Brick Factory Vol. 2 is, as the title suggests, the second volume in a series which began earlier this year with the release of Brick Factory Vol. 1. The first installment came loaded with fifteen songs showcasing Brick Squad boys Peewee Longway, Young Dolph and Young Thug, as well as Migos, Yo Gotti, Rich Homie Quan, Jose Guapo and the seemingly less estranged Waka Flocka Flame. Sadly, it wasn’t good.
Yet, keeping up with the schedule offered on Twitter, Volume 2 has arrived and can now be streamed for free or purchased on iTunes. Actually, Brick Factory Vol. 2 arrives ahead of its September 13 release date, one of those rare instances when an album is pushed forward rather than back. What is offered, however, is a strange collection of songs that keeps with the spirit of the first volume but also pushes into unexplored territory.
Here are the facts: Brick Factory Vol. 2 is twenty-seven songs long and lasts over an hour and a half. Gucci Mane appears on many of the songs, but once again the emphasis is primarily on his affiliates and labelmates. Most of the first volume’s roster is present here, with newcomers Young Fresh, Young Gleesh, Cashout, Sp, Dk and Ogd. I’m not sure if those last three are typos or actual rap names but in this day and age who can tell.
Cutting to the chase, this album is terrible. Gucci’s prolific output this incarceration has seen some good releases and some bad; well, a lot of bad. It’s certainly ambitious for him and the label to release this rap monstrosity, but again, the Children’s Crusade was also ambitious and is now generally considered to have been a mistake.
There aren’t many fresh or new ideas on this release, but then there are some songs which are totally uninspired, like “Us Fuck Them,” an OJ Da Juiceman featuring song which sounds like a rip-off of Waka Flocka Flame’s “Fuck Nigga.” Speaking of Flocka, he stops by to lay down verses on three songs presented here, and only one of them (on the song “Weekend Boyfriend“) has any redeeming qualities. Migos members Quavo and Takeoff also feature on songs here but the onslaught of releases from the group, including the Gucci Mane hosted The Green Album from earlier this year, has left their voices and style more worn out than the condom I re-used twelve times.
Peewee Longway appears on six of the songs here, and he at least can spit a bar. Following up his fiery The Blue M&M and subsequent The White Album, his current endeavors are worthy of the growing buzz around him, though he still doesn’t reach his fullest potential on this release. Nor does Young Thug, who has had four mixtapes released by 1017 Brick Squad already this year. Similarly, the guest spots from MPA Wicced, MPA Duke, Cashout, Young Dolph and Young Scooter fail to meet the mark.
So what does that leave? There’s a very surprising guest spot from Kesha on the song “Down and Out.” It’s not surprising because it’s good, but because she’s seemingly taking her post-rehab career in a strange direction by working with the Brick Squad boys. Also, I personally crown Ola Playa’s verse on “Standing on the Stage” as the worst verse on the album, for lack of ability, poor cadence and disheartening lyrical content.
It’s a little critical of me to say that there’s nothing good about an effort with over two dozen songs on it, and perhaps I’m being overly judgmental. Repeat listens could reveal some hidden gems in there, but I don’t picture myself listening to this again, especially given the inordinate length of this release. I’m sure Gucci Mane’s stream of albums this year has earned the label a lot of money, but I’d prefer it if they focused instead on making higher quality songs and focusing on the substance of their music rather than the volume of it. This has been a big year for Gucci Mane and his label, but at this point I’m hesitant to say that it’s been a good year.