Yo Gotti
Live from the Kitchen

For the past couple of years, Yo Gotti’s “Live from the Kitchen” seemed to be a mythical unicorn of a rap album — always reportedly just a few months away from release, but never actually materializing. Well, now rap fans can go back to speculating about when/whether Dr. Dre’s “Detox” will ever drop: “Live from the Kitchen” has finally arrived.

The Memphis rapper’s major label debut was delayed because of a series of unfortunate label-related events, but it seems that Gotti spent the past 48 months wisely, perfecting the album’s mix of trap tales and lighter, “106th and Park”-friendly fare. He has had success with both styles: His “Cocaine Muzik” mixtape series has been extremely popular, and 2009’s “5 Star Chick,” a track that ranks women according to the same system used to rate hotels and restaurants, has been his biggest crossover hit to date (a remix appears on the album).

“Live from the Kitchen” opens with “Testimony,” a biographical piece that tells Gotti’s life story, from cooking up dope in his kitchen to becoming a recording artist. He even briefly mentions his alleged beef with Memphis rap superstars Three 6 Mafia (there is none, Gotti says). On “Cases,” which includes a sample from ’90s Dutch dance group 2 Unlimited, Gotti and guest 2 Chainz brag about all the things they possess in bulk: roséchampagne, “rubbers,” blue jeans and court cases. (In late 2010, Gotti was charged with inciting a riot at a Memphis nightclub. Charges were later dropped).

But the woozy slur that Gotti fans enjoy so much is at its best when trained on strange, amazing love songs, as with the raunchy, ridiculous group effort “Go Girl,” with Big K.R.I.T, Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean. And on the Lex Luger-produced “Second Chance,” when Gotti hilariously raps to a woman who has cheated on him, the two-year delay for “Live from the Kitchen” doesn’t seem like so long to wait.

Sarah Godfrey

Yo Gotti's “Live in the Kitchen.” (Courtesy of RCA Records)

Recommended tracks:

“Killa,” “Second Chance,” “Cases”