Before you say your favorite is about to be hot again this summer with their new music coming out and make you feel like you’re in your prime era, think again, and let me be the first to say that Gunna’s comeback album “A Gift & a Curse” sets the bar high for all other rap artists. For all hip/hop and rap listeners looking for a banger to listen to this summer I assure you that “A Gift & a Curse” will provide you with the best summer playlist that has no skips. This studio album has no features and still managed to climb to No.1 on Billboard’s top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart. There is no denying Gunna’s true musical talent.
Rap artist Sergio Kitchens also known as Gunna is a rapper out of the College Park area of Atlanta Georgia. During his rise to fame, he often collaborated with other rappers from Atlanta such as Lil Baby and Young Thug which helped solidify himself as a legitimate Atlanta artist. In May of last year, Gunna went through a significant setback by being involved in a large criminal case involving the YSL (Young Stoner Life) gang which Gunna and Young Thug claim to be a part of. After being released in December most listeners chose to stop listening to him after rumors spread that he took a plea deal and testified against YSL. His new album “A Gift & a Curse” illustrates his drive and this comeback is his reconciliation for the seven months he spent behind bars. The album was released on Friday at midnight on June 16th, 2023 after being announced two days prior which was a surprise due to the low promotion.
In this album he sets the record straight, clearing up lies said about him and sublimating his emotions through rap instead of letting it out through other outlets like social media or in public interviews. In his song “idk nomore” Gunna captures this perfectly by saying “wanna know how wunna feel? Then listen to my music.” The 15-song album features songs such as “umean” which charted at No.1 in Apple Music’s top 100: Global and is included in a five-song victory lap of songs that segue into each other which are “ca$h $hit,” “umean,” “rodeo dr,” “bottom,” and “p angels.” With this solo album having no features you can truly hear how well Gunna’s cadence complements the melody of each instrumental on the album. All of the songs have beats that make you realize there are no other artists who can do what he does. A song that exemplifies this is “bottom” produced by Turbo. In the song, the pianos and snares run alongside Gunna’s singing. Many people classify Gunna as a mumble rapper because they don’t hear what he’s saying clearly all the time, however, his lyricism is consistent and sharp in songs at the beginning of the album. “back at it” and “back to the moon” give the album a good start and you can pick up what he’s putting down clearly. The song “umean” in the middle of the album is not as lyrically strong as the first two but still a hit in my opinion.
Some of my personal favorite songs are “bread & butter,” “back at it,” “born rich” and “turned your back.” These four songs are songs I will happily blast in my AirPods back to back while going on a walk or riding in a car. With the whole album being rooted in the feeling of betrayal and turning your pain into champagne, these themes are something I deeply relate to through these four songs. Even though I cannot relate to the extreme pain Gunna expresses through these songs such as the government tearing all his friends apart and the cost fame has on the human experience as a black man, I am still familiar with the emotions of going through hardship and growing from it.
“turn you back” and “bread and butter” are two specific songs that’ll only listen to when I’m in my feelings because both songs have the power to shift my mood. But when I play “born rich” and “back at it”, those two songs have the power to restore my mood. It all has to do with what kind of day I’m having if I’m being honest.
As a person who was not a die-hard Gunna fan and listens to him every now and then, I will say that I am a fan of his work, especially this album. Others who are real die-hard fans would say otherwise claiming that this is his best album yet. Something I do commend him for within this album is taking his pain out in his music and not in other places that don’t benefit him. As a girl who always listened to hip-hop from a young age, I always understood that this art form is a tool of storytelling and that things are always deeper than rap. Understanding where Gunna was before rap was deep in the trenches of Atlanta so I want to give him his flowers for having the ability to use music as his outlet and succeeding with his talented lyrical skills. Many of those who come from the same struggle attempt doing this and do not make it out alive so seeing Gunna come back from this huge obstacle in his life is something that deserves to be applauded for.