In the mid-2010s, Yo Gotti’s CMG label stood for “Cocaine Muzik Group,” until 50 Cent told him the name was “too harsh” and would scare people off, which I took to mean potential investors and fans. . That inspired Yo Gotti to change the name to the vague and non-threatening Collective Music Group. If I had to guess what Yo Gotti’s dream is, it’s for CMG to be in the 2020s what Quality Control was in the 2010s: a reliable hub for mainstream Southern rap that is eventually sold to a bigger label for hundreds of millions. So while CMG has a solid roster—rising star Glorilla, golden boy Moneybagg Yo, Detroit firecracker 42 Dugg, and steely Louisville rapper EST Gee—it’s not lost on Gotti that is molding artists into the hottest versions. appetizing and innocuous in themselves. .
Look no further than EST Gee’s ANGRY. It’s a relatively to-the-book 14-track album that interrupts his stone-faced, cold-blooded raps with wannabe Lil Durk tunes and strips away the regionality of his production in favor of a generic “trap” made for the grind of the play list. Gee’s breakout mixtapes 2020 ion feels nun and I still don’t feel like a nun It worked because his central Louisville location allowed him to incorporate stylistic elements from many Midwestern and Southern cities into relentless raps filled with melancholic memories, cruel imagery, and twisted humor. There was Memphis on the rebound. Chicago in the menacing mood. Detroit in jerky rhythms. Atlanta in the shine. Baton Rouge in the way he carried himself like a walking wound. With ANGRY, it’s hard to pinpoint where Gee is on the map, unless he’s telling you explicitly with the sonorous beat of TI’s “24” on “The One & Only” or playing Boosie for a song called “Hotboys.” It’s hard to feel anything when the music sounds like it’s coming from nowhere.
The beats are the most obvious problem. Yo Gotti accidentally sent Moneybagg Yo’s clipping folder? Too many tracks slide over a vague familiarity. On “Ball Like Me Too”, the 808s are lifeless, the beat is slow, and the Shirley Bassey sample plays. “If I Stop Now” has a piano beat so slow that even Florida-based sad boy Rod Wave would call it a buzz. The flute-driven rhythm of “Slam Dunk” sounds more or less like it was on Lil Baby. it’s just me—Too bad it’s probably the worst Lil Baby album to be inspired by.
Except for the punchy, drum-fuelled pop of “Blow Up” and the smooth elegance of “Us,” this is one of the most uninspired productions I’ve heard this year so far. It’s a waste of Gee, who is otherwise still a good rapper with the ability to condense complex emotions and conflicts into just a couple of lines. “Needle lethal injection, I ain’t forcing nothing on my people / And they ain’t forcing nothing on me either, we’re both addicted so we’re the same,” he raps as he tries to weigh the effect it had. in his community in “Undefeated”. His delivery in the album’s introduction is icy and understated as he reflects on how the death of his mother left a void in the family. He occasionally takes his flow to creative extremes, like on “25Min Freestyle” (which is actually only three minutes), slurring so hard it sounds like he’s rapping with his jaw shut.
However, the chant will hit you like a scare. It is bad. Gee’s melodic aspirations have been a disconcerting breath in the past year. I never felt like a nun and has decided to double the bet. The Kevin Gates crooning of “Lie to Me Some More” and the Durk-esque shifts between bullish raps and scarred wails on “Stay Focused” feel forced and unnecessary because they don’t add any new emotion. Gee’s stiff delivery already spoke volumes: the pain, the internal struggle is there even when she’s just rapping about having too much cash in her jeans. All the melodies do is make the album feel cleaner, less harsh, easier to categorize. Judging by the origins of the CMG name, that’s on purpose.