By Nicholas Kobe, Contributor
Key Tracks: “Betty (Get Money)”, “Isn’t it Marvelous?”, “C’est La Vie”
Yung Gravy… What is there even to say? Mama’s boy extraordinaire has blown up in 2022 due to the success of his single “Betty (Get Money)” on TikTok and his charismatic and wild internet presence. It feels as if, just like so many before him, Yung Gravy has appeared out of nowhere to take the world by storm. The truth, however, is that Yung Gravy has been around for a minute. I personally discovered him back in 2018 on his sophomore LP, Snow Cougar. With a title like that and viral singles like “Mr. Clean” and “Red Thot Blue Thot”, it’s pretty clear that Gravy has had the same off-the-wall, goofy vibe for a good while. I liked the aforementioned “Betty (Get Money)” and its use of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, so I was genuinely looking forward to Marvelous, hoping Gravy could pull through with some good bangers and a solid project.
Now that the record is out, how is it? Well, first off, Yung Gravy did not pull any crazy style changes. “Betty (Get Money)” was a pretty good indicator of where this one was going in terms of both lyrics and music. Despite that being what I wanted, it’s the execution that has me struggling to enjoy this record. Let’s get instrumentation out of the way first. Just like I said earlier, in theory, I enjoy what Yung Gravy is doing here. The combination of older retro samples with new, modern production is a time-honored tradition in hip hop. The issue is that these samples do not feel as organically melded as some of the best examples from the genre. The modern part of the production also just feels really bland when compared to the larger scope of rap today.
Talking about Gravy as a rapper, he’s really not too bad. The issue is that Marvelous kind of proves that Gravy’s appeal can only last so long. As I mentioned before, I do enjoy some of his music, but as a full project, I felt like the persona of Yung Gravy started to wear off after a while. The other difference between Yung Gravy and a wacky character like Slim Shady is that Shady is built off absurdity, yes, but is also smartly written and topical. Gravy’s similar in absurdity, of course focusing on how he intends to sleep with every mom on the planet. I’m not saying this bit is bad, it’s just that on an album that is over an hour long, it does overstay its welcome a bit. Lyrically, as I’ve kind of been touching on already, it’s all about the punchlines here. The opening track begins with “Flow sick like syphilis, brand new water bed, your bitch and me gon’ christen it / Please don’t suck my toes baby, I’m too ticklish /I gave her the North Pole, I call her Saint Thiccolas (Thiccolas)”. This is a pretty good indicator of what is coming for the whole record. I do have to give him some credit; when the rest of the song makes me want to zone out, it’s hard to not pay attention when he’ll just drop lines like “Call that bitch Kim Jong Un, have some brainwashin”. The question is, do you find lines like this funny or extremely cringeworthy? I’ll let you be the judge of that. To me, they are about 50/50.
Despite some interesting sample choices like “Push It” by Salt N Pepa and “Steppin on the Beat” from Spongebob, his punchlines tend to be the only thing driving these songs. Despite how much of a force of personality he is, it can’t carry a whole album of otherwise boring songs.