Just half a year from the release of the mysteriously unauthorized catalog clearinghouse/label kiss off Murder Was the Case, Gucci Mane returns with The State vs. Radric Davis, his latest on Warner Bros.’ Asylum imprint. True to form, the bling-loving rapper brings the club-ready Dirty South rap, complete with trunk-rattling bass and trademark synths. Featuring production by Drumma Boy, Mannie Fresh, Shawty Redd, and Scott Storch, amongst others, it’s no surprise that the album is able to perfectly capture the low and slow Southern sound. Some of the best beats come by way of Bangladesh (producer on the Lil Wayne single “A Milli”), who drops some seriously roll slowing Atlanta heat on “Stupid Wild” and “Lemonade.” The all-star roster doesn’t just stop on the production side. Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and Bun B (as well as countless others) drop in with guest verses, culminating in an album that’s so jam-packed with Dirty South royalty that it almost feels a little light on Gucci Mane. While the galaxy of guest stars has become commonplace in the rap world, it’s Gucci’s solo songs that paint a picture of what the rapper is really like, peeling back the veneer of excess to reveal an artist who has been affected by his past. On “Worst Enemy,” a song that touches on the rapper’s 2005 legal troubles, Gucci looks to stay focused on his future as he closes out the hook with “I don’t turn around no mo’, I look at what’s in front of me/I’m focused on the future ‘cause yesterday is history.” The ominous Shawty Redd-produced “Heavy” feels like the rapper is looking back and realizing he might be in over his head, with Gucci alternating verses about guns, cash, and drugs with a hook where he laments “My ego getting too big, it’s too heavy/My head getting too big, it’s too heavy,” as if he’s asking for someone to come help him carry the weight. At the end of the day, The State vs. Radric Davis delivers the full spectrum of Gucci Mane, showing both the cash and yellow diamond-loving side, as well as his more reflective (or at least more self-aware) side. What’s important is that regardless of what side we’re seeing, both of them can deliver on the down-and-dirty club jams that Atlanta is known for.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney