Gucci Mane - "Mr. Davis" Album Review
Arguably the hardest working man in Hip-Hop, Gucci Mane has been a force in the genre for more than fifteen years. He’s collaborated with them all, gets beats from the best, and is responsible for the discovery and subsequent success of acts like Waka Flocka Flame and the Migos. Mr. Davis has kept busy this year, as usual, appearing on singles from Fifth Harmony and Selena Gomez, he has become quite the sought-after star.
Gucci returns with his 11th studio album not long after dropping his excellent collaborative mixtape, DropTopWop, with Metro Boomin in May. This project is more of the same from the East Atlanta Santa, with braggadocios remarks about his bank account, multiple bars about ejaculating on the faces of women, and references to his past with drugs- selling and taking them. Gucci has repeated the rhetoric of his subject for his entire career, but most of the time he manages to make it like a new draft of your favorite beer: you know what you’re getting but it’s still fresh. This is a trend that continues on Mr. Davis, the exception being that a lot more money is being thrown around on production and collaborations.
The guests on this album are who’s who of the genre who don’t all deliver. On the track “Changed”, Big Sean lays down verse with a great message coupled with the most boring delivery he’s used in years. “I Get the Bag” featuring Migos has a fantastic hook but ultimately falls short with their prior collaboration, “Slippery” from Migos’ C U L T U R E being a far superior song. Nicki Minaj utters a verse on “Make Love” that strikes the listener with a particularly sharp blow of ennui.
On the other side, "Stunting Ain’t Nuthin" is a fantastic collaboration with Slim Jxmmi and the impervious Young Dolph who fill this cut with braggadocios, anthem-like rhetoric. Young Dolph, in particular, excels when he asserts “I'm selfish, I only buy coupes (coupes)/Told a bitch to bring one friend/Hardheaded ass bitch brought two/Look one of them in the eye, said/"I already fucked you, why she brought you?". It’s this kind of wittiness and unapologetic shamelessness that cultivates this album. On the next track, The Weeknd opens up the addicting cut, “Curve” with an ear-grabbing flow while the underrated Ty Dolla $ign kills the hook on “Enormous”. Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky deliver standout performances on their respective tracks and The Chris Brown-assisted “Tone it Down” will work the clubs for a while.
Guwop sounds larger than life on the electric guitar-laden “Money Make Ya Handsome”. Gucci isn’t a gifted singer and receives plenty of help from technology, but he ends up exuding the air of the most desired rock stars with the energy he provides here. “We Ride” is an ode to his wife, his ride-or-die, who has supported him through the “bad weather” and has not only survived but triumphed in Guwop’s absence. Monica’s vocals perfectly set the mood and tone of the track. It’s sentimental and triumphant, although very uniform when it comes to tracks like this.
That’s basically the basis of this album; it’s an enjoyable project but not anything experimental or even new from the East Atlanta Santa. He does delve into more serious topics like on the opener “Work in Progress” where he paints a vivid picture of his life before the success right off the bat (“I was piss poor, sleeping on the dirt floor/And we couldn't pay the rent so it's a notice on the door/The neighbors been noticed so what I'ma front for?/Using pennies for the bus like what I'ma stunt for?”). This holds true with the standout “Miss My Woe” - with the legendary, Grammy Award-winning Rico Love - which speaks on fallen comrades and affiliates such as Shawty Lo (who along with acts like Bankroll and Slim Dunkin is mentioned many times on this project) in a manner that is very apropos; Gucci is speaking to them like only he would, not the only way he can, but in the way he should.
On the whole, while the introspective rhymes that Gucci delivers here are more potent on projects like Woptober, the sentiment still lands heavily. Mr. Davis is a well-funded project that tries to execute on many fronts as a result and it does very well in that regard; cuts like “Back On” and the album closer “Made it Out” tell us as much. Where Mr. Davis slips is that the “invulnerable gangsta” rhetoric has been heard before. It is certainly peculiar that after eleven albums and more mixtapes and side projects than anyone can count, Gucci Mane’s style and subject matter have never changed drastically. At the same time, Gucci is in a place where nobody expects him to do such a thing Gucci Mane’s attempt at a crossover album is a relatively safe one; he stays in his lane because he’s really good at what he does, after all, he’s one of the pioneers of it. Wizop’s career and tribulations should be recognized and his subsequent triumphs should be celebrated; Mr. Davis marks the occasion marvelously.