Gucci Mane is known for many things. One of them is of course his rap career, an extremely prolific one in which he helped popularize the trap subgenre that’s now running rampant in today’s hip hop world. On the other hand, he’s also known for his multiple stints in jail and drug use, which has almost become synonymous with his music career. He could be known as the “Lemonade” rapper one day and the “rapper who went on that crazy Twitter spree” the next. However, something seemed to have clicked during his near-three year prison sentence for firearm and drug charges, which ended this past May. After revealing he’s been clean ever since incarceration, Guwop appears to have turned a new leaf and is back to focusing on rap. Everybody Looking, his ninth studio album, has the Atlanta native aiming to take back his trap god title, with help from some of the biggest names in rap today.
Though a solo project, the album heavily features Mike MiLL Made-It and Zaytoven behind the boards. The two deliver some heavy hitting beats, some featuring the piano-laced production which has become the latter’s calling card. Guwop doesn’t disappoint, as his mic presence is still one of the best in the game. For example, on “At Least a M,” most rappers would get drowned out by the catchy beat the aforementioned two provide; not Gucci. His ability to command your attention, whether by way of his flow or his lyrics is still very much intact after being imprisoned.
Lyrically Gucci is celebrating success, affirming his street cred and addressing his copycats. “Your n*gga pinchn’ pennies/But I’m out here making these millions, b*tch/Don’t ask me who I’m votin for/cause I got all the presidents,” he raps on the Kanye West-assisted “P*ssy Print.” On “Richest N*gga In The Room,” Gucci asserts his trap legend status. “’89, ’96, 2002/I was selling dope before they thought that shit was cool.” As if we needed a reminder, as his street cred is among the most legendary and respected in the game. The aptly titled “All My Children” has Gucci calling out his hip hop doppelgangers. “All these rappers are all my children” he decrees. He certainly isn’t wrong, as he is regularly cited among the new crop of rappers as one of their influences.
The album certainly has its fair share of misfires. “Guwop Home” features Young Thug, who takes his patented croak a little too far, his voice cracking often throughout damn near ruins the track, even with his verse being more than passable. The album also has some filler, which isn’t surprising for a trap album. Nonetheless, some songs (“Robbed,” “Gucci Please”) leave no lasting impression at all.
If any song could symbolize Gucci’s return to the masses, it’s “Back On Road,” featuring Drake. The song deals with getting back in the swing of things while also turning a new leaf and leaving your old life behind. “Facing prison, drug addiction/It’s like I’m battling with myself/I done shook up all my demons/Now I’m back to myself.” It seems Gucci really has changed. In an interview with The Fader, he admitted that his life was spiraling downward, and that jail was what he needed to alter his ways. “It helped me out a lot,” he said. “To drive me off the drugs. It gave me time to reflect.” Now three years sober, looking fit and rid of all the “toxic” people in his life, Everybody Looking is a triumphant return for the rap legend, which for awhile didn’t even seem possible. With ‘everybody looking,’ Gucci came through.