Atlanta-based rapper Gunna, known for his melodic flow and laid-back style, released his latest project, a Gift & a Curse, in the midst of controversy surrounding his recent Plea deal. Finding himself in legal ties with YSL’s RICO case, Gunna spews in his new music the pressures between the music industry and the criminal-justice system, setting the landscape for a tell-all album. Through the 15-track album, Gunna does just that. He communicates to his listeners a wide range of emotions and unique sounds, aiming to describe the personal turmoil of a case that tore apart brotherhoods and changed his outlook on life. Gunna’s subtle lyrics fit perfectly with his smooth melodies laced over hard hitting beats.
Right from the opening track “back at it,” Gunna sets the tone for the album with confidence, rapping on an ominous instrumental. Fans noted that no production would be featured from producer Wheezy, as the former collaborators had allegedly cut ties. However, the project lacks no production value. Gunna’s vocals constantly glide over mesmerizing trap beats, courtesy of other top-tier producers such as Turbo. Overall, the album creates an immersive sonic landscape that perfectly reflects Gunna’s style. In fact, this album is set out to capture Gunna’s style alone, as this is the first of Gunna’s projects to include no featured artists. With no features, Gunna is left plenty of room to express his feelings in an intimate way. Throughout the album he delves into themes of success, family, and the pressures of his legal troubles. Tracks like “alright” offer a glimpse into his personal struggles, with introspective lyrics centered around how Gunna’s controversy has affected his relationships. On the lead single “bread & butter,” Gunna snaps back at critics who claim he sold out on his friends by taking a plea deal in court. A big theme of the album is Gunna responding to critics and assuring them that he would never turn his back on his own people.
a Gift & a Curse presents as a complete project that highlights Gunna’s personal strife and artistry. While his clever wordplay often slips under the radar because of catchy hooks, these two elements still come together to make the album accessible and memorable. Fans of trap music and those looking for a glimpse into Gunna’s world will undoubtedly find something to appreciate in this musical journey.