When Kanye West tweeted “throne2 coming soon,” he likely wasn’t talking about Gunna and Lil Baby’s collaboration album. But maybe he should have been, given the Throne’s recent rockiness, a follow up to their 2011 classic might as well be the new Detox. but in 2018 that reality doesn’t disappoint more than Drip Harder truly satisfies.
When Lil Baby and Gunna announced in July that they would be officially joining forces for a collaborative effort, Drip Harder, Hotlanta natives and hypebeasts alike rejoiced in the fact that two of the game’s hottest up-and-comers were linking and building ™ for the greater good of contemporary rap.
The 13-track project unfolds as if the lid gets lifted on a basket of venomous snakes but instead, the snakes charm you with slick Auto-Tune raps oozed across hypnotic trap beats. As the album progresses, things get exponentially more thrilling until you’re left with a serious case of the drips. The intro “Off White VLONE” (featuring NAV and Lil Durk) is a downtempo piano hypebeast sonnet that lays the groundwork before the electrifying Tay Keith-produced, Drake assisted-closer “Never Recover” twelve songs later.
In the age of constant posse cuts overloaded with similar sounding voices, the majority of this album is just Gunna and Lil Baby exchanging hooks, verses and countless ad-libs on their own. Aside from the two aforementioned tracks plus a Young Thug feature on “My Jeans,” Gunna and Baby keep to themselves and deliver a high level of modern trap consistency the whole time.
The overwhelming melody rap and Auto-Tune riffs might deter some lyrics-only listeners but it needs to be noted that these ATLiens can not only flow but get off clever lines too. On “World Is Yours” Gunna dishes out worldplay like “My foot on they neck, her pussy stay wet/Put nut on her breasts, Gunna triple X/Cough syrup back-to-back, I hardly get rest/I fucked her like Thugger, just want me some sex” that might require a temple tap.
There are also a handful of slower trap ballads including “Close Friends,” “Belly” and “Seals Pills” that highlight both artists’ ability to croon and spit simultaneously. On the latter track, Gunna starts singing the chorus which morphs into his verse then Lil Baby sneaks in to tackle the chorus and next verse in tandem. It does away with the stagnant verse-chorus-verse formula and bodes a streamlined 40-minute listen. That said, as much as this album celebrates Gunna and Lil Baby’s genre-leading songwriting chops, it should also be noted that the production team killed it equally as much. Weezy was “outta here,” Turbo “ran it back” and Tay Keith definitely “fucked these niggas up” once again.
Had Drip Harder came out in 2014 (a renown slow year for Hip Hop) then perhaps its reach would have impacted harder. However, 2018 has been one of the genre’s strongest years in over a decade. There are times where songs on this album sound too similar to totally stand out and at the end of the day there are only a small handful of tracks that actually have enough legs to run into the annals of Hip Hop history.