Ambitionz az a Writer: Gucci Mane is a Postmodernist

Ambitionz az a Writer: Gucci Mane is a Postmodernist

A Hotlanta rapper you probably haven’t heard from or respected since middle school dialogues with modern culture under your nose.
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Gucci Mane is not remarkable for mastery of classical characteristics of good rap—flow, rhyming, wordplay, subject matter, etc. He rarely deviates from the drugs, money, hoes tough guy narrative of the 2000s; unlike Tupac and Biggie who spoke on the same subjects, Gucci shows little to no self-awareness. He doesn’t even offer the old college try like DJ Quik’s “Jus Lyke Compton.” While he does acknowledge the ruin of East Atlanta, Gucci makes no recommendations, no comment on what he thinks of the situation. His tone and flow can be frighteningly boring at times. Pre-federal penitentiary, pre-sobriety Gucci Mane sounds like a drip of syrup through a mouth of cotton balls. Post-federal penitentiary, post-sobriety Gucci sounds like someone pulled the cotton balls out. “Wasted” is a prime example of this; Gucci’s chorus is a hedonistic drone that conveys absolutely no investment in the moment. Gucci doesn’t attempt much wordplay either. There are no punchlines in “First Day Out Tha Feds” which is confined to a 5th grade vocabulary. Gucci's skill does not lie in the traditional realms of rap.

Instead, in “First Day Out Tha Feds,” Gucci’s talent starts to shine after the line “It’s a lot of people scared of me and I can’t blame them.” Gucci now begins to reflect upon himself through the lens of others’ reactions. “They call me crazy so much, I think I’m starting to believe ‘em / I did some things to some people that was downright evil” is accompanied by a shrug; Gucci feels no remorse. The kicker comes, though, with the line: “My own mama turned her back on me / and that’s my momma!” Gucci is participating in abstraction, a hallmark of modernism. He is not reliving the event; he makes no mention of any emotion attached to it. Instead, he analyzes the occurrence as a symbol—is he really evil and crazy? Gucci is thus distanced from the primary reality of what happened. This idea of distance was repeated in the lines before as Gucci requires the prompting of others to determine his nature rather than his own self-awareness. His incredulousness and puzzlement becomes more untenable by the second—he even admits he has done things that are “downright evil”—but still, he maintains his facade of detached conflict. This situation is absurd, it is exaggerated, it is postmodern.

Gucci Mane’s music fits right into a movement about all sorts of unreality. Guwop is, at times, obvious, using the classic techniques of the genre without subtlety. In “I Think I Love Her,” Gucci recounts his unreciprocated love, but as the song progresses, it becomes clear that the woman Gucci is rapping about is cocaine with “I stashed her in my fender while I stashed her in my tire.” Instead of committing to making a metaphorical song about drugs, though, Gucci makes the human aspect of the “woman” undeniable by giving “Susie” the woman/cocaine a voice through Ester Dean. In the end, rather than a total parallel for cocaine or a total parallel for a woman, the object of Gucci’s affection is a woman/cocaine amalgamation. She throws fits/is super thick/is mean as shit and can be kept in his fender. Gucci has constructed a new reality to allow for the simultaneous illustration of his love for women and cocaine. On “All My Children,” Gucci returns to another trope of postmodernism as he raps “I had to make a track to say I’m proud of you / Stop that track to tell my children that I’m proud of them.” This segment is lightning quick and references the song’s limitations as a song, another common technique of the genre. Despite these examples, though, most of Gucci’s music does not employ such transparent references to postmodernism. Gucci is more than the parlor tricks of old. His take on the movement is complicated by his apparent sincerity. Gucci really did make a track to tell his children that he’s proud of them, and the track really did stop so that Gucci could tell his children that he’s proud of them. His music seesaws between total straight-laced sincerity and complete satire, neither of which perfectly fit. The postmodernism of Gucci Mane is not the sci-fi alternate world of freakishly talented children or time-traveling; it is the tension within the listener to decide to take Gucci at face value or not. Because of his often ridiculous sentiments, the listener’s decision of whether to believe Gucci is a decision of whether Gucci’s proclamations exist within the bounds of human nature and thus whether or not Gucci is representing reality.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in “Iced Out Bart.” Gucci details the miserable indifference he feels towards others through the metaphor of his Bart Simpson necklace. The song is best summarized in one line: “I got an iced out Bart where my heart used to be.” Superficially, the message is straightforward. Gucci is soulless, completely devoured by materialism. He offers more humanity to his jewelry than he does the people that he hurts. He names his necklaces and bracelets and suggests their familial relations to each other. The only actor in Gucci’s narrative that he names is “Nicole,” the listener’s girlfriend; this, he does only to further injure and offend and thus better demonstrate his ruthlessness. Gucci’s delivery throughout the chorus is also suitably monotone, offering no suggestion to the contrary to his statements. The song is not completely devoid of emotion, though; a strange overwrought “yeah” follows every utterance of the mantra “I got an iced out Bart where my heart used to be.” This “yeah” serves to further emphasize his cruelty; it is a happy endorsement of the statement. Most notably, though, it contradicts the theme of the song as Gucci is displaying a sort of emotional reaction. Gucci doesn’t attempt to resolve this. It is now up to the listener to either believe Gucci’s claim of limitless brutality or distrust him. The listener then must decide what reality he or she lives in—is Gucci truly barbaric or is he hamming it up?

This question is the central concern of Gucci’s oeuvre. Few songs go by without such an absurdity. The suggestion of camp is most often embodied in the theatrical “yeaaah,” though in other songs such as “All My Children” where Gucci piles on the superlatives, the absurdity sits closer to the surface. Gucci never openly contradicts his narrative, but by so enthusiastically, ridiculously advocating for it, taking it to absolutes and extremes—“Don’t nobody love you like Guwop love you”—Guwop inevitably leads the listener to question him. The listener must then decide what sort of world they would like to believe in.

Rap has long been obsessed with authenticity. N.W.A. sought to tell the story of Compton as they experienced it, and Biggie rapped about his life story and reflections throughout his albums. Even recently, the fixation has not died down. Uproar over Iggy Azalea was tied to her inflection while rapping. Since she came from Australia and spoke with an Australian accent in interviews, the “Dirty South” style felt stilted and disingenuous coming from her. Gucci directly engages with that assumption by blending his narratives and offering conflicting evidence of it. Wizop thus falls in line with literary giants like Vladimir Nabokov and Kurt Vonnegut. Rather than the classic unreliable narrator like Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert, Gucci Mane doesn’t even allow the listener the certainty of knowing that he might

be lying. Instead, Gucci localizes the conflict completely to the audience; listening to his music ultimately becomes self-reflection.

Cover Image Credit: citylimitsmixdvd.com

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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17 Gifts For The Man Who Gave You Everything

Your dad is your first love and nothing can top that as a gift, plus he has everything already. Amazon is here to save the holiday season.

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The constant struggle of never knowing what to get your dad around the holidays has finally come to an end! After many years of wandering aimlessly in stores, I have finally compiled a list of gifts you can get your dad this holiday season.

1. Wireless Charging Base

Amazon

The ongoing struggle of the lights already being off and wiggling the cable to try and plug your phone in before bed. The charging base is here to make life easier for your dad to just place his phone on top of it before bed or when he just needs a quick charge!

Find it on Amazon for $14.99

2. Keurig Machine + K Cups

Amazon

That morning or afternoon pick me up to just power through the day. Plus in the comfort of your own home or office without driving and waiting in line at Starbucks! What more could you ask for?!

Get it on Amazon for $89.99

3. Cologne

Amazon

Getting sprayed by every different scent of new cologne while in the mall is fun but this is more convenient and there is no headache in between searching. Check out some of the most popular cologne's to add to your dad's morning routine.

Find it on Amazon for $32.99

4. Wireless speaker

Amazon

So your dad isn't the best with technology, but he wants to stream some oldies throughout the house while he gets ready for work. This wireless speaker is easy to use and will help him become a morning person!

Get on Amazon for $28.99

5. Noise canceling headphones

Amazon

Whether your dad travels a lot or not he is bound to get sick of hearing background sounds especially when he is trying to concentrate. These noise-canceling headphones will help block out any unnecessary sounds and help him concentrate or relax for some time!

Find on Amazon for $99.99

6. Sunglasses

Amazon

So maybe the big blocked sunglasses are not really in style anymore. With a little help from Amazon and the latest trends, you can help your dad look more sophisticated with a new pair of frames.

Find on Amazon for $16.98

7. Desk organizer

Amazon

The office or home desk is always full of clutter whether they will admit it or not. Help your dad out with organizing papers and files with this desk organizer.

Find on Amazon for $12.99

8. BBQ/Grill set

Amazon

We all know that one weekend where our dad's cannot stop talking about how amazing the weather is and how he can't wait to put some food on the grill. With this grill set, your dad will be wanting to have cookouts every weekend!

Find on Amazon for $31.33

9. Seasoned spices

Amazon

Spice things up! These seasoned spices will make any piece of food more flavorful (since we know dad doesn't cook every day!)

10. Massage pillow

Amazon

After a long day at the office or just a much deserved TLC day this massage pillow will save the day!

Find one like this on Amazon for $32

11. Cooling towel

Amazon

I can't be the only one who sees my dad out on a Sunday washing cars and fixing landscape lights no matter how hot it is out. This cooling towel will come in handy the minute he feels the need to jump in the pool!

Get one on Amazon for $11.99

12. Pocket knife

Amazon

Whether he will use it or not. Pocket knives are something that are always carried around and if you go the extra mile to get it engraved every time he looks at it he will think of you!

Find on Amazon for $30.88

13. Tool kit

Amazon

As mentioned before, dad's love fixing things and with a new tool kit you won't find him sitting in one place for too long as there will always be something that needs to be fixed.

Get on Amazon for $37.97

14. Watch winder

Amazon

Watches are a crucial addition to every dad's wardrobe. Most feel empty without one and a watch winder will make it easy to remember to choose one to put on every morning and will have all of them in one place for him!

Find on Amazon for $69.99

15. Electric wine bottle opener

Amazon

Dad's love the latest and greatest gadgets whether or not they know how to work them. An electric wine bottle opener will make a night in less of a hassle with no cork being stuck inside the bottle, plus the light changes colors!

Find one on Amazon for $29.99

16. Glasses case

Amazon

Sunglasses or reading glasses... this can really go both ways. Not everyone is perfect and we lose things, but if you get a nice case for glasses for you dad maybe he won't lose them before an important meeting!

Get one on Amazon for $6.95

17. Socks

Amazon

Add a little color and excitement into your dad's wardrobe. Not every day needs to be black or white sock day. Get a fun color or some words on a pair and when he puts them on before leaving the house he will remember laughing when he opened the gift.

Get some on Amazon for $31.99

Stop wandering around and googling random DIY gifts and head over to Amazon to get your dad a gift this holiday season!

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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