By Leroy Tuckerton
Gucci’s new album sucks. Seventeen months after, as he puts it, “coming out da feds,” Gucci Mane returns with his eleventh full-length album, which is even softer than he’s been previously post-ice-cream-cone face tattoo and “devilish juice” addiction. Chock full of tedious production and lackluster lines, the project is pandering on the same scale as the Gucci clone conspiracy — a theory that surfaced when Gucci was released from prison a changed man –– which the album “Mr. Davis” may serve as evidence for believers. Set alongside the new six-pack, the new marriage, the new face and the fact that this new album is a commercial success might make one wonder if whoever had Kubrick film the moon landing was at play on the production of this album.
Throughout the project, Gucci seems to either pull from old material (his flow in “Changes” mirrors exactly his verse on Migos’ “Slippery”) or just fall to more or less rapping in conversation. In nearly every sense, “Mr. Davis” feels bloated and Khaled-like in its overproduction, an obsequious cash-grab for new Gucci. He comes to bat with 14 features (ten more than his previous full length-album), which for the most part don’t seem to be as carefully thought out as they are simply flashy names: Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Big Sean, The Weeknd. It often sounds as if Gucci is mocking his past self, wherever they’re keeping him. In “Changes” he says “Old Gucci Mane was addicted to dranking / New Gucci Mane, I’m addicted to Franklins / No, we not the same, I’m evolving.” Very curious indeed.
Whether evolved or cloned, “Mr. Davis” lacks the raw, low-stakes feel more typical of Gucci’s work. Aside from a notably good line in “Tone it Down” referring to Fred Flinstone, Gucci isn’t even that funny in this album. Gone are the ridiculous bangers like “Icy Lil B***h” from “Woptober” or the raw, hood-zen hilarity off “The Return of East Atlanta Santa.” Instead we get autobiographical and rhymeless bars like, “This is what a dream look like / If you hate tell me what yo self-esteem look like / Ex-dealer but I left that life / I can’t even remember what a triple beam look like.” Don’t play with us, new Gucci, we know those aren’t really rhymes. Save it for the autobiography (worth noting, actually: Gucci did recently make number four on the New York Times Bestseller list with “The Autobiography of Gucci Mane,” a self-help book modeled after his own experience with keeping busy in prison). As these bars indicate, “Mr. Davis” is as lyrically weak as Gucci was physically weak when he was 80 pounds heavier before his incarceration.
In the cloyingly syrupy “Made It (Outro),” Gucci says, “I act like I forgot but I was once a mental patient / Sittin’ still in a cell while my career deteriorated / Now every day I wake up I feel invigorated.” But we haven’t forgotten. And because we can’t forget, “Mr. Davis” feels like an offense against the old Gucci Mane. With it’s overproduction, ostentatiously popular features, weak autobiographical bars and a noticeable absence of slurry sozzled puns, new Gucci delivers a passable disappointment with “Mr. Davis.” And for those who were convinced of the authenticity of this new Gucci character, “Mr. Davis” might put a question mark back into the picture.