Published Feb 19, 2016After two decades as a Memphis hip-hop mainstay, Yo Gotti's greatest charting success came this past fall with "Down in the DM." And while it may act as the lead single of his latest LP, The Art of Hustle, it's not enough to carry the load for the entire project, nor is it wholly indicative of the album's sound.
For the most part, the Hustle stays true to its title, dominated by tales of hard and fast living. The E-40-assisted "Law" breaks down the proverbial code of the streets, while the title track questions the music industry's template for success: "You sold a million records, I got millions of dollars. Who really made it?" The Art of Hustle also finds Gotti occasionally letting his guard down on cuts like "My City," an ode to the seedy side of his native Memphis, and the self-explanatory "Momma," which the MC says "might be the realest shit I ever wrote."
Despite the relatively well-executed focus, though, The Art of Hustle is burdened by filler. "Down in the DM" may have sent Gotti's mainstream profile soaring, but the Timbaland-produced "Smile" is a poor attempt at a follow-up club banger. "Bible" not only suffers from a Lil Wayne verse, but from bad sequencing, as a Mike Will Made It beat comes right after the acoustic guitar-led "My City." As for the final cut, "Bank Teller," the subject of frivolous spending was milked dry by just about every rapper in the early 2000s.
The Art of Hustle has vision, but it's occasionally weighed down by Gotti's efforts to recreate the success of his biggest single yet. (CMG/Epic)