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Gucci Mane Everybody Looking Atlantic Records

Despite the fact that a Canadian child actor and a former Miami corrections officer became two of this century’s biggest rap stars, insufficient realness can still do damage to a spitter’s credibility and his career. As such, an artist on the rise can fall victim to a number of institutional and systematic snares.

A godfather of trap music with a history of repeated arrests and incarcerations, Gucci Mane knows this all too well. Beloved by many for his role in centring the contemporary hip-hop conversation on Atlanta after decades of coastal dominance, the personal toll of his invaluable contributions finally seem to have accumulated enough to lead to some much-needed lifestyle changes. Freshly released from a fairly substantial federal prison stint, Gucci surprised many with sobriety and a lean new look, along with a rapidly released series of newly recorded tunes.

Thematically, Everybody Looking is a sometimes shaky, but often rewarding, entry into a post-trap future, albeit one with beats by trap producers like Zaytoven and guest appearances by Gucci’s major trainee Young Thug. No longer the self-medicated doughy thirty-something seen grinning fiendishly throughout Spring Breakers, a fitter, happier Gucci looks back on his time as a pint-a-day promethazine addict with a sense of enlightened bewilderment on No Sleep. He brushes over six figure Vegas losses like shoulder dirt on Waybach while calmly recalling a karmic comeuppance on Robbed.

Transcending any existing or quashed beefs, Gucci basks in his own influence on the tongue-in-cheek All My Children. And just to show that he hasn’t lost his knack for that drug dealer braggadocio, bonus track Multi Millionaire Laflare drops slick allusions to Escobar, luxury accessories.

Though authenticity has become one of the more malleable hip-hop tenets in recent years, a lot of rappers still purport to be about that life and Gucci still reigns supreme, however much the life changed him. Welcome home.