Gucci Mane: One embodiment of Black joy.

Last week, I went to bed thinking about my favorite story in hiphop (possibly ever): the apparently widespread internet rumor that the just-released Gucci Mane, having shed his iconic "Gucci belly" and now affecting a hilariously square manner of speech, was in fact a clone grown in a government lab.

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Maybe it's hard for some to believe that a guy could look so different after spending a couple of years in prison—though for the life of me, I couldn't imagine why (especially among Gucci fans, who on the whole are more likely to have known someone "Fresh Out the Feds" than, say, your average Shark Face Gang member)—but I do not understand how an actual human being truly jumped to the conclusion that Gucci 2.0 is a clone.

Really? A clone? What, like Serpentor? Has anyone in the history of the world ever been accused of being a clone? (And does anything this fun happen in guitar-land anymore?) While I cherish the notion that this could happen only to someone like "Wizop" (new alias alert), the rumor is too wonderfully ridiculous not to be a product of the deranged genius of Gucci himself. (Either way: He just put out a great single called "All My Children," boasting how he's the father to all the exciting stuff going, rapper/producer-wise, in Atlanta.)

But then—then!—I woke up ("Beautiful Morning...") to several videos of Ian Connor scrapping (?) with Theophilus London and A$AP Bari at some in-store, while DONDA creative director Virgil Abloh and A$AP Rocky both stood there looking away like Terio at Popeye's. This culminated in London voluminously shitting on Connor on Twitter. (How long till Kanye himself banishes Connor to live beyond the Wall in some Curry 1s?)

Connor's ouster from the rap fashion pantheon is delicious like those Sweetwater wings I ate last week (shout-out to the 313). Why, though, are dudes hype and indignant about this man, who has been accused of raping multiple women, only after some higher-status men strip him of his relevancy and protection, and after there's the smell of blood? Why want to activate on this issue only when it's time to use your fists? You'd rightfully want to beat the shit out of the dude who raped your loved one—why don't you also beat it into the heads of your male loved ones that all women are people worthy of respect, and that they need to stop being misogynist pieces of shit? (And why aren't enough of us clearly showing that by example?)

Why is it easier to rat-pack somebody than to have that conversation and risk not sounding on-brand and un-Masculine™? Why is it that the same Masculine Myth Complex that produces shits like Ian Connor also makes men like Omar Mateen turn their blistering self-hate outside of themselves and into the flesh of innocent strangers?

Why do I listen to and promote music that doesn't question all this enough, anyway? Why do modern "woke" raps—with a few wonderful exceptions—put me soundly the fuck to sleep 9 out of 10 times? Why did I finally successfully convince my quite-woke homegirl how great Future was? Answer: tons of irrefutable evidence, including the new DJ Esco and Fuch tape Project E.T. (Esco Terrestrial).



Why are scared old white people—frightened to death of losing pole position, waxing nostalgic for whatever ol' days they considered good—freaking out and ruining everything for everybody else, here and across the pond?

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Why was it so, so great to see Skinny Gucci free—just to double back real quick—hugging his brilliant protégé Young Thug, both of 'em grinning big ol' gleaming-white Kool-Aid smiles, necks draped in diamonds? (Answer: Black joy, I tell ya. It's a beautiful sight.)

And why, you might ask, am I wasting precious ink talking about rap gossip and not your tape (give me a sec) or the latest shows coming through (like, say, Royce 5'9" on Wednesday, June 29, at the Croc with Grafh, LA, and Mic Phenom—or Jacquees on Sunday, July 3, at Neumos with Tacoma's Will Jordan)? Ha, why you mad?

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