Blockbuster hustle rap that stumbles into cliché…

Gucci Mane – perhaps more than any of his peers – has transformed his multi-faceted interests into a coherent, hugely successful global brand. Whether it’s fashion or acting or music, he’s been able to transform his passions into cold, hard cash, fusing street experiences with bona fide couture link ups.

Perhaps the secret to his blockbuster hustle lies in Gucci Mane’s work rate. ‘Ice Daddy’ – which lands in time for Father’s Day – is his fifth full length project in two and a bit years, and it leans on his trademark brand without adding anything new to the overall picture.

Opening with the rolling electronics of ‘Poppin’ the rapper then eases into ‘Posse On Bouldercrest’, featuring XXL Freshman knockout Pooh Shiesty. Both tracks have the same effervescent – it’s like the boost you get from an energy drink, immediate yet it soon wears off.

Indeed, ‘Ice Daddy’ struggles to maintain momentum over its 17 tracks. The highs are stellar: ‘Like 38 & 8’ has a deep, rumbling, bass heavy production, while ‘Live At The Red Carpet’ is one of Gucci Mane’s rawest tracks for some time.

That said, ‘Ice Daddy’ flags across its weighty middle section. Lyrical matter – ‘Top Of Shit’, ‘Rich N***a Shit’, ‘Trap Shit’ – becomes repetitive, while tracks such as ‘Gucci Coming For You’ are (admittedly self-consciously) basic.

Latter tracklisting highlights such as ‘Bust Down’ come a little too late; however it’s heartening to hear Gucci Mane channel the perils of freelance creators on ‘Invoices’. We all have to file ‘em, after all.

An album that aims for reinforcement rather than reinvention, ‘Ice Daddy’ adds another layer of chrome paint to the Gucci Mane brand. It’s not a failure, for sure – there’s enough here to sustain the hype, and maintain the headlines – but neither is it an unqualified success. He’s quaffing champagne while treading water in a luxury pool – and to be honest, who can blame him?

6/10

Words: Robin Murray

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