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Gucci Mane – The State vs. Radric Davis

2.5-stars

The_state_vs_radric_davis_cover

Patience is a virtue rarely rewarded. Instant fixes and satisfactions come and go. But we’ve been patient with Gucci since the beginning. “So Icey” was the first video I saw when I got off the plane and arrived in the United States for good. His songs would come in and out over the years, improving and fading away. Time passed, and all of a sudden, Gucci came back, and then left again and then came back. But his stream of mixtapes, guest appearances and videos this year was sumptuous, hinting at indeed, showing an absolutely ridiculous world of constant fun. It’s been five long years, but The State vs. Radric Davis, Gucci’s proper studio album, dropped Tuesday. Gucci Week is here. There is too much happening on this record to leave it to one reviewer, so we’ve enlisted several. Take it away AJ.

Gucci Mane La Flare was released from his most recent prison stint sometime in Spring 2009, and from that point on just owned the rest of the year.

Writing On The Wall, Gangsta Grillz: The Movie Part 2 (and then Part 3), guest verses on Mario’s “Break Up,” Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed,” Cold War mixtapes (three of them), and Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow.” Gucci was now signed to a major label (Warner Brothers) and finally, last week, we were blessed with a major label record that had the money invested in it that you would expect from a major label. Polow Da Don (probably not cheap, post-Fergie), Usher (never cheap), Keyshia Cole (I guess that hit with Diddy was a minute ago now?), Lil Wayne, Bun-B.

This is the treatment I hoped Boosie was gonna get this year on SuperBad, but didn’t.

Honestly, the record is about 100% of what you would expect with this much money behind it. Some of what makes Gucci so great has gotten lost a little, but many dudes who aren’t able to wade through D.J. drops and “pass the Grey Poupon” skits will be able to finally get on board.

Things to check for:

1. Rock-centric (or Illmatic-centric) (or racist) critics who use the term “guilty pleasure,” or throw a comfort blanket of irony over their enjoyment, or who somehow suggest that Gucci isn’t a lyricist. Gucci’s writing and delivery are off the wall and genuinely artistic. If you can’t understand the abstract (but non-nerdy) insanity of his subject material — which I am in fact ruining just by writing about — then I just don’t know what to tell you. I really don’t.

2. Commentary on “Wasted.” This happens to be my least favorite song on the record. This is like a Johnny-come-lately “Party Like A Rockstar,” and even though I am sort of a fan of the subversive quality and humor of “white culture” viewed through black eyes (best summed up in “Rockstar” with the line, “Now I’m on the golf course, trippin’ with the Osbournes,”) this song doesn’t really live up to that mantle. The pool party vid is cool though.

3. Not sure who owes their career more to the other, Gucci or Zaytoven, but each broke on “So Icey.” Zaytoven gets brought along for only one track on this record, “I Think I’m in Love,” and while it’s good, Zaytoven is among the most innovative practicing his art in the mainstream right now, and this beat doesn’t really show that off. Cruise over to Grooveshark and check out his production on Gucci’s “Gorgeous” or, even better, “First Day Out,” a.k.a. the best song of 2009.

4. “The streets derailed me, but God didn’t fail me
Opportunity didn’t knock, but it just e-mailed me
D.A. nailed me, Rice Street jailed me
Took it like a champ while the whole world mailed me
Young don’t like me, Jay outsells me
Nothing in the world Kanye could tell me.”

5. Further reading:
Soderberg, Brandon on “Two or Three Things I Know About Gucci Mane”
XXL’s review
NY Times‘ “Gucci Me, No Holds Barred”

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