The cover of Evil Genius features an image of Gucci Mane shirtless, the rapper’s six-pack poking out in Technicolor glory. The vision is a far cry from the Homer Simpson-shaped kingpin rap fans fell in love with at the height of the “Guccimania” period. Evil Genius, however, makes the case that ain’t nothing changed but the numbers on the bathroom scale.
The man who once went by Mr. Zone 6 sounds as hungry as ever, and the album’s references to the rapper’s time as an unhinged young hustler are both plentiful and consistently amusing. “The plug he keep on bringin’ in the mouth/I robbed him ’cause he treat me like the help!” Gucci raps on “By Myself.” Across the two verses of “Father’s Day,” on which he laments a lack of appreciation for all the styles he’s birthed, Gucci sounds as crisp as ever.
Evil Genius, Gucci’s sole album of 2018, ends an uncharacteristically quiet period following the release of three projects the year prior. “I think this was the first time I had more fun making the records,” Gucci told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe. “Before, I was expressing myself, talking through the mic like I had a lot on my chest. This album was, like, ‘Let’s find the best beat, make the best song, and put it out.” As an example of what a veteran is capable of when he takes his time, Evil Genius is steadfast confirmation that Gucci is still the mane for the rap world to fear.