Which city is most important to hip-hop in 2014? While Chicago and Los Angeles certainly have to be in the conversation, another obvious choice is Atlanta, based purely off the amount of stars coming out of the A right now. One cannot overlook Gucci Mane’s influence when it comes to ATL’s abundance of talent, and this much is clear just by taking a look at the number of records and projects he will have put out by year’s end. Despite being behind bars (he’s currently serving a 39-month sentence for gun possession), Guwop remains one of the hardest working rappers in the game. After already delivering two mixtapes in the past two months in the form of Young Thugga Mane LaFlare and Brick Factory Vol. 1, Gucci is prepared to flood the streets with even more content throughout 2014’s second half. On World War 3D, Guwop plays the role of head coach, only appearing on a few songs yet corralling fellow ATLiens Young Thug, Migos, and PeeWee Longway for 35 fresh cuts over hard-hitting production from the likes of Zaytoven, Mike WiLL Made It, and more.
“I just came straight from the bottom/Young Thugga came straight up from nothing/I know you think I owe you something,” Young Thug croons in his Weezy-esque inflection at the beginning of The Purple Album. The opening track, “Clap Your Hands,” is a celebration of Thugger’s ascendance despite having the odds stacked against him. On songs such as “Hurt Nobody,” “Tell Nobody No,” and “Texter,” Thug showcases his unconventional, yet undeniable ability to ride a downright filthy beat. That formula is nothing new for Thugger; it’s what garnered him national acclaim in 2013 for hits like “Stoner” and “Danny Glover.” However, it’s promising to see consistency in the 21-year-old, a trait that his buddy Guwop is often praised for. While he rarely strays from topics such as lean, weed, straps, and women, all the buzz surrounding Young Thug is real and is solidified through The Purple Album’s 12 tracks.
Migos’ explosion in 2013 might have occurred quicker and reached a bigger audience than even that of Young Thug’s. By now, every hip-hop head knows that the trio consisting of Quavo, TakeOff, and OffSet have found their niche thanks to a unique flow that’s now been duplicated by everybody and their mother. On The Green Album, Migos continues its run of quality trap bangers alongside go-to producer Zaytoven. Though the project falls short compared to the group’s previous release, No Label 2, it still provides plenty of lyrical dope for the listener to bang in the whip. “Problems” features a chorus from Young Thug and paints a vivid picture of Bando life, while “1017” serves as the proper warning to anyone who plans on testing the group’s street credibility.
World War 3D’s third offering, The White Album, features some of the best beats of all three projects. Tracks like “Blame It On Her,” “Call Yo Plug,” and “Time To Get Paid” are must-listens from a production standpoint. On “Dangerous Click,” Gucci Mane properly sums up the mixtape’s content: “You want an R&B rapper, you better listen to Drake.” Out of Thug, Migos, and Longway, PeeWee sounds the most like Gucci’s direct understudy; yet he doesn’t attempt to fully jack Guwop’s flow. On “Goblin,” Longway proves he can hold his own on a song with no guest appearances.
World War 3D probably won’t appear on any end-of-year lists, but it reinforces Gucci Mane’s place in the Atlanta hip-hop scene and sheds light on up-and-comers. The projects may lack lyrical chops, but they make up for it with hard beats and sharp delivery; as a listener, those are the perfect ingredients for making moves in the summertime. Don’t believe us? Bump “Panaramic Roof” at full volume while you cruise around town and try not to lose it.—Eli Schwadron