Gucci is ‘Georgia’s Most Wanted’
In the world of trap music, Radric Davis, more commonly known as Gucci Mane, is arguably the most well-known trap star.
The emerging subgenre of gangsta rap named “Trap Music” — in reference to the trap house, a residence out of which drugs are sold — covers the life of a drug dealer turned rapper; a hood-rich, cold-blooded weed smoker who blows ounces by the stove while cooking crack cocaine.
This is Davis’ story: a romanticized tale of an Atlanta native who began rapping after gaining interest in poetry at age 14. He quickly climbed his way up the charts with his appropriately named “Trap House” debut album in 2005.
Since then, he has released a few albums that went mainstream coupled with mixtapes known to many blog-rap veterans, including the DJ-Drama collaborate work “Burrprint 3” and “Burrussia” — both titles giving nods to the characteristic ad-lib, “Brr!” This can be heard in every song of his; insinuating Gucci is way too cold for this beat, this hook, this line and this bar.
In his latest mainstream effort, “The Appeal: Georgia’s Most Wanted,” Gucci Mane works with multiple notable artists including Nikki Minaj, Bun-B, Wyclef Jean and Swizz Beats, creating an album with bangers sure to grace radios sooner than “Lemonade.”
If there is one thing Gucci does well, it is maintaining consistency. In most of his songs, he uses the same range of themes, has a flow that rarely changes and keeps his ad-libs to a short list of options.
Usually, it truly works; the trap star can keep listeners hooked with his two-step vocal rhythm that rarely shifts from hollow drums and heavy bass.
But “The Appeal” falls short somewhere — among the star-studded cast and Yo-Gotti-esque production, aspects of Gucci’s latest work leave fans a bit disappointed.
The album opens with “Little Friend,” a track featuring Bun-B and Tony Montana with countless clichés perpetuating rap music’s obsession with the film “Scarface.” References to “say hello to my little friend” and a track with choice movie lines thrown over it does not excite. Catchy at best, it sounds like any other trap song — your stock, average kitchen track. (Not what is usually expected from Bun-B).
Similarly, in “Trap Talk,” a tune with police sirens over a simple handclap backbeat, the instrumental can almost completely be matched to Waka Flocka’s (Gucci Mane’s latest pet project) “O Let’s Do It,” and the themes once more do not stray from their usual path. Lovingly referring to his trap house as his “blow spot,” (think double entendre here) Gucci employs topics used in too many other songs to be considered surprising or fresh.
If anything, the album should attract attention based solely upon the list of names on it. The guests Gucci has assembled for his collaborations are impressive. On “Haterade,” Gucci Mane experiments with a D’Angelo-esque beat with Pharrell undertones — most fittingly, as Pharrell is featured on the track — flaunting falsetto in the awfully melodic hook, which is his contribution to “The Appeal.” As for production, the song is completely on point but does not match Gucci’s throaty, smoke-soaked drawl. Nikki Minaj’s nasal and grating flow does not go well either; the young female rapper spits out a weak verse that highlights her illegitimacy.
“I admit it, I’m appalled when you envy,” she says, “cuz you could do it too and you could do it too.” Indeed, Nikki.
To his credit, Gucci does flash his feathers on some tracks. “Grown man,” an example of one such track, features songstress Estelle crooning the chorus, giving angelic range coupled with a throwback beat of keyboards and snare.
Gucci Mane was recently released from jail on parole charges and makes slight attempts at redemption, saying “squashed the beef; I’m free of that … when I’m dead who the fuck gonna help my mother? I straightened up my act and I’m never going back.” The marriage of these two aspects leads to pure gold.
In theory, Gucci Mane’s album should be nothing short of a gangsta rap fan’s dream. Its execution, on the other hand, does not fall completely into line. Next time, Radric should switch it up a bit. Change is good in the trap house.