Release Date: Dec 16, 2016
Record label: Atlantic
The unifying thread in Gucci Mane’s music since being released from prison this past May after serving nearly three years for drug and gun charges can be summed up in one word: readjustment. His stunning physical transformation—which included losing 75 pounds and the emergence of an enviable six-pack, the results of a healthier drug-free lifestyle—also impacted Gucci’s rapping itself. Aside from the usual sort of rust that needed to be shaken off, his dramatic weight loss affected his delivery in other tangible ways (which only stoked the fires of the clone conspiracy theories): the new Gucci was less congested, less slurred, and less guttural.
Over the past six months or so, Gucci Mane has dropped two albums, two EPs, a billion music videos and some of the most enjoyable features of the year. While some were concerned he’d be more toned down, more reserved post-incarceration, the Wopster has proven to only become more enamored by the music industry he grew up romanticizing. His love for words, penchant for devilishly clever turns of phrase and knack for making bangers has only be revitalized.
Since his release from prison this summer, Gucci Mane has been unbelievably prolific. One album and three mixtapes, including the one with his fellow ATLien, Future, saw him outwork the cadre of younger rappers, such as 21 Savage, who appeared while he was behind bars. When he came out of prison, Mane seemed like a changed man. He was sober, had a new physique and was smiling.
The Return of East Atlanta Santa isn't a bad album, per se — it's just staggeringly indifferent. It's the sort of mixtape you put on and then say to yourself "Oh, is this still on?" It's trap wallpaper, the most gangster-ish shade of beige ever.You can tell it's a boring album because Gucci Mane sounds bored. Gucci's never been lyrical, but on TREAS, he's not even interesting.