Everybody Looking is hip-hop rapper Gucci Mane’s title for his 9th studio album, and his first album since being released from prison for firearm possession, and a bunch of other criminal offenses. So considering the circumstances, it seems like a pretty apt title. “All the executives are watching.. All the artists are watching.. All the producers are watching.. All my fans are looking at me.. I feel like the world is watching me.” We probably all, in some alternate context, feel a little like that at a certain point in our lives, but when you’re a famous rapper who just got released from prison, it’s somewhat magnified.
Gucci Mane is in good company on this album, with current rap favourites Kanye West, Drake and Young Thug making guest track appearances. Guwop Home feat Young Thug features a Fetty Wap style vocal riff intro and a piano riff that dominates the intro before making repeat appearances throughout the rest of the song, with trap beats an obvious given to accompany the rap verses. While some tracks exude the cockiness a lot of rappers exude at times, for example, Pop Music, with it’s whispered “Pows” and dark, gloomy nature and rolling click beats accompanying the rap brags of wealth and the shut down of rumours, there are also other tracks you could call, more personal. “You’re either with me/or against me/or you’re in my way” is a lyric from 1st Day Out The Feds, which is meant to chronicle his stay in prison and give listeners the chance to “experience” prison with Gucci Mane without actually having to make the “same mistakes” he has. Consider it a lesson learnt by Gucci Mane on behalf of all that listen to his music as a way of hopefully preventing others making similar mistakes. While All My Children pays homage to all the rappers Gucci Mane has felt his influenced.
Not to glorify criminal behaviour but the creation of this album was one of a unique circumstance, which automatically makes the 16 tracks, mostly written by Gucci Mane while in prison, and then sent off to main producers Zaytoven and Mike Will, who came up with most of the music while Gucci Mane was incarcerated, and then having it being recorded in the 6 days following his release, interesting to mull over. Essentially creating an album over the phone and having it come out with the vibe and cohesiveness you want, you can’t deny, is a feat in itself. The track listing tells the story and seems to follow a chronological order, The intro No Sleep, is about having too much to say to the point where he can’t sleep and by the ending outro in Pick Up The Pieces, it seems everything that needed to be said has been said. A moment of purification and finality has been reached.
With Everybody Looking being described by Gucci Mane as a “stream of consciousness” and an effort of self-awareness, we could very simply look at the album as an album of redemption. Now that Everybody (is) Looking, Gucci Mane is well aware that generally when everyone is looking, they are generally also listening, and when everyone is listening, that’s a form of power. And you know what they say, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Gucci Mane in Everybody Looking is looking to make use of both.