Warner Bros. Records
Warner Bros. Records

There is nothing quite as polarizing for a rapper’s career than blowing up overnight off of one song. On one hand, it can give an artist's career substantial exposure but on the other hand it can place them in a box that is increasingly hard to break out from. We’ve seen the latter happen a million times throughout hip-hop history, ever since the days of Vanilla Ice to the disappearance of MIMS. A similar narrative is currently unfolding with iLoveMakonnen and his newest offering, Drink More Water 6.

The 2014 smash hit “Tuesday” put the Atlanta native on the map -- even inking him a deal with Drake’s OVO Sound. As massive as “Tuesday” was, to say he was a total overnight success would be unfair. Before dropping the track that put him on the map, Makonnen had previously released 12 projects dating back to 2011, which is far from an “overnight success” kind of catalog. But things have been stale for Makonnen as of late. Nothing he has released since “Tuesday” has had even close to the same impact. Unfortunately, Drink More Water 6 doesn’t necessarily save him from potentially being a one-hit wonder.

The EP goes the straight-to-commercial release route. Other than iLoveMakonnen 1 and 2, most of other projects have gone up for free download first. Since this is an official release for sale, it would make sense for Makonnen to pull out all the stops in an attempt to give his fans the biggest bang for their buck but quite the opposite happens here. From start to finish, across all 11 tracks, Makonnen sticks with similar sounds and material he's previously released. From the beats, to the rhymes, to the mellowed croons, Makonnen sounds almost identical to anything found on the first five installments of the Drink More Water series.

The tape opener, “Back Again,” is a prime example of the mid-tempo vibe that saturates the rest of the 35 minutes. One of the first lines from that track is “Your friends say that I’m horny but you know I make you horny,” which would work better delivered with more raspy persuasion -- unfortunately it isn’t here. On “UWONTEVA,” the song feels like a giant mess of Auto-Tuned vocals, trap snares and drowning keys.

Sonically, the EP improves on the previously released “Sellin.” Makonnen manages to match the beat’s energy rather seamlessly but hearing him say the word “sellin” over 40 times in less than four-and-a-half minutes gets old fairly quick. This pretty much goes for the rest of his lyrical content on the project. His drug dealer storyline is mentioned on every single song, which is fine if done creatively. But his Atlanta trap roots can get easily brushed aside if it's not delivered in a way that is refreshing.

He shines brightest on his love tracks -- not including his ode to Gucci Mane. The Sonny Digital-produced “I Want You” and “Turn Off the Lies” could be considered highlights, both having standout quotables. Lines like “Won't you turn off the lights, turn off the lights?/'Cause baby I don't want to see all the lies you hide from me” and “It feel like years but it was just last weekend/That me and you were speaking” are a million times more genuine then any of the previously drug slanging.

There is also a sense of comfortability when he’s flowing over instrumentation from his frequent collaborators. Sonny Digital, his longtime collaborator, lends his talents to a handful of tracks, all of which prove to be the EP’s strongest. “Solo,” “Pushin” and “Live For Real” are all fairly skippable but there is some solace in the druggie romance found on “I Only Trip With U.” The rhymes are simple but the message is clear and hook is catchy. This will undoubtedly be a knockout track that drugged-out lovers can bask in whilst tripping on their favorite narcotics.

All in all, Drink More Water 6 leaves Makonnen in the same place he’s been in since signing his major deal back in 2014. There isn’t enough here to make Makonnen’s name start buzzing like it used to. The jury is still out on whether or not he will fade into the one-hit wonder category but one thing is for sure, the EP hinders more than it helps.

See 40 Hip-Hop Albums Turning 20 in 2016