Fresh off his Trap Back release in February, Gucci Mane continues his grind, as he serves up his latest trap-friendly offering, I’m Up. Boasting a bulky tracklist (it spans 21 songs) and even bulkier guest list (Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Big Sean and more), the DJ Holiday/DJ J1/Trap-A-Holics-hosted tape finds Gucci flexing his patented fan-favorite tricks, but this time without all the winning pizzazz.
“What would this game be without me,” questions—but also brags—the face-tatted trap star on the dour opener “Without Me.” Zaytoven’s murky backdrop gives Gooch the platform to press about smoking like Cheech & Chong, selling dope like Nicky Barnes and living like the trap’s King Kong (“Stupid money, crazy jewelry, fast life, beautiful women,” he continues). On the 2 Chainz-assisted title track, Gucci gets “hands on like an iPad” over Drumma Boy’s rattling production and cooks up dope in two bowls at the same time with Rick Ross on “Trap Boomin.” Delivering his signature lethargic rhyming pattern on each record, the Bricksquad general holds his own atop Polow Da Don’s Middle Eastern sounding string plucks on “Cyeah” featuring part-time rapper Chris Brown and Lil Wayne, as well as on “Plain Jane,” and the hard-hitting “Anytime You Ready” with Birdman.
Despite the notable joints, I’m Up is flooded with featured guests, whom often outshine the rapper (“Don’t Make No Sense” next to Fabolous and 8Ball; “Scarface” alongside Scarface). Though they don’t necessarily hurt the project— adding a mélange of different styles and various temperaments—the supporting cast makes the tape seem more like a compilation project than a solo. Filled with cliché concepts about Gucci’s affinity for flipping birds and having them thangs for the low—can’t forget racking in stupid money—I’m Up doesn’t offer anything new or refreshing to the table—though that’s probably not what his fans are looking for. Instead, Gucci and the tape stick to what’s been working, delivering brazen bars spoken by a trap star with flair, backed by rambunctious production. Burrr… —Ralph Bristout (@XXLRalph)