First Impressions: Yo Gotti – Untrapped

An Intro To Yo Gotti

Yo Gotti is a 38 year old rapper from Memphis, and is someone who I’m sure you’re familiar with to some extent if you’ve invested yourself in the hiphop scene in the last 20 years. In 22 years he has dropped 10 albums, 18 mixtapes, 3 collaborative projects, numerous singles, and collaborated with everyone from Young Thug to Kanye West. Despite being so prevalent in the game for over 20 years Yo Gotti has never really been a mainstream rapper, always sitting in more of the B-tier category where he is quite well known and respected but not overly popular.

For those unfamiliar, here’s a little recap of his career so far. Gotti released his debut album ‘Youngsta’s On A Come Up’ In 1996 at just 15 years old. A couple of years later he changed his rap moniker from Lil Yo to Yo Gotti, and between 2000 and 2006 he released a string of 4 independent albums, most notably ‘Life’ & ‘Back 2 Da Basics’. Between 2006 and 2012 Yo Gotti went on a run of releasing mixtapes, releasing 11 mixtapes in those 6 years including collaborative tapes with Gucci Mane & DJ Drama. After 15 years of hustle Yo Gotti was quite well known, and in 2012 he released his long awaited album ‘Live From The Kitchen’, which boasted bits such as ‘5 Star’ and ‘Women Lie, Men Lie’ with Lil Wayne. Yo Gotti then closed out 2012 by leaving his label RCA Records and releasing ‘Cocaine Muzik 7: The World Is Yours’ mixtape, the 7th instalment of his successful mixtape series. In 2013 he formed his CMG record label and got signed to Epic Records, he dropped another mixtape, and then his 7th album ‘I Am’, with features from rappers such as J.Cole & T.I. In 2014 Yo Gotti dropped the ‘Chapter 1’ collaborative album along with his CMG label, in 2015 he dropped another 5 mixtapes including more instalments of the Cocaine Musik series, and in 2016 he dropped his ‘The Art Of Hustle’ album lead by the smash single ‘Down In The DM’ with Nicki Minaj. 2016 also saw the release of a collaborative mixtape with Moneybagg Yo titled ‘2 Federal’, as well as the 9th instalment of his Cocaine Musik series. In 2017 Gotti released a collaborative mixtape with producer Mike Will Made-It, and followed that up with his ‘I Still Am’ album in October of the same year. 2018 was a slow year for Gotti with just a bunch of features, and then in 2019 he dropped off both ‘Put A Date On It’ & ‘Pose’, 2 singles for how upcoming album.

And that brings us up to date! On January 31st 2020 Yo Gotti released his 10th studio album ‘Untrapped’. The album is 15 tracks long and was preceded by the release of 4 singles, Put A Date On It, H.O.E, & Pose (both versions). Below I’ll be reviewing the album in 2 parts. First will be a track by track review which will be more informal and unedited, and following that will be my thoughts on the album as a whole. I’ll include some links to stream the album as well as some discussion questions at the end. Enjoy!

Track By Track Review

1. Trapped – Love the beat, great drums and vocal sample in the background. Some quality bars and rhymes, Gotti flows over the beat really well. Enjoyable intro

2. Know Yo Worth – Another enjoyable beat, has this real grand feel to it, Nice bass and triumphant synths. Flows are quite simple, some funny bars though. Hook is okay, not bad but not good, Gotti poses charisma but the basic flows and delivery hold the song back, and the beat doesn’t really change at all during the song. Okay song

3. H.O.E. – Heard this last week when it dropped. Gotti sounds like a boss with his charismatic delivery and funny bars. More exciting flows too. Beat sets this awesome vibe for the duration of the track. Enjoyed it before and enjoy it now

4. More Ready Than Ever – More great vocal samples and grandiose production, similar to Rick Ross production. Gotti changes up his flow a bunch, but delivery isn’t the best. Some good bars and some more decent rhyme schemes. Whole song flows really well, but lacks exciting moments in terms of the vocals. Hook is trash. Average song with amazing production

5. Like That (ft. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie) – More poppy mellow vibe than the others, nice change up. Beat is a bit basic but is enjoyable. Gotti with his love song swag, simple flows but some quality bars and storytelling. Yo Gotti’s lack of exciting flows and delivery is forgivable here, suits the vibe of the track really well. A Boogie’s hook is impressive melodically and decently catchy too. Enjoyable track

6. Put A Date On It (ft. Lil Baby) – Heard this months ago, always enjoyed it. Addictive synths in the beat, Gotti goes hard, Lil Baby has an amazing feature. Love the 2 man hook. Banger, good song

7. They Ain’t Want Me To Know – Simple but catchy hook. More laid back vibes from Gotti, real chill flows and more quality bars. Beat is interesting, has this catchy little guitar synth that sounds great. Song goes on for a minute too long, useless outro. Average in the end

8. Pose (ft. Megan Thee Stallion & Lil Uzi Vert) – Another one I have heard and enjoyed for months. Catchy hook, thumping bass, and some enjoyable verses from Gotti, Megan & Uzi. Another extremely enjoyable banger

9. Weekend (ft. Moneybagg Yo) – Real menacing beat, thumping bass and these haunting high pitches synth melodies. Hook is okay but nothing special. Yo Gotti is back with the charismatic delivery and solid bars, some great flows too. Moneybagg feature is decent, some nice bars and just as charismatic as Gotti. Hook is actually half good and half bad. Decent song, on the fence

10. Dopechella (ft. Rick Ross) – Another Real haunting beat, is intriguing at times but really lacking at others. Some quality bars and rhymes but the flows and delivery are average. Rick Ross really shines, much more energetic delivery and he flows amazingly over the beat, great feature. Average song with a great feature

11. Battle – Funny Little Intro. Lame hook unfortunately. Gotti sounds amazing on the verse, hungry delivery with bars full of humour. Beat isn’t too good, has this ‘City Girls’ vibe to it at times. Great second verse from Gotti, gives me Blac Youngsta vibes with his annunciation. Trash hook, great verses. On the fence

12. Bounce That – Twerk song, upbeat drums and claps. Some exciting flows but the delivery is fairly average. Some more funny bars. Not a very good hook. Song is funny and the rhymes are solid, but average song overall

13. Big Homie Rules – Real somber feel to both the beat and vocal delivery. Hook sounds nice and has solid lyrics but is a bit too long. Production sets this mellow reminiscent vibe, Basic flows and delivery but it works in this case, good song concept with impressive lyrics and rhyme schemes, is executed well. Overall a well crafted track, more serious tone than most. Liked it

14. Untrapped (ft. Estelle) – Love the use of Estelle’s vocals as part of the beat, great drums too. Great storytelling from Gotti again, solid lyrics and he rides the beat excellently. Another song with a more serious time, and really well crafted overall again. Some great flows and emotion packed delivery at times. Drags on a bit, good track though

15. Pose (ft. Lil Uzi Vert) – Heard this when it dropped. Same opinion on this as I have with the Megan remix really. Good beat, Gotti sounds great and Uzi kills it. Interesting but catchy hook. Good song

Album Review

Going into this album I wasn’t really expecting too much, as Yo Gotti is one of those rappers that’s been on my radar for 10+ years but never really done anything that’s impressed me enough to consider myself a fan. I enjoyed the singles leading up to Untrapped, but figured this was just a case of an artist releasing the best songs as singles. All that aside, the more I progressed through the album the more surprised I became by how enjoyable some of the songs were and how impressive Yo Gotti’s performance was at times. This is far from a perfect album, but it has some stellar production, some quality features, and a good mix of humorous and serious lyrics from Yo Gotti, and overall was a much more enjoyable album than I was expecting.

The production throughout Untrapped was incredible, doing a wonderful job to set the mood for the track whether it be a banger such as ‘Pose’ or ‘H.O.E’, or a more serious song packed full of heartfelt bars and impressive storytelling such as ‘Big Homie Rules’ or ‘Untrapped’. On that note, I think one of the most impressive things about this album is Yo Gotti’s skill when it comes to executing different types of tracks. The album has club bangers, street anthems, love songs and even some funny songs, and Yo Gotti does them all well. The features also were well utilised for the most part, with all of them being at good fit for the track at the very least, and my favourite of the lot being Rick Ross’ impeccable feature verse on ‘Dopechella’.

Yo Gotti himself was super impressive, especially to someone like me with fairly low expectations. His sense of humour, his infectious charisma, and his technical ability in terms of lyrics, flows and storytelling were all on display in droves throughout the album. But despite how impressed I was personally with the album, I certainly have my criticisms as well. I thought the Moneybagg Yo feature wasn’t as good as it could have been, I wish there was only one version of pose, some songs such as ‘They Ain’t Want Me To Know’ & ‘Untrapped’ dragged on for way longer than was necessary, and probably my biggest criticism of all was that the hooks weren’t very good for the most part. I enjoyed the hooks on all 4 previously released songs, but only 1 or 2 of the others. Yo Gotti himself also let me down at times, often reverting back to some real basic flows and monotone delivery, reminiscent of the reason I never really liked him.

All in all though this is a decently enjoyable album which is quite easy to get through, and far surpassed my expectations of this being a full album with 3 good songs. I’d say the album is good but not great, with a mix of 8/10 songs and 5-6/10 songs there wasn’t anything that stood out as bad, but there were also no amazing songs that blew me away. If you’re yet to give Yo Gotti a chance this is a good place to start, with some funny bars, simple flows, and charismatic delivery, coupled with the masterful production this album is easy to get into and enjoy. Yo Gotti is certainly on my radar now more than ever, and I look forward to seeing what he does next!

Final Notes

You can stream Untrapped on Spotify here, or on Apple Music here!

Or you can listen in full on YouTube here!

‘Put A Date On It’ Music Video

‘H.O.E.’ Music Video

‘Pose’ Music Video

My favourite songs were ‘Trapped’, ‘H.O.E.’, ‘Like That’, ‘Put A Date On It’, ‘Pose’, ‘Big Homie Rules’ & ‘Untrapped’.

What were your favourite songs on the project?

How do you think this compares to Yo Gotti’s past projects?

Thanks For Reading!

– Shan –

One thought on “First Impressions: Yo Gotti – Untrapped

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