woptober
The new album from Gucci Mane is more of the same, but is that good or bad? (Image via Instagram)

Not so Gucci: ‘Woptober II’ Shows the Rapper Settling Into an Old Routine

While Gucci Mane has dropped some great hits, his newest album shows that he’s getting a little too comfortable with his patented formula.

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woptober

While Gucci Mane has dropped some great hits, his newest album shows that he’s getting a little too comfortable with his patented formula.

Well folks, it’s finally here. The sequel to Gucci Mane’s 2016 “Woptober” mixtape, “Woptober II,” dropped on Oct. 18. Guwop’s 15th studio album debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard Top 10 chart, which puts him at two albums debuting in the top 10 this year. Despite these accomplishments, “Woptober II” still hasn’t received the attention Mr. Davis had probably hoped.

Part of the problem is that, in every sense, this is a typical Gucci Mane album, which can be both good and bad. Gucci’s main producers, London on da Track, Zaytoven and Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E., cook up a stew of standard Atlanta trap beats that don’t sound much different from the ones that made “East Atlanta Santa” famous in the first place. This is a living embodiment of the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, which some fans appreciate. Though, there will always be those looking for something new.

The album starts off with “Richer Than Errybody” featuring YoungBoy Never Broke Again and DaBaby, which begins by building up with an early 2010s style intro that emulates Kanye West and Jay-Z‘s “H•A•M.” However, the drop just isn’t head-turning and Gucci’s slow drawl in the hook takes more from the song than it gives. NBA Youngboy’s rapid fire verse turns it around, but it only lasts around 30 seconds. In the second verse, Gucci spits a solid flow, but none of his bars really blow you away. The same can be said for DaBaby’s verse. The production of the song is vintage Guwop, but the combination of rappers in it just doesn’t mesh well.

Next up is “Big Booty” featuring Megan Thee Stallion, the Houston rapper behind the smash hit “Hot Girl Summer.” The most notable part of this track is the riff from 2 Live Crew’s “Hoochie Mama,” which featured on Ice Cube’s classic movie “Friday.” But even with that pedigree in the background, the tone makes this more of a goofy tune than a strip club banger. To add insult to injury, Megan Thee Stallion completely outdoes Gucci on his own song. Her voice is commanding, her bars are bouncy and her flow is on point. Mr. Mane, on the other hand, is all over the place and his delivery doesn’t take this one where he probably intended it to go.

Third on the album comes “Tootsies” featuring Lil Baby, which starts off with a jab at Kanye West: “This dope’ll make you do the Kanye, took so many opiates.” This might be in response to West’s extremely public support for President Donald Trump, which has been met with heavy criticism from within the hip-hop community, but one can never truly know. From there, Gucci continues to build momentum with this song. His flow is consistent and though his content is familiar — flaunting his wealth, fame and women — he finds creative ways to mix it up and show off his talent as an artist. Lil Baby’s verse does much of the same as he essentially floats from line to line and complements Guwop well.

Then there’s “Big Boy Diamonds” with Kodak Black and London on da Track, which essentially destroys said momentum. Once again, the carefree, upbeat intro gets your hopes up and then Kodak takes it to the dump with some cringe worthy lines that will make you do a double take. The South Florida rapper spits: “Milkin’ these b—–s like yoo-hoo / s–t on these n—-s like doo-doo / I’m passin’ gas like I farted / Boy if you smelled it, you dealt it.” Points for creativity, at least. Other than some interesting diction, the song’s transitions from hook to verse and vice versa will leave you confused and wondering what just happened. At no point does it really take off. Instead, it maintains a monotone approach to what should be an uplifting track. Overall, “Big Boy Diamonds” is a Droptop-Flop.

At long last, Gucci keeps it real on “Opps and Adversaries.” This song draws on the success of his 2018 project “Evil Genius” by finding an ideal balance between bragging about his successes and describing his troubled past. Take these two lines from the hook: “I tatted my hood on me, I’m really from the slum / Diamonds look so good on me, I came up off of crumbs.” He even addresses his famous ice cream cone face tattoo: “Tattoos on my face, the media said it was dumb / Mama threw me out her house for trappin’, I was young.” Unlike the other songs, this one conveys a sense of gratitude and self-reflection while channeling the underground energy he started out with.

With over a decade of music under his belt and a role in the career of every hot act from Atlanta during that time, Gucci Mane’s legacy is legendary. Despite this, many fans are concerned as the last three out of four projects were mostly forgettable. “El Gato: The Human Glacier” and “Delusions of Grandeur” both debuted in the Billboard Top 10 but quickly fell out; “Woptober II” may face the same fate.

It’s hard not to ignore this trend in the discography of “La Flare.” But according to Riley Wallace, a Toronto-based hip-hop writer, this shouldn’t be a surprise. He explains, “Ultimately, [“Woptober II”] feels like an underwhelming body of work. With 101 releases…lack of motivation beyond dollars is understandable…he fully understands his role in the industry and has little (if anything) to prove to anyone.” This echoes many in the hip-hop community who have suggested that Gucci is burnt out after so many years in the game and is out of new material. However, Wallace offers another take: “That’s not to say he’s lost his edge as clearly he’s perfected the hit-making formula; instead, he remains…too comfortable.”

Yoh Phillips, a senior writer at DJBooth.net, expands on this idea. He writes, “The Gucci Mane who begins ‘Woptober II’ is a rich and successful street rapper that doesn’t have much to say … not until track six … does Gucci cease to be a character.” This brings to light the other side to Wallace’s remarks: Part of finding the “hit-making formula” he mentions is the image that needs to be maintained with such sustained success. Phillips continues to address Guwop fans’ concerns by reassuring them, “Gucci Mane hasn’t lost his ability to be a great rapper, but he has gained a crisis of identity. Stuck continuously between the Guwop of legend and the Gucci Mane of classics, ‘Woptober II’ belongs to the former … not the latter.”

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