Radric Davis, Gucci Mane, La Flare, Guwop, Wizop, whatever you may know him by, there’s no doubt in my mind that the ATLien is one of the most underrated, creative, looked over, fearless and prolific MC’s to ever step foot in the rap game.
When Gucci came onto the scene with his breakout single ‘Icy‘ featuring Young Jeezy and making it one of two collaborations before the much publicised and nasty beef. However, there was a clear indication that Gucci was an artist glowing with artistic potential. The release of his first album through Big Cat Records, ‘Trap House‘ showed that Gucci could make pop-club bangers, yet was also developing the idea of the Trap genre that the legendary UGK began.
As time progressed and Gucci struggled to live under a label’s roof (Big Cat, Tommy Boy, Atlantic & Warner Bros), he started to release mixtape after mixtape and be frequently collaborating and picking up artists that he saw potential at being in stars.
Gucci founded many of today’s popular rappers that have shot into stardom. Notably the Young Money / Cash Money signee, Nicki Minaj. The two met and collaborated between 2008 and 2010 recording an appetising selection of tracks. From the ‘BurrrPrint (2) HD‘ posse-cut ‘Coca Coca‘ and ‘Sex in Crazy Places‘ off ‘The State Vs. Radric Davis‘.
He was also able to help popularise Atlanta rappers and producers into the limelight due to his A&R initiative. This includes Young Dolph, Peewee Longway, Migos, Young Thug, Zaytoven, Drumma Boy, Mike WiLL Made It & Metro Boomin’.
While Gucci obviously had his own demons and was involved in multiple controversies; throwing a woman out of a car, charged with killing an affiliate of Young Jeezy, continuously obstructing his probations and the infamous Twitter rant. Yet, his ferocious output of music, whether he was in or out of prison, was always a treat to his fans. He really did live up to the name of East Atlanta’s Santa, no?
Now, to the positives of this article. I’ll happily admit, I got on late to the Gucci Mane wave, considering I’ve been listening to Hip-Hop since I was 8 and only was aware of Hip-Hops’ boogieman when he released ‘The State Vs. Radric Davis’. Since hearing the codeine-sipping, blunt-smoking and pill-popping rapper, I have been an absolute stan.
Gucci was always providing mixtape after mixtape. The release of his ‘World War 3’ tapes – ‘Gas‘, ‘Lean‘ and ‘Molly‘ are all a clear and vivid picture of the relentless and intoxicated rappers past day-to-day lifestyle. Even the release of ‘The State Vs. Radric Davis 2 : The Caged Bird Sings‘, which was released the first Christmas of Gucci’s most recent imprisonment, is one of his best mixtapes/albums released while incarcerated. Three of my particular favourites off the project is the infectious ‘Ice Cold’, the 808 Mafia ‘Any Thing’ featuring THUGGER and solo Drumma Boy produced ‘Rude’.
While Gucci sadly was rotting away in a federal prison, thankfully, his team on the outside kept him relevant. Releasing copious amounts of tapes (30) in three years.
However, Gucci’s limelight shone brighter than ever when he was released early from prison and dropped the single “First Day Out Tha Feds“. Within six days of his release, he’d recorded his sophomore album, ‘Everybody Looking‘. It was a triumphant return of the Trap God and showed a newly bred Gucci. And as 2016 progressed, Gucci returned to his typical formula; releasing another two albums, ‘Woptober‘ and ‘The Return of East Atlanta Santa‘ as well as collaborative tapes with Lil Uzi Vert & Future.
2016 was the year Gucci returned with no fear but just a motive: to keep on releasing Trap music that his fans and Hip-Hop heads know him for. It’s no doubt he’s one of the most consistent rappers today. If we were speaking about his musical output 3-5 years ago, I wouldn’t have said so. However, releasing 3 albums and two mixtapes over 7 months is something not even your favourite rapper is capable of.
Sure, he doesn’t have the lean slur or the deep weed-cough vocal pitch anymore, which was one way of marketing him. Yet, he has developed his sound more as an artist and lyricist and is obviously still a prominent act of contemporary Trap as well as Southern Hip-Hop that needs to be appreciated.