Lane: Future, Young Thug
Gunna is trap's Nickelback. He makes run-of-the-mill trap that satisfies most people (hence his immense listenership) but offers nothing to people who look for artists to take creative or stylistic risks. WUNNA is merely the latest example of this.
When Future’s distorted voice warbled through our lives in 2014, he was novel with a new flow and new sound. The dark and spacey atmosphere ruptured by trunk rattling 808’s and skittering hi-hats were addictive and Future’s hooks made it compulsive. Then Young Thug drew out the vocal blueprint.
Future and Thugger made the modern trap formula, then the likes of Playboi Carti, Migos, Travis Scott and Young Nudy rejigged the elements for more interesting flavours. Six years later, Gunna is still using the original formula but with worse ingredients.
There’s no bangers. There’s no slappers. There’s no hits. WUNNA is just a 51-minute churn. Gunna is what happens when you grind down Future and Young Thug to their root without the frills. Gunna has Future’s flows, but none of the addictive hooks and Young Thug’s vocal ideas but none of the range. Gunna has penchant for smooth but ‘Blindfold’ is a prime example of him mistaking sterile for gloss. He’s flexing the same things the same way they’ve been flexed for years on end; his flows are tired, generic and boring.
The production suffers the same. Skittering hi-hats and thumping 808’s pack the project but they’re akin to empty calories. Wheezy fills WUNNA with a vat of mundane trap, and Gunna’s passionless delivery does little to save each track as they tediously tick by. When he decides to make the slightest effort in changing, he presents ‘Met Gala’, a vocal performance that borders on Young Thug parody. The only songs that offer a modicum of intrigue are those not featuring the duo.
The difference between Gunna and any trapper worth their salt is evidenced by Roddy Ricch and Travis Scott. Their presence is unmistakable - bending Gunna’s sound effortlessly - showing how baseline WUNNA is. They’ve built their sound atop the ground Gunna aimlessly roams in. While Travis’ breathy hook and auto-tuned verse aren’t stellar, they’re nonetheless an injection of richness into an otherwise boilerplate project. Meanwhile, Roddy Ricch’s verse on ‘Cooler than a bitch’ has the sort of flow, personality and vocals that Gunna’s music has never dared approach.
When Gunna and Wheezy’s contemporaries make appearances, they blot out the sun. Instead of standing on the shoulders of giants, Gunna meanders in the well-trodden paths behind and below them. Gunna refuses to leave the safety created by those around him and as a result WUNNA is the essence of generic. Gunna is Nickelback.
Fire: Skybox, Roddy Ricch's Verse on 'Cooler than a bitch'