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.

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:

Popular Right Now

37 Drake Lyrics From 'Scorpion' That Will Make Your Next Instagram Caption Go Double Platinum

Side A makes you want to be single, Side B make you want to be boo'd up.


We all knew Scorpion was going to be the summer banger we wanted. However, Drake surprised us with two sides of an album and two sides of himself. Mixing rap and R&B; was genius on his part, so why not dedicate 37 of his lyrics to our Instagram captions?

1. "Don't tell me how knew it would be like this all along" — Emotionless

Definitely a "I'm too good" for you vibe.

2. "My mentions are jokes, but they never give me the facts" — Talk Up

This one's for my haters.

3. "I wanna thank God for workin' way harder than Satan" — Elevate

For when you're feeling blessed.

4. "I promise if I'm not dead then I'm dedicated" — March 14

In Drake's story about his son the world knows about now, we get a lyric of true love and dedication

5. "My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions" — Survival

6. "Pinky ring 'til I get a wedding ring" — Nonstop

7. "I gotta breathe in real deep when I catch an attitude" — 8 Out of 10

This first line of the song is about to be spread on the gram like a wildfire

8. "Heard all of the talkin', now it's quiet, now it's shush" — Mob Ties

9. "California girls sweeter than pieces of candy" — Sandra's Rose

This is gonna have every girl who has ever stayed in Cali all hot and heavy, watch it.

10. "I think you're changing your mind, starting to see it in your eyes" — Summer Games

Y'all know how these summer games go

11. "Look the new me is really still the real me" — In My Feelings

When you've got to profess that you've changed 200%

12. "Only beggin' that I do is me beggin' your pardon" — Is There More

13. "Shifted your focus, lens lookin' jaded" — Jaded

14. "Back and forth to Italy, my comment section killin' me" — Can't Take a Joke

Necessary for when you've got people hyping you up already

15. "People are only as tough as they phone allows them to be" — Peak

Y'all can't have this one, I'm stealing it

16. "Work all winter, shine all summer" — That's How You Feel

Put in the work so you can flex on 'em, summer 18

17. "Blue faces, I got blue diamonds, blue tint, yeah" — Blue Tint

18. "I stay busy workin' on me" — Elevate

19. "Ten of us, we movin' as one" — Talk Up

The perfect reason to get the largest group picture you've had on your gram

20. "October baby for irony sake, of course" — March 14

This statistically applies to 1/12 of y'all reading this, so take that as you will (we October babies are the best)

21. "She had an attitude in the summer but now she nice again" — Blue Tint

22. "I know you special girl 'cause I know too many" — In My Feelings

23. "Gotta hit the club like you hit them, hit them, hit them angles" — Nice for What

24. "She said 'Do you love me?' I tell her, 'Only partly,' I only love my ____ and my ____ I'm sorry" — God's Plan

If you haven't used this one yet, get to it

25. "But I'm blessed I just checked, hate me never met me in the flesh" — I'm Upset

26. "It's only good in my city because I said so" — 8 Out of 10

Follow this up with a location and shoutout your hometown

27. "My haters either on they way to work or they arrived" — Can't Take a Joke

28. "I always need a glass of wine by sundown" — Final Fantasy

Has Drake ever been more relatable?

29. "It's your f***in' birthday. Happy birthday" — Ratchet Happy Birthday

Let's go get kicked out of an Applebee's

30. "I move through London with the Eurostep" — Nonstop

31. "I stopped askin' myself and I started feelin' myself" — Survival

Mood all summer 18

32. "They keep tryna' get me for my soul" — I'm Upset

33. "I'm tryna see who's there on the other end of the shade" — Emotionless

34. "Only obligation is to tell it straight" — Elevate

35. "It don't matter to me what you say" — Don't Matter to Me

This line from the King of Pop (MJ) will give you chills. R.I.P.

36. "I'm the chosen one, flowers never pick themselves" — Sandra's Rose

37. "Say you'll never ever leave from beside me" — In My Feelings

Couple goals, amirite?

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi / Instagram

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

11 Things To Never Say To A Retail Worker

Because people actually say these things.


I've worked in retail for years, and some of the things i've heard are truly ridiculous. While i love helping customers find their perfect item, here are some thing's i've been asked or told by customers that made me want to hide in the break room.

1. "Can you watch my child?"


Hmm so I can double check if you like but i'm pretty sure when i signed up for this job i didn't sign up to be a babysitter as well. Sorry.

2. "Can you check the back?"


A solid 99% of the time when someone asks if there is more stock of an item in the back, the employee has already checked the back for that item in the same day. Our job is to help people buy things, and we are typically rewarded for making more sales. So trust us, if we say we're out of an item then we are out of it.

3. "I'm never shopping here again"


Well it's been a pleasant experience knowing you.

4. "Excuse me, I've been waiting in line for a long time"


Yes, wow you are correct. In fact, let me just ignore everyone who was here before you and help you first.

5. "The item isn't scanning? It must be free!"


Fake laughing at customers jokes is a big part of the job, but I've heard this so many times at this point it physically hurts to bring myself to laugh.

6. "May I use this coupon even though it's expired"


Fun fact, we actually just put those expiration dates for fun. Yeah, no.

7. "Can I use your employee discount"


Yes, random person I've just met. I will completely risk loosing my job to help you get 20% off your purchase today.

8. "This item was on the clearance rack and I won't pay full price for it"


I can completely understand that it's frustrating since you thought the item was at a discounted price, but that doesn't mean i can magically change the price for you.

9. "Do you work here"


No, i just bought the store uniform from a thrift shop and then come to the store to fool people like you.

10. "No, my card is not getting declined. It must be you"


Well, i've successfully managed to check out 100 other customers today and all of their cards worked fine. So, I'm going to go ahead and say i'm not the problem here.

11. "Why does [insert store product] cost so much?"


Just a warning, you may need to sit down for this one. Retail workers actually don't control the prices fo store products. Shocking, right?

Cover Image Credit:

Related Content

Facebook Comments