|Recording information: Be@t Be@ngerz Studios, Atlanta, GA; Chalice Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Patchwerk Recordings, Atlanta, GA; Platinum Sound Recording Studio, New York, NY; Plush Studios, Winter Springs, FL; Rodney Jerkins Studio; Setai Studios, Miami, FL; Silent Sound; Takeover Studio, Houston, TX.
|The questionable consensus on mushed-mouth party rapper Gucci Mane is that his mixtapes beat his official albums by a mile, but The Appeal is another worthy, aboveground effort, holding more highlights than your everyday release while broadening the man's horizons (something that certainly needed to happen). With ethereal production from the Neptunes and rapper Nicki Minaj delivering lines that are much more nimble than naughty ("I'm all that I can be/And I'll admit, I'm appalled when you envy/Cause you can do it too/I just happen to be the girl that they threw it to"), "Haterade" is like nothing in Gucci's earlier catalog, and when the closing "Grown Man" finds the usually sloth-like rapper rapidly explaining his family tree -- and all the bad apples that fell from it -- it's downright shocking and solid. On the other hand, he's lost none of his steadily stoned and constantly throwed appeal as he makes his somewhat slow guest Bun B sound like Twista on the opening "Little Friend." Better still is when he confuses women and cash on the entirely Gucci "Making Love to the Money," or gets ridiculous and between the beats on the decent roller "Gucci Time" ("White boy wasted, frat boy wasted/ Amazin' like my bracelet I'm flossin/R.I.P. the mic, the ice got my chest moon walkin'"). If there's a problem, it's that mass appeal isn't even considered and there are no grand singles for the radio heads to savor. This one is for those who would still love The State vs. Radric Davis even if the breakthrough hits "Lemonade" and "Wasted" weren't included. ~ David Jeffries