In 2018, Gunna was everywhere. Standout albums from Travis Scott, Lil Baby, 21 Savage, Torey Lanez, and even Mariah Carey, among others, featured verses from the Atlanta MC. Having spent the better part of a year rapping his way into the consciousness of his peers’ fans, Gunna has fashioned his Drip or Drown 2 album—the sequel to his 2017 EP—as a coming-out party. “I feel like a lot of my new fans just know me from [Travis Scott’s] ‘Yosemite’ and Drip Harder and some of my recent activities,” the MC told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe. “But on this album, it’s gonna put the icing on the cake and let them know what kind of artist I am.”
Embracing a spotlight he once patiently stood just to the left of, Drip or Drown 2 is a 16-track jaunt through Gunna’s world. As an orator, his voice is light—just a couple of registers above a whisper—and even when injected with melody, it can sound like he’s singing to himself. It makes you feel as if you’re privy to the MC’s innermost thoughts, which typically span a deep appreciation for luxury fashion and automobiles, how he would prefer women to act around him, and the things money has allowed him to do for his family. “Speed It Up,” one of the project’s standouts, is particularly interesting for the giant gaps of space he leaves between words. Frequent collaborators Wheezy and Turbo the Great (who both serve as executive producers) handle the bulk of the production.
Despite his lengthy collaborative resume, Gunna saved the guest spots on Drip or Drown 2 for hometown heroes Lil Baby, Young Thug, and Playboi Carti. His many industry relationships aside, the MC knows that he’s still on the come-up. “One thing I have learned from putting out music, and just growing, is to know even when you’ve got good feedback and you’re doing good, there’s still another level to go to,” he told Zane Lowe. “It’s never like, ‘Oh, I’m good, or I’ll do what I need to do.’ There’s still more to be done. I’m just getting started.”