Fans of Yo Gotti‘s previous work might be in for a surprise when they listen to his recently-released album I Am, but the surprise should be a pleasant one. Not that there’s any lack of the street stories and trap lyrics that Gotti is known for, but this time everything happens over sheets of beautiful and soulful sounds that evoke Memphis’ musical legacy of Stax and Hi Records. Gotti’s lyrical content is also deeper and more mature, as on the album’s masterpiece “Cold Blood” featuring J. Cole and Canei Finch, where a sample from obscure Stax band 24 Carat Black becomes the luscious backing for a gritty tale of ghetto struggle, or “Respect That You Earn” with Ne-Yo and Wale, urging women to conduct themselves with respect so that they will be respected. “Don’t Come Around” has more of a pop and electronic sound that might very well cross over to the mainstream pop world, and of course the more familiar Gotti sound comes through on songs like “I Know” and “Die A Real Nigga”. Nor is Gotti above a clever humor on this record, as at the end of “Sorry”, where an irate female suggests that Gotti should go back to one of those “sorry females” he’s been with. Gotti replies “I am”, both answering her statement and invoking the album’s title. So well-conceived and varied are I Am‘s offerings that by the time one reaches the end, the single “Act Right” almost seems an after-thought. But this album is Yo Gotti’s first real masterpiece, an achievement which should turn some heads, change some opinions and win over a lot of fans beyond Memphis and the South.