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G Perico - Guess What? EP Music Album Reviews

The 17-minute EP is a fun but somewhat predictable placeholder until the West Coast gunslinger’s next proper project.

”Shit goin’ better than ever,” G Perico barks giddily on the a cappella intro before running down all the ways they are. It’s an oddly inelegant way for a G Perico project to begin, considering how his music typically speaks for itself. He’s usually a bristling, unflappable OG who answers to no one. Yet after a prolific 2017 that saw him release three stellar projects, including two solo records and the collaborative tape G-Worthy, Perico has kept a low profile this year, delivering a few guest verses and keeping mostly to himself. Guess What? is a fun update on how his year has been (spoiler: it’s been great) and a somewhat predictable placeholder until the West Coast gunslinger’s next proper project.

Across Guess What?’s 17 minutes, Perico covers his usual territory—Crippin, ladies, homies, life in Los Angeles—with the verve and color we’ve come to expect. “Bitch I’m a player, gangster, pimp, mack/Had a 40 squeezed on me and I lived through that!” he boasts on the infectious “Mo Power,” his nasally vocals nestling in between producer Dupri’s ominous, beehive synths. Perico’s elastic voice sounds good over pretty much anything, especially the Daz Dillinger-indebted instrumentals he’s so drawn to, and the songs on Guess What? are no exception. He switches flows with the nimbleness of a point guard weaving through traffic for a finger roll—he’s smooth, crafty, and full of humor. He interpolates Forrest Gump on “Mo Power”’s chorus (”Go for it, go for it, go!”) and on “Play Wit It” vows to “spoil my daughter and take the hate out my baby mama” while boasting about eating Japanese BBQ.

The first half of Guess What? covers familiar Perico sounds that were nonetheless more refined on last year’s All Blue or 2016’s Shit Don’t Stop. The tracks here pack the expected bounce, menace, and detail, but without the usual urgency or thematic coherence. Still, the album’s only real misfire is “How U Want It,” a strip club-ready free-for-all with a thundering, if nondescript, beat from Mike WiLL Made It-affiliate 30 Roc. It sounds nothing like Perico’s typical work, which is fine, except that it replaces his flair with a run-of-the-mill trap sound that brings out Perico’s laziest rhymes: “Slap it/smack it/shake it/down/drop it/lift it/throw it/round,” he commands. As the EP’s closer, it unfortunately feels like an attempt to set Perico up for a more traditional debut album, which raises the question of what a (presumably) major label project from Perico would even sound like.

An optimistic answer could be Guess What?’s “Play Wit It,” which features an instantly singable hook from the buzzing LA MC Kalan.frfr. With the help of Kalan’s Auto-Tune’d hook, it adds a melodic softness to counterbalance Perico’s snarl while priming the song for Power 106. It’s a perfectly executed addition to Perico’s skillset, a contemporary tweak on a ’90s-indebted sound that, in less experienced hands, could become repetitive.

Guess What? plays like a collection of Perico B-sides, but works as a low-stakes refresher on one of LA’s best spitters and an occasional testing ground for new directions. Perico’s next big project, assuming it’s not another EP, will have to prove that he’s capable of transcending, or at least building upon, the regionalism that has defined his music until now. Until then, though, even if he’s starting to get bored, he’s more than capable of illuminating the stark dichotomies of his everyday life: “On my waist, baby, that’s another gun case” he raps on “Wit the Gangstas.” “Shoot first, you gon’ see another day.”

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