Another post about OJ

Gorilla Zoe ft. Gucci Mane and OJ Da Juiceman – “Helluvalife”

Haven’t heard the whole Zoe album yet (do I want to?) but I was naturally HIGHLY INTRIGUED by the Gucci/OJ collaboration. It’s about the fifth best Zoe/Gucci song that exists in the world (and about the 1,800th best Zaytoven beat), and it’s really only notable for OJ’s verse, made possible by the fact that Gucci appears to not be trying and Gorilla Zoe is now apparently incapable of not singing. OJ’s verse packs the vitality that all his verses seem to have, and it’s almost the quintessential OJ verse in a way because he rides along shouting as he does (actually starts off the verse biting Gucci’s Michael Jackson diamonds line from “Light Show”) not saying much but commanding attention, but he hits this line where it’s almost like he should be taking a breath except he goes “YOUNG JUICE MAN/ GODDAMN I’M A HUSTLA” and it’s an almost unexplainable “aahh” moment, like all the gears in his verse finally locked into place. It’s the kind of thing that seems tossed off until it’s chopped and screwed on an “anthemic chorus”, except with OJ the anthemic part is completely instant.

Tomorrow I’m going to post this video of Zaytoven that’s probably old news but dude is basically my favorite producer doing it right now and it shows him fucking around with a keyboard to get the burbly bleep noises that are almost his trademark so it will be a cool nerdy thing at least.

Gucci Funk Era

New Gucci mixtape & there are some A+ exclusives on this joint — also a few tracks that already leaked. A few quick notes on some traxx so u dont think Gucciwatch ends with ’08 roundups:

Crush On You prod. by Warren G

—Probably my favorite joint on here so far, Im assuming this id tag is correct & Warren G produced this. It’s one of those relaxed Gucci tracks where he’s being playful & almost tongue-in-cheek gentle. The beat is like the soundtrack to Home Alone, creeping pizzicato strings & nursery rhyme/nutcracker bells & cats feet hi-hats; the effect is perfect for Gucci’s clowning chorus, “Gucci got a crush on you. I ain’t trynna put a rush on you!” Per usual a Gucci 4theladiez track is so much more, not feeling corny or like some kind of obligation; its just another chance for him to be funny & lyrical, goofing about how he thinks she thinks hes handsome, borderline faux-naif teenager fantasizing about how he’ll sweep his crush off her feet (but with a dose of irony peaking from behind the curtain). “What city we in? don’t really matter baby cuz I’m flyin you in.” “It’s gravy, be my old lady, prada every day baby, no Old Navy.”

Fa Sho
—“I blow my nose with money, bitch I keep snot on my knot / i keep that pistol cocked back, and my fork in the pot / my money fallin’ out my safe when i open my lock”

Obnoxious
—This has been out a lil while but I love how dude flips hating into an embrace of all his ‘bad’ qualities — ‘they say i’m obnoxious, but bitches be jocking,’ another play off that ‘might cant dance but my rims can’ self-deprecation.

Get It Big
—this is driving me nuts, what beat is this?

all that OJ shit
I dig OJ but I’m still repeating the first half of the mixtape so I haven’t had time for it. Quick 1-listen review: “Benjamin Franklins” and “VVS” and the joint with Bohagan are hot though, Cam’ron remix makes the song feel kinda cheesy, I still dont like the “Bricks” remix & the last two tracks were on the album that came out a couple weeks ago.

Top 50 Gucci Mane Songs of 2008

Here’s our final list of the Top 50 Gucci Mane Songs of 2008. There’s just one last thing I’d like to touch on:

In the climate that the press— especially the music press— is in right now, I’d feel a little out-of-place, if not guilty, telling the people who run rap journalism what they should and should not have covered last year. I have no idea how Dipset is selling magazines in 2009, but apparently they are. People need to eat, and if it means Asher Roth then it means Asher Roth, and I know that’s what it comes down to. That said, these are 50 hot songs (and we had to leave some off), yet, if you picked up any magazine last year or read any website, you read, fawningly, about how any number of rappers were gaming the Internet era and releasing x amount of songs or mixtapes in x amount of days or weeks. For the Nah Right Trust Funders, I understand that their proliferation across blogs is straight (self-)marketing, but I wish someone, anyone, would’ve stopped for a second and criticized these very self-serious artists for their brazen lack of quality control. I didn’t know Charles Hamilton in 2007 and I do now, but I don’t find that particularly praiseworthy, especially when it came at the expense of his music, which is what we’re all supposedly caring about anyway. Even when guys like Freeway jumped on the train last year I felt myself respecting their recognition in needing to meet the web halfway but being let down by the way it felt like those guys were putting in Work. For all intents and purposes, Freeway put in his 9-5 for a month and then pretty much disappeared. Gucci, on the other hand, did not.

50. Gucci Mane – Smoke
49. Gucci Mane – I Hear My Mama Talkin’, I Hear My Mama Prayin’
48. Gucci Mane – Fast Break
47. Gucci Mane – Body Language
46. Gucci Mane – Jewelry
45. Gucci Mane – Get High
44. Gucci Mane – H2O
43. Gucci Mane – Yellow Diamonds
42. Gucci Mane feat. OJ Da Juiceman – Mo Money
41. Gucci Mane – Mr. and Mrs. Perfect
40. Gucci Mane – I’m the Shit
39. Big Tuck feat. Gucci Mane – Not a Stain on Me (remix)
38. Gucci Mane – On Deck
37. Gucci Mane – My Plug is an Alien
36. Gucci Mane – I’m Radric Davis
35. Gucci Mane – Pampers
34. Gucci Mane feat. Yo Gotti & Rocko – Lots of Cash
33. OJ Da Juiceman feat. Gucci Mane – Make the Trap Say Aye
32. Big Tuck feat. Q6 & Gucci Mane – Pussy & Patron
31. Rich Boy feat. Jackie O & Gucci Mane – Ms. Pacman
30. Gucci Mane – Freezer
29. Gucci Mane – Grapey
28. Gucci Mane feat. Frenchie – Ghetto Supastar / Sun Valley
27. Gucci Mane – Photo Shoot
26. Gucci Mane – Slumber Party
25. Gucci Mane – Lodi Dodi
24. Gucci Mane – Let’s Go To War
23. E-40 feat. Bun-B & Gucci Mane – The Recipe
22. Gucci Mane – I Live in a TV
21. Gucci Mane – Haunted House
20. Gucci Mane – Mr. Perfect
19. Gucci Mane – Feelin’ Myself
18. Gucci Mane – Kill the Parking Lot
17. Remi feat. Gucci Mane – Bubble Up
16. Gucci Mane – I’m A Star
15. Gorilla Zoe ft. Gucci Mane – Georgia
14. Gucci Mane ft. Yung Ralph & Yo Gotti – Bricks
13. Question feat. Gucci Mane – That Boy Bad
12. Gucci Mane – Nickelodeon
11. Gucci Mane – Like a Lambo
10. Gucci Mane – Hot Damn
9. Sino feat. Gucci Mane and Hydro – I’m That Guy
8. Soulja Boy feat. Gucci Mane and Shawty Lo – Gucci Bandana
7. Soulja Boy feat. Gucci Mane – Bands
6. Soulja Boy feat. Gucci Mane and Yo Gotti – Shoppin Spree
5. Gucci Mane & Yo Gotti – Mo Money
4. Gucci Mane – Laughin’
3. Gucci Mane feat. Yo Gotti – Light Show
2. Gucci Mane – Colors
1. Gucci Mane – My Rims Dancin’

The 30 Best Gucci Mane tracks of 2008 — 5-1

The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — Intro
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 30-26
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 25-21
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 20-16
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 15-11
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 10-6

5. Gucci Mane & Yo Gotti – Mo Money

David:
“‘Who got mo money?’ ‘I got mo money,’ ‘naw!'” Gucci trading verses with OJ was some great chemistry but OJ is too much on some Gucci jr. shit, still establishing himself, very much in Gucci’s shadow. Yo Gotti is the only rapper that really balances, with pure Memphis trap swagger and thick rounded flow. They dropped a gang of tracks together this year & bounced off each other so well it’s depressing to think the two will never drop a real album together. Listening to them argue about who got more money over this chorus is one of the most intimidating supergroup collabs of the year, a towering beat, Gucci’s “stash house funky from them stankin’ ass hundreds” while Gotti counts “one, comma zero zero comma zero whew, zero’s still goin, my hood still snowin.” Definitely check other joints like the string-laced “Julius” but nothing caught the weight of two trap superstars sharing the stage like “Mo Money,” Gucci a loose cannon, Gotti the controlled force.

4. Gucci Mane – Laughin’

David:
Gucci’s comedic edge is a huge reason he’s split from the crowd, all morbid humor & maniacal swagger. Off the classic Gucci Sosa, “Laughin” capture the fractured Gucci humor like nothing else; carnivalesque carousel beat is appropriately loopy & ridiculous for Gucci, who spits like Batman’s Joker, a schizophrenic criminal giddy on the pile of cash outta Dark Knight but with the more manic personality of Mark Hamill’s performance in the animated series, a disturbed rapper spitting like hes “smellin laughing gas.” “Laughin mane! I’m laughin, ha-ha-ha ch-ching I just cashed in,” that disturbing fake chuckle in the chorus, & rapping w/ singular self-deprecation, “Funny money, funky junkies ugly as a mu’fucker — ‘summbitch you ugly too!’ I know but bet my money cute.”

3. Gucci Mane feat. Yo Gotti – Light Show

2. Gucci Mane – Colors

Jordan:
As a lyricist, Gucci’s been improving at a rapid rate since he first hit with “So Icey,” and in 2008 there weren’t better examples than on the DJ Speedy produced “Light Show” and “Colors.”

The “Light Show” beat is like nothing else Gucci rapped over last year: wah-wah guitar, major piano keys straight out of the scary Mario levels, synths that sound like scalding water hitting the bathtub floor. It’s a beat that’s obsessed with sounds, but the most important thing it does is provide for Gucci ample open space to spookily slur his best verse of the year:

I jumped in the rap game, I didn’t have a name yet
But I had a stupid chain and a fruity bracelet
Blue and yellow Jacob
I’m Gucci Mane the Glacier
Higher than a martian cuz I roll here round a spaceship
Yup, the dawg’s so goddamn purty
Stones same color Michael Jackson after surgery, heard me?
That my watch is gorgeous, all the diamonds flawless
My jewelry box retarded
That’s how you know I’m ballin’
My bracelet humongous, go up to my armpit
Diamond watchers watch us so we turned on the light switch

“Colors” is equally sinister, and it finds Gucci treading on Young Dro’s well-established car-talk territory over swooping, melodramatic strings: “Paint like Play-Doh/ The Alfredo Lambo/ The shrimp scampi Chevy/ and the guts look like egg yolk.” But where Young Dro always sounds thrilled to be showing off how he can let words tangle and sentences eat themselves, Gucci raps these (incredible) similes in a sedated, solemn way, like he’s a. incredibly stoned and b. not even remotely impressed by his own work. His demeanor, in a way, is like that of a serial killer: going through the motions maybe, but it’s still murder.

1. Gucci Mane – My Rims Dancin’

David:
“My Rims Dancin'” captures the uncut, hard-as-fuck “Ridin Spinners” vibe like nothing 3-6 has done since that time. It’s by miles my most replayed Gucci joint in ’08, especially the version that opened up Bigga Rankin’s From Zone 6 to Duval, not-so-coincidentally the best Gucci mixtape I heard all last year. (Best sequenced, best selection, most diverse, most comprehensive w/out ditching songs for verses. We actually did some affirmative action on this list so it wasn’t dominated by joints Rankin had picked [RIP “On Deck,” “Body Language”]).

My Rims Dancin: Rankin drops those reggae air horns, gun shots & sirens, restarts the track & repeats the raw unapologetic opening line, emphasizing the stabbing cyclical “Like Whoa” strings & thumping triplet bassline, Gucci dropping that “I might be ugly but my car handsome, I might can’t dance but my rims can!!” sideways-grinning self-awareness, combined with that dont-give-a-fuck menacing ruggedness, combined with his 50 Cent-like ear for a perfect hook. But he’s not just ridin spinners, cuz its Gucci; all unique imagery, his rims dance like go-go dancers, one forward & one backward, it might be hood but its still foreign, “place ya hand down there & chop ya damn hands off!!!”

Yo for real if you dont think this is Gucci track of the year I dont give a fuck. Download this shit & figure it out for yourself, he only released a million joints this year:

Best Gucci Mixtapes ’08
1. Bigga Rankin – Zone 6 to Duval
2. DJ Scream – Gucci Sosa
3. DJ Ace – Mr. Perfect
4. DJ Drama – Gangsta Grillz: The Movie
5. Any of the Wilt Chamberlain joints, esp. the first three.

The 30 Best Gucci Mane tracks of 2008 — 10-6

The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — Intro
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 30-26
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 25-21
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 20-16
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 15-11

10. Gucci Mane – Hot Damn

David:
When i was a kid we used to take trips to ‘the country’ where my aunt lived; my older cousins once bet me I wouldnt grab onto the electric fence designed to keep the cows from hitting the road; I grabbed on, not feeling anything, & then got jolted by the charge, which felt like this guitar’s low dull buzz; we also chilled on the paint chip-flecked porch, chewing on grass, sun in our eyes, finding garden snakes (same cousins killed one by leaving it draped on that fence). No sympathy, but this beat is a symphony. This song is about all that. Another Speedy track, a rap music outhouse, with all the backwoods stilted funkyness of “I Move Chickens,” plus buzzing fly FX, buzzing guitar and a buzzing vocal sample that morphs into “Goooooottttdamn! SHIIeeeIIIeeeIIT!” Gucci’s flow fits this kinda straight-up dirt-road-dusty country beat so perfectly its uncanny. Gucci mane in the party, whoa-oh kemosabe.

9. Sino feat. Gucci Mane and Hydro – I’m That Guy

David:
One of the hardest tracks out, this joint knocks like a motherfucker. At this point u should be used to Gucci, feeling the flow; when u hear a competent verse open the track, it’s practically impossible not to anticipate Gucci’s distinctive stubbornness, that congested vocal. Then the second chorus hits & Gucci’s “YeaaaAAAHHHHHHHhhhhh” rides the back like a cosine wave (who thinks that rumor about Jeezy getting his adlibs from Gucci is true?? definitely believable). Then his verse: “I’m so brand new, girl that’s so true! I’m really feelin Cinderella just has lost her shoe” (maybe?? post corrections in the comments). It’s hard to say Gucci’s flow is ‘lazy’ — anyone ever digging jazz knows the diff between swing & dragging. This track is all adrenaline but Gucci retains his slurred style thruout without sounding boring for a moment.

8. Soulja Boy feat. Gucci Mane and Shawty Lo – Gucci Bandana

7. Soulja Boy feat. Gucci Mane – Bands

6. Soulja Boy feat. Gucci Mane and Yo Gotti – Shoppin Spree

Jordan:
Gucci briefly inhabiting Soulja Boy’s universe was the best thing that happened to either in 2008. On “Bands” Gucci manhandles Soulja Boy’s hooky keyboard beat, using its stutter as a guide to play Lincoln Logs with syllables: “You’re a funny bunny junkie/ funky from my homie, homie/ I got so much jewelry on me/ I be even hating on me”; “I’m from another planet, dammit/ two clips in my Pelle jacket” etc. “Gucci Bandana,” with its spare elastic bounce, finds Gucci at his silliest, which is never not welcome: “Pull up to the hood/ stop and let them jock Gucci/ Broads jock Gucci cuz Gucci just Gucci.”

And while those two provided for Gucci a new look outside of his chosen production style of 08— the tinny monoliths of Zaytoven and Drumma Boy— it was “Shopping Spree” that clocked in as my favorite Gucci track of 08. The Mr. Hanky beat one ups both producers on their home court, and after a startlingly nasty first verse from Soulja Boy, Gucci immediately breaks the backboard: “From my Cutlass to a Chevy/ Chevy to a Lamborghini/ You can’t be me or see me unless you see me on TV/ Shiny and greasy I wonder if Stevie Wonder could see me/ necklace a jungle of Veev-es check my selection of pieces.” And though that line reads incredibly, it sounds so much better to hear Gucci’s flow flipped up and down the beat. Also, don’t underestimate what being the first major rapper to work with rap’s most maligned artist says about Gucci or his work ethic.

The 30 Best Gucci Mane tracks of 2008 — 15-11

The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — Intro
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 30-26
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 25-21
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 20-16

15. Gorilla Zoe ft. Gucci Mane – Georgia

14. Gucci Mane ft. Yung Ralph & Yo Gotti – Bricks

Jordan:
Where Field Mob and Ludacris used the Ray Charles sample as a tribute to their projects, Gucci and Zoe use it as you might expect: to up the drama as they rap about moving weight across their home state. Amongst Drumma Boy’s typically suffocating production it’s hard to tell exactly what’s being rapped, which is alright because it’s Gucci’s urgent chorus —”250 BRICKS THEY ON THEY WAY TO GEORGIA/ AND I’MA SELL THEM SHITS IN EAST ATLANTA, GEORGIA”— that elevates the song above your once-an-hour trap anthem. It’s also what makes Gucci and Zoe’s “Georgia” is as much about hometown reverence and pride as Field Mob’s lament.

And yeah, we all know it’s tough to say that a dude who is rapping about flipping coke is doing so with an extreme love and care for his city, but it’s impossible not to get that sense when listening to Gucci forcefully deliver this hook. The last line of the chorus, and the song, finds Gucci in prayer: “Lord please let this yay get back to Georgia.” Maybe that can be read as, “Lord please let this yay get back to Georgia where I will sell it and reap the benefits” but to me it’s sounds like an extension of what Jeezy so convincingly sold to us on The Recession. It’s hard times and Gucci wants to give back best he knows how.

“Bricks” hits its mark, too, and not for a different reason. At the surface it seems like trap-hop pro forma — smeared organ beat courtesy of mixtape MVP Zaytoven, Gucci saying “bricks” a lot— but on his verse (the first) Gucci drops one of his most sideways brilliant couplets: “My watch a cool hundred, paint job a cold twenty/ and after this flip I’m quittin’ the trap cold turkey/… syyyke.” Besides owning the non-rhyme of “twenty” and “turkey,” Borat couldn’t have hit the punchline any better. But really, like “Georgia,” “Bricks” is elevated by its chorus, which is not surprising considering how good Gucci is at making sure his songs have that indelible hook. Back to the Traphouse was rife with them: “Shorty asked me what time it is/ I said it’s fifteen minutes past the diamond, bitch”; “I got the bird flu shorty, sellin’ birds my business/ Catch that bird flu shorty, it’s a terrible sickness”; “Is you rolling?/ Bitch, I might be.”

Gucci’s way with choruses is another parallel he has with sworn enemy Jeezy. But where Jeezy aims for simplicity to achieve pop success — “When they hear that new Jeezy, all the dope boys go crazy” — Gucci, as on “Bricks” or on album track “I Move Chickens,” often packs a bunch of words into his hooks, almost bonus verses. These choruses are what anchor Gucci’s tracks across hundreds of mixtapes, zshares and YouTubes, and they are what make a Gucci song a Gucci song, even as he shuffles flows and production styles and collaborators. “Georgia” and “Bricks” are two of his best, but they’re really just a drop in the Pyrex.

13. Question feat. Gucci Mane – That Boy Bad

David:
That this kind of track can just float along entirely under the radar is bizarre. The beat is kinda nuts, jumping from grinding bass + wind-tunnel whooshing to celebratory horns & distorted keyboard rolls, the sung ‘lalalaaa lalalaaaa’ during the hook and David Banner-style vocal punches during the verses. Question is a rapper who is good but too clever by half (“my cd come with popcorn / my album like a movie”), not bad but a little too ’04-era Kanye ‘clever,’ but Gucci’s verse is classic — “Gucci pull up, shawty go and tell everbody / Mazerati stankin’ like a god damn dead body,” “Money stackin up the point that i cant count it / i need a new accountant, lost my mind and still ain’t found it.” That says it all really.

12. Gucci Mane – Nickelodeon

Jordan:
Everyone mining half-assed Wayne leaks for a fascinating look into the mind of a perpetually weeded rapper slept on “Nickelodeon,” wherein a certainly-blazed Gucci and his shredded throat construct a monument to morning TV out of hilarious cartoon references over a Transformer of a Shawty Redd beat. Though nonsensical, “Nickelodeon” coalesces into an amusing whole — think Helga’s chewing gum bust of Arnold’s football head. Of course, it’s not that juvenile: “I still got it like that nigga with the weed kush/ Short temper throw a punch like I’m Heathcliff.” Then again, maybe it is: “I’m not Richie Rich, bitch/ But I’m rich as fuck.” Either way “Nickelodeon” was easily 08’s most schizophrenic song about trapping, where dead serious threats about deading you include the cutting insult, “I go hard/ Spongebob/ Nigga, you a lame” and a really intimidating one warns, “See I’m a Junkyard Dog not a Scooby Doo.”

11. Gucci Mane – Like a Lambo

David:
I’m not really sure what to make of this other than dude kinda sounds like an asshole, but regardless, if he did this beat & got Gucci on it, hes at least done some good in this world (actually gotta give dap for bringing that classic big gipp single “Steppin Out”!!). It’s real good to hear Gucci spit over something so blatantly melodic, such a mercenary-style pop track, after entire mixtapes of trebly trap house rap tracks. Track is propulsive, with a cool skipping snare — by the way DJ Speedy cannot rap so dont bother with the non-mixtape version, which also inexplicably drops the 2nd Gucci verse. “If u leave your plan A I can be ya plan B.”

The 30 Best Gucci Mane tracks of 2008 — 20-16

The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — Intro
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 30-26
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 25-21

20. Gucci Mane – Mr. Perfect

David:
The minor-key flip of Zaytoven’s “Grapey” beat uses that same vocal “OHH!” sample but with those queasy strings he digs so much. “i’m higher than a eagle on ether, higher than a falcon on california reefer.” A few quotables on here (‘mansion so big kids playin wheres waldo’ etc) but im not bothering with some defensive argument about this (altho it is a noteworthy Zaytoven beat). lyrically its just Gucci clowning around, especially on the chorus — “flow so awful, EULGH! i’m barfin, ACHEUGH, I’m coughin, swish!! im ballin’, pisssssss, I’m pissin,’ PLUCHHH, I’m shittin’, ha-chew sneezin, [inhale]STILL BREATHIN!”

19. Gucci Mane – Feelin’ Myself

Jordan:
Gucci’s an incredible chorus writer, flat-out. The one on “Feelin’ Myself” is almost a schoolyard taunt: “I don’t think you feel me like I’m feelin’ myself/ You suckas hatin’ on Gucci, man that’s bad for your health/ Jewelry, cars, clothes, women and wealth/ So you hatin’ on the kid it’s like you hatin’ on yourself.” Besides being funny, it flips the conceit of your typical song about haters by eschewing obvious chest-thumping because the first line one-ups our bragging expectations. This, in the era where dick-measuring amounts to comparing car titles on YouTube, is pretty singular, just like when Wayne decided to prove to everyone that he was the best rapper alive by releasing an uncountable number of songs. So no, I don’t find it coincidental that Gucci dropped 355 mixtapes this year.

18. Gucci Mane – Kill the Parking Lot

Jordan:
“Kill the Parking Lot” sounds like a lost beat off of that G-Side album in the way it incorporates emotive trance synths but grounds them with classic Southern marching band horns. It’s also got this cooing vocal sample and weird pitter pat drums, and the whole thing is really ‘spacious’ but not empty — just like those great Block Beataz beats — as if this trance soundscape has replaced the sky. This adds weight and drama to what could’ve been a rote car song, and Gucci answers back, rapping straight-faced and forcefully, confident as a motherfucker that his car is flyer than yours.

17. Remi feat. Gucci Mane – Bubble Up

David:
“I bought a scaaaale at the tender age of tweeeelve.” Classic “Ghetto D”-type crack cooking track; Gucci’s confident rasp is solid as usual but the reason this is such a highlight is because of Fatboi, one of Gucci’s most underrated collaborators; conceptually, the beatmaker it reminds me of the most is a guy like KLC, who did these programmatic joints like “Souljas on my Feet” (incorporates stomping into the beat with some minor-key piano noir) or “U Hear Dat” (an entire track made of gun noises, both the drums and efx) for soulja slim. On “Bubble Up” the synths ping-pong up and down, bubbling in the musical crack pot. The comparison to KLC also makes sense because his beats always seem to have this extra degree of musicality/craft to them — less of that rugged & raw shawty redd / zaytoven (in KLC’s case, Mo B. Dick) low-budget sound, but when its a rap about crack cooking you dont really need it; shit is rugged enough.

16. Gucci Mane – I’m A Star

David:
IM A STAR — IM LOOKIN LIKE A STAR, EVERYTHING IS UP TO PAWWWWR, COME LOOK AT MY CAWWWWR
Another classic Gucci chorus (shit will be stuck in your head forever) but this song is mostly notable for the verses, rapid-fire even-eighths spitting that spins out so fast that it becomes an intoxicated blur, Gucci slurring vowel syllables & swallowing consonants, a giddy tornado of forceful ‘lazy’ rapping; enunciation is for ppl without the swagger to be stars themselves.

A quick note about the Gucci list

I know a lot of folks are wary about this kind of hyping in the post-Breihanic era. The “Pitbull is better than Nas” discussion really did damage to folks who want to discuss rap music w/out sticking to boring party line on ‘classic records’ & who like to express, you know, excitement about shit w/out making sure its ‘safe’ to do so. I’m not blaming Tom any more than im blaming the folks who would take to his comments boxes shit talking about hipsters instead of acknowledging that Nas’ output for the last few years has been spotty at best but more significantly, incredibly uninteresting to talk about. My point in bringing this shit up again is to say that I understand this sense of caution when bloggers start using big words to big up a rapper who hasnt really been cosigned by ‘the right people’ yet.

This comment was left on one of the posts:

ghengis blond said…

this comes across as an ugly rationalization of humble pretense. it sounds like you’re playing make believe and magicking up some genius in this guy’s style where you’re perfectly aware it doesn’t exist.

then again, i’ve never been much of a mind reader and i’m grateful for the list. hi ho, miller

I’m not sure whats ‘ugly’ about it. if our tone seems to be building up this guy as some kind of ‘fractured genius,’ the way shit happened to ODB, to Kool Keith, to Cam’ron, to Lil Wayne, it’s not intentional; its certainly less about my reaction to the music & more about the absence of any discussion taking his music seriously at all, which seems at odds w/ his level of creativity, his prolific nature & his status ‘in the real world.’

ive heard plenty of ppl say hes their favorite rapper out right now. he is mine. but i was addicted to his music before i ever had to come up with reasons to explain why i was addicted; this is an attempt to verbalize what was a somewhat subconscious acknowledgment of a legit creative force in rap music.

If folks are talking about my bit on his repetition+building style on ‘photo shoot,’ i think i can see why someone wd think im trying to excessively push dude when really what hes doing is as simple as any musical gimmick. But what doesnt seem particularly special when described on paper becomes a lot more enjoyable once youve become invested in his entire persona/aesthetic. The same could be said of his adlibs. saying ‘burr’ isnt ‘amazing genius!’-type shit on its own, but the argument im trying to make is that hes a multi-dimensional artist, & that these little things are why hes more than the sum of his parts. I dont mean that ‘camera flash, camera flash i see your ass’ is a reason to start paying attention by itself; its more like yet another reason to like him when yr already ‘there.’ Hopefully after the list is finished, more of u will be ‘there.’

The last thing i want to do is seem hyperbolic in describing his creative approach. but fact is, i believe he has authorial control over his rapping style & its not about him being ‘dumb.’ And again the last thing i want is dude to become yet another victim of the corny ‘fractured genius!’ label that got thrown like a iced out albatross on the necks of kool keith & lil wayne.

Id just like to be having any serious discussion at all.

The 30 Best Gucci Mane tracks of 2008 — 25-21

The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — Intro
The 30 Best Gucci Mane Tracks of 2008 — 30-26

25. Gucci Mane – Lodi Dodi

David:
Flipping a classic hook into a smooth yet raspy club chorus & a verse of nonstop quotables: “Gucci you trippin’ you know you ain’t sexy / all this ice call me Gucci Mane Gretzky / Alligator seats, TVs and head rest-s, watch named asthma, leave a bitch breathless.”

24. Gucci Mane – Let’s Go To War

David:
Gucci can do pun-joke-y bullshit as well as anybody, but I’ve been pushing Gucci’s breadth as an artist right? And I don’t mean he’s doing rap album madlibs, trying to fill up the basic LP formula (song for the ladies … song with autotune … Miami/Runners joint with Khaled collaborators … oh shit im talking about ‘carter iii’). Gucci actually switches up his rap style, his flow, his lyrical approach, depending on the content. “Let’s Go To War,” like the title suggests, is Gucci’s “Warning.” No smirking flow, no comical puns, only adlibs are echoed lyrics for emphasis with no gimmicks, & lyrically its just straight no-bullshit threats, delivered in a slow & steady cadence (no drunken Gucci slurring) to ensure there are no misunderstandings. “Comin’ off the hip, I am ready to rip / rapid blood loss so he’s starting to drift, light shining bright and he ready to dip.” Beat is all that Mr. Perfect mixtape twilight atmosphere. & Gucci’s molasses flow here, delivered in simple descending sing-song forces you to focus on the visceral, eliminating any cartoonish studio G vibes u might get from 2009 gangsta shit. “Beatcha with a pistol try to tear off your arm, chest shot close make u cough up a lung.”

23. E-40 feat. Bun-B & Gucci Mane – The Recipe

Jordan:
“The Recipe” was probably Gucci’s highest profile collaboration last year, as well as a perfect example of his ability to steal the spotlight. To be fair, he gets help from E-40 and Bun, who both sound corny going through the motions here, but their out-of-touch verses only amplify Gucci’s vitality. “Recipe” also shows Gucci twisting language and molding words and rhymes to stylishly make his point. This verse starts off with a show-stopper: “Chef of the year, better yet the fuckin’ century/ Dread head killers with me, four deep in my Bent-uh-ly.” Next he uses one of his favorite ad-libs— “Scrrr!”— as a segue into a commanding two bars: “Scrrr! I’m in the kitchen scraping up the pottery/ Workin’ with my hands like the maestro at the symphony/ Sniff! I’m cocaina, shawty take a whiff of me/ Sniff-alufagus so nigga come and cop a E from me.” The verse kind of treads water at the end, but it’s enough that Gucci wrecked two verses from living legends in a little over ten seconds.

22. Gucci Mane – I Live in a TV

21. Gucci Mane – Haunted House

Jordan:
“Scarface Gucci!/ My life’s a motion picture/ Gucci Tarantino, Casino/ Gucci Pacino.” “I Live in a TV” bounces along with lyrics powered by familiar movie references, but like on the cartoon monument “Nickelodeon,” Gucci breathes life into a tired idea by simply being cooler — and, knowingly, sillier — than everyone else: “Call me Gucci Rocket/ Save me, freeze me, watch me/ TiVo!/ Your album came out, rated it/ What’s my response? I hated it!” Where Joe Budden and his ilk have eked out careers trying to out-nerd each other’s pop culture references, Gucci’s sense of style exists merely on another world, his own TV.

“Haunted House” is an atypical Gucci track; his voice is raspy and tattered and almost unrecognizable, like immediately after you wake up after drinking way too much. It also gives the track an added griminess, like on “Nickelodeon,” but over the “Haunted House” beat it has an almost campy horror. “Haunted House” is the most cinematically theatrical song Gucci made this year, just for the chorus alone. Backed by piercing and arching strings, Gucci’s “Bout to turn a nigga house to a haunted house” sets a rugged, visceral tone. To up the drama, as the strings reach higher and higher, his ghostly croak gets double tracked — it’s subtle but really effective. For the verses, the beat switches into this distorted clipped guitar sound, eery violin swells punctuating Gucci’s rhymes to, you know, signify that Gucci is currently creeping down your hallway. It should be a ridiculous stunt, but instead it hits all cylinders — a mixtape song with a concept that ends up being way more than the sum of its parts.