Gunna – One Of Wun

A potent and personal record...

Embattled and isolated, Gunna has become a solitary figure in Stateside rap’s firmament. The state-enabled implosion of his broader circle has left the rapper facing some wild accusations, something the Georgia-raised artist has done his best to dismiss. ‘One Of Wun’ – his second album in a little over 12 months – finds the rapper pushing back against critics, and it contains some of the more fired-up performances of his career.

A weighty 20-track affair, it’s a record peppered with highlights. ‘collage’ is a statement from the off, full of muscular swagger and a firm sense of identity. Steeped in Atlanta production tropes, the title cut hits hard, with Gunna refusing to pull his punches. As a demonstration of rap finesse, it works as a superb portrait of his technical skills.

The guests are sparing, the theme of the album allowing his isolation to become a positive. Joined by Offset on ‘prada dem’, the ‘luxe electronics contains an icy chill, the palaces these figures have constructed becoming prisons. The goddess Normani is on sublime form with ‘$$$’ a track that further underlines the excitement around her own long-awaited return this year; Leon Bridges – a Texan artist more often associated with vintage soul flavours – illuminates ‘clear my rain’, a wonderful piece of clipped songwriting, finessed and pure.

Often the record is at its most profound when Gunna is alone, left to speak his truth. ‘life’s changing’ is deeply moving, the Atlanta artist caught between two worlds, unable to move forwards. ‘conscience’ urges a sense of personal honesty, while ‘today I did good’ – with its soulful musicality – learns to accept some sense of joy into his life.

Closing with ‘time reveals, be careful what you wish for’, this is a record of real personal truth. Gunna feels exposed here, documenting a difficult time in his life; learning to push back, it’s a project that at times reveals more than you expected, and he had perhaps intended.

7/10

Words: Robin Murray

-
Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.