Review: Gunna, ‘WUNNA’

Gunna’s celestial sound is finally stabilised on his sophomore album, although at the expense of the standouts he typically delivers.

Like him or not, Gunna is here to stay. Once that ‘little brother’ Young Thug would be forced to bring to the function, he’s created a name of his own. He is a simple man that loves drip (he has six projects with the word ‘Drip’ in the title), watches and women. The music is equally as simple, but often comes with an addictive quality. His 2019 album Drip or Drown 2 manoeuvred between memorable highs and deserved skips, but the aquatic aesthetic was undeniably unique to Gunna. Paired up with yet again a ridiculous cover, Wunna should know aim to create some consistency in his full-length projects.

The highs of Drip or Drown 2 may be better, but Wunna is far more consistent start to finish. The aquatic aesthetic is traded for a utopic climate where the right executive choices are made.

With a Gunna project, it is all about the production. The beats on Wunna are like feathers that Gunna’s vocals tip-toe over. Props must certainly go to Wheezy and Turbo for improving as producers. There’s a delicacy in these two facets that mesh for a handful of memorable highlights, even though they are not artistic gifts. “MOTW” is tenderly heavenly, thriving off the gliding beat and the flows we know Gunna for.

The title track is similar, practically pinching all the elements of Drip or Drown 2‘s “One Call” but it’s not watered down. The light strums on “Met Gala” comes served with the Sold Out Dates flow and background vocals that mirror Travis Scott. It’s a compulsive touch that just about diverts your attention from the evidently-lazy formula.

Speaking of Travis Scott, the collaborative “Top Floor” lightly sprinkles its horns and Scott’s Auto-Tuned chants to make it a standout cut. It’s finally a Travis Scott feature that doesn’t sound phoned-in. Gunna ensures not to rely on guest appearances, as other moments struggle to take the spotlight for themselves (Young Thug, Nechie). Lil Baby shines on “Blindfold”, a song so basic in its trap elements that it’s impossible to dislike purely on sonics.

The sole track to take a detour is “Rockstar Bikers & Chains”, adopting electric guitars and a computerised stutter in its production to match the song name. Just like a majority of the album the song doesn’t overstay its welcome, arriving and exiting in a mere 2 minutes. For an artist like Gunna, this will almost near always benefit the album.

Wunna does remain consistent but that is also its undoing. Even after multiple listens one is left wondering, “What did that one sound like again?” Forgettable tracks do exist that aren’t unlistenable but never is one left scampering for a replay (“I’m On Some”, “Don’t Play Around”, “Gimmick”, “Cooler than a Bitch”). That’s the territory that comes with an 18-track Gunna album.

Moments like these are either passable or outright boring. Granted, the whole album can be considered boring if there is not an immersion in Gunna’s sound and world. But Gunna is doing exactly what cult artists such as Playboi Carti accomplish. It is possible that the other is more marketable and eccentric than the other, but the fundamentals behind the stars are the same. Simply put, Wheezy is Gunna’s Pi’erre Bourne, creating a sound that’s ultimately redundant but has an undeniable appeal.

Wunna is like trap ASMR, light as a feather in its production as it is in Gunna’s performances. Amongst the forgettable moments and a lack of standouts there is a buried W for Wunna.

Rating: 7 / 10