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Living With Yourself: Gucci Mane’s The Appeal


The Appeal: Georgia’s Most Wanted is better than Jewelry Selection, not as good as Mr. Zone 6, and far more concentrated and mixtape-like than The State Vs. Radric Davis. There aren’t a lot of guests (far fewer than The State) and the slightly outside of the Fatboi/Zaytoven wheelhouse production pushes Gucci in interesting, near new directions: Soulja-boy-like sad triumphalism on “Makin’ Love To The Money,” relationship raps meeting up with Four Tet-like backwards weirdness (and some ghetto-tech chants and Ray J?!) on “Remember When,” and the closest Gucci can get to chillaxed yacht rap on the “Haterade” and “It’s Alive.” Then there’s “Dollar Sign,” which is Gucci being very wacky (“I’m so fuckin’ paid I just bought the dollar sign”) and meter-obsessed (“so I keep her, feed her treat her like a diva”), which is exactly how we like him. The Appeal is easily the most head-down, straight rapping-est release from Gucci since From Zone 6 To Duval.

Back when The State Vs. Radric Davis was released, it was common to compare it to Tha Carter III in that it was an exciting, rap-nerd zeitgeist-grabbing, masterful major label mess from a mixtape rapper everybody thought couldn’t deliver. The Appeal though, is like Tha Carter II, which means Gucci’s traveling backwards, away from event music (or his best approximation of it) and back towards just quietly, confidently rapping really, really, well.

This rather modest approach fits well with the loose, concept of maturity and comfort with comfort that permeates The Appeal. A sober epiphany (“I fought the law and the fuckin’ law won.”) on album opener “Little Friend” redirects the song’s Scarface-isms and Gucci’s whole tone shifts to a laugh to keep from crying confession: “I could’ve been a doctor, I should’ve been a lawyer, I got to court so much I could’ve been my own employer.”. That’s a line just dying to be phrased differently and delivered as a boast, but Gucci holds back. “Remember When,” which really should just be a disaster, is a love-song (“I met a girl so real that there’s no need to run no game on.”) and that politely-honest approach continues into “Haterade,” where Gucci, in the middle of a particularly strange, fast-slow, mealy-mouthed verse confides “I ain’t hard to please baby. come choose me.” And there’s album-closer “Grown Man” which I talked about here already. All this quasi-mature talk works because Gucci hasn’t changed his approach to rapping one bit and hasn’t necessarily abandoned the stuff he made his name rapping about (putting “Brand New” and “Weirdo” right before “Grown Man” is sequencing genius) either–he’s just a little more willing to reflect. This is the anti-Blueprint 3.

Written by Brandon

October 1st, 2010 at 7:25 am

Posted in Blueprint 3, Gucci Mane

17 Responses to 'Living With Yourself: Gucci Mane’s The Appeal'

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  1. “Remember When” is fairly terrible to me, but I do enjoy how instead of it leading to more R&B tracks like “Spotlight”, “Remember When” goes into “Haterade” and “Its Alive”, which is pretty well described as yacht rap (expensive features and even more expensive sounding production).

    In comparing “The Appeal” to “Mr. Zone 6″ it occurs to me, that they sound so similar with exclusion of a couple of songs. I thought “Mr. Zone 6″ sounded pretty monotoned, and “The Appeal” feels the exact same way except more money was spent on a couple more producer, so a little more variety is allowed, but overall too many of the song sound like an average Zaytoven songs.


    1 Oct 10 at 1:50 pm

  2. gucci mane is really blowin up right now, hes all over hypem, i am still out on him tho, not sure yet.


    1 Oct 10 at 6:58 pm

  3. I’d kind of split the difference between interesting new directions and the conventional “directions Gucci Mane should never have been pushed in” wisdom. It’s Gucci so there are interesting moments on even the songs that should be disasters, but I’d rather have an album with fewer near-disasters. Yes, fewer guests, but look at who they are; Wyclef, Pharrell, Ray J, Estelle. Of course, the last album had that huge R&B stretch, but somehow that felt like something you could just easily excise from your experience of the album, whereas here, even some of the songs that aren’t obligatory for-the-opposite-sex numbers have become these yachty slogs. I’m particularly mad at ‘Haterade,’ which is just such an odd fit for both him and Nicki. Maybe more for her than him even. And I find it odd how either he or his a&r’s seem to insist on such bright lines between his mixtape and album sound. There are only about 4-5 songs here that sound like they could be from one of his mixtapes. Did you see The Social Network yet? I was somewhat underwhelmed, having expected a return for Fincher to Zodiac form. He’s still not quite there. They did a very fine job of avoiding the many opportunities to go didactic (with the possible exception of the pat ending) but in doing so, perhaps went too far and made it a movie about nothing more than one friend betraying another. Which could of course be a great film if they’d done that right, but they didn’t because they’re so busy with the Facebook arcana that the friend never is developed into anything more than a sensitive, kindly cipher.


    2 Oct 10 at 8:31 am

  4. SVRD is way more mixtapey than The Appeal, because it feels more like a mixtape that was just beefed up into a major release while Appeal is just a album trying to be mixtape here and there and a “real” album here and there. SVRD had a great flow and the only real blotch was Spotlight. Appeal starts great for the first seven tracks, but Haterade and Its Alive take it into a real awkward direction that does nothin for anybody. I kinda wanna say the same thing about Remember When, but Gucci is really on-point here, like Bosses from Jewelry Selection. O-Dog is one of the worst Gucci songs ever created and thats all I’m gonna say about that. Dollar Sign doesnt outstay its welcome, but it seems like that was the track where someone was supposed to come steal the show from him. Nicki would’ve been great, Wayne if he was out, TIP, Ye, hell even somebody who woulda just brought energy like Soulja Boy or Flocka. I like Brand New, but thats the one track here is thats really mixtapey. Weirdo works. Grown Man is meh. I like everything Gucci does, but the beat and the chorus are just too obvious.

    So yeah, this is probably Gucci’s weakest release since Wilt 5 or 6.


    2 Oct 10 at 5:44 pm

  5. Good to see some different opinions on this one…

    Yeah, “Remember When” is like a trick, where you think it’s going to ruin the album but it um, doesn’t. Also, listen to the beat guys, it’s weird as hell.

    I don’t really think anything here sounds like Zay rip-offs though.

    The comparing guests thing is deceiving because you gotta see what these guests bring. Pharrell, this weird yacht rap weirdness. Wyclef is on this bizarro like guitar, almost butt-rock song, and Estelle works really well as this voice of reason. Ray J, of course sucks.

    The R & B stretch on ‘State’ ruins the album. Yeah, it’s easy to remove it, but that’s not really what we’re talking about here. And hell, remove “Remember When” and the “Wyclef” joint here and you’ve got a very much rappy album.

    Re: ‘Social Network’
    Fincher is boring. Sorry, just like, not even try to be cool and pithy, I just don’t get what’s interesting about this guy as a director.

    I think you’re right in that putting some guests on some of these ‘Appeal’ tracks would help them out a bit. I don’t however think ‘State’ is more mixtape-like and if it is, it’s only in the non-Gucci or Wayne sense that it’s a fucking mess.

  6. we`ll forever disagree with SVRD bein a mess. Especially comparing it to C3 which is THE mess. It actually feels like someone payed attention to the flow of it, while C3 is just a mess of songs tossed against a wall.


    2 Oct 10 at 9:16 pm

  7. Marcus-
    I’m willing to toss the opinion on ‘State’ up to opinion, like there’s not a right answer. Though I think the ‘Carter 3′ thing is interesting in that while that’s certainly a mess, there’s a kind of internal, weird logic that comes up the more you listen. I think it actually got better the more I played it, not worse. I think all the issues with ‘State’ didn’t change.

  8. Are the rappy songs even that good though? ‘Missing’ is, like, a bad ‘Bricks’ rehash that wouldn’t make the cut on most of his mixtapes. The same is kind of true of ‘Trap Talk’ and ‘Party Animal,’ maybe ‘Dollar Sign’ as well. ‘Making Love To The Money’ actually is one of his weaker mixtape cuts. ‘Gucci Time,’ as we’ve already discussed, is Gucci meets lazy French house squared. What’s seminal Gucci here, if anything? Certainly ‘Little Friend’ – which is really, really interesting (though not helped by Bun B, who sounds like he thinks if he just ramps up the intensity he’ll be a great rapper again) because it’s the first Scarface rap song I’ve heard to literally re-imagine the rapper as Tony Montana, not just identify with him as a counterpart in decadent crack dealing – and possibly ‘Weirdo.’ As for the non-rappy parts, Estelle, to me, delivers a very dull, conventional hook that nearly squeezes the song into the long history of album-closing tunes over the past decade about the immature rapper made good (see ‘Dead and Gone’). Wyclef always makes me cringe. Pharrell isn’t that weird, he’s channeling John Legend. ‘Remember When,’ however, is quite fine by me. Ray J’s not that far removed from the strip club; it’s a reasonable pairing. And the production’s actually kind of good; it starts out like a really shitty house song but then it goes places.


    2 Oct 10 at 10:55 pm

  9. I would say that the rappy songs are good. “Little Friend”, “Its Alive”, and “Dollar Sign” all have pretty great Gucci Mane rapping, and while I will not disagree about “Trap Talk”, “Missing”, and “Party Animal” not sounding like things that could be on “The Movie: Part 2″, they are not poorly rapped they are just songs that have happened before and better.

    Tray mentioned “Bricks”, which has one of my favorite Gucci Mane lines in “I’m ballin’ like an athlete but got no jumper just…(Bricks)”


    3 Oct 10 at 3:19 am

  10. This kinda interesting discussion is devolving into a lot of us stating our opinion as if it’s fact, with no support, so let’s go back a second.

    “Dollar Sign” has a lot going for it and is pretty much GREAT Gucci. The conceit (“just called Obama..”) is hilarious/genius and it’s just dude rapping really well. The brevity’s charming too. Also, it’s Justice League doing their big, screaming banger thing but meeting Gucci halfway and doing something in the vein of Zay, which is interesting.

    “Haterade” and “It’s Alive” are clearly polarizing tracks, and I can see why people don’t like them, but I also feel like it’s one of those “too-cool” type responses, b/c Pharrell is lame now–even though he’s just increasingly on his own shit–and Swizzy is “annoying.” Also: SECOND GUCCI VERSE ON “HATERADE” KILLS.

    Lastly, was gonna defend “Grown Man” but I already wrote like 800 words on it. Tray man, it only SEEMS like it’s one of those “I fucked up and feel bad” records. There’s a couple things working through it that make it way more interesting. Gucci only says he realizes why he fucked up, he doesn’t make any promises to do better. There’s also a deconstructive game being played where he doesn’t renounce the stuff about his life he doesn’t want to or isn’t ready to. That’s great. It isn’t the 2pac style of “regret” where he’s suddenly a wizened angel or some bullshit.

    (Had some notes on African-American poetry and Phyllis Wheatley and deconstruction, and connections between the demands of slavery/white institutions and Gucci’s record label and their clear demands for him to stop being a nut, but um, no.)

  11. Dollar Sign but the concept isnt all that out there or anything. I can imagine a shitty local rap group having the same chorus. Im just saying.


    3 Oct 10 at 7:32 am

  12. Well again, Gucci does something else with it, beginning with the concept of him contacting Obama to indeed make sure it’s cool if he buys the dollar sign. Also, any shitty local rap group who has a chorus like that would not be shitty then.

    Is it just time for Gucci backlash? If this were a mixtape would y’all be so mad at it? Are any of you still listening to ‘State Vs.’ as an album with any frequency??

  13. Maybe, but thats kind of hard thing to gauge, for me at least. If this were a mixtape, I’d be kind of disappointed, because his resume clearly shows he knows to put a mixtape together so this “mixtape” kinda falling apart (or just moving towards another direction) towards the end is like “wtf??”

    I still bump SVRD on a pretty solid basis. A little more than Jewelry Selection, a little less than Mr. Zone 6 and the original shit that popped up from Ferrari Music.

    For the record, I don’t think Appeal is a bad record, even though I think theirs a decent amount wrong with it. I just wasn’t expecting a regression from SVRD. But even that was probably too much to ask, cause I hold SVRD in pretty high regard.


    3 Oct 10 at 4:31 pm

  14. I am not mad at “The Appeal”. Okay, signs can explain this easier than words for now. My Favorite Gucci Mixtapes>”Mr. Zone 6″>”The Appeal”>”The State vs. Radric Davis” (As a whole, and not removing any tracks).

    Also, I would say the SVRD is good for have to have some terrible R&B tracks in the middle, but as an album “The Appeal” is better, as the yacht rap middle section is a lot more enjoyable and features some of Gucci Mane’s best rapping (“Its Alive”, I have written more than enough on this song alone).

    I guess this is the rapper that Gucci Mane is, but “The Appeal is shorter and less of a mess than SVRD, and yet it seems to be getting critique from people (including myself) for the lack of different tracks or even a lack of features on an album, which are normally what people hate about rap albums.


    3 Oct 10 at 5:07 pm

    “I guess this is the rapper that Gucci Mane is, but “The Appeal is shorter and less of a mess than SVRD, and yet it seems to be getting critique from people (including myself) for the lack of different tracks or even a lack of features on an album, which are normally what people hate”

    Yes! This is what I’m sorta confused by.

  16. This critique is sort of odd, because nearly all reviews of rap albums will complain about it length being too long, and saying how there are too many songs on the same subjects, but this is not happening to “The Appeal”. I would say that problem may arise, because “The Appeal” does not really gain anything from its shorter length. I am thinking if three more random 2010 Gucci songs were added would the album be better or worse, I honestly do not know. The problem for me is that the album in having a shorter length means that the album gains a fan mix sort of feel and I would have choosen some different songs personally.

    I am not sure if this makes sense, but the critique of this album is odd as it falls outside the easy criticisms of a rap album or mixtape. (Too many features, too many songs, songs too long…)


    3 Oct 10 at 8:30 pm

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