As far as characters go in the music industry, Gucci Mane is on the stranger side of the spectrum. Commonly credited as the father of the trap sub-genre Radric Delantic Davis has carved out a ridiculously glitzy career as a both a rapper, mentor and a pioneer- of sorts. Having spent a hefty amount of time in cuffs/behind bars, the Atlanta Georgia rapper was set to finish off his latest prison sentence in March of this year. The result of Mane’s new found freedom? A new full-length mixtape, which is pretty much everything you expect it to be. With self-indulgent lyrics, synth-heavy sounds and more high-hats than a drum warehouse, ‘Everybody Watching’ sees Mane going back to doing what he does best.
To be fair to Mane, he certainly cannot be accused of not being true to his sound or to himself in ‘Everybody Watching’. As prominent and generic as mainstream Atlanta Trap has become, Gucci Mane and his Bricksquad associates should be rightfully credited with kicking this genre into the mainstream; which is no mean feat. The album features collaborations with some fairly big names in hip-hop and trap, including Young Thug, Kanye West and the ever enigmatic Drake.
With a mainly minimal, top-end heavy sound, ‘Everybody Watching’ subscribes to many of trap’s genre conventions. There’s plenty of the sampled high-hats and relatively simple synth melodies here. Mike Wills, Gucci’s longtime collaborator and producer, always manages to come through with interesting and jagged drum lines. ‘Richest N**** In The Room’ features a light and airy arpeggiated rhythm which contrasts nicely with a droopy drum beat. Unusually Mane’s production in this mixtape has shifted to a much more artificial sound; not unsimilar to Danny Brown’s EDM edges in ‘Old’. ‘Multimilionare’ uses scatterings of piano and squeaking synths to create a sound reminiscent of old school hip hop, whilst keeping squarely in the realms of the electronic.
Lyrically speaking, we’re covering much of the same ground here as before. There is an obvious fixation with Mane’s criminal life and prison; and how could you blame him really? Track ‘First Day Out Tha Feds’ is an obvious nod to Mane’s triumphant return back into the genre that he helped pioneer. All of the lyrics across ‘Everybody Watching’ are self-congratulatory and, of course it goes without saying heavily misogynistic. But, if you’re in any way familiar with this genre, this will come as no surprise.
‘Everybody Watching’ isn’t going to convert any minds over to trap. It’s not going to cause any musical revelations. But if you’re in a club, it will definitely have enough bass and drums to make you believe, if but for a second, that you’re living Gucci Mane’s lifestyle.
‘Everybody Watching’ is available now via Amoeba Music.
This Gucci Mane article was written by Zoe Anderson, a GIGsoup contributor.