Besides ScHoolboy Q’s Habits & Contradictions and Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music, Maybach Music’s second compilation LP, Self Made Vol. 2, has been my favorite album of the first half of the year.
The LP has nearly everything I want in my Maybach Music: Loud, expansive beats, bars full of braggadocio, verses from legendary rap figures and various examples of hoes “Actin Up.”
I said nearly because the album is lacking in one important compartment: It needs more Gunplay.
Ross’ day-one boy only appears on two songs (“Power Circle” and “Black on Black.” And, FTR: he murders both of those tracks.)
This is unacceptable to me. Other than Rick Ross, who is the man, Gunplay is the best member of the MMG click.
And, no, I’m not trolling here.
Give me Gunplay’s mix of charisma, gutter energy and presence over Meek Mill, who’s flow can be repetitive, Wale, who thinks he’s more clever than he actually is, and Stalley, who is tone deaf, at times.
I first really took notice of Ross’ gutter little brother back in 2009 when he appeared on "Gunplay" off of The Bawse’s Deeper Than Rap album.
Gunplay had appeared on Ross' two prior albums, but the tracks he was on, "It Ain't A Problem" and "Reppin My City," were mostly filler.
But "Gunplay?" That sh*t right there, boy.
Everything about that song just clicked for me, from the soulful but grimy beat to Ross’ usual tough talk. It’s Gunplay’s menacing and memorable hook, however, that really grabbed me:
“You wanna go that route? I’ve been on this road before.
I know gunplay. You know gunplay? Shooting for the win, but ready for the loss.
Both bags on the tip on my finger yellin “bring it!” I'm swingin' that iron.
When I'm swingin' that iron, ain't thinkin' 'bout time. Ain't thinkin' 'bout mine.
Ain't thinkin' bout dying.”
From there, I kept my ear out for the boy, even though his verses were sporadic at times. He was no where to be found on Ross’ breakout Teflon Don album, and he only appeared once on Self Made Vol. 1.
However, at some point in 2011, the dude stepped his grind up, releasing mixtapes like Off Safety and Inglorious Bastard. And then the raucous song “Rollin,” which features Waka Flocka, hit. And people started to jump on the Gunplay train with me.
The song must have energized something within Ross, too, because since that song hit, he has been showcasing Gunplay more in videos, on stage and in his rhymes.
The added exposure has helped; Gunplay just signed a solo deal with Def Jam (*sniff* I’m so proud.)
I really feel like this guy is about to blow something serious, and I’m not scared to say it. I know the doubters say that he isn’t lyrical enough, but miss me with that crap, please. From Easy-E to Young Jeezy, hip-hop’s best gangsta rappers haven’t always been the most technical of rappers. However, they burst with presence. The same goes for Gunplay who has showed he has a wonderful flair for the dramatic. He can go from straight jubilant to violently evil to full-of-pain in a span of 16-bars.
One of my rap highlights of the year was hearing Gunplay just straight body Kendrick Lamar, who is probably the best pure rapper in the game right now, on "Cartoons & Cereal." Lyrically, his verse wasn't as potent as Kendrick's, but his presence, delivery and the pain in his voice just overwhelms the track.
Gunplay is gonna blow, man.
You might think I'm trolling now, but, mark my words, you won't feel like that a year from now.
You're feeling some kind of way? Come at me, brah! I'm @Milkman__Dead