Gucci Mane embodied gangsta rap during the late 2000s. As a pioneer of trap house and hip-hop, he took the reins of a genre, beginning his cult following and later becoming a figurehead of a movement. But everything changed after he served two years in prison for a weapons conviction. Released on May 26, Gucci Mane found himself a renewed man.
The Atlanta rapper didn’t reduce his output during his sentence — he drastically increased it. In 2014, he released 12 projects and made over $1.3 million from prison. Just one day after his release from jail, he dropped “1st Day Out Tha Feds,” the first track off the album Everybody Looking, released Friday. The album reveals his experiences while incarcerated and the guilt he feels over his choices.
Compared to previous projects, Everybody Looking features a more understated production style and down-to-earth lyrics. In an attempt to portray Gucci Mane as a man struggling with his thug persona, his lyrics are a far cry from some of his bars on 2013’s Traphouse III. During the album’s first track, “No Sleep - Intro,” Guwop paints himself as a recovering drug addict, telling listeners that his doctor is behind bars for liberally prescribing medications to his patients. In songs like this, Gucci is able to vent in a confessional style, while songs such as “Waybach” and “P**** Print” allow him to continue with this stream-of-consciousness style.
However, after 14 tracks in this fashion, Gucci Mane often becomes repetitive and resorts to his old braggadocios self, touting his wealth and power in the album’s horrendous bonus track “Multi Millionaire Laflare” in which he calls himself “Daddy Fat Sax.” For longtime fans, it might be nostalgic to hear Gucci go back to his old persona, but on tracks such as “Richest N**** In The Room” and “At Least a M,” it’s a turn in the wrong direction.
Production wise, Everybody Looking remains minimalistic. There’s nothing impressive happening on any of the songs’ beats or compositions, forcing the listener to focus on Gucci Mane’s lyrics and message. This added attention requires consistency with lyrical content, which doesn’t happen often enough to bring this album from a decent listen to a landmark moment in Gucci’s career.
Still, the growth displayed by Gucci Mane is unrivaled in trap music — it’s obvious that his stint in prison truly affected his music and outlook on life. Non-fans will find this album enjoyable, even if a lack of variety and original moments make the album easily forgettable. But for listeners who adore the Guwop sound and trap beats, Everybody Looking is a sure-fire project to keep them happy.
- Album: Everybody Looking
- Tracks: 14
- Genre: Hip-hop
- Rating: 6/10