Where would Hip-Hop be without Gucci Mane La Flare? A few years ago this question would have made people laugh; it might make Hip-Hop purists laugh today. A closer examination into Gucci Mane’s career shows that he’s one of the reasons why Atlanta’s Hip-Hop scene exploded in the late 2000’s and is still pushing strong in 2017. Gucci has helped bring us such names as Mike Will Made It, Metro Boomin’, Zaytoven, Nicki Minaj, Waka Flocka, Future, Young Thug, Migos, and so many more. Guwop’s ear for discovering new talent has been more successful than your favorite record label over the last decade.
On the one year anniversary of his release from prison, where he did a bid in my hometown of Terre Haute, IN, Guwop released his fourth project since then with DropTopWop. For die hard fans of Gucci this is nothing new; while incarcerated he was releasing music at a steady stream thanks to his label and management. Gucci has been known for releasing mixtape after mixtape in the past as his catalog was more on quantity rather than quality. Over the course of his first year post-prison this has changed dramatically. While releasing four projects is still a lot, the quality of his music has increased. There are more songs you find yourself hitting repeat on rather than skipping.
DropTopWop is the first place I noticed this change in quality. Gucci projects in the past have featured bloated tracklists and many skippable songs. This album is concise and even though Gucci’s subject matter hasn’t strayed far from his roots, there’s a new sense of direction that can be seen with this album (part of it being 10 tracks is due to Metro Boomin’ falling asleep during the recording process). Gucci sounds rejuvenated, like he’s found a second wind in his career. “Drop the top on these haters cause the top in the way/and if you ain’t gettin’ no money then you just in the way”, he rhymes on the ‘5 Million Intro’. Everything about his voice, his cadence, and even his adlibs feel fresh throughout the Metro Boomin’ produced album.
Gucci fans will rejoice with this project as it’s everything they’ve been hoping for since his release. You have his classic stunting records (‘Hurt A N***a Feelings’, ‘Bucket List’) but we’re also exposed to a side of Gucci that he’s kept private for the majority of his career. ‘Dance With The Devil’ shows a side of Gucci that shows remorse for his past transgressions as a drug dealer and abuser. Since his prison release, and even during his stint, Gucci sobered up and has done a great job of getting healthy and in shape. This record shows he’s making those strides to change in his music too.
“2017 everybody get high, taking street drugs like they a** can’t die
And I ain’t trying to preach cause I got high too,
I’m a ex drug dealer n***a how ‘bout you”
– ‘Dance With The Devil’
Features are kept to a minimum on DropTopWop, with 2 Chainz, Young Dolph, Rick Ross, and Offset stepping in to lend a hand. Its the usual suspects on a Gucci project but when Offset jumps on ‘Met Gala’ it sounds like Quavo has competition for being the breakout star from Migos. It’s not often that Gucci gets topped on his own song but Offset had something to prove with this solo feature and he left Gucci in the dust. Overall the quality of the album doesn’t dwindle thanks to the brief tracklist. We may have Metro Boomin’ to thank for that but you hear how fresh Gucci sounds on every track and don’t want it to end. This is an album that will be looked at as a turning point in the career of Radric Davis in a few years.
Repeatable: ‘Hurt A N***a Feelings’, ‘Met Gala’ feat. Offset, ‘Finesse The Plug Interlude’, ‘Bucket List’
By Joe Coad