Gucci Mane, Mr. Davis | Album Review
After being delayed by a month, Gucci Mane drops ‘Mr. Davis,’ a studio album that ends up being much better-than-expected.
A delay can be deadly for a studio album. It often signals that something has went wrong in the process, whether it’s inadequate promotion, questionable material, or any number of things. For Gucci Mane, he moved his latest studio album, Mr. Davis, back a month. At the time, he’d released a couple of singles, but the buzz seemed minimal for the project. While the buzz remains so-so as Mr. Davis sees the light of day, the album itself is better-than-expected.
The brief “Work in Progress (Intro)” sets the tone of Mr. Davis. Early-on, listeners are given a dose of that signature Gucci Mane flow. The first full-length cut, “Back On,” features malicious sounding production work, intact with trunk-rattling drum programming and dark synths. Gucci flexes here, showcasing his lazy, but appealing southern rap flow. While he’s confident, he’s equally chill and relaxed.
“I Get the Bag,” the promo single for Mr. Davis, plays out better in the context of the album. Gucci is assisted by “it” rap collective, Migos – well, two of them that is (Quavo and Takeoff). The single checks off most boxes for a Gucci Mane record. The production work is slick, firmly planted in the southern rap idiom. The tempo is slow, while the drums have the trap written all over them. In regards to his rapping, Gucci remains relaxed, even rapping alongside the ferocious Migos.
“Stunting Ain’t Nuthin”
Keeping the collaborative spirit alive, Gucci taps Slim Jxmmi and Young Dolph for the hard-hitting “Stunting Ain’t Nuthin.” The first thing that stands out is the drum programming, which is badass to say the least. Slim Jxmmi takes the reins on this banger, handling the chorus and the first verse. Gucci shows up for the second verse, followed by Young Dolph taking the third. Still, this feels likes a Slim Jxmmi joint instead of a Gucci Mane one.
The brief “Curve” opens mysteriously, sounding faded. This plays to the strengths of The Weeknd. After initial instability, a slick, trap beat anchors the enigmatic synths, painted over by distinct vocals of The Weeknd. There’s a clear vibe, which bodes well in Gucci’s favor. When he finally steps to the mic, he’s sound. He doesn’t deliver anything particularly groundbreaking, but his flow is tight. Arguably, there’s too little Gucci here.
“Enormous” brings Ty Dolla $ign into the fold. This isn’t surprising – Ty Dolla $ign is everywhere. Here, he performs the chorus, which is enjoyable, as well as the second verse. Smartly, Gucci raps the first verse and later, the third. “Enormous” is decent, but not among the crème de la crème. The same can be said of “Members Only,” which is sound, but doesn’t quite reach elite status. Nonetheless, it offers cool vibes from the rapper, as well as smooth production work.
“Money Make Ya Handsome” is stronger. Broken record or not, the production work continues to be the calling card on Mr. Davis. Notably, Gucci pop-raps here, which contrasts his previous performances. Also notable is the hook. It’s simple, but infectious and irresistible.
“Money make you handsome, even if you’re ugly / Money make her f*ck me, she wanna f*ck my money / All my b*tches love me, they love me for one thing / Money keep her coming, so I’ma keep some money.”
Big Sean kicks off “Changed” with the chorus. Gucci Mane takes over duties on the first verse, clearly in his zone. From there, there’s ample Big Sean. Again, too much, which is the biggest rub regarding Mr. Davis.
“We Ride,” featuring Monica, possesses an uplifting, resolute nature, particularly on the Monica-helmed chorus. It’s respectable, but not the most memorable record. The harder “Lil Story,” featuring ScHoolboy Q, is more of Gucci’s wheelhouse. It features superb production work and tough-minded rhymes from both rappers.
“Tone it Down,” featuring Chris Brown, features more slick production work, the expectation from a southern rap record. As always, Brown sounds distinct. As for Gucci, he raps in his signature, mush-mouthed, southern rap style. “Tone It Down” is ‘tried and true’ without being game changing or innovative.
Like the majority of Mr. Davis, the production work of “Make Love” plays to Gucci’s strengths. The trap is alive and well, thanks to a minimalist sound possessing ample oomph. He slices right through his verse, keeping it 100. He follows up with a chill hook. Next, Nicki Minaj gets to work, changing her vocal inflection, cussing like a sailor, and giving no f*cks. Despite consistency from Gucci, Minaj steals the show. He flexes solo on “Money Piling.” He remains consistent.
Gucci gets company for the next two numbers – “Jumped Out the Whip,” featuring A$AP Rocky, and “Miss My Woe,” featuring Rico Love. Gucci avoids a problem that plagues him at some points – letting others be the star. He takes the reins on “Jumped Out the Whip,” with a sick hook and verse. A$AP Rocky is no slouch of course. On penultimate highlight “Miss My Woe,” Rico Love delivers a fabulous hook. As for Gucci, he delivers two verses exhibiting surprising clarity and well-rounded rhymes. Mr. Davis concludes with “Made It (Outro),” another well-produced, respectable joint.
All in all, Mr. Davis is a better-than-expected album from Gucci Mane. An album delay often spells trouble for an album, regardless of the artist, but as far as quality, it benefits the album. There’s nothing ‘brand-new’ from Gucci, but he flexes throughout the course of the affair. The biggest rub is that sometimes he’s overshadowed by his guests. Regardless, when he’s on, he’s on.
Gems: “Back On,” “I Get the Bag,” “Stunting Ain’t Nuthin,” “Lil Story,” “Make Love” & “Miss My Woes”