Drip Harder

Drip Harder

As a prospective era-defining artist, it always helps to have a trail of creators who can attest to your influence. It’s even better when one of them is a superstar in his own right. In the case of Young Thug, there are two: Gunna and Lil Baby. Thugger had included Gunna on his 2016 effort, Jeffery, and he’d known Lil Baby from around the way—he used to pay the fledgling rapper to leave the trap and hit the studio. By 2017, the two artists’ solo releases had proven Young Thug’s ear for talent and his impact on the sound of Atlanta. In the fall of 2018, Gunna and Lil Baby swirled their abilities for a joint project that affirmed their status as Atlanta’s next rap titans. That album, Drip Harder, sees the rappers flaunt a barrage of agile flows and more restrained iterations of their mentor’s famous melodies. Checking in at 39 minutes, Drip Harder includes a healthy mix of Baby and Gunna collabs, solo efforts, and guest appearances outside their self-contained supergroup. For “Belly,” the two coast over lithe country strings as they let loose images of luxury, with Baby describing a lush reward for sticking to the code. On “Never Recover,” they attack a pulsing Tay Keith beat as they trade quotable bars with Drake. Elsewhere, on “My Jeans,” Baby and Gunna reunite with Thugger, stretching their own vocals to meet his extraterrestrial warbles. As eccentric as it is infectious, the track is a self-contained example of the YSL family tree, with Thugger’s diverse stylings being the root. Working at their best, Gunna and Lil Baby’s energy ricochets off one another for anthems that feel like more than the sum of the beats and their vocals. Lacing the Western strings of “Drip Too Hard,” the two serve up a theme song for drip gods everywhere; Gunna takes off from Lil Baby’s indelible hook like he’s received an outlet pass. For the chorus, Lil Baby says they have the type of wave you can drown in. It sounds like a warning, but with its mix of streetwise songwriting and stretchy sing-rapping, Drip Harder is the best kind of immersion.

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