Gucci Mane
The Burrrprint 2 HD

Beats: XL
Lyrics: L
Originality: L

Gucci Mane may be locked up right now, but that hasn’t stopped his movement. Just four months after releasing his major label debut, The State Vs. Radric Davis, from behind bars, the Atlanta rapper returns on the DJ Holiday-hosted The Burrrprint 2 HD, a surprisingly cohesive street album featuring tracks recorded prior to Gucci’s incarceration, as well as a number of interludes and even a catchy, Drumma Boy-produced song, “Intro (Live From Fulton County Jail,” recorded over the phone from prison.

Thanks to a slew of up-tempo, 808-heavy production efforts, Gucci doesn’t give off the impression that he’s going through a particularly rough patch in his life. On the bouncy “Boy From The Block,” he shows little regard for his legal situation as he playfully raps, “I pull up in the Spyder, strapped up like MacGyver/Shoulda brought my Phantom out but I’m mad at my driver.” On the triumphant “Parking Outside,” he spits about all the cars he’s got stored away in his garage. And on the sing-songy “How I’m Living,” featuring a bubbly Jim Jones, he indicates that he’s never been better by bragging about his nasally rap flow and all that it has afforded him.

But as with any artist that releases material while they’re incarcerated, Gucci struggles to keep up the momentum due to material that doesn’t sound as organic. The droning “Here We Go Again” is as repetitive, subject-wise, as its title indicates. And the robust eight-minute-long cocaine posse cut, “Coca Coca,” provides just a little bit too much of the obvious. But Gucci manages to bring the mixtape home on the booming “Shining For No Apparent Reason,” a superficial ode to outlandish spending. It may not seem like the ideal time for Gucci Mane to be so boastful, but on TB2, he does everything he can to make the best of a bad situation. —Chris Yuscavage