Gucci Mane – Evil Genius

By Charlie Racz

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With nearly 100 EPs, LPs, collab albums, and mixtapes, there’s little debate that Gucci Mane is one of the most prolific artists of the modern era. That being said, it has been nearly a year since the release of Gucci’s last project, El Gato: The Human Glacier. Luckily, Gucci has blessed us with another album, Evil Genius, and he certainly did not disappoint.

Over his long career, Gucci Mane has been a staple artist for the industry; his career has birthed many of the artists we know and love today, making him one of the most influential artists of the current industry. Evil Genius, a dense 18-track album with a plethora of exciting features, is a testament to Gucci’s legacy.

The album opens up with Off the Boat, a track that exemplifies the classic Gucci Mane style that we have all learned to love. Gucci expatiates on the extent of his success, a spirit that is carried throughout the album. In the rap game, Gucci is truly upper echelon, and that’s what this album is all about. 

BiPolar, an intoxicating track featuring Quavo, brings a new dynamic to the album. Quavo and Gucci, who often successfully collaborate, take turns harmonizing and spitting over a kaleidoscopic OG Parker beat. The plentiful transitions in vocals give this track depth and intensity; its exhilarating to say the least.

The features continue with Just Like It, featuring 21 Savage over a heavy C.N.O.T.E. beat. The transition from BiPolar is enticing; there is nothing melodic about this song. This structure is by design, as 21 becomes the perfect candidate for this track; 21 Savage hasn’t missed out on a single feature this year, as you probably remember from Metro Boomin’s NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES. Gucci gives us a brief verse and hook, and 21 absolutely bodies the rest; there’s not much more to say.

Cold Shoulder, another strong track on the album, features YoungBoy Never Broke Again, an interesting partnership that speaks to Gucci’s versatility. YoungBoy, one of the successful products of the new wave, has undoubtedly been influenced by Gucci Mane, and you can see key elements of Gucci in his style. YoungBoy delivers a paradoxically light and distorted verse over a delicate Earl the Pearll beat, and Gucci does the rest. There are no conflicting elements in this track—just bars.

Gucci takes a break from features to obliterate the Southside beat on On God. He then proceeds to make a statement on Father’s Day. This song is where Gucci shows the extent of his talents as a rapper—not just those of his features. Metro Boomin provides multiple beat switch-ups, and Gucci adapts to every transition. Instead of a feature on this song, we get an exceptionally versatile Gucci track. Gucci takes you on a brief journey of oscillating flows fastened by an appropriate hook: I fathered the style, gave you all the wave. But I didn’t get nothin’ for Father’s Day.” Gucci knows that he is largely responsible for the culture surrounding the modern sound, and you need to put respect on his name.

Next, we have a second Quavo feature, which, of course, no one can complain about. Lost Y’all Mind marks the halfway point of this album, but in terms of content, Gucci is just getting started. As they do so well, Quavo provides a mellifluous hook, and Gucci provides cultured, didactic verses. If you haven’t accepted Gucci’s status after his first 95 projects, it is imperative that you do so at this point.

The next song, a previously released single that boasts an unusual combination of features, gives us a taste of Gucci’s expertise. Wake Up in the Sky, featuring Bruno Mars and Kodak Black, is a particularly melodic track with a luxurious beat. Bruno Mars brings silky vocals, an element that gives Gucci and Kodak an unusual platform to showcase their talent. Gucci gives us a taste of his concordant side, leading us to Kodak Black, who serves an atypical and precise verse that transitions into melody much like that of Bruno Mars.  

Mad Russian, featuring Lil Skies, is yet another example of Gucci’s ability to make all types of collaboration work. The soft and experimental Murda beat allows diametrically opposed flows to homogenize. Gucci gives us a steady, direct verse that peculiarly transitions into the upbeat, engaging persona of Lil Skies. Gucci doesn’t have to alter anything to make this alliance work, a trend seen throughout the album.

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images for Spotify)

A few staple solo Gucci verses lead us to the final track of the album, Kept Back, featuring Lil Pump. Again, Murda Beatz privileges us with an impossibly fascinating beat; Gucci seizes attention with yet another original hook; and the Lil Pump verse is delivered with perfect timing. Pump then changes the dynamic of the song entirely when he snaps on the trendy flute-heavy beat. Once again, Gucci works his magic and blends two different energies with ease.

This album has all the elements of Gucci Mane, new and old. He demonstrates his mastery with several solo tracks that have no need for any external talent; but when Gucci chooses to incorporate features, they are quite effective. Regardless of what you refer to him as—El Gato, Gucci Mane La Flare, Mr. Zone 6—there is no doubt that Gucci Mane has influence well beyond that of the ordinary.

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