Album Review — 11 January 2012

By Odeisel

After many years serving his music to the underground fiends and an ill-fated stint on the now-defunct TVT label, Memphis rapper Yo Gotti has opted for the higher ground with his first major label release, Live From The Kitchen. As the title suggests, there’s more than a little trap talk, but at a compact 11 tracks, it’s closer to efficient than obnoxious.“Testimony” opens the album with the typical connection between the trap and the church. Gotti has coke thoughts and fishcale visions as he talks crooked labels and evil streets. Third verse breathes life into an otherwise meh song with a double time flow and an energy boost. Rick Ross guests on “Harder,” a song with the snare drums and booming lows made familiar by echoes of Wacka’s “Hard In The Paint” infused in the beat. Church bells and an escalating whine push all momentum shifts as Gotti talks realness and what he’d leave his son if things go wrong. Ross closes with Benzes, Reebok and Ciroc talk and the notiong that trapping won’t bar him from heaven.

We stay in the trap on “Killa,”where Gotti ponders alternate paths where his life could have gone whether performing in an orpheum or coming from an orphanage.”Red White and Blue” is Gotti’s view on America. There’s no reason to go to war overseas when they are shooting around the corner. Crips and Bloods along with the coke make up the colors of the flag. Jadakiss drops by with an ok verse on the cleanup. He’s eating lobster as the Black Frank Sinatra talking that Rick Flair jet flying shit.

“Single” is actually the lead song from the album with 808s and the dreaded trap snare drums. Gotti talks single records, being single in the club and single bricks. She got a man but for Gotti, she single for the night. It’s about as inventive as you can be on a song like this. Gotti tackles failed relationships on “Second Chance.” Baby momma left him and now wants to get back. It’s hood, complete with “don’t bring no n****s around my kids” but he does mention the karmic payback from running around on your woman. Now when you find one you want it comes back on you. Gotti ain’t trying to hear a sequel on the broken relationship.

A production surprise along with 2Chainz makes “Cases” a highlight. Big brass and a familiar club synth anthem are trapetised and strangely married and soundstrong. You’ll know it when you hear it. I’m not a fan of 2Chainz but he bodies this with energy and ignorance (living in a mansion but I’m still stealing cable). The duo does everything big (by the case). “Letter” is a heartfelt letter to his big brother, trying to get him off those streets. With his music working, Gotti has an exit strategy but it’s hard to get a trapper to stop. Letter two is to his kids, sharing his indiscretions, telling his daughter not to fall for the way he treated her mother and explaining his role in why he isn’t with their mother. It’s the realest thing on the album.

Album takes a left on “Go Girl” with an all star lineup featuring half the new generation of rap including Wiz Khalifa, Wale, Big Sean, and Big K.R.I.T. It’s a nice change from the trap rap and the inclusion of new voices breaks the monotony. The disparate flavors are definitely a plus. Gotti shares his coupke fantasies on “We Can Get It On,” talking about his favorite chick, aspriing to power couple status. You’ve heard this song before but it doesn’t suck. The album ends with the surefire strip club hit “5 Star,” feat Gucci Mane, Trina, and Nicki Minaj. High synth stabs and the double drum pattern are paced by an organ. Minaj bats cleanup and steals the show, but it’s not a memorable verse.

Live From The Kitchen is not a game changer, nor is it inventive, but it bumps and it will give Yo Gotti fans more music to ride to, trap haters more music to bitch about, and Gotti himself another solid effort in the books.

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