The Score: Gucci Mane, "The Return Of Mr. Zone 6"

Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011 2:25PM

Written by J. Bachelor

Buy Now
  • Return Of Mr. Zone 6
  • Gucci Mane
  • March 22, 2011
Sputnik 3/5
Starpulse 3/5
LA Times 3/5

Brick Squad head honcho Gucci Mane is back on the block, as his latest street album, Return of Mr. Zone 6, releases today.

Zone 6 marks the first of two upcoming discs from Gucci, who is set to release a joint project alongside rap cohort Waka Flocka Flame this summer.

It's only been six months since Gucci Mane, a.k.a. Radric Davis, released 2010's The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted. But the Atlanta rapper has lived a lifetime of weirdness in that time. In January, Mane landed in a psychiatric ward by court order, and after, that he visited a tattoo parlor to get inked with a lightning-spiked ice-cream cone across his right cheek. Unfortunately for Mane, the body art sparked more discussion than any music he's put out in a long while. The Return Of Mr. Zone 6 tries to change the subject by starting over. (AV Club)

In addition to his Brick Squad family, Gucci enlisted Cash Money head Birdman and So Icey protégé Waka Flocka Flame to help him get in the zone.

With Birdman on the cut, "Mouth Full of Golds" is the thug anthem of choice, and with no less than three Waka Flocka guest shots included, party people get to "go dumb" with a vengeance, which is a good thing. "I Don't Love Her" (but "I love things about her") keeps the golden-age idea of thug romance in check, but when the slow creeper "Pancakes" rolls around, offering a breakfast food as a victory metaphor, it's something new, wacky, and entirely Gucci. (Starpulse)

The beats on Zone 6 were handled by a three-man crew.

Gucci Mane teamed up with long-time collaborator Drumma Boy to produce the majority of the album with producers Southside and Zaytoven each contributing a song to the 13-track release.(XXL)

Last year, Gucci discussed how his incarceration affected his musical process.

"Unfortunately I've been to jail a couple times. Anytime I come in it's difficult to make music, write songs. This time, I have a peace within me. I've been so excited to get out. I've written about 50 to 60 songs. With money and selling CDs, I can always do that. I believe I can make all the money I've missed the last six months. But I can't regain the time with fans and family." (Billboard)

Critics agree that Gucci founds himself in a familiar zone on his street album, as he able to repeat the formula of serving up memorable hooks to infectious beats.

For a rapper with such a singular voice, Gucci's success often hinges on the quality of his beats. "The Appeal" sometimes got lost in overly lush slow jams, but "Zone 6" is a fine sweet spot: "Reckless" is essentially a fussy snare trill; the minimal "I Don't Love Her" features just a horror show organ and church chime. His notoriously screwball wordplay takes a back seat to a more sedate menace, but Gucci's inimitable rasp is where it should be -- as prominent as, well, a frozen snack tattoo on your cheekbone. (LA Times Blog)
On Mr. Zone 6, we find a Gucci who seems to have finally settled into the darker-sounding niche he first carved for himself on Burrprint. Moreover, he's showcased the abilities to consistently make an infectious hook and pull off, well, impressive flows with ease and smoothness while retaining a fun delivery.(Sputnik)

To purchase Return of Mr. Zone 6, just click here.

Click here to preview songs from the project below:

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