Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records

Since being released from prison in 2016, Gucci Mane has maintained his status as one of the more prolific artists in the rap game, keeping his name omnipresent with a consistent stream of releases and guest appearances.

Hitting the ground running with three studio albums and collaborative projects with Future and Lil Uzi Vert, 2016 was hailed by many as Gucci Mane's emergence as a media darling. He had a new, zen-like countenance and carefree disposition, which was a stark contrast to the menacing persona and appetite for violence that helped earn him a 30-month prison sentence.

His renewed focus on his health and leading a sober lifestyle, as well as an engagement to his longtime girlfriend, Keyshia Ka'oir, have helped him become a fan-favorite not only within the hip-hop community, but also within the confines of the mainstream. With his approval rating at an all-time high across the board, Gucci Mane returns to the campaign trail with his latest collaborative project, Drop Top Wop, which finds Mr. LaFlare teaming up with producer Metro Boomin for their first joint project since 2013's World War 3: Molly mixtape.

Although Metro Boomin isn't the sole producer to contribute to Drop Top Wop, his role as a curator and maestro is evident with the superstar producer earning a production credit on every song on the project, as he does on The Southside co-produced "5 Million Intro." Rhyming over a pounding bassline and ominous synths, Gucci Mane, who released Drop Top Wop in celebration of being one-year removed from his prison release, is in full flex mode. "I'm Gucci Mane La Flare, I make 5 million a day/Let me clarify I made 5 million today," he raps.

Making light of fans' reactions to his maturation and evolution as a man, the 1017 Brick Squad leader jokes, "People say they cloned me because I changed my ways" on the CuBeatz, TM88 and Metro Boomin-produced "Tho Freestyle." He also shares tidbits about his rap sheet, with the lines, "I'm a ex con, used to sell crack at the Texaco/Known for toting guns and it's what I'm on probation for/Had a murder charge, but they ain't found me guilty though."

Gucci Mane may be a changed man, but his music by no means resembles an after school special and mirrors the brash content that has dominated his music throughout his career, a tradition that Drop Top Wop continues with songs like "Helpless," one of the few songs produced by Metro Boomin in its entirety, and one of the tape's noteworthy selections. The first half of Drop Top Wop finds Guwop flying solo, but the second half includes a string of collaborative efforts with some of the South's finest trap lords, and make for some of the best offerings from the rapper's latest.

Migos member Offset, who revels in his own success post-prison ("I was that nigga locked up in the cell/And they treated me like I was normal/Thankin' the Lord for them blessings/I just left the met gala, dressing up formal"), makes an appearance on "Met Gala," while Young Dolph and 2 Chainz tack verses on the London On Da Track and Metro Boomin-produced "Both Eyes Closed," another key meeting on the minds that is sure to capture fans' intrigue.

Metro Boomin cooks up a sparse, plodding backdrop on the Rick Ross-assisted finale cut "Loss 4 Wrdz," which Gucci turns into a druggy anthem, slurring, "I'm feelin' like I took a Perc', I'm at a loss for words/It's like I smoked a pound of herb, so please do not disturb." He also pegs himself as "a description of a young Black man, trappin' with a pistol," another admission of his crooked ways.

Drop Top Wop makes no effort to reinvent the wheel and is filled with all of the wrinkles that make a Gucci Mane project a unique listen of its own. For some artists, their success lies more in sticking to the script and giving fans what they want, rather than attempt to overextend their artistry for the sake of breaking the mold. This is a concept that Gucci Mane has mastered, resulting in marginal critical acclaim, but maximizing his staying power and popularity, the latter of which many artists cannot claim more than a decade after their debut. Gucci Mane's latest may be business as usual, but Drop Top Wop gives the customer exactly what they're looking for, which is a tried-and-true art within itself, making it another quality offering in the Atlanta legend's extensive catalog.

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