In the video for the first single off his new LP _The Appeal: Georgia’s Most Wanted_, Gucci Mane, sporting space-age bug-eyed sunglasses, a grey keffiyeh and a mink around his head, asks his audience, “Do you know what time it is?” The answer, of course, is Gucci Time. _The Appeal_, which dropped September 28, is Gucci Mane’s third major label album, and marks a period of time what will probably be known as the apex of his career. Gucci boasts to MTV that _The Appeal_ is a ‘masterpiece.’
Gucci Mane has come a long way from his first gasps at fame in 2005, which marked the release of his first independent album Trap House. His first single was the played-out middle school classic “So Icy.” Young Jeezy drives the track, offering the first two verses, and Gucci Mane finishes off the track with a flow and lyricism typical of any southern rapper in the game at the time. He talks about how much icy he has and how much women he got in a staccato similar to Young Joc et al. The production was cheesy and so were his gold Versace glasses.
It wasn’t until 2007 that Gucci Mane was catapulted into his contemporary stardom with the release of the banger “Freaky Gurl” off _Hard to Kill_. The sound was different. The beat was a stripped bassline, a far cry from the overproduced synths of _Trap House_. Gucci’s flow had matured. Gone were the days of energetic simple rhyme schemes. Gucci’s flow had slowed down. He was rolling on his lyrics like they were the pills he took the night before.
And Gucci’s image had changed too. In the “Freaky Gurl” video he seemed sillier, more fun. Gucci mean mugged the camera too hard to be taken seriously. When he crooned, “Don’t you think I’m handsome?” you couldn’t help but laugh at his goofy grin. The line in the chorus “then you get some brain in the front seat of the hummer” was fantastically chauvinistic. He was so delightfully overconfident. The cult of Gucci Mane was born.
Since _Hard to Kill_, Gucci Mane has released three independent albums including _The Appeal_, two major label albums, two EPs, and almost 20 mixtapes. That in and of itself is enough to solidify Gucci Mane’s influence on the hip-hop blog circuit. The man released six mixtapes in 2010 alone!
In the age of the Internet, rappers have to keep their fans interested at all times. Releasing a studio album every other year no longer works in the world of 30-second clips on Gawker, and Gucci knows it. So in preparation of the release of _The Appeal_, Gucci Mane released the aptly named _Buy My Album_ mixtape less than a week before the album drop in order to generate more noise around the Gucci machine.
To be honest, _Buy My Album_ is at best a doorstop. The mixtape has eight tracks, three of which are freestyles. The production value is similar to his early years. It is dominated by DJ Holiday adlibs and promotional shout-outs. The rhymes in his freestyles are very weak. It basically sounds as though Gucci woke up one morning and decided to record a mixtape. In fact, this is probably what happened that morning:
DJ Holiday: Yo, Gucci! Gucci, wake up. It’s 11 o’ clock. We gotta record this mixtape. We told people we’d do it already. C’mon man, it’s due.
Gucci: [clears throat] It’s due?
DJ Holiday: It’s due! That’s alright. [pause, sound of keyboard typing, papers shuffling] I got some beats; you can spit some bars. I’ll talk over the tracks. It’ll be good. Drink some juice, wash your face, I’m coming over.
Gucci: Yeah alright, partner. I’m getting up now.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that is exactly how it went.
But that doesn’t matter. The Cult of Gucci Mane doesn’t listen to him because he’s a talented rapper. Sure, he had some good jokes in his verse on “Pretty Boy Swag” and “Oh Le Doit,” but he’s no Big KRIT. He has some amazing production, but not always. The Cult of Gucci Mane loves him for that novelty.
On August 29, Gucci Mane performed at the McCarren Pool Party Concert series at the East River Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Needless to say, the crowd was predominately hip, white, suburban 20-somethings. After the crowd waited around for an extra hour, Gucci Mane stumbled on stage looking, well, fat and sweaty. He crooned his way through a couple of his verses on other people’s tracks. The crowd, including myself, went wild. And after fifteen minutes he retreated backstage. Gucci Mane was paid $60,000 to perform that day. Either way, the audience got their money’s worth, because all Gucci needed were those fifteen minutes to preach his gospel.
And so I guess that’s what _Buy My Album_ is: the latest sermon from the gospel of Gucci. So buy that album, and think of it as a second collection for the Gucci Mane roof fund.