Gunna’s One of Wun: A Calm Take in Chaos

With many of his songs being all-out hype and blood-pumping, One of Wun proves to be a defining point in the career of Gunna. Join JAVEN KONG as he explores Gunna’s newest album in detail.


Javen Kong

Social Media Lead

Hype Issue #59

Published on
July 10, 2024
Pet Sitter

Gunna’s One of Wun dropped in May of this year, after weeks of teasing.

So much has gone on in the rap world this year, amid Kendrick Lamar’s ongoing beef with Drake, as well as Killer Mike’s surprise triple Grammy. Album releases from 21 Savage, Metro Boomin, and YE (formerly known as Kanye West), have also graced the scene. All of this and it’s only been 6 months since the start of this year. 

Amid all that has been happening, Gunna released One of Wun on May 10, his third album in three years. Rapper Gunna, real name Sergio Kitchens, hails from Atlanta, Georgia. He spearheads a new generation of rappers, alongside Lil Baby, Travis Scott, and 21 Savage among others. With hits like “fukumean”, and top charting albums like “DS4EVER” and “Drip or Drown 2”, the rapper is known for hard drill and drum beats, along with his calm rap style and heavy instrumentals on tracks.

One of Wun, however, stands out  from his other albums, as the “Drip Too Hard” rapper is known for exciting and fast-paced tracks. This new album brings out a mellow tone in Gunna, allowing the rapper to express his recent life in calmer tones.

Gunna is known for his ‘chill vibe’ amid interesting beats in his songs. Photo courtesy of Complex.

The Meaning Between The Lines

One of Wun explains Gunna’s mentality that he is irreplaceable, with a special quality. That much is true, as Gunna raps in the song ‘prada dem’ that he is living in luxury, reflecting on his lifestyle now that he is one of the world’s most famous and accomplished rappers. 

However, the Georgia native acknowledges that his pre-fame life was never  easy, rapping in songs such as ‘collage’ that he built his life from the ground up, which speaks of a true story for most successful rappers, such as fellow XXL 2019 Freshman class graduate Dababy.

Gunna also warns that even though he is accomplished, he is not fazed by hateful comments about him, rapping in the song ‘on one tonight’ that “Ain’t no human bein’ determine my fate/ The more I get it in, the more they gon’ hate”. Gunna also mentions in “still prevail” that he is resilient in the face of adversity. Lyrics from track 11 talks about his triumphs against challenges, possibly hinting about his struggle regarding his convicted gang involvement.

The rapper then brings the album slowly to a close in later tracks by bringing in softer beats with deeper meanings, reminiscent of Drake in his RnB hits.

His last track “time reveals, be careful what you wish for”, has a Travis Scott-esque tune to it, swapping out the piano and trap beat for an ethereal feel to the second half. It’s reminiscent of Scott’s I KNOW ? from his 2023 album “Utopia”, where La Flame swapped the beat midway in the song, from veiled other-worldly confusion to a fast trap beat.

Gunna’s “whatsapp(wassam)”, was released as an album teaser on May 3rd, 2024.

Diving Into The Fine Lines

Looking at Gunna’s previous album “A Gift And A Curse”, both albums seem to have the same drum and trap beats. However,  One of Wun has a mellower edge, bringing to life a more relaxed side to Gunna’s music. 

American music publication Pitchfork reviewed A Gift And A Curse. They mention it being a take on Gunna rapping about his court cases, and “trying to describe the emotional strain of a case that has torn apart brotherhoods and changed his outlook on life.”

One of Wun replicates that emotional strain, showing Gunna’s struggles amid his legal troubles. Tracks like “conscience” and “let it breathe (feat. Roddy Ricch)” explain that he wants to “trust the process and let it all go” on the former track and the raps seem to encapsulate his thoughts on the matter.  

It’s also worth noting that this album lacks features from prominent artists and rather, features artists from different genres or rappers that have lost relevance. You can argue that Offset and Roddy Ricch are big, but they’ve kept a relatively low profile compared to artists like Drake and Lil Baby, whom Gunna was used to featuring in past albums. 


Slingshot Right Back Round

However, One of Wun also shows Gunna’s resistant side to his troubles, seemingly fighting against all the negative attention he’s received. Songs on the album including “the time” and the songs following after, seem to go back to back with reflections on his struggles.

He seems to be looking back, and raps about how he has learned lessons and conquered struggles. However, these views would be missed by the casual listener hitting the skip button, as he pairs those meaningful words with lowkey beats amid a marred flow. 

It’s safe to assume that in these tracks, Gunna has taken a dire hit to his rhyming, as he seems to be caught up in the emotions of what has happened to him in the past. However, his lyrics have no misses, as he beats out his feelings strongly, making up for his unusually terrible flow.

Gunna’s sense of style seems to match his lifestyle, as pictured here with lavish amounts of jewellery. Photo courtesy of Page Six.

Head Bops Still Necessary, Amid Weak Points

Though One of Wun is unlike what we’re all accustomed to, Gunna still reminds us of his old rhythm with tracks like “neck on a yacht” and “hakuna matata”. He pumps out the same energy that we see on previous works, although it feels as if he is overcompensating for his lack of it on other tracks.

On the overall, we see a different side of Gunna’s discography here, though his beats are reused. 

Some may argue that that is the Gunna formula, and others may call it overused and trash the album. (Yes, we’re looking at you, Pitchfork.

However, it’s a formulaic, yet fresh take on Gunna’s story. Is Gunna Wunna still the same carefree individual, rapping about riches, women, and success? Or is the 30-year-old being weighed down by his problems such that he is unable to sound lively anymore?

RATING: 7.4/10

REPLAY: prada dem, hakuna matata, treesh, collage, whatsapp(wassam), still prevail, time reveals, be careful what you wish for

It’s OKAY: on one tonight, clear my rain, trio, $$$, let it breathe, today i did good, one of wun

SKIP: back in the a, blackjack, conscience, the time, life’s changing, neck on a yacht