Just when it seemed like Live From The Kitchen was destined to permanently take residence on the island of shelved albums, Yo Gotti was able to cut through the industry politics and get his project out to the public. In music, just like cooking, there are several avenues a chef can take to create a dish. He can follow the recipe verbatim, deviate from it as he sees fit or create it totally from scratch. With southern gangsta rap serving as his specialty, Yo Gotti is still trying to figure which herbs and spices work best for him.
When Yo Gotti sticks too close to the recipe, like on “Single,” his lack of charisma keeps listeners from being fully drawn into his world. On the surface this missing magnetism doesn’t seem like much, but shortcoming can be the difference between a record getting spins in the club and having a packed dance floor chanting along to the chorus. It might get lost in the shuffle, but Yo Gotti may actually be underrated as a rapper. His gruff voice and thick accent go a long way in dulling the edges of a pretty nimble flow and wordplay, but for whatever reason there are very few instances that display his true skill on this album. “Killa” finds Gotti stuck spinning his wheels over Shawty Redd’s eerie, vast production. Clocking in at just over six minutes, Yo Gotti’s stream of conscious bars are the epitome of going nowhere fast.
Gotti fares slightly better when getting personal on “Letter,” as he doles out words of encouragement and regret to various people in his life. The song still runs long, nearing the six minute mark again, and could have been more poignant with three subjects each getting a dedicated verse. Yo Gotti doesn’t get a lot of help from his sous chefs either. For whatever reason, almost all of his features appear to be just going through the motions. One wouldn’t expect that a song featuring Big K.R.I.T., Wiz Khalifa & Big Sean could come off sounding half-baked, but “Go Girl” manages to do just that thanks to a Pop direction that’s a reach for all parties involved. The one exception would be 2 Chainz’ appearance on “Cases,” whose outlandish verse doesn’t disappoint.
The most glaring omission is the original version of “5 Star,” with its remix closing out the album. It might be a matter of preference, but the original’s absence deprives Yo Gotti of his star turn and none of the other songs on Live From The Kitchen give him that. Some of the blame has to fall on the label for keeping this album under wraps for so long, but even with its extended time in the oven, Live From The Kitchen comes out a tad undercooked.
Label: RCA/Polo Grounds Music | Producers: Drumma Boy, Big K.R.I.T., Lex Luger, Mike Will Made It, Shawty Redd, Lil’ Lody, Hot Rod, Spook da Monsta