Yesterday morning, before breakfast, I woke up to find that Gucci Mane had released three albums (the night before). Like many others, I was struck by their titles: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. It did not take a genius to realize that they formed a trilogy. But why? or how? From the track titles alone, it isn’t obvious that food or mealtime is of conceptual importance to Gucci. “Whatever,” I thought, “maybe the albums mimic the feeling of each meal.” So, I decided that, to be faithful to Gucci, I should try to listen to each album during the appropriate meal. For breakfast, I would listen to Breakfast. And so on.
I have done this before. I once attempted to read D.A. Powell’s Repast trilogy — Tea, Lunch, Cocktails — in one day, while respecting the appropriate elevenses, which I did successfully. Only I was too drunk at the end to write anything down. In this case, though, I could simply refrain from drinking until after I finished writing the piece. The Gucci Regimen also meant that I had to eat at a slower pace than usual, so as to keep time with the albums themselves. This, too, was fine. I have a tendency to swallow large bites of food quickly and whole.
Anyway, let’s begin.
“I smoke weed for breakfast,” Gucci once said. “I drink lean for breakfast. I take mollies, I take xannies, I can’t eat no breakfast.” Myself? I eat Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. Specifically, I eat the chicken biscuit sandwich, especially if the franchise on my block has biscuits. If they don’t, I’ll go with a chicken croissant.
Let’s be honest: if the first track of Breakfast is any indication, Gucci woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He seemed more depressed than me, even though, for the first fifteen minutes of every single day, I contemplate ending it all. On “Polluted,” the opening track, Gucci raps: “My hood polluted/ My mind polluted.” This is clearly the language of someone who is releasing their album — indeed a slew of recent mixtapes and albums — from prison. Gucci, who is not getting any younger, is wondering about his caché. How much love for Gucci is still circulating in a polluted world? Also: is Gucci now environmentally conscious?
But who cares? A depressed rapper isn’t necessarily a bad one. Andre 3000’s recent blue period, his just gone run of mopey verses that began, perhaps, with the “Deuces” remix, is one of the most subliminally copped in all of rap. Maybe productive sadness in rap is an Atlanta thing.
Anyway, the first food item I heard referenced on Breakfast was an apple. The next food related thing I heard: “I’m drunk as fuck/ I’m ’bout to throw up.” Now, for most of us, breakfast is just the beginning, the first meal of the day. But it turns out that for Gucci breakfast is the time of day when he wakes up and does more drugs in order to assuage the hangover from the night before. It’s also a period of reflection, an interstitial moment between highs, a time to “Take it Easy,” which is also the title of the album’s best track, one that features ILoveMakonnen. I’m happy to report that this track joins Gucci with Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown in the pantheon of artists who successfully mention tenderoni. And it mentions food in other ways: “I don’t drink liquor/ All I drink is purple codeine/ She thicker/ Than a Snicker.”
So I guess Breakfast really is about breakfast.
I eat cheap sushi every day for lunch. The main thing is: don’t spend more than $6. So, it’s obvious, given the cover art for Lunch, which features Gucci’s accessorized arm clutching a classic hamburger, that there are significant differences between our approaches to lunchtime.
Having imbibed drank during breakfast, Lunch finds Gucci in the mood for love. He continues with the food metaphors:
Girl you make me wanna eat you up like Scooby Snack/ If you were playing basketball, I would hit you up with that Shaq attack.
From there Lunch gets considerably livelier, which further highlights the chemical and financial imbalance that separates Gucci’s existence from my own. A personal highlight for me, after a single listen, is “Gucci & Trinidad,” which features Gucci with Trinidad James. I’ll just take this moment to point out two things: one of the lyrics of the song is “Gucci Mane/ Trinidad/ I ain’t never been to Trinidad.” This points to the anarchic, almost haphazard construction of the album, which, while nothing new in the Gucci canon, now comes thick (like a Snicker) with charm. The second thing: Trinidad James appeared on CNN two days ago to address racism in America. Everyone should watch it:
In the video, in case you missed it, Trinidad James discusses the use of the n– word in rap and culture. This brings us, too, to Lunch’s most resonant food metaphor, from the track “Beef”: “We dissecting beef/ we eat these n–s’ flesh.” Gucci is a cannibal.
This album starts out pretty slow, almost as if the first few tracks represent small plates or a series of purple, liquid appetizers. It doesn’t really pick up until the fifth and sixth tracks (“Choose Up” and “Goin,” respectively). But then it really picks up, with the terrifyingly titled “Play With Your Children,” which — I’d never thought I’d say this — is thankfully a death threat and not something else.
It’s not surprising that Dinner’s best track has its greatest food related lyric. “Wouldn’t Believe,” features Gucci at almost his garbliest, explaining: “I know her favorite food/ She like that Japanese/ And Gucci like his sushi/ Bon appétit!”
As Dinner, and, well, the entire Gucci Mealtime Trilogy came to a close, as I finished a chicken sandwich, it struck me that while not one of his best releases ever — his career is just far too consistent and amazing — these three albums do present a regimented, focused Gucci that we haven’t seen in a while. Perhaps this is because, imprisoned, he is forced to eat his meals on a strict schedule. In any case, it’s fair to say that these albums feature some of rap’s greatest food references since Rick Ross reasonably asked: “Am I really just a narcissist/ ‘Cause I wake up to a bowl of lobster bisque?”