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Album review: Gucci Mane's 'The Return of Mr. Zone 6'

March 21, 2011 |  8:07 pm

Guccimane Gucci Mane’s toughest follow-up may not be the sequel to his last full-length “The Appeal: Georgia’s Most Wanted,” but what to do after getting a giant ice cream cone tattooed across his face. His off-the-mike antics have become so inscrutable that even the notoriously loopy rapper had some folks worried (and his protégé Wacka Flocks Flame took some of his interim thunder). So it comes as a great reassurance that his new formal mix tape “The Return of Mr. Zone 6” finds him in his best setting — spinning daffy yarns atop spooky trunk-ready minimalism.

For a rapper with such a singular voice, Gucci’s success often hinges on the quality of his beats. “The Appeal” sometimes got lost in overly lush slow jams, but “Zone 6” is a fine sweet spot: “Reckless” is essentially a fussy snare trill; the minimal “I Don’t Love Her” features just a horror show organ and church chime. His notoriously screwball wordplay takes a back seat to a more sedate menace, but Gucci’s inimitable rasp is where it should be — as prominent as, well, a frozen snack tattoo on your cheekbone.

—August Brown

Gucci Mane
"The Return of Mr. Zone 6"
Warner Bros.
Three stars