Evil Genius

Gucci Mane

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Evil Genius Review

by Neil Z. Yeung

2018 was a relatively quiet year for prolific rapper Gucci Mane, considering the flurry of output following the trap veteran's 2016 release from prison. With almost a year between releases, Gucci issued his 13th official full-length, Evil Genius. While there are few surprises to add to the Gucci equation -- fame, sex, hedonism, and a smidgen of inspirational positivity remain common themes -- Evil Genius is another satisfying batch of trap gems that should sate fans in search of comfort and familiarity. Coasting by on his charm and distinctive delivery, Gucci recruited another team of able producers (including Marii Beatz, Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Southside, Metro Boomin, and more), who are the unsung heroes on this dark but irresistible set. The best moments involve menacing cinematic production -- the trio of "Cold Shoulder," "On God," and "Father's Day" is a standout run -- but lighter moments such as "Wake Up in the Sky" with Bruno Mars and Kodak Black and "Mad Russian" with Lil Skies are two smooth breaks that inject some seduction into the mix. Other guests include 21 Savage, Kevin Gates, Migos (with an additional pair of contributions from Quavo), Lil Yachty, Lil Pump, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again, who all pair nicely with Gucci and elevate each track on which they appear. Considering the sheer amount of material that Gucci issued in the years prior to Evil Genius, it's a wonder that he still has something to say and fresh ways to present those ideas. Even if it's familiar territory, he remains a master of this particular hip-hop niche, and Evil Genius is a late-era catalog highlight.

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