This has been a big year for Gucci Mane, but I’m not the first person to say it, nor is this the first year in which the Atlanta rapper’s presence and musical output have been a constant force in hip-hop. Despite having spent most of 2014 behind bars (first while awaiting trial on federal gun charges, then as part of a plea deal which will see him in jail for at least two more years), Gucci Mane has released a steady stream of music including collaborations with newcomers and labelmates.
Prior to his imprisonment, Gucci went through a phase of musical proliferation during which he was recording as many as thirteen songs a day. Those verses, bars and full songs have been assembled by Brick Squad to fit all of Gucci’s 2014 releases (Young Thugga Mane Laflare, Brick Factory Vol. 1, The Green Album, The Purple Album, The White Album (as host for the last three), Trap House 4 and Felix Brothers), and there’s no question that’s where The Oddfather was sourced.
When The Oddfather was announced, the timing seemed off. The summer had already seen a multitude of new releases from Gucci’s camp, and there was nothing to suggest that this new release was particularly inspired or passionate. The album cover suggests a bootleg mixtape of odds and ends, rather than a label endorsed album with an iTunes release. Gucci Mane already has several other announced projects upcoming, but with little information available about those, it’s surprising that he’d want to shift attention in this direction.
While producer C4 has worked with Gucci Mane many times over the years, he produces all of the beats on this album, the first time a Gucci LP has had production work handled by a single individual. The problem this causes in the case of The Oddfather is that many of the beats sound similar or interchangeable. The emphasis is on trap production, but C4 isn’t Southside, or Zaytoven, or even Lex Luger. These tracks feel rushed, if not sloppy.
The Oddfather begins with an introduction from Gucci Mane recorded in a phone call from Jail. It’s reassuring to hear the embattled hip-hop icon speaking from the present day (he mentions the capture of “El Chapo,” signifying that this was recorded either fairly recently or a very long time ago). Several verses in this manner lead into the first song on the album, “Gunnin’,” but after the first few lines are over there’s no desire to listen to more of the repetitive beat and mediocre rhymes.
There are a few decent songs on The Oddfather but not a single good one. “Kick Door” moves well as a song and features worthwhile lines from Gucci Mane but is utterly ruined by the featured verse from fellow Atlanta rapper OJ Da Juiceman. The selection of guest spots on this album is mostly reserved for frequent Gucci collaborators, such as PeeWee Longway on “Birdies,” a confused song in which Gucci Mane plays with AutoTune over a steadily looping beat. A similar situation is found with “Brick ‘n’ a Brick” where the different vocal samples stand out against each other, depriving the track of any pretense of authenticity.
The only two songs off this release that I may come back to someday are “Wednesday” and “Trap on Wheels.” Sometimes his ignorance and irreverence coincide with enjoyable rhymes, that being the case with these cuts alone. It’s not hard for Gucci Mane to make catchy songs, as proven (in recent times) by “Lef Some,” “Jugg House,” “Darker” and “Brand New.” I’m sure Gucci has great things in store for us, but The Oddfather does not attempt to be great, or even make sense. After listening to it, I wish my first impression had been correct; an unofficial bootleg album would be more entertaining than this.