Gunna is at ease. The Atlanta rapper is reclined on a beige loveseat in Complex’s Manhattan photo studio, preparing to spark his first blunt of the shoot. He’s dripped down in a cropped blazer that reveals a peek at his tattoo-covered torso and stack of diamond chains. On his feet are a pair of blinding white Air Force 1s. The look is relatively toned down compared to some of the flashy Gunna outfits that have stirred up so much conversation on the internet over the past few years, but it’s still “very P,” as he puts it.

Exactly one week before his visit, Gunna dropped his third studio album, DS4EVER—the fourth and final edition of his Drip Season series—and his team booked back-to-back-to-back obligations all around New York City. His packed itinerary hardly allotted for travel time, causing him to show up several hours late to the shoot today, and there’s no time for breaks between interviews, so this smoke break is his only chance to recharge. 

As he runs around the city promoting DS4EVER, the album is in a tug of war with the Weeknd’s Dawn FM for the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200. On the day of our interview, sales projections say Gunna is only a few thousand behind the Weeknd in a race for the top spot.

“I expect the unexpected,” Gunna tells me with a grin, foreshadowing what will transpire in the days to come. The 28-year-old rapper doesn’t have any psychic abilities that I’m aware of, but after more than five years in the game, he’s learning that anything can happen. His career trajectory has been on a steady rise over the last few years, and when he talks about this current chapter of his journey, he sounds poised and prepared. 

“I’m definitely cherishing it, because it’s a moment,” he says of his battle with Dawn FM for the top spot. “The Weeknd is a very, very big artist. I mean, he’s done the Super Bowl and everything. Just to be fighting with him—good sportsmanship fighting, because I’m cool with him—it’s love. You feel like a big dog, since you’re going against a big dog. And it’s on its way to passing it.”