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Gucci Mane

The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted

[1017 Brick Squad / Warner Bros. / Asylum; 2010]

By ; October 8, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Gucci Mane has come a long way – and in a short time too. Up until recently it was easy to dismiss the rapper as much less than an MC, his lifestyle, and the Fed’s lack of appreciation for it, has long overshadowed the music he has made. It’s no help that the music was hardly inspiring; his 2007 debut was a joke at best, and despite the improved reception of last year’s The State vs. Radric Davis, Gucci’s flow could still hardly be called anything other than clumsy. However, his appearance on Big Boi’s “Shine Blockas” seemed to signal a more serious rapper. The Appeal is the confirmation of that possibility – quite simply, Gucci seems to finally be figuring out how to rap. Notably absent are the likes of Soulja Boy, Waka, and Rick Ross; instead Gucci keeps Nicki around and brings in The Neptunes and Wyclef Jean, among others. That alone should let you know you’re meeting with a different rapper this time around.

“My Little Friend” gives the album a fiery start, with Gucci bringing in the ever-reliable Bun B, who is more comfortable here than on most of Trill OG – the southern gangster of Gucci makes a much more natural partner for him than Drake, and Bun’s flow is pure syrup, more support for his being the very best of the southern flows. Gucci is a stronger presence than ever before himself, taking advantage of the dramatically operatic beat. You’d think the Scarface references would be tired in 2010, but Gucci’s bitter, “Gucci Mane the bad guy” serves a real purpose in light of his seemingly constant legal battles. Beyond this, threats hurled about by a man who’s turned himself in on murder charges aren’t so easily dismissed as 95% of gangsta rap post-N.W.A – when Gucci snarls, the menace is nearly palpable. Yet, Gucci is simultaneously likeable and goofy, which is likely what’s allowed for his success.

As with quite a few rap records this year, the beats are likely the album’s strongest feature. Gucci knowing how to pick ‘em is nothing new, but the production on this album is his most noteworthy yet. The choir and repeating sirens essentially make “Trap Talk” and “Missing” so successfully creates an eerie, dangerous vibe that Gucci hardly need emote at all. Yet he does, spitting, “She miss me, she wish she didn’t so damn addicted/ afflicted/ she don’t wanna be a statistic.” Gucci’s willingness to be the bad guy – or moreover, a realistic human being – is a strong point for the album. His patronizing delivery of, “Now I’m makin millions everybody social, they really too emotional, I don’t have time to hold em, ‘I wanna be a billllllllionaire’…yeah, me too,” on “What’s It Gonna Be” is legitimately funny. In fact, the song may the album’s highlight, boasting a strong, simple southern beat, a chorus of straight fire, and a surprisingly swift-flowing Gucci. When the second verse kicks in, so too does the “new” Gucci in earnest: his lines are clever, and his flow has improved by leaps and bounds. The joy he finds in lines like, “My jewelry was so bright haters put theirs in the trash,” reaches you, making the album good fun, plain and simple.

This isn’t to say the album is without flaws – it has plenty of them. Gucci is still not a grand MC, left to stand alone without his guests and flashy production he probably would’ve been dropping “burr’s” a whole lot more. He stills drops clumsy lines, fancies tepid choruses and isn’t exactly searching for inspiring material, by and large the album has two speeds: party and fight. Thing is, it doesn’t matter. If you enjoy catchy hip hop that manages to retain some semblance of a “real” factor, then you’ll enjoy this album. Songs like “Gucci Time” and “Making Love to the Money” are sloppy and simplistic, but Gucci’s energy carries you through the worst of them. Besides this, the album has other highlights to offer – “Haterade” possesses the best Neptunes groove in some time, making for one of the best “feel good” rap tracks of the year. Finally, “Grown Man” ends the album on a high note, a finally matured Gucci assuring that he intends the next several years to be quite different from the last few. If he’s going to keep improving this much with each album, we can only hope so.


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