One month after being released from a three-month stay in Fulton County Jail for violating his 2005 probation, Radric Davis, aka Gucci Mane, and his trap music protégé Waka Flocka Flame (Juaquin Malphurs) have a new collaboration set to drop August 9 dubbed Ferrari Boyz. The album is Gucci and Waka's first studio pairing for a full-length, and it's the second release from Waka following 2010's Flockaveli.
On July 27, both of the Atlanta-based rappers held court for a private listening party at Patchwerk Studios near Midtown where they introduced most of the songs on the album with a few short words before nodding along to the beat.
Ferrari Boyz arrives a month after Waka's July 6 impromptu Twitter announcement that he's quitting rap after this year. Although he says he's sticking to his guns, his retirement isn't quite what it seems. "I'm retiring from the industry," he huffs over dinner at Skyboxx Sports Bar in Jonesboro before heading back into the city for the album listening party. "Honestly, I never was a part of hip-hop. I have always felt like an outcast when it comes to hip-hop, so I'm leaving the industry. I'm tired of it. The fun ain't in it no more, and besides, I have my own genre of music in mind. It's called Waka-hop."
Ferrari Boyz shows off a spate of young talent that Gucci has rounded up to represent his 1017 Brick Squad imprint and crew. Joshua "Southside" Luellen handled most of the production, along with Drumma Boy, FATBOI, Schife and Shawty Redd. And although his name doesn't appear in the credits, Lex Luger, whose signature machine gun high-hat and synth shaped most of Flockaveli, is unmistakably present on "She Be Puttin' On."
The Drumma Boy-produced title track kicks things off with a bottom-heavy club beat. As the album moves along, it's Waka's voice that dominates, leading "Ferrari Boyz" through a pep rally chant of "I'm just lane changin', chains swangin'/lane changin,' chains swangin,'" before switching gears into the hood-hardened "15th and the 1st." The latter returns to the loud, cluttered and militaristic grind of such older Waka singles as "Hard in Da Paint" and "Bustin at Em," but here it all unfolds with a more stylish flow.
In the past, Waka has said that he's not too concerned with the lyrical content, and the subjects he tackles here are only slightly deeper than previous offerings. But there is an undeniable growth in both the hooks and imagery he uses to tie the album together. "Me and Gucci pushed each other to go hard and take everything one step further," Waka says. "We know each other's personalities so well that we know what to expect from each other, and we know how to play off of each other's strengths. We also wanted to push each other out of our comfort zones to craft something that's just a little stronger than before."
In the meantime, Waka's still putting together his plans for the future, which could include possible endorsements with a clothing line, a headphones deal and a few other things he has in the works. Whether or not he'll continue releasing albums remains to be seen. "I'm undecided right now," Waka says. "I might feel differently tomorrow. We'll see what happens."
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