Earlier this week, for about half an hour, Gucci Mane officially changed his name to Guwop, announcing the change on his Twitter: “Thanks Fans, for 8 years as Gucci now it’s Wop turn.” It didn’t last long because Gucci’s fans’ predictable Twitter freakout changed his mind, and Guwop became Gucci again. As bursts of lamentable public weirdness go, this wasn’t even in the same universe as the time Gucci got an ice cream cone tattooed on his face, and I could think of plenty of reasons why he’d want it done. The people at the clothing company Gucci have been awfully understanding about a street-rapper hijacking their name and making it his lo these many years, but maybe their legal department had finally decided to make some noise. Or maybe Gucci was tired after spending the better part of a decade introducing himself to people as “Gucci Mane.” “Guwop” is also a really fun word to say, especially in Gucci’s accent. But the best reason I can think of for the short-lived name changed: Perhaps Gucci was worried that there were already too many Gucci Mane mixtapes, and he didn’t want to flood the market any further. Because goddam, there are a lot of Gucci Mane mixtapes.
Last year, Gucci emerged from some sort of drug-fog to give us three mixtapes, all of them strong. This year’s Trap God 2, on which he recovered many of his writerly gifts and effortlessly commandeered an excellent series of minor-key synth-burns, is only a couple of weeks old. And already, here’s the kinda-sorta follow-up, on which Gucci links up with recent protege Young Scooter for another full-length tape. As full-length Gucci collaborators go, Scooter is closer to Future or Waka Flocka Flame than V-Nasty, and he’s on a crazily productive streak of his own. On the strong slow-burner Street Lottery, also from this year, Scooter ably played the heavy-hearted young hustler, convincingly combining seen-it-all tough-talk with quiet turns into dead-souled depression. On Free Bricks 2, though, he’s mostly here to fill space, playing the straight-faced foil to Gucci’s reawakened word-drunk goofball.
Free Bricks 2 isn’t as essential a mixtape as Trap God 2 or even Street Lottery; these guys aren’t exactly trying to craft definitive statements here. But lately, autopilot Gucci has been better than a lot of rappers’ best work. His hooks are low-key mesmerizing, clumps of muttered words repeated until they start to worm their way into your frontal lobe. And Gucci’s kept his personal aesthetic strong; the beats here are all slow-dripping cheap synth things that give Gucci and Scooter something to snake their voices through. And Gucci’s having fun putting words together once again, playing sounds off of each other so dizzily that you almost don’t realize he’s making some pretty specific threats: “I go loco ’bout that guapo, off El Chapo with the chopper / Like a rasta, I will shot ya, blocka blocka Waka Flocka.” Or: “I got mob ties, you mulignan, and you a fuckin’ prick / I’ll kiss your cheek and say ’capice?’ and then mail your mom your dick.” The tape might just be utilitarian trunk-rattle music, but it’s really good utilitarian trunk-rattle music. And as long as Gucci remains in this zone, everything he does will be worth hearing, whatever his name might be.
Download Free Bricks 2 here.