If you have found yourself wondering why ZIF has recently been running a lot more stories about the Bay, there’s one person besides myself to thank, and that’s Young Gully. Let’s rewind to a year and a half ago. I was living in LA, and for the prior two years every track I heard from a Bay Area artist was so lame, that I had lost all faith in the music from my native land. Around the time I was going to graduate from college, I realized that for the first time in four years I would soon be living in the Bay once again. I have never been anywhere that supports it’s local hip-hop as die hard as Northern California (although I’ve heard they have a similar love for all things local in Hotlanta), so I thought that it was time for me to get reacclimatized to the music that would soon be surrounding me. Rather than look for new shit from the MC’s I already liked, I decided I wanted to hear how the young blood sounded. So I picked up a mixtape hosted by J Stalin and Beeda Weeda entitled Quit Hatin’ On The Bay – Town Thizzness Special Edition. For the most part, I found it to be mediocre at best (download it here and decide for yourself), but out of nowhere one of the 23 songs got me gigging uncontrollably hard. I had never heard of Young Gully before, and although I wasn’t and still am not a huge fan of the extremely generic name, “I Love Where I’m From” was an undeniable track. To start it had a dope beat that mixed synths and samples, but most importantly Young Gully went off. His bars were lyrical, street, insightful, and accurate, which is a deadly combination for any rapper. After hearing that track for the first time, I started to believe that worthwhile music was once again being made where I’m from.
Now to come back to the present, last weekend Gully dropped his latest project, The Definition Of Gas, for free. With practically no marketing or build up (he mos def needs to at least step his internet game up), the release took me by surprise, but I believe in this guy so much that no matter when he drops, he will receive priority placement in my list of albums to listen to. So do yourself a favor and get on Gully’s hype by downloading The Definition Of Gas here. Lyrically it’s straight petro from start to finish, as is perfectly exemplified by the opener “Live This Shit”.
At no point does Gully sound lazy or uninterested. Instead, every track is a verbal painting of Bay Area life adorned with similes and metaphors galore. He brutally murders his solo songs like the title track, and he outshines both his established guests, which include J Stalin, San Quinn, Yukmouth, Messy Marv, Mistah F.A.B., Pep Love from Hieroglyphics, and Beeda Weeda, as well as the up and coming features like Yung Moses and Shady Nate, who both have bars as well. Topics range from boastful to thoughtful which he already established with his Hustla Movement mixtapes and his Tonite Show with DJ Fresh, but he expanded his repertoire as well by trying to create some thangs for the club.
If I had a complaint it’s that the production needs to be improved. Gully and DJ Fresh have great chemistry, but unfortunately 3 of the 4 tracks that feature Fresh’s instrumentals were on old projects. The array of other producers utilized by Gully are decent, but leave the listener desiring more. Gully even produces 5 tracks himself to mixed success, with “Riding” featuring G-Wett being the most impressive. Yet all in all Gully needs beats that are as much of an improvement on The Bay’s tried and true formula as he is. The right producers are out there, he just needs to link up with em.
When I heard that KMEL was coming out with a Bay Area Freshman 10, I thought nobody deserved a place more than Young Gully. I’m not trying to hate on anyone who made the list at all, because I have been thoroughly impressed by almost everything I have heard from the 10, but between Young Gully’s talent, his mixtapes, his album, and his affiliation with DJ Fresh and Livewire, he seemed like a shoe in to me. For some reason it didn’t happen, but this project is a great example of why he deserves to recognized. Yet regardless of what anyone else thinks, I’ll be patiently waiting for each of his coming releases, and passing it along your way, but only after I’ve had sufficient time to chief and give it a proper listen.