With Everybody Looking, Gucci Mane set the tone for his return. Within the first minute of the album’s intro “No Sleep,” he brazenly declares his transformation, ”Recovering drug addict, I used to drink a pint a day.”
When Guwop was released from jail in late May—where he had spent two years for possession of a firearm as a convicted felon—his metamorphosis couldn’t be ignored. He had lost weight and sobered up; there was even a conspiracy theory floating around that he was a clone. In late July, two days before the release of Everybody Looking, TheNew York Timesreported that while in prison, his recovery method involved praying, working out and reading the Bible.
He clearly had changed his ways, at least in the sense of leading a happy and healthy life. Still, he assured us that he’s the same Guwop, rapping with the same melodic intensity; his Southern drawl still fervidly curling around his words. Considering Everybody Looking and last night’s (October 13) release of his latest project, Woptober, Gucci undoubtedly continues to favor a quantity over quality approach to music. Incarceration and subsequent house arrest—which ended last month, but prevented him from really promoting his new album—were only minor setbacks.
It’s difficult to imagine Gucci Mane spreading any kind of patronizing dogma—and with Woptober, we’re in luck. His abstinence hasn’t phased him one bit. If Everybody Looking was Gucci’s homecoming, then Woptober is Gucci fully restoring himself to his rightful Trap God throne.
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“Money Machine” feat. Rick Ross
With its hypnotic bassline, “Money Machine”—which features only one of two guest verses on Woptober—is vivid enough to make you feel like you’re counting up right next to Guwop and Rozay. Both rappers spit their verses with ease, Gucci’s tinged with a lightness that stands in contrast to Ross, whose gruff flow automatically lends a bit more aggression. Overall the two seem liberated as Ross asserts, “Since Gucci came home bitches back in they feelings.”
The most sonically interesting part of “High-Five” are the delicate strings that kick off the song (very, very similar to the ones in "Monster Truck," a track from buzzing Atlanta artist 24hrs' EP with Murda Beatz from a few weeks ago). The beat, crafted by Metro Boomin and CuBeatz, lends an eerie quality to Gucci’s song, and he stunts, “I done sold so many keys they should deport me to Belize / Cause I'm shining on these niggas like a desert with no trees.” Gucci boasts as he drips in luxury and opulence, damn near enough that he should have his own amusement park, Gucci World.
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What a commendable way to cap off the album. In that same interview with the The New York Times, Gucci confirmed what we all know—that he's an addict. The thing is, most addicts have a hard time admitting their habits; Gucci, however, is remarkably open about his recovery. The song’s pared downbeat allows for his accessibility and transparency—which we don’t see enough of throughout the album—to shine, and in that way, it seems like “Addicted” plays a part in his recovery process.
While Woptober accomplishes its goal—Guwop is indeed home and sounding like the Guwop of usual, if not a bit more focused and lyrically sharp—Everybody Looking is the more rewarding listen.
Of course, that was the first album since he was released from prison, all eyes were on him, and the project flourished conceptually and sonically, bolstered by production from Mike WiLL Made-It on nearly every track. Zaytoven, who also contributed to a large majority of EL, leads a much more varied list of names on this project, alongside Metro Boomin, Honorable C.N.O.T.E., TM88, Southside, London On Da Track, Drumma Boy and more.
With Woptober, Gucci Mane remains the same dependable and benevolent rapper who doesn’t believe in over-saturation. Guwop delivers exactly what his fans are looking for, and as usual, he stays true to himself, through-and-through.
By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.