To claim Gucci Mane
has had some problems would be an understatement. Gucci went from releasing a somewhat popular song to being in
trouble with the long arm of the law. He went from being a hood favorite to
being dissed by Young Jeezy. His
career’s been sliding downhill and it’s been hard to find highpoints to
celebrate. While he has garnered some acclaim independently, he’s also been
trashed by critics and shunned by many. The question going into his latest
project, Back to the Traphouse, is
whether or not he can create something that will overshadow all of the low
points in his career. 

Things looked promising for this go around. After all, the
man received a tremendous amount of aid from guest stars. The LP jumps off with
guest spots from Lil’ Kim and Ludacris. This is followed by appearances
from a slew of performers such as Pimp
C, Rich Boy, The Game, Shawnna, Letoya Luckett
and Trey Songz. Nitty and
various other producers such as Supersonics
and Zaytoven also bring some
bangin’, albeit formulaic club styled beats to the table. With this much star
power behind him, Mane should deliver.

Sadly, the problems do not end outside of the booth for this
rapper. Gucci Mane sleepwalks his
way through the album, lacking a tremendous amount of lyrical inspiration and
overall energy. Throughout the LP, Gucci
raps with little passion about very few things. Of course, this formula
would not be complete without the trifecta: sex, drugs and money. This usually
sells and usually, this is not a reason to disrespect an album or an artist. Here,
however, the man raps about all of this without any originality or skill.
Often, the raps are simply too simple.

“My chain be shining.
My grill be sparkling.
It’s Gucci, darling.
Hey, what’s up, shortie?”

“Hachoo! I’m rich!
Say Gesundheit,

Lines like this exemplify Gucci’s lyrical limitations as an emcee. Another drawback comes in Gucci’s flow. It is sing-songy at times
which would not be too bad, but it is also quite often incredibly droning and
repetitive, bordering on nursery rhyme-like harmonies. There really isn’t even
a song worth talking about in a positive light, and the bad? Well let’s just
say there is nothing of any merit here whatsoever.

Although it is true that there are different forms of rap,
none should stoop to this level of mediocrity. No one expected Gucci to speak about current events or
politics and everyone should have expected this content. But, anytime one picks
up a rap record, one should expect a thoughtful, artistic project with original
content. Whether spitting about ice or life lessons, one should still expect
illness. Back to the Traphouse may
still hit for die-hard fans and supporters, but the album fails to provide much
in terms of great music for new listeners. It also falls on gimmicks, Jeezy-like adlibs and weak lyrics. Going
“back to the traphouse” is actually a very welcome event; as long as it means
Gucci isn’t in the booth trying to make “music.”