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Memphis’ CMG Drops 3rd Label Tape, “Gangsta Art 2”

Since rap has become big business, the label compilation tape has been a crucial part of the genre’s fabric. What began in the heyday of Death Row Records with their Murder Was the Case soundtrack has shifted and grown in the years since—giving us a historic run of G-Unit tapes in the mid-2000s, and then again entering another golden age recently with projects like A$AP Mob’s Cozy Tapes, TDE’s Black Panther soundtrack, Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers, and Quality Control’s own installments.

Though those aforementioned modern imprints may carry a bit more mainstream recognizability, you shouldn’t sleep on Yo Gotti’s CMG label. An all-star cast of Memphis hip-hop talent is the central focus of the imprint, with huge acts like Moneybagg Yo and GloRilla sliding alongside Blac Youngsta and Blocboy JB. In their third compilation, Gangsta Art 2, they’re again shining a light on why Memphis deserves its status as a rap hotspot, and the hitmaking ability of CMG’s artists.

Gangsta Art 2 Showcases How Memphis Became a Hip-Hop Hotspot

Both production-wise and in song construction, there won’t be many surprises once you press play on Gangsta Art 2. Most, if not all, of the material contained here are straight-up trap and drill bangers. The featured artists on each track are delivering no-frills bars, often eschewing hooks and lending a freestyle-like quality to the verses. Really, the intrigue of this project stems from how the label’s talent is oriented alongside one another.

Label founder and original CMG featured artist, Yo Gotti. Taken from @yogotti on Instagram.

Some of the most interesting formulations on display here come when GloRilla teams up with hitmaker Mike WiLL Made-It for the energetic “Pop It,” when Sexyy Red and Moneybagg Yo team up for “Big Dawg” and when the posse cut “Wrong One” puts GloRilla alongside Tay Keith and a smattering of Memphis rappers. Don’t misunderstand, though, Gangsta Art 2 is not just a regional Memphis ordeal. There are some choice cuts in which the label’s non-Tennessee artists get their time to shine, like when Detroit’s 42 Dugg earns two solo cuts with “One Time” and “Bae,” or when EST Gee contributes a verse on “Fa Fa Fa.”

The Deluxe Edition Adds Two New Tracks Into The Mix

Since the project’s initial release date at the tail end of September, Gotti has issued a deluxe version, subtitled Reloaded. The new edition adds two solo Yo Gotti cuts, “Justify (Freestyle)” and “Log Off,” the latter focused on social media and the trappings that come with navigating that space as an A-list rapper.

Though the star power on display with Gangsta Art 2 speaks for itself, this label compilation likely speaks loudest to those who were already fans of the artists featured here. In that deployment, the project is entirely successful, and those who can’t get enough of label stalwarts like Moneybagg Yo or GloRilla will leave the album totally satisfied. You can find the project on streaming platforms everywhere.

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