By Sarah Godfrey
The cover art for "The Burrrprint 2 HD," the new official mix tape from incarcerated Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane, is an opulent prison tableau: Gucci is sitting in a cell, wearing an orange jumpsuit, surrounded by lobster, champagne, strawberries, a flat-screen TV. Gucci probably hasn't really managed to craft a luxury-filled prison life for himself straight out of "Goodfellas," but if he has, it seems the one thing impossible to get on the inside is decent recording equipment.
(Getting the most out of prison phone verses, after the jump.)
No matter: Although most of "The Burrrprint 2 HD" consists of tracks recorded before Gucci was shipped off for his most recent jail stint, following a probation violation, verses submitted via prison phone are powerful because of their muffled, gritty quality, not in spite of it. On the "Live From Fulton County Jail" intro, Gucci spits collect-call bars with the urgency of someone who knows the stunt could get his phone privileges revoked.
Otherwise, "The Burrrprint 2," packed with guests such as Rick Ross, Ludacris and Nicki Minaj, sounds untouched by his latest ordeal. "Coca Coca" is a super-stuffed, near-nine-minute group effort that waxes on the drug trade and has Gucci declaring that "Cocaine is my girlfriend." "Boy From the Block" typifies the mix of playful carnival production and not-for-kids lyrics that the rapper is known for, and "Beat It Up," featuring Trey Songz, is a playful sex caper - exactly the sort of thing to successfully tide fans over until the rapper comes home.
Recommended tracks: "Live From Fulton County Jail," "Coca Coca"