sweet as the scratch

#freeguwop: hip hop and incarceration
in the digital age

In late 2013, Radric Davis aka Gucci Mane was sentenced to 39 months in prison for possession of undocumented firearms. Since incarceration, Gucci has released 13 albums and inked record deals with hip hop/internet sensations Chief Keef, Young Thug, Fetty Wap, and Migos.

Meanwhile, live at Gucci’s independent record label’s headquarters, sound engineers Ronald "Caveman" Rosarian and Sean Paine sift through over 400 hours of unreleased Gucci music. During the years of 2008-2013, Gucci recorded between 7 and 13 tracks a day, and Rosarian and Paine are now charged with the task of transforming these archives into Gucci bankroll. This verse sounds good with that hook. Copy/paste. These beats work but those vocals are no good—text Keef, see if he’ll throw us a verse. Record, filter, EQ, mix, master. Upload to Soundcloud. Repeat.

Less recently, rappers such as 2Pac, Lauryn Hill, Remy Ma, Mac Dre, Lil’ Kim, and Biggie have contoured incarceration into a kind of twisted, retreat-like space for developing musical skills, techniques, and "street cred." But Gucci, perhaps the most productive recording artist in the history of popular music—having released over 75 full-length projects thus far –is part of a new generation of artists who know that any break in creative output is likely to stall up or even bring an end to a rapper's career. This essay argues that the curious case of Gucci music syn-incarceration emergres out of techno-cultural phenomena shaping and being shaped by music’s production/consumption in the digital age.


This playlist, then, selects some of my favorite Gucci tracks from this weird moment in Mr Zone 6's career. They convey Gucci Mane the sound more than Gucci Mane the artist, or at least suggest that the relationship between the two isn't a one to one ratio. Just a glance at the tracklist shows how central this man is to the rap game. Always with his ear to the streets, these tracks feature young talents that Gucci has both sought out for collaboration and in many cases signed to 1017. On the rap side, Keef, Thugger, Rich Homie Quan, Raury, ILoveMakonnen, and Migos are all here, as are Zaytoven, Metro Boomin, Mike Will Made It, and 808 Mafia on the production side. Peep these tracks and turn up! And, as always, free muthafuckin guwop!

0:00 "(The Intro) [prod. Zaytoven]" - Gucci Mane - Gucci vs Guwop
2:05 "Hot Boyz" - Gucci Mane x Young Thug - Young Thugga Mane La Flare
4:55 "Semi On Em" - Gucci Mane x Chief Keef - Big Gucci Sossa
7:43 "Dead People (feat. Raury)" - Gucci Mane - (2014)
10:41 "My Customer (feat. Jose Guapo & Young Fresh)" - Gucci Mane - Brick Factory Vol. 1
15:11 "Ice Cream (feat. Migos) [prod. Zaytoven]" - Gucci Mane - King Gucci
17:48 "Odd Ball" - Gucci Mane - East Atlanta Santa
21:35 "Play Too Much [prod. Mike Will Made It]" - Gucci Mane - Dessert
25:05 "Gunnin" - Gucci Mane - The Oddfather
28:03 "Still Sellin Dope (feat. Fetty Wap) [prod. MetroBoomin]" - Gucci Mane - King Gucci
31:13 "Drugs Like You" - Gucci Mane - Trap House 4
34:55 "Rolling Stone (feat. Lil B) [prod. Mike Will Made It]" - Gucci Mane - Views From Zone 6
37:25 "Lowest (feat. Rich The Kid & OG Maco) [prod. 808 Mafia]" - Gucci Mane - (2014)
41:00 "Wish You Was Me [prod. Sammy Tarantino & 808 Mafia]" Gucci Mane - The State vs Radric Davis II: The Caged Bird Sings
44:05 "Move Something (feat. Gucci Mane & Bankroll Fresh) [prod. Will Da Fool]" - OJ Da Juiceman - (2014)
48:17 "Take It Easy (feat. ILoveMakonnen)" - Gucci Mane - Breakfast
51:09 "Seen Alot (feat. Young Scooter)" - Gucci Mane x Migos - The Green Album (Get Rich Everything Else Is Nonsense)
54:34 "Donald Trump (feat. DK)" - Gucci Mane & Young Thug - The Purple Album (People Usually Ridicule The Powerful Lead By Example)
56:45 "Stand 4 It [prod. Dun Deal]" - Gucci Mane - Trap God 3
59:59 "Goblin" - Gucci Mane x PeeWee Longway - The White Album (Why Hate Instead Take Everything)
1:04:10 "Texas Margarita (feat. Young Dolph & Dr. Phil) [prod. London On Da Track]" - Gucci Mane - Brick Factory Vol. 1
1:08:41 "Top In The Trash (feat. Chief Keef) [prod. Mike Will Made It]" - Gucci Mane - Trap House 4 (and Bang 3 **allegedly**)
1:12:29 "Say A Prayer (feat. Rich Homie Quan)" - Gucci Mane -
1:16:25 "Trap On Wheels (feat. Young Scooter) [prod. C4]" - Gucci Mane - The Oddfather
1:20:22 "No Hook (feat. Trinidad Jame$)" - Gucci Mane - Lunch
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