Gucci Mane isn’t without his talented range, lyrically and technically. He has always grasped the limelight by the horns and has established himself as one to create unique ways to deliver rap tracks, whether thematic for a season or atmospheric and riotous, despite inherent redundancies throughout the years; specifically in the content he raps about. But that has never allowed his charisma and lyrical prowess to take a step back, as he consistently delivers a batch of fresh tracks with distinguishing features and more. His new album, Ice Daddy, continues to reaffirm his talent and grasp of the trap genre, albeit the occasional lackluster track here and there.
Ice Daddy doesn’t fully feel like an album, but more so a compilation of Gucci Mane tracks that could have been rearranged and organized in a way where there is no deadweight holding back the quality. Instead we receive a collection of loosies that resemble an album that empowers success, self worth, and social status in the industry and the streets without hitting you at full force. As much talent as Gucci has, he has had the continuous problem Eminem has had with his artists, and that is consistently having them appear on a new album to promote awareness and properly market them. Though he tries to do so here, two of his artists stand out, long term artist Peewee Longway and Big Walk Dog, who on the opening track “Poppin,” makes a statement toward what he has in the tank in the future.
Many Gucci Mane’s solo tracks shine in their own idiosyncratic way, leaving you questioning the main quandaries in music like “what is this production?” and “what is he rapping about?” amongst other ones. But in their own innocuous way, these tracks don’t mirror the implications being rapped about due to the slight cartoonish nature of them, like on “Gucci Coming 4 You,” which boasts varying gun cocks and profusely drowning whatever the instrumental was supposed to be underneath; even though you have to admire someone just going about it in general. The track engrosses us in this world Gucci builds with his prominence – via success and how it, in many ways, mirrors that joke in the show Weeds about sneaking up on an opposing gang because they wouldn’t hear him in his prius.
But this is a testament to his artistry, as Gucci Mane finds new ways to set himself up for a track to deliver redundantly familiar themes of grandeur, some of which come across too on the nose like “Rich N*gga Shit.” The obnoxious chorus lays way for slightly boring and direct verses from Gucci, who doesn’t make much of an impact, but this goes for a few tracks on the album. However, the amount of tracks Gucci appears on solo, he delivers with finesse like it was done in his sleep with uproarious hype. Unfortunately Ice Daddy contains more features than solo tracks.
Gucci Mane tries to cleverly design tracks to properly implement non-southern rappers within the southern trap style; for example, E-40 and Lil Uzi Vert, who come from their own derelict sound, are used in a precocious nature on their respective tracks. Lil Uzi Vert doesn’t feel completely lost on the track, but it isn’t one of the better tracks. It cuts corners within the chorus and verses that it gets lost in the mix. The two-minute runtime and redundant instrumental don’t benefit it either as it swiftly ends before you even notice it was on. On the other hand, what Gucci has been able to do with these auspicious rappers like E-40, Project Pat, and previously Kanye West and Schoolboy Q are tremendous. E-40 and Project Pat in particular on Ice Daddy, who deliver great and refreshing flows, even though it isn’t them at their apex.
The production on Ice Daddy, like it has been with many rappers these days, is handled by a plethora of producers, including some recurring ones for Gucci Mane, like Zaytoven and Mike-Will-Made-It, amongst others. When you hear the ad-lib opening of their respective tracks, more often than not you’ll be satisfied with the work they put in, and ever so rarely hear them losing sight of their choices – cough “Gucci Coming 4 You” cough. The Zaytoven produced “Top of Shit,” brings that melodic trap bounce that’s been a common trait of his, as Young Dolph and 2 Chainz deliver with brilliance. Nevertheless, it feels like other producers are trying too hard to recreate a consistent sound, similar to the other big name producers on this album and most times fail, rather than succeed, like the 30 Roc produced “Poppin,” which sounds minimally similar to a Southside production, except 30 Roc finds ways to make it his own like less focus on the bounce and more on the hit-hats.
The redundancies on Ice Daddy aren’t always a deterrent as there is always something that will attract you, whether it is Gucci Mane’s slick rhyming or his features or even tracks you know are produced by some favorites. Gucci continues to show a consistency in his output despite its issues, but Ice Daddy is a fun listen and if you like Gucci Mane in general there is enough to enjoy and maybe even love.