There couldn’t be a more appropriate name for Gucci Mane’s fourteenth studio album: Delusions of Grandeur are exactly what Guwop has to have on his mind at this point if he really believes he’s still relevant in 2019 — let alone still the self-appointed “King of the South.” But it’s not just Gucci who’s been lying to himself for several years now: the general public has joined in on this illusion as well, rallying behind the ATL icon since his release from prison three years ago, whilst claiming that he’s undergone the ‘glow up’ of the decade. And why wouldn’t they? After all, the underdog narrative is one that’s been a staple in hip-hop since its early beginnings, and the idea of the leaned-out, borderline incoherent monster that was Mr. Zone 6, just a few years ago, having a From G’s to Gents transformation is one that’s immensely gratifying.
Sadly, the one thing that hasn’t been upgraded in this period of time is his musical facility, which in fact has been limited rather considerably (coming from an artist who was once notorious for releasing up to 15 mixtapes in a month, back when he was still incarcerated). Gucci now lacks the erratic nature that the less fettered version of himself once possessed: Delusions of Grandeur makes lifeless bids for radio play, ranging from songs that are completely unneeded (the Justin Bieber assisted “Love Thru the Computer,” a third-rate “Kiss Me Through the Phone,” with about half of the catchiness), to just barely serviceable (“Lame,” which features Wiz Khalifa screaming some incoherent nonsense, while Rick Ross brags about paying women to wipe his ass) — with little wiggle room in-between. This isn’t to suggest that Gucci can’t whip out a clever bar, here or there, or that he can’t pick a semi-decent beat to rap over either — even if a large selection of behind-the-scenes talent here (Zaytoven, Southside, and Honorable C.N.O.T.E.) feels practically outdated compared to the less rigorously mundane likes of Mura Beats and Tay Keith. But it’s really time to call a spade a spade: the era of Trap God Gucci has ended, and anyone saying otherwise is deluding themselves, like Guwop here.
Published as part of What Would Meek Do? | Issue 10.