Luca Brasi 3. These albums inhabit different ends of the spectrum within hip-hop, yet are both hard-hitting projects filled with songs for every mood and situation.
Let’s start with Drip Harder. In the course of the past year, both Lil Baby and Gunna have emerged as the front-runners of Atlanta’s new wave of hip-hop talent. Gunna is Young Thug’s newest protegé, riding Young Thug’s signature ‘slime wave’ straight up the charts. Lil Baby is relatively new to the game, really only beginning to put out projects within the last year and a half after being released from jail.
Lil Baby quickly linked up with Quality Control, the Atlanta label Migos is signed to. The next thing you know, the rapper was making a national wave with his song “My Dawg” while getting shout-outs from numerous well-established and respected artists.
Gunna’s Drip Season 1,2,3 and Lil Baby’s Harder than Hard, Harder than Ever and Too Hard mixtape series combine to create a collaborative project title. It serves as a quality addition to both of their canons.
Lil Baby absolutely goes off on “Deep End,” delivering blistering bars over an up-tempo beat. The message of this track tells the common tale of a young kid who jumps into street life head first without fully comprehending what’s in store.
Opening the album is the track “Off White VLONE” featuring Lil Durk and Nav, both of whom compliment the two stars well. Lil Baby is the in-your-face, bars-type of guy while Gunna is more comfortable sliding in and out of the beat, providing some slippery vocals wherever necessary.
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Now let’s talk about Luca Brasi 3. Man, it’s been a while since Kevin Gates has gifted the world with a new album. Part of this is due to Gates having been locked up for around 15 months for an incident at one of his concerts. He was then hit with an outstanding warrant while incarcerated for the first offense.
Luckily, time away from the studio didn’t damage the raw storytelling ability and emotional depth that Gates is so well known for. Take the song “Great Man” for example, a classic Gates piece. It is both uplifting to anyone who listens to it and motivating to those still out there grinding. It’s just a simple maneuver of putting yourself into Gates’ shoes when he looks in the mirror.
The album is littered with unapologetic raw sensuality, as Gates is prone to, but delivered an emotional depth which overrode the crudeness of some of the bars.
While this album is not on the level of Islah or By Any Means 2, it’s still a worthwhile listen and only serves as a springboard for Gates returning to his chart-topping success. There is little reason to doubt he can return to top form, especially given his out-of-this-world consistency over the past five to six years.