Review : Yo Gotti - Live From the Kitchen
PitchforkMemphis' Yo Gotti is the latest subject in the rap industry's ongoing, long-term study: If an album is released in a Best Buy and no one is around to purchase it, does it exist? As it pertains to Live From the Kitchen-- the rapper's first major-label album, despite having been in the game for over a decade-- the answer might as well be no. To be fair, 16,000 people bought it in its first week, but amongst his fans, there's little doubt that Live instantly took a backseat to the mixtapes and tracks that preceded it. That's something close to a shame, because it's a solid, listenable, blue-collar rap album, the sort of thing that used to start careers as opposed to branding them dead on arrival.
Live From the Kitchen sounds like a professionally mastered mixtape, which explains why it succeeds artistically while failing commercially. On the one hand, Gotti stays in his lane, repeating the textbook trap music that he's been pumping out for years with slight updates from producers du jour like Lil Lody and Mike Will. On the other, the updates are very slight, and any of these songs could be dropped into an installment of Gotti's Cocaine Music mixtape series without anyone being the wiser-- it's hard to expect many people to pay for something that they've routinely been given for free over the course of a few years.
It is that consistency that is Gotti's calling card, and he carries it over to Live From the Kitchen with ease. He is a classic example of a rapper succeeding as much for how he sounds when saying something as opposed to what he says, but his lyrics have a striking directness that has allowed him to build the type of grassroots fanbase that can serve as a livelihood, even if they don't show up to retail stores. "Testimony", the album's opening track, is a perfect example: Not only does Gotti sound inherently right over DJ Montay's synth horns, but the outlining of his upbringing as a street dealer features no hint of braggadocio or cinematic theatrics. The tone isn't as much somber as it is unflinchingly matter-of-fact, which is an approach that still holds its appeal even during the reign of Rick Ross....full text
XxlmagAfter plenty of delays, buzz and mixtapes, Yo Gotti has finally delivered his debut major label solo album, as he serves as master chef, cooking up hard rhymes over block-hugging beats on Live From The Kitchen.
The Memphis rapper sets the tone on this 11-track album with the opener “Testimony,” on which Gotti declares, “Cocaine dose, fish…vicious/Pray the lord forgive a nigga, streets is my religion.” From there, the instrumental for “Harder” bangs through the speakers with Gotti and Rick Ross’ trading fitting tough-talk and gritty rhymes. Gotti also gets five-star assists from the likes 2 Chainz on “Cases” and Jadakiss on “Red White And Blue.” The latter has Gotti reminding fans that he moves that work, kicking rhymes like, “Haha, 18 wheeler fulla/Pounds of major green and thirty bricks inside a Honda/He don’t speak any English, all he know is numbers/That’s my mans he plug me, he gon’ get me through the summer.”
Although Gotti gets lost on the shuffle on “Go Girl,” which has him on one crowded track with Big K.R.I.T., Big Sean, Wale and Wiz Khalifa, overall, the album has a good balance of solo tracks and features, with the female-friendly “We Can Get It On” serving as a nice change-up to the hard hustling tone of the album. Now, get in the kitchen and listen. Gotti!...full text
HiphopdxYo Gotti deserves a medal, because Live From The Kitchen is just about the most predictable rap album you could ever listen to. That's quite a dishonorable achievement for most, but in Gotti's world, predictability plays heavily into a fan base that wants the same kind of songs to slip into rotation. From the title alone, you can guess what the Memphis-raised Yo Gotti's studio debut is going to sound like - and as it progresses it confirms every suspicion.
Being that it's called Live From The Kitchen, you know that Gotti is all about his trap raps and talking about the white powder world he was so successful in. And that's largely all he can be bothered to write about, right from the opener, "Testimony," which he kicks off by talk-rapping, "If I should die 'fore I wake/ I pray the streets my work to take." (Now that's a legacy!) The producers he's procured beats from include (of course) Lex Luger, Drumma Boy, Lil' Lody and Shawty Red. While it's a lofty enough set of names, they hand Gotti beats that largely sound like half-assed takes of any random Southern drug-centric album to have been released since Jeezy first got on his thug motivational regime....full text
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