For his 14th studio full-length, trap godfather Gucci Mane maintained his course with only slight deviations from the typical formula on the sprawling Delusions of Grandeur. After the prolific creative explosion that followed his 2016 release from prison, Gucci's pace slowed somewhat. And yet, three years later, he's still mining the same thematic content that, while familiar and entertaining, might be starting to wear out its welcome. For better or worse, he's still got plenty to say about sex, partying, and his new lease on life. The latter sentiment is summed up nicely on opener "Bussdown," wherein Gucci confidently declares, "I'm richer, more handsome, more healthy, more cocky." That outlook remains infectious -- even after the fifth or tenth track of the same old lyrics -- as Gucci remains the underdog hero at the top of his game. Grandeur features smoother production fit for its summertime release, even if Gucci is still icy and haunting as ever. Standouts are delivered by familiar faces such as Zaytoven ("Backwards" featuring Meek Mill), Southside ("Lame" with Wiz Khalifa and Rick Ross), and the unstoppable Tay Keith ("Bottom"). Riding the success of his work with Cardi B, J. White Did It delivers a pair of highlights: the unexpected hit collaboration with Justin Bieber ("Love Thru the Computer") and the throwback jam "Upgrade" with Nave Monjo. In a sea of booming trap menace, these are the brightest and catchiest offerings that are tailor-made for a future hits compilation. Elsewhere, Gucci recruits additional guests Anuel AA, Gunna, Lil Baby, Jeremih, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Dolph, DJ Drama, and Peewee Longway, with each artist adding their own trademark flair to Gucci's languid, mealy-mouthed delivery. Delusions of Grandeur doesn't break new ground, but it's yet another testament to Gucci Mane's enduring style and inimitable delivery.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung
feat: Anuel AA