Gucci Mane Will Bring About the Death of Hip-Hop

Posted: May 16, 2010 by RA in Music
Tags: , , , ,

So, when I was younger, I listened exclusively to uptempo music. If it couldn’t be played at a club, I didn’t wanna hear it. But as I matured, my tastes kinda flipped, and 80% of what I really dig is mid- to downtempo.

I bring this up because even in my youthful folly, Jagged Edge were on a short list of artists who made ballads that didn’t bore me. They harmonized brilliantly, and could write the hell out of a ballad. Sure, they rewrote the same ballad like six times (“Walked Outta Heaven”, “Good Luck Charm”), but dammit, each one was brilliant. Plus, they knew how to switch things up every now and again — 2001’s Jagged Little Thrill is one of the most tragically underrated R&B albums of that decade.

So it really grinds my gears to see that, after two mostly-abysmal albums led to them getting dropped from Sony BMG and signed by (sigh) Slip N’ Slide Records, their efforts to rebuild are being sabotaged by label short-sightedness. The buzz single (the contemporary de-facto term for any underperforming pre-album release) “Tip of My Tongue” is pretty damn good. Sampling Art of Noise’s “Moments in Love”, the song sees the guys in fine voice on the melodically simple verses. Hell, even Trina (Katrina Laverne, if ya nasty… or at least Fresh) put in a decent verse.

And then there’s Gucci Mane. There are two versions of the song floating around — the official single and what must be a demo cut. Despite being more vocally ambitious and a verse longer, the official version just doesn’t measure up to the demo in my opinion. But the one thing it does do better on is the Gucci verse. It’s still an utter travesty, but not quite as bad as the abortion that is his verse on the demo.

I know I use that word a lot, but if there’s ever a deserving subject, it’s Gucci Mane’s verse on this song. Or Gucci Mane’s verse on any song. Or Gucci Mane himself. What the hell’s a “Gucci Mane,” anyway? Do these fuckers even give their monikers a moment’s thought anymore?

But anyway, back to the demo. Rhyming by repetition is lazy, but often subtle and forgivable. But on the “Tip” demo, Mr. Mane clubs you over the head with the phrase “[pronoun] don’t wanna leave” so many times, you’ll weep bitterly for him to get the fuck out anyway. See, it’s one thing to do the whole intra-label cross-promotion thing — both Trina and JE had albums on the way — but when the contribution of the song’s biggest star so woefully weakens the final project, the A&R on the project should start looking for new employment.

These guys aren’t working with the same budgets they had in their late-90s heyday (the single’s cover artwork should clear any doubts in this area), and it’s evident in the song’s video that they’ve seen some hard times. So getting Mane — the most inexplicably popular star in contemporary Hip-Hop — must’ve felt like a major coup at first. So to have dude stroll in and essentially piss on the entire project smacks of arrogance and disrespect. But to pay dude to come in and do that is, again, an indication of an A&R guy asleep at the wheel.

Anyway, don’t just take my word for it.

(Gucci’s brilliance kicks in around the 2:40 mark)


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