The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — Intro
30. Gucci Mane – Freezer
29. Gucci Mane – Grapey
Gucci made the most great rap songs in 2008, but his mixtapes were also scattered with tons of one-off verses that featured a few of his best moments. “Freezer” and “Grapey”, both off the second Wilt Chamberlain tape, are unassuming minute-long things, and though they don’t nearly touch the heights of his best songs, they represent just how deep Gucci’s genius ran this year (I’d be surprised if he remembered recording either of these verses). “Freezer”, at first glance, is easily passed by, but it exemplifies how Gucci has perfected his trademark laid-back flow — the beat is momentous and chugging, yet Gucci raps (well) like he’s sitting on his couch. The best moment for me comes early, and it’s when Gucci connects “glacier” and “they should”. The word and the phrase obviously don’t rhyme, but Gucci’s slur melts both into an almost identical word, and it makes the pivot between the two words a rewind moment. At the end of the song he gets in the best line: “I’ma make a promise, man/ never tuck my necklace in/ I wouldn’t give a damn, you was 500 and 7’ 6’’”. In between, Gucci bounces across the beat, creating a blissful dissonance — I have no complaints.
“Grapey” is something totally different, and though it’s mostly notable for Zaytoven’s next-universe beat, it finds Gucci falling back on a quasi-melodic flow. But first the beat: it’s maybe the most colorful Southern production I heard all year, just Jim Jonsin arcade bleeps and The-Dream’s exhaling drums, but there’s also what sounds to me like a sample of that Nelly and Kelly Rowland song (a sound Zaytoven also used on “Mr. Perfect” to different effect). It’s probably the only thing Gucci’s ever rapped on that I would describe as “airy”, and he basically harmonizes with the track, rapping about being rich over this beat that makes it sound like a playful love song.
28. Gucci Mane feat. Frenchie – Ghetto Supastar / Sun Valley
Gucci Mane’s Mr. Perfect mixtape was one of the best he dropped this year; the beats were pretty diverse, especially considering zaytoven’s (sometimes deserved) rep for dropping rehash beats. Gucci also spit in a more varied style than yr image of the ‘typical gucci’ track. “Ghetto Supastar” (retitled “Sun Valley” when the video leaked) has a weirdly tense beat & when combined with Frenchie’s raspy chorus it creates a really unsettling feel. Gucci’s vocals are slow & matter of fact but with the atmospheric background keys it has this otherworldly twilight melancholy, as if traveling thru time is washing everything in a nostalgic sheen. Lyrically he explains where he’s coming from & where he’s gone, the “Juicy” story, similarly unapologetic:
bottom of the hill shootin’ hoops sun valley,
n***a wanna jump me and take my starter jacket
13 years old but my big brother packin’
lets just say they aint take my starter jacket
& then flashback, jumps from a five dollar craps game in the lunchroom circa ’97 to a million-dollar craps game in ’08. “If you test this dog though, the owner starts barking.”
27. Gucci Mane – Photo Shoot
26. Gucci Mane – Slumber Party
“Photo Shoot” and “Slumber Party” are perfect examples of Gucci’s breadth; neither of these are particularly hard tracks, not bangers in the traditional street anthem sense, but Gucci is never truly lazy on them; it’s all incredibly creative material. They’re more playful, almost ‘for the ladies’ joints, but in a more abstract sense, not with all the ‘soft’ earnestness that implies. Women, cars, cash & fame arent celebrated — theyre simply inspirations to celebrate rapping, wordplay, the love of a clever turn of phrase. it’s also another example of Gucci’s ability to write great songs with Drumma boy; the “Photo Shoot” beat is a simple bump with his typical “Put On” synth buildups + camera shutter fx. Gucci’s chorus is conceptually smart & contemporary (& perfect for the modern camera-crazy club experience). But lyrically, he’s all style here: listen to the way his verses leave off on one consonant syllable or word, repeat & build:
Dont you wanna see the boy,
see the boy, see the boy,
come and take a poloroid,
poloroid, camera flash,
camera flash i see yo ass
His presence is central to the track’s appeal; he uses this motif, repeating the last word & building on it throughout the song. Then there’s his last verse, a shoutout to southern rap: “gucci smokin’ fruity it look like a photo shoot / shout out to my n***a webbie my hoes independent too / me and shawty lo and a dude is smokin purple dro / me and gotti in a benz, man you know we get it in,” then the beat gets put in reverse and gucci just goes crazy, flowing in slurred double time, the beat flipping back on itself, ending with a shoutout to Killer Mike, then the beat moves forward: “UGK my favorite group for years been ridin with them guys, 8ball told em lay it down, and I did it bout 30 times.”
Slumber Party is another playful track with a carefully considered chorus where he just flips out lyrically; his flow goes even eights for the verses, and joyous wordplay: “banana boat full of blow, banana clip to cut ya throat, banana dro come take a smoke, banana diamonds yellow stones, heavy snow that berry blow that cherry coke got stupid dough, plenty mo’ youd think i booked a hundred shows im sellin dope.” So why do so many ppl still say dude can’t rap?? I’m not trying to be on some “Kanye West compares Soulja Boy to Nas” shit at all here — but these are genuinely great internal rhymes & all that good shit that you guys expect from your classic rappers.