Mr. Davis

Mr. Davis

Mr. Davis was the artistic and commercial apex of the Gucci Mane renaissance of the mid-to-late 2010s. The 2017 album was the influential Atlanta rapper’s fifth solo release after a three-year prison stint from which he emerged a changed man in many senses, from his svelte physical appearance to his newfound sobriety. With a dense roster of all-star guests—including some of the biggest names in hip-hop at the time—and concise run time by his standards (a mere hour), Mr. Davis feels like a marquee Gucci release in a dense discography that often feels too sprawling to sift through. The LP turned out to be not only the commercial peak of the reborn Gucci Mane era, but of his entire career until that point. The track that catapulted Mr. Davis up the Billboard charts was the Migos collaboration “I Get the Bag,” a radio smash before the album dropped in October. Aside from its infectious hook and round-robin energy, the song also represented students paying tribute to their master. Before his sentencing in the early 2010s, Gucci Mane had championed Migos in their formative years; by 2017, the motormouthed ATL trio had scored a viral No. 1 with “Bad and Boujee” and became one of the industry’s most in-demand Southern rap acts. Here, Quavo and Takeoff’s live-wire energy and natural star power help to fuel Gucci’s standout performance. The “Versace”-famous group is not even the most high-profile turn on Mr. Davis. On previous 2016 and 2017 Gucci projects, Drake offered up sleek hooks on some of the releases’ highest-streaming cuts; on Mr. Davis, The Weeknd assumes the mantle of superstar crooner du jour on the deadly catchy and suitably sleazy “Curve.” Other hooks come from reliable hitmakers like Ty Dolla $ign (“Enormous”), while ’90s R&B luminary Monica’s dense harmonies brighten up the glitchy, cinema-scale production of “We Ride,” a tribute to Gucci’s then-fiancée Keyshia Ka’Oir. In the middle of all of this disparate action, Gucci inevitably provides an anchor point for the project with his sturdy flows. These include ones that date back to the rapper’s earliest releases and fresh and offbeat cadences that animate songs that might otherwise feel unassuming (see solo highlight “Members Only”).

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