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Trap music pioneer, Gucci Mane, is back once again. This time, he has more to say about his post-prison life, the pain he feels over the deaths of fellow Atlanta rapers, and more casual stuntin'. He has aligned himself with big stars for Mr. Davis.
In light of his transformation over the past two years, I'll be referring to him as Big Gucci.
- “Work In Progress” — Anytime you hear “Murder on the Beat, so it’s not Nice,” brace yourself. Gucci gets up close and personal for the intro: “I lost my daddy last year I didn’t even cry/ cause it’s so hard to shed a tear, he didn’t even try.” He says R.I.P. to fellow Atlanta rappers that have passed like Bankroll Fresh and Shawty Lo. He’s transparent right from the start. He gives the impression that we'll be hearing autobiographical chapters.
- “Back On” — Anytime Gucci Mane links up with producer Zaytoven, it’s a problem. “I’m self made and independent, yup we black owned.” Gucci cuts off all loose-ends so he can get better. He wants you to do the same. Salute to Big Gucci.
- “I Get the Bag” ft. Quavo & Takeoff — Quavo is a master of hooks. Plus the most underrated of the Migos — Takeoff — goes hard with that triplet flow. Even so, he's still difficult to understand at times. (“Do it look like I'm left off Bad and Boujee?!”) No one is outshining Big Gucci though. “Jay-Z can’t even cosign for me, I do what I want cause I’m signed to me.” BARS. That flow is incredible.
- “Stunting Ain’t Nuthing” ft. Slim Jxmmi & Young Dolph — Slim Jxmmi makes an appearance to remind us that he’s not the weakest link in Rae Sremmurd. He can carry that massive chip on his shoulder, and he’s stunting on all of you. I’m not feeling Young Dolph’s verse. Big Gucci’s flow is transforming. He’s trying different ones and it’s a joy to listen to.
- “Curve” ft. The Weeknd — The Weeknd sounds harder rap-singing than 60 percent of these rappers. This is one of the lead singles for a reason. The Weeknd stimulus package is too hard to resist for most artists. Still, it's easy to be dwarfed by his star power (I'm looking at you Belly). Gucci Mane doesn't have to worry about this though. This track is solid.
- “Enormous” ft. Ty Dolla $ign — Ty Dolla $ign doesn’t get enough credit. He’s great at collaborations, and this is just another great jam to add to his arsenal. This track is incredibly catchy without compromising Gucci’s trapstar persona.
- “Members Only” — This is one for the streets. Gucci rides the beat perfectly, and his wordplay is dope as well. Like when he says, “Ludacris/I sold dope, yeah it was lucrative.”
- “Money Make Ya Handsome” — I’m not feeling this one. The hook is hysterical… in an awful way.
- “Changed” ft. Big Sean — This chorus will appeal to many. Too bad it's so basic and obvious. Of course you guys changed, you’re rich rappers! The instrumental is decent. Gucci delivers a solid verse, and Big Sean makes up for the basic hook with a great verse. Not bad.
- “We Ride" ft. Monica — Great vocal performance from Monica. Big Gucci details his experience with a woman who has been there for him. “It’s like the new Gucci talking to the old Gucci.” It's becoming even more clear that Gucci is in a different headspace. You’ll never get pre-prison Gucci ever again and this paradigm shift makes all of his newer material worthwhile.
- “Lil Story” ft. Schoolboy Q — For my talk about change on the previous track, this is vintage Gucci Mane. This vibe is what his core following love from him. Schoolboy Q is not one to be messed with though. His gangsta persona makes this track that much more grittier.
- “Tone It Down” ft. Chris Brown — This beat sounds like a rip-off of the flute instrumental from Drake’s “Portland” song. That criticism aside, this is a solid collaboration from Big Gucci and Chris Breezy.
- “Make Love” — I hate this hook. It’s awkward, and bland. Nicki Minaj tries to save it, but it sounds like she’s going on a subliminal tantrum addressing Remmy Ma again. Nicki… that was months ago. This track is skippable.
- “Money Piling” — “Bur, bur!” This track is lit. Big Gucci stunts on his haters by reminding them that he gets more money than them. It’s over two minutes of pure bravado over a slick, eccentric beat.
- “Jumped Out The Window” ft. Asap Rocky — Metro Boomin killed this beat. Gucci gets real raunchy and ignant (pronounced ig-nant, not ignorant… this is hip-hop, we misspell things ova here). Asap Rocky bodies this though. That flow and bravado compliments this track perfectly. How many features and Cozy Tapes until Rocky drops his album?... the world may never know…
- “Miss My Woe” ft. Rico Love — Rico Love’s vocal performance over this piano instrumental sets the mood perfectly. I love that organ in the back; take ‘em to church Gucci. Big Gucci goes down memory lane and how he’s changed since prison. It’s one of the most introspective tracks on the entire project. “Nobody ever kept it real with me like Shawty Lo.” Ayee. You can really feel Gucci’s pain on this one.
- “Made It (Outro)" — This is a great outro. Gucci and Zaytoven are a force to be reckoned with. Gucci’s second verse is reminiscent of Kodack Black’s “No Flockin” flow. If that was the intention, it was well calculated because it works well over this beat.
This is one of the closest things to a true concept album Gucci Mane has ever done. Most of the collaborations display great chemistry, and Big Gucci sounds better than ever. Mr. Davis is a B+.