2024-05-28T20:50:39+00:00May 28th, 2024|

Gunna has been one of the most successful rappers of the last few years, churning out a string of multi-platinum hits along with two No. 1 albums. But is he a top five MC right now?

That’s the hot-button question that Elliott Wilson, DJ Hed and Jeremy Hecht debate in the latest episode of HipHopDX‘s new series The Bigger Picture.

Veteran Hip Hop journalist Wilson, who made the argument on social media earlier this month following the release of Gunna’s latest album One of Wun, thinks so.

“I don’t know why people don’t give Gunna [his credit],” he says. “Obviously, Gunna’s been in controversy with people talking bad on him and saying the ‘s’ word. But now, the bandwagon’s going the other way where people are giving him his respect.

“But I still feel like he’s not mentioned in that artist conversation that he could be potentially one of the new leaders. He’s that consistent with his work ethic. That last album [A Gift & A Curse], I liked it more than the new album [One of Wun]. That didn’t even get nominated for a Grammy so I feel like in some ways he’s very underrated right now.”

Wilson, who serves as DX‘s Editorial Director of Hip Hop Journalism, also explains why he used the term “MC” instead of “rapper” in his initial post.

“I used the ‘MC’ word to be triggering because, you know, we used to have MTV’s Hottest MCs — that was the standard,” he says. “Nowadays, people are just artists to me. It’s not like you have to be Mr. Lyrical Miracle. So I’m saying he’s a top Hip Hop artist actively in the top five.”

He adds: “He’s making great music. He’s got his own sound. I’m talking about the quality of the content. We need to start mentioning him a little bit more in these conversations.”

After DJ Hed disagrees and admits that he initially wrote off Gunna as “another [Young] Thug offspring,” Wilson explains the edge that the “Drip Harder” hitmaker has over his YSL boss.

“The difference, to me, is he’s almost like a more focused Thug in terms of how he approaches things,” he says. “Thug obviously has made a lot of great music, but besides [So Much Fun], that album is his most focused album. But when you hear Gunna, his bodies of work, the sequencing of his albums is very unique.”

Praising his last two projects, Wilson adds: “That last album, he really told his story, his testimony, and faced all the challenges. And now this new album has got this fly, unique sound and I really like the way he conducts himself.”

The panel also discuss the snitching allegations that have plagued Gunna since late 2022 when he took a plea deal in the ongoing RICO case against his and Thug’s YSL collective, which prosecutors allege is a criminal street gang.

After Wilson asks why Thug has remained largely silent on the controversy, DJ Hed suggests there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

“I don’t know what’s going on internally [but] from the optics, I think there’s more to it than what everybody thinks,” the respected L.A. DJ/radio host says. “The homies that I know that are… community leaders, they said that Gunna told. So based on that alone, he’s excommunicated.

“I think that by now we would have heard something from somewhere […] By now there would have been some sort of leak from Thug saying, ‘Fuck him’ or, ‘That’s my brother.’ The fact that it’s silence, based on what I know about how these things work, there’s stuff we don’t know and there’s stuff we’re never gonna know.

“Either it’s too fragile for it to ever leak or it’s really, ‘Let me get out of here and never tell you how I feel.’ In the meantime, business is business.”

Wilson also points out that Gunna remains signed to YSL, indicating that his and Thug’s relationship remains somewhat in tact.

As for the rest of the current top five MCs, the former XXL editor-in-chief names Kendrick Lamar at No. 1, followed by Future, Drake, Gunna and ScHoolboy Q.

Watch the full episode above, with the Gunna debate beginning at the 5:00 mark, and sound off in the comments below.

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