Atlanta’s rap scene is eclectic and it’s artists are abundant. If it wasn’t for Gucci Mane, that wouldn’t be the case.
Gucci stands as the bridge between old ATL and the new — he is the gatekeeper. It’s only so if Gucci says so. His name is echoed in verses and adlibs throughout the south and his reach stretches far into the contemporary mainstream.
Future, Fetty Wap, and Young Thug wouldn’t be shaping pop music into the syrup-soaked hard-hitting behemoth that it is today if it wasn’t for Gucci. It’s arguable Metro Boomin, Mike WiLL Made-It, and Zaytoven may have not been able to produce hit songs for Drake (Where Ya At), Miley Cyrus (We Can’t Stop), and Usher (Papers). We certainly wouldn’t have young artists like Migos, PeeWee Longway, and Young Dolph on the up-and-up.
Much of rap’s heavy 808-driven sound is a product of Gucci Mane and his work with producers Mike WiLL Made-It, Lex Luger, Metro Boomin and 808 Mafia (Southside, TM88, Tarantino, Purps on the Beat). Mike WiLL was 16 when he first handed Wop a beat tape. This led to Mike WiLL’s first exposure (No Pad, No Pencil Mixtape) and took him on his own path to success (2013 BET Hip Hop Awards Producer of the Year). The orchestral side of trap muzik can be credited to the collaborations of Gucci Mane & Zaytoven (Chicken Talk, Trap House series, Trap God series, The State vs. Radric Davis 1 & 2).
Gucci was the first to rap over a Zaytoven beat. Zay, working primarily as a barber at the time, convinced Gucci to pursue a career as a rapper after hearing the bars that Wop would ghost-wrote for his nephew. Lex Luger was signed by Gucci’s protege, Waka Flocka, onto his Brick Squad Monopoly label, a subsidiary of 1017 Bricksquad. Waka Flocka and Lex Luger went on to have great success together, culminating into the undisputable trap classic ‘Flockaveli’. The tape went on to influence the sound of hip-hop for several years after, as artists such as Rick Ross and Kanye West used his signature drum sounds to create anthems.
With the melding of these producer’s sounds, and Gucci at the center of it all, the modern sound of rap was born: clickety-clack hi hats, booming 808s, horror movie synth waves, classical-influenced brass sections, string arrangements, and piano compositions.
Guwop has played the “Street’s A&R” for years now, being responsible Atlanta’s current rap roster. He connected artists Migos, Young Thug, and Peewee Longway with producers like Zaytoven, Mike WiLL, C4, and Honorable C-Note. If he hadn’t, they may not have found their signature sounds.
In addition to multitudes of features (WW3 Lean Intro Dennis Rodman, Miracle, Break Dancin) Guwop also put out multiple mixtapes (World War 3: Molly, Gas, & Lean; World War 3D: Green, Purple, & White Albums; Brick Factory 1, 2, & 3) heavily featuring the aforementioned artists, helping to solidify their underground statuses. He has also indirectly influenced some of the biggest artists in hip-hop. Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Future were featured on Gucci Mane mixtapes (in 2008, 2009, and 2011 respectively) — further showcasing innate networking abilities.
Rap’s current weird wave can be attributed majorly to Gucci and to the rise and influence of Young Thug. Together, they make music of the highest caliber (Young Thugga Mane LaFlare, The Purple Album, Brick Factory Series) and continue to today (Guwop Home). Gucci put on Young Thug and took a chance with his unorthodox style. If he didn’t, trailblazers such as Lil Uzi Vert, ILoveMakonnen, and Lil Yachty may have not been universally accepted within the scene.
In this sense, the torch of Atlanta’s strain of “weird rap” started by OutKast and The Dungeon Family was picked up by Gucci who fused it with the more street oriented sounds of the dirty south coming from guys like T.I and Project Pat to pioneer “Trap Music” as the melting pot of the South. The result was a mainstream sound full of experimentation. This focus on experimentation led by Gucci has sometimes been placed higher than the actual rapping by the newest generation. Although they’re breaking new ground, a free Gucci Mane is going to make people shape up because for all the material he’s released, he’s never compromised on his rapping ability.
Along with Jeezy, Gucci can be credited with trap’s signature focus on adlibs most present in artists like Migos and Waka Flocka. More than just an A&R, Gucci’s frequent collaborators always come out having learned something. Chief Keef (who decided to use the name “Sosa” because of one of Gucci’s mixtapes) has backed away from his harder Waka Flocka style, like on “Back From The Dead” and “Finally Rich” style — to a much more leaned out off-kilter flow best seen on his and Gucci’s joint mixtape “Big Gucci Sosa”. On the collab tape “Free Bricks”, Future was forced to be more than just a hook man and given the space and responsibility of keeping up with Gucci’s bars. Which he did to produce a great tape.
Gucci put in the work so that no one else had to. He is the martyr, only to be resurrected as the Trap God time and again. He has blessed the pious with his new testament, Everybody Looking, released today, July 22!
Written by 745_Gucci_Interior & mattydababy