Guwop Enterprises

Jail time is never good for a rapper’s career. Even though the dangerous, crime-riddled lifestyle some artists have experienced can be turned into some pretty superior rap music, when it’s time to pay the piper for said crimes, it’s always hard to bounce back. However, Gucci Mane, looks to break that trend with his best project thus far, a full 15-track album titled Everybody Looking.

The release serves as a celebration of Gucci’s freedom and the return of hip-hop’s iciest trapper. Even though this is Gucci’s ninth official album, the Atlanta rap veteran has dropped well over 40 mixtapes plus another dozen projects made up of EPs, digital releases, collaborative tapes and more. You would think that after more than 60 projects Gucci would run out of ways to rap about flipping a brick, and to a certain extent, he has. The Gucci we hear on Everybody Looking is a little more distinguished and poetically evolved than ever before. He is by no means spitting verses like Nas but his OG status just shines through that much more; even when talking about choppas and cooked keys.

His most standout moment of self-awareness comes out on the Kanye West-supported “Pussy Print.” Gucci justly raps, “And I only featured Kanye/'Cause we both some fuckin' narcissists/Narcissistic tendencies with psychopathic pockets, bitch,” which is a line that you probably wouldn’t have heard from Guwop before he entered jail.

Another example of Gucci’s clarity post-jail is featured heavily on the Drumma Boy-produced track “All My Children.” Perhaps the best track on the LP, Gucci bigs up those he has inspired while still giving them a steady dose of backhanded compliments. “I can take a dope boy and make him go platinum/But how a drug dealer from East Atlanta go platinum?/Master P, '93, mixed with a lil Eazy-E/Dancing in the video like Puff cause I got plenty G's” is a line that could be directed at 99 percent of all rappers blowing up out of Atlanta with the modern trap sound that Gucci pioneered. As much as it's clear Gucci is proud of the influence he’s brought to the scene. he still ends things off with the facts: “Gucci got more money than all these rappers.” Just a little reminder in case you forgot who the iciest was.

Gucci’s weight, substance abuse and transparency have all changed (for the better) since returning home but one thing that has yet to change is the key relationships Big Guwop has made in the Atlanta rap world. On “Waybach,” Gucci lists off all those mega producers that he came up with and is still as close with today. “Yeah you know I fuck with Zaytoven, we go way back” and “Man, y'all know I fuck with Mike Will, we go way back.” Both Zaytoven and Mike Will Made-It have been instrumental in building Gucci’s sound since the Trap House and Hard to Kill days and vice versa. Having these major producers on this album not only makes the beats unbelievably authentic but reminds us that there are still some personal and working relationships in hip-hop that can outlast even the most strenuous jail time.

With that said, there isn’t one subpar beat on this album. Southside, Drumma Boy, Will-A-Fool, Myles Harris, Murda Beatz, Marz and Swae Lee also get noted for some production credits but this album truly is a Mike Will, Zaytoven and Gucci creation. The beats feature the trap bangers synonymous with his sound and the knocking soundscapes only his team could create. The result is Gucci hitting over the instrumentation with an incredibly raspy flow that is arguably tighter than his government issued ankle monitor.

On the album’s concluding bonus track “Multi Millionaire Laflare,” Gucci sums up the mood of this album in one effortless line: “Bring my Rolexes to me, and take these handcuffs off of me.” The line, in its literal meaning, is probably what Gucci said word for word as he stepped out of Terre Haute Penitentiary but figuratively, it means a lot more. Gucci’s constant battle with the law, for the most part, has hindered his career over and over again. This album is not so much his ninth studio album as much as it is his declaration of independence from the system that has tied him down since the beginning of his career. Gucci sounds more comfortable, confident and icier than ever before.

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