Mixtape Artist of the Year: Gucci Mane
Even as he's serving time for a probation violation, Gucci Mane has the people's support. "Burrr!" You can hear that call from the kids in the studio audience at BET's "106 and Park" to the d-boys celebrating in the clubs. After years on the scene, Gucci Mane LaFlare made a lasting impression on everyone in 2009, when they finally let him roam the radio with a string of guest appearances on heavily rotated cuts from Trey Songz, Mariah Carey and Mario. Then his own singles "Wasted" and "Spotlight" (featuring Usher) became bona fide hits too.
Still, the airwaves weren't Gucci's bread and butter, the streets were. An estimated 150 of his songs hit the mixtape circuit this year, and there were dozens and dozens of unofficial CDs with the ATL trap star's face on the cover. Clubs in the South were forced to play hour-long Gucci Mane sets, while night spots in other parts of the country also found themselves adding him to their playlists. With his high volume of work and the consistently glowing reception he gets, we have deemed Gucci Mane our Mixtape Artist of the Year.
"It always feels good to be recognized by the streets," a humbled Gucci told us this week from jail. "That's where I come from, that's where I draw my music from. That's my inspiration. It also feels good be recognized by MTV, [being someone] coming from the streets."
Mixtapes to Check For
Writing on the Wall (with DJ Holiday): "I started recording that Writing on the Wall the day I got outta jail," Gucci explained. "It was a couple of hours out, and I went straight in and recorded almost half of that mixtape that day. Most of that material I wrote right on the spot. Maybe two or three songs I had wrote in jail. But the whole experience of everybody coming to support, it was like a party outside the booth. I wrote like I was participating in the party. I stayed in there and spit what I was feeling. I made 'I'm Back" that day I made 'Game' with Juice. It was a great time for me. I had a lot on my mind. After that, I kept working. After Writing on the Wall, that's when it all started."
| MIXTAPE YEAR END AWARDS|
The Movie 2 and The Burrprint: The Movie 3-D (with DJ Drama): "I feel like The Movie 2 was one of my best mixtapes ever," LaFlare declared. "I didn't put the campaign forward like I did the Writing on the Wall. It was a great collection of songs. It was better than some of my albums. The Burrprint, it was great mixtape. It was humorous, entertaining and my flow had elevated on that mixtape. So I went real hard by the time I made the Burrprint."
The Cold War Series: Guccimerica (with DJ Drama) , BurrRussia (with DJ Scream) and Great Brrritain (with DJ Holiday): "I just like to say thanks to Scream, thanks to Holiday and thank to Drama," Gucci announced of the three DJs that helped put his box set of CDs together. "When I presented them with the idea, they was all for it. One day, me and Coach [K] was in the studio recordings songs. I came to Coach; I had a idea, 'Let's do three mixtapes in one day.' I had the titles before I had the music put together. A lot of people tried to follow after me and do the same thing. I appreciate them trying to do what I do. But I don't want to give the misinterpretation that I had a lot of music out there, and I was just getting rid of it. Half was done. The other half I finished when I had the titles. I had maybe enough for one mixtape. I had 13 songs per mixtape. So, in three days I did like 16, 17 songs and split em' all up. That's how I made the mixtape.
"I'm rocking with Drake," he added about getting Drizzy on Guccimerica. "Both of us did our thing this year. It was fun going back and forth with him. He had some ideas for what beats he likes. I had some ideas for producers. We was chopping up ideas. It was challenging, any time you work with an artist that's very creative, it's challenging and it steps everybody's game up."