Southern rap has historically been one of rap’s most consistent areas, but with prison sentences, pushback, and new come-ups affecting some of its strongest players, the region has had its share of ups and downs. Amidst the fluctuations, Yo Gotti has shown a penchant for longevity. Despite not attaining the mainstream success of some of his counterparts, the Memphis, TN native has quietly used over a dozen mixtapes and independent albums since the top of the decade to cement himself as one of the most consistent acts that hip-hop has to offer. His Cocaine Music series of Gangsta Grillz mixtapes with DJ Drama has been one of those displays, and with CM6: Gangsta of the Year, he shows that he’s not slowing down.
After using his first lines to give a shoutout to the incarcerated Lil Boosie, Yo Gotti uses CM6: Gangsta of the Year to showcase his self-sufficient mixtape chops. Aside from the freestyle-modeled “Off Da Top Of Da Head Pt. 2” and “Jackin 4 Beatz,” Gotti’s trap-ready rhymes are focused and charismatic from bar to bar, and brawny southern backdrops from the likes of producers Drumma Drama, Beatz R Us, and Kane consistently keep the energy high. A contribution from the ubiquitous Lex Luger on the raucous “Ion Like Them” comes across as a chemic nod of respect more than an attempt to stay relevant. The topical matter isn’t anything new—trapping between rival gangs (the cleverly titled “Red, White and Blue”), trifling women (“Fire That Bitch,” “Ashamed”), “Pussy Ass Rappers,” and apologizing to his mother for his way of life (“Messed Up (Momma)”)—but the songs remain enjoyable because of their solid beats and rhymes.
With rattling beats and appropriate rhymes, CM6: The Gangsta of the Year is a worthy addition to a prolific catalog. Gotti’s veteran proficiency and DJ Drama’s deft sequencing make CM6 as solid as anything the south has released this year, and with a region going through ups and downs, that’s all you can ask for. —William E. Ketchum III