Similar to the trajectory of 2 Chainz starting with Playaz Circle, Gunplay bided his time as a member of Rick Ross’ passion project Triple C’s before unleashing his ongoing wrath on Rap. Now amongst Def Jam’s next crop of hopeful breakout sensations, the Maybach Music Group affiliate has become a walking controversy as of late. With last year’s “Rollin'” and the more current “Cartoons & Cereal” with Kendrick Lamar beginning to put him on the map, a shameless public cocaine habit and recent bizarre explanation behind a swastika tattoo (“Mass murdering the bullshit”) greatly factor into the present attention fixed on him. 601 & Snort is Gunplay’s latest mixtape, steadily building anticipation for his debut album Medellín.
601 & Snort is short but sweet, largely comprised of “freestyles” (likely written over popular instrumentals) finding Gunplay fearless in living up to the wild reputation he has built. Though reliant on shock and awe tactics with a voice louder than his already noisy South Florida neighbor Plies, there is an undeniable charm and strength within his deranged delivery. Screaming about violence, hard drug usage and general dysfunction, he breathes refreshed life into Dr. Dre’s classic “Deep Cover” with his “187 Freestyle,” and also revives “Guillotine Swords” and “Criminology” from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx album (which seems to have impacted his character to date). Showing appreciation for his state’s musical legacy, the remake of Trick Daddy’s hit “(Nann) Nigga” gives new light to almost forgotten Trina while Future’s “Same Damn Time (Remix)” shows Gunplay’s range isn’t just limited to the past.
In a game built off of personality, Gunplay is poised to make a statement in a manner that few prior have as his unexpectedly captivating energy separates him from the pack. Despite spewing regressive banter that could be considered obnoxious to impatient listeners, there remains an engaging superstar quality to his craft. Over the top lyrics and clever marketing (as the artwork for 601 & Snort remodels the logo of BET’s weekday countdown) make for appeal and entertainment value that is complemented by Gunplay’s brash presence, leaving one fascinated and puzzled as to whether this routine is performance art or truly troubling debauchery.
DX Consensus: “Just a Mixtape”