In the glorious pantheon of trap rappers, Gucci Mane’s dais is the largest. Since the mid 2000s, Guwop’s been peddling a very specific style of rap music – one for the hustlers, not the hustled. He wasn’t the first to rap about drugs, but he was first to package it within a very particular set of characteristics that would later be stretched out and commercialized. He seldom argues the fact that he’s the creator of rap’s biggest subculture – he lets T.I., Jeezy, and others have fun with that – and lets his enormous catalog play as something of an oral history of the genre. With more than 12 albums and 71 mixtapes, there’s not much more that Gucci Mane can show us to cement himself as one of the most influential artists in hip-hop culture. And that’s precisely the problem with Evil Genius; it’s familiar when everyone around him has taken steps to change the parameters of trap more than he ever has. Gucci Mane sounds comfortable, making this skippable.
Evil Genius is an album for settling in on a car ride and for making the lower end of curated playlists on DSPs. To that end, most of its 18-track runtime is dedicated to downtrodden trap anthems with lush elements like the ambience of “By Myself” or the stabs of piano on “Just Like It.” It nary reaches the oddity of modern trap that’s evolved away from the street corner anthems of Gucci’s heyday. In this respect, it creates something of a uniform sound. Gucci’s 808s have never been more prevalent, which is a plus. His drawling bass has been a constant, and a large reason his music bruised the speakers of Nissan Altimas in 2008 when the lyricism stagnated and never improved.
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