Gucci Mane has built a decade-long career by maintaining his quality across dozens of projects, but it’d be nice to see him elevate or experiment a little more on Delusions Of Grandeur, his fourteenth studio album. Gucci’s consistency comes across as a gift and a curse — although he boasted that the album was “going to surprise a lot of people” during the promotion of the project, the only surprise is that, on a project so stuffed with features, Gucci remains the highlight on every song. But there’s a wearying effect from non-stop winning of the kind once promised on the campaign trail. If success is guaranteed, there’s really little drama.
Delusions Of Grandeur is Gucci’s second album in six months, which may contribute to the fatigue effect. As proficient as he is — and has been for a very long time — it might be fun to see him take a Kanye-esque swing for the fences, even at risk of striking out, embarrassing himself, or ruining his nigh-perfect batting average. It’s probably weird to complain about someone being too good at their job, but we’re at the end of the Golden State Warriors dynasty, which turned out pretty exciting when all was said and done, mostly because they lost just enough to prove that they could lose, which added a frisson of narrative tension to each game, each series, each season. When Gucci Mane is on the mic, it’s hard to imagine him losing at anything.
Maybe that’s what D.O.G. is missing: That element of chaos, of not knowing what version of Gucci each album would bring or whether each would be the last for a 10-month stretch. For whatever reason — two decades of reality TV, social media meltdowns, virally shared epic fail videos, take your pick — it seems audiences these days are more fond of the hot mess than the quiet professional. After leaving prison for what he vowed would be the last time, Gucci cuts an impressive, athletic figure that shames most of his fan base, he’s become a best-selling author, he got married to his longtime sweetheart Keyshia Ka’oir and appears to be genuinely happy, healthy, and faithful at a time when few want that.