Gucci Mane

The Gooch Mixtape

(Self-released; 2009)

By Colin McGowan | 3 August 2009

That cover’s just a one-frame photo essay isn’t it? Someone who designs cereal boxes for General Mills apparently thought they’d try their hand at something more urban. I’ve always felt rather dumb in art museums, lacking any knowledge of the vernacular—Monet’s water lilies look pretty to me, though I have nothing substantive to say about them—but this: this shit is not only in my wheelhouse, it’s thinking of subletting my wheelhouse’s attic. Throw on Broken Arrow and get me a PBR from my malfunctioning fridge. Let’s break it down.

Your eye initially fixates on Photoshopped Young Jeezy, due either to fandom or his heart boxers. In the mind of the artist, Jeezy clearly wears heart boxers because he is a homosexual, but, viewing his boxers through the lens of The Recession (2008), a discerning art lover realizes Real Jeezy’s insolence fucking slaps, and Real Gucci Mane is an embittered man (mane), envious that “Icy” didn’t propel him to the trap-hop throne the Snowman currently possesses. The same discerning art lover will notice Cartoon Gucci Mane is wearing a Bart Simpson chain. The considerably-less-discerning MTV Jams viewer—with whom the discerning art lover should never, ever converse—knows that rappers have a lot of needless bling. Rick Ross wears his goofy insecurity around his neck in the form of his diamond-encrusted face; Kanye has 23 Jesus pieces that can’t give him peace because that’s a homophone. It’s standard operating procedure at this point. The obvious distinction to be made between Cartoon Gucci Mane’s chain and the chain of rap heavyweights is that Cartoon Gucci Mane clearly had to sell his shirt to afford it. While his dedication to looking great at all times is inspiring, I fear his decision is somewhat foolhardy. I’m not saying the chain isn’t magnificent, just saying that money might have been better spent on purchasing some beats from Don Cannon or JUSTICE League—investments, if you will. In turn, Photoshopped Jeezy’s shirt may be bloodied, but it is intact, and I believe clothed torsos, in this piece, are symbolic stand-ins for DJ Toomp beats.

Look at me getting lost in the story this painting has to tell! In a tactful show of restraint, you’ll also notice this work doesn’t explicitly bear the image of Lil Wayne, but his specter looms in perpetuity, his presence implied. Working in opposition to the artist’s minimalism, Corporeal Wayne, or perhaps the spirit of hedonism tapping Dwayne Carter as a vessel, gleefully expounds on his model broad’s anorexia, his abundance of bathrooms, and cuckolding. Add this to Weezy’s slew of confounding post-C3 mixtape appearances, frustratingly insufficient puzzle pieces in the question of whether substances have officially fried his brain, and whether or not that’s a bad thing or simply the beginning of a fascinating phase of Wayne’s career in which he doesn’t say anything that’s not completely frivolous and self-absorbed (and, really, he’s always toed that line), content to transform the worthless minutia of his mind into marble-mouthed proclamations of his own immaculacy.

If what I’ve dubbed “Cartoon Gucci Mane Gives Photoshopped Young Jeezy a Wedgie While Real Young Jeezy Counts Money and Laughs at Real Gucci Mane” were scratch ‘n sniff, its scent would probably bear a strong resemblance to Olde English malt liquor. Real Gucci Mane would probably lead you to believe it would smell like fishscale or expensive perfume, but, trust me, it would probably reek of an alcoholic beverage brewed from dead skunks and ballsweat. And like said beverage, there’s a palpable whiff of some smirking appeal to it—a milder cousin of infectious. Like when Mr. Mane espouses, “Gucci not a racist / All my diamonds Caucasian,” which is disarmingly funny. Real Gucci Mane’s main problem is that he doesn’t take ownership of his identity, tossing in misplaced slow jams and dousing his growl in chintzy, flitting production. In stark contrast, Cartoon Gucci Mane knows precisely what it is. It’s gaudy, brash, and unapologetically stupid. The man Real Gucci Mane detests enough to tease in a provocative work of art doubling as cover art for an internet-only mixtape is responsible for the best trap-hop album of this decade, and a couple platinum plaques, which indicates there’s a market for willfully ignorant pinky ring chatter. In sum, my career advice, to Real Gucci Mane would be to swing by the Met—there resides a pixelated image of this on computer paper— look into the brazen sunglasses where Cartoon Gucci Mane’s eyes should be, and start contemplating that whole life imitating art thingy.