Atlantic

As an artist, you're only as good as your last effort, but in a few cases throughout the course of history, incarceration has halted some of rap's brightest stars from living up to their full potential and stunting their development. Resuming a rap career on the other side of a lengthy jail sentence has garnered mixed results, with a vast majority failing to find their footing. They say that time waits for no man, but Gucci Mane has proven himself to be the exception to that rule, reclaiming his throne as Atlanta's resident trap king and asserting himself as a media darling in 2016.

Released from prison in May after serving nearly three years for parole violation, Gucci looked to build on the momentum he created with his first post-prison release, Everybody Looking. Now he continues his hot streak with his latest album, Woptober. Featuring production from London on da Track, Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Zaytoven, Will-A-Fool, Southside, Metro Boomin and Drumma Boy, as well as guest verses from Rick Ross and Young Dolph, Woptober finds Guwop pulling in many of his most frequent collaborators, making for a long player that his loyalists will be quite pleased with.

"I still don't give a fuck how a fuckboy feel," Gucci boasts on the Woptober opener "Intro: Fuck 12," which finds him reveling in the runaway success he's enjoyed since plunging back in the rap game. Spewing pompous bars like, "These niggas say they getting money, I can't really tell/I made more money than them and I was in a jail cell" while urging listeners to "Trust God, fuck 12," Gucci proves that despite his lean frame, he can still talk heavy with the best of them.

TM88 and Zaytoven provide an ominous backdrop for Mr. La Flare to menace over on "Aggressive," an aptly titled number that, like the subsequent selection, "The Left," is in the vein of his classic records of yesteryear. With these tracks, Woptober is off to a favorable start. Although the majority of Woptober features Gucci steering the ship by his lonely, one of the album's transcendent cuts, "Money Machine," finds him connecting with Rick Ross and waxing poetic about their financial expenditures and business endeavors over 808s provided by Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E.

"Florescent lamps in my crib, providing life for my seeds/I'm a get money marine, I sent coke in submarines/Irrigation machines, hydraulic water machines/My money counting machine sound like a sewing machine," he rhymes, detailing the sophistication of his illicit underworld operation.

Known as a braggart himself, Rick Ross' presence is preternatural on this outing as he saunters over the track. Bars like "I'm so fuck what I sold, my toilet seats solid gold/You should see my new palace cause that bitch bigger than Lowe's/I'm a 8 figure nigga, I run the check to the ceiling/Since Gucci came home bitches back in they feelings," the Bawse raps, paying homage to his recurring crime partner and fellow southern titan.

After giving a healthy heap of musings geared towards the hustlers and the crime bosses, Gucci serves up a few lady-friendly tunes with "Icy Lil Bitch" and "Love Her Body," both of which feature him fawning over one of the more vivacious women in his stable. A knack for wordplay is put on display on the second verse of "Hi-Five," a Woptober standout with production helmed by CuBeatz and Metro Boomin. Witty quips like, "So much ice around my bezel you can't see, the Patek/I'm Felipe, in Felice, with a freak, she petite/From the beach, to the skreet, from the skreet, to the suite/Put my bone in her mouth, told her bon appétit," get volleyed with ease, as Guwop continues to pontificate over the track.

Woptober includes a few snags in the form of pedestrian offerings such as "Wop," the repetitive "Right on Time" and the underwhelming Young Dolph collaboration, "Bling Blaww Burr," but the album finishes strong with the revealing closeout cut, "Addiction." The track begins with Gucci owning up to his reckless ways. "When I was on drugs so bad, you know, I talked different/I was drinking lean like crazy everyday, I was out my mind," he delivers, setting the tone.

But the plot thickens quickly on the first verse. "My daddy was an alcoholic, momma she's a junkie daughter/Cousin smokin' crack, I guess she forgot all my aunt done taught her/Plus I got two brothers that I don't know from a addicted father/And all the pain I caused my mother, bet she wish she had a daughter," Gucci rhymes. The rapper holds no punches, explaining the disease of addiction that runs in is family, which he believes he inherited. Rather than attempt to atone or lament, Gucci owns his impulses without an ounce of shame, resulting in the most memorable composition on the album.

With Everybody Looking, Gucci quieted any concerns about his larger than life persona behind bars being able to translate into tangible success. The project earned him his highest debut to date at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, but Woptober doesn't quite capitalize on that spotlight. However, the LP is an entertaining listen with trunk-rattling beats and a grab bag of catchy refrains and one-liners.

A line from "Right on Time" ("I'ma freestyle, I ain't got time to write a rhyme/So many want a feature that they done made a line") may suggest quantity over quality is an issue this time around. But the rhymer has always churned out new tracks and albums at a rate that keeps his competitors on edge. It's his hallmark, which proves Gucci Mane's consistency post-prison is to be applauded considering the music he's delivering as a free man is on the upswing. Rather than hinder, Woptober, which features Gucci relying on the secret formula that kept his name afloat during his tenure in the penitentiary, only strengthens his catalog.

 See Exclusive Photos From Gucci Mane's XXL Magazine Fall 2016 Cover Story