REVIEWED: Gunna – A Gift & A Curse
Hip-Hop has been in an intriguing state thus far in 2023 regarding the majors. There’s been a plethora of releases but a majority to this point have not made any distinction in standing out amongst the rap community. Memorable music seemingly isn’t being chased at the moment; Rather, viral moments and a quick fill which has allowed the conversation of Hip-Hop not hoisting a #1 song or album on Billboard to take centerfold.
A feat this large has not happened since 1993 when rap was in the infant stage of its long-lasting reign as the top-genre. With the first six (6) months of 2023 closing out and the recaps begin, Gunna has a chance to do something no hip-hop artist has done so far this year with the staggering release of his newest album, A Gift and A Curse.
It was only a year ago when the Atlanta star’s critically acclaimed album, DS4 , debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. This moment convincingly catapulted him into conversations of being a face for the next generation of musicians. It was him along with Young Thug transcending music with the “P” movement and transforming rap at the time with their commercial success before legal troubles entered. The lasting affect of their situation has been felt in the music community and caused a shift that has left the genre in an awkward space to this day.
Since Gunna’s release, lines have been drawn as he’s become a controversial figure due to a video that leaked of him during his plea hearing in the courtroom. The world has yet to hear from Young Thug which is why a rift has stirred amongst social media and the conversation’s around Gunna have been interesting to say the least.
Even so, Gunna has now released a project that again has the world talking. A Gift & A Curse is notably the most personal album we’ve heard from the YSL signee to date.
The album begins with a declaration anthem titled, back at it. Gunna begins the showcase with cutting-edge verses of pure disgusts and disdain for those that have shown their true colors towards him. He sets the tone with the vengeful before an onslaught of astonishing songs that are each led with substance.
Listeners are used to the consistent formula of Gunna reciting boastful lyrics about his lifestyle and that is still prevalent on exciting records like ca$h $shit, p angels & rodeo dr. The level of lyricism displayed however is world-class and ranges heights above the usual formula. The emphatic fukumean with an unforgettable ad-lib, has organically taken over TikTok as a surplus of videos arrive each day with “ordinary citizens” letting people know they’re going to keep listening to Gunna’s music.
As you listen, the passion left on each record is identifiable. There’s anger, disbelief, self-confidence, sadness, uncertainty and many more characteristics to describe the depths of a thrilling album.
As stated before, his current situation with Young Thug is something the public does not truly know what’s going on so Gunna took his time to address a slew of allegations as well as his feelings regarding his long time collaborator and mentor throughout.
There is a void left by Gunna not having records produced by a few of his usual collaborators that can be heard at times but the Silver Lining in this was the ability for Gunna to diversify the selection of sonics whilst staying true to his upbeat and futuristic wave that’s assisted in narrating his redemption story. This also allowed frequent collaborator and top producer, TurboTheGreat to shine on the vast array of records creating a sonically pleasing remembrance.
Gunna has been put into a place where he’s needed to remind the masses his artistry is levels beyond the norm and that was achieved. No features allowed the world-renowned star to keep the spotlight on him and leave no stone unturned. The charting projections for the week don’t end for a few days so we won’t know the Billboard chart numbers but he’s already reached #1 on Apple Music in all Genres and is currently in the midst of releasing videos for multiple songs. It’s safe to say Gunna is back and has shown no signs of slowing down.