Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, Gucci Mane released his latest project, Trap Back, hosted by DJ Holiday. After a tumultuous 2011, in which he saw more time inside of a psychiatric hospital and jail cell than a studio, the controversial Atlanta rapper attempts to reach out to his core audience with a project that features Jadakiss, 2Chainz, and Future, as well as constant collaborators Waka Flocka Flame, Yo Gotti, and Rocko.
As expected, Trap Back features an exercise in excellent trap production as Lex Luger, Drumma Boy, Zaytoven, Southside, Mike Will Made It, KE on the Track, and Sonny Digital provide the sounds. So, production isn’t the issue for Gucci as much as the fact that, within the past year, his personal problems have allowed the rise of other Atlanta artists. Long-time fans will be happy to hear that Gucci Mane seems to be moving in the direction of a successful 2012.
The tape begins with a phone introduction from none other than incarcerated drug trafficker, and one of the founding leaders of the Black Mafia Family organization, Demetrious “Big Meech” Flenory. Although this may seem odd to fans as Big Meech has been known as a long-time affiliate of Young Jeezy and an on-again/off-again enemy of Gucci, the introduction sets the tone for a different project from Gucci Mane than we’ve seen in the last couple of years.
“Back in 95” begins the song portion of the tape with a rare look into Gucci’s past. Although critics complain of the lack of variety in his subject matter, it is clear that this is all Gucci has known his entire life (“Had a crush on your sister but I used to serve your mama, breaking fifties down to dimes was my job for summer”). On “Plain Jane,” producer Mike Will Made It steals the show with a grimy, futuristic-like melody that sounds as if it was produced on the planet Mercury. Although Gucci and Rocko provide solid verses, the beat is so hypnotizing that it manages to stand alone above the other instrumentals on the tape as the clear best beat.
Surprisingly, as strong as the first half of Trap Back is, the second half continues the vibe as quality tracks such as “Thank You” and “Okay with Me” stand on their own. The latter features Gucci Mane providing an excellent hook, sending listeners on a flashback to 2009 when Gucci was at the height of his popularity and hook-creating ability. Although he may not be the most lyrical rapper to ever pick up a microphone, Gucci has an ability to put enough emotion and flair into his words that allow his choruses and ad-libs to float inside of your consciousness for days.
“Sometimes,” featuring buzzing Atlanta rapper Future, brings the finest out of producer Drumma Boy and Gucci Mane. The vibe created by the murky drum and piano sounds will have the listener feeling like the co-star of Drumma’s personal horror movie or as the passenger inside a car with others prepared to do no good. Gucci does not disappoint as he gives a small introspective into his mercurial consciousness, even touching on the passing of Bricksquad rapper Slim Dunkin:
“I know God can’t be mad at me because of all the blessings he gave me /
Riding around with my top down I’m looking up at the galaxy /
Lot of girls can’t stand me, they don’t really understand me /
Can’t get half of my phantom, you ain’t getting half of my mansion /
Lost my homie to gun fire, n*gga part of my empire /
Ever since that day, I been riding late like a vampire /
People say I’m an addict, got a lot of bad habits /
Love smoking that broccoli and I love stacking that cabbage” /
It may not be the greatest mixtape of all-time or even the best mixtape in Gucci’s catalog, but Trap Back is easily the strongest release from Gucci Mane since, possibly, 2008. On this project, Gucci sounds clear, concise, and back focused on his career. With supreme beats and an improved flow, Trap Back is a must-download for fans and might even introduce new fans into the world of trap music. Trappers rejoice – Gucci Mane is back and looking to claim the throne as “King of the Trap.”
Find Gucci Mane’s new mixtape, Trap Back, on Datpiff.com, and follow him on Twitter (@gucci1017). Mos Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, through his website www.onebrothertoanother.com, or on Twitter (@MosJones).