Deep Rap Cuts: Gucci Mane
Nine years after releasing his debut, Trap House, Gucci Mane remains a deeply divisive artist. His fans are dazzled by his fanciful wordplay, his colorful stories of slanging “Bricks” with a “Mouth Full of Golds,” his idiosyncratic mush-mouthed delivery, and his deeply Southern vocal tones. But for his many critics, he represents everything that’s wrong with a mainstream rap culture that seems to celebrate hardcore thuggin’, no matter the costs. It doesn’t help that he’s weathered innumerable legal problems during his career. There are too many incidents to recite here, but it’s worth noting that he’s currently in prison, and faces a lengthy sentence for gun possession.
Despite Gucci’s bizarre antics like, uh, getting a tattoo of an ice cream cone on his face, he’s created a wellspring of quality music. He’s prolific to a fault, releasing several projects a year, and he arguably has never made a singularly classic album. The scattershot aspect of his catalog can make it difficult for newcomers to access his work, but it’s worth the effort, as this primer of album and mixtape cuts illustrates. From “Making Love to the Money,” and scoring a memorable example of the rap scene’s obsession with club drugs on “Pillz”; to firing shots at former friend Young Jeezy on “My 745,” and trading bars with Ludacris on “Atlanta Zoo,” Gucci has been an inextricable part of hip-hop’s evolution during the past several years. Whether you love him or hate him, it’s hard to ignore him.