Fresh out of house arrest, Gunplay drops "Cops N Robbers", a project that recalls mixtapes in their earliest form, and one that may seem unnecessary if not for Gunplay's undeniable skill and charisma.
Gunplay has a very classic approach to mixtapes. The tapes he's put out recently have followed the template set by vets like 50 Cent, and Dipset, back when you still got mixtapes on the corner, rather than through a zip file. This means an awful lot of this tape is made up of going in over other people's beats, recycled features, and less-than-desirable audio quality. It seems a little insane that a major label artist like Gunplay is turning in mp3s that sound like they were mastered by the Based God, but Gunplay isn't your average major label artist, and the low fidelity presentation goes hand in hand with his fairly independent-minded aesthetic.
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Gunplay is easily the loudest personality on the MMG team, and while many of his label-mates often lean on their booming bawse's hooks, Gunplay is very comfortable handling a track solo. This is not to say that you won't find the usual suspects of the Ross-clan on Cops N Robbers, but the best moments find him delivering his own brand of street rap, one not far off from his frequent collaborators, but very distinctly his own.
A big part of Gunplay's appeal is his almost gleeful delivery. He starts "Bet That", his team up with Pusha-T, with the celebratory declaration "I just beat a life sentence!", and rips into his verse with the vigor of a newly free man. The irony of the statement is that Gunplay is far from beating his assault charges from last year, and could very realistically be found guilty in the coming months. However, he maintains this exuberant personality throughout Cops N Robbers' 17 tracks, and it's all the better for it.
It's this personality that actually allows Gunplay to rise above the fairly generic trap production that peppers the mixtape. It quickly becomes very clear that both the beats and audio quality really aren't all that important to the tape, as they don't seem very important to Gunplay, himself. An interlude from Rick Ross that comes about halfway through the runtime serves as a pretty good encapsulation of Gunplay's intentions and approach to his music.
"Gunplay a different kind of artist, he a different kind of dude, he don't care about awards, he don't care about whoever. He not into that"
Gunplay is a rapper's rapper, and he's providing a project that pays tribute to the original purpose of a mixtape, to showcase the rapper's talent. It reaches back to a time where mixtapes were released strictly for the hip hop heads, with little emphasis on production and very heavy attention paid to verses.
In an age where there are fewer and fewer discernible characteristics between mixtapes and albums, Cops N Robbers comes as a bit of a shock to the system. However, it succeeds greatly on its intentions, which is simply to satisfy Gunplay’s urge to rap maniacally over anything he gets his hands on, and if he keeps doing it this well, people will keep listening.