Even while behind bars, Gucci Mane has proved that he can produce quality music no matter where he is. His newest mixtape, also available on iTunes, Brick Factory Vol.1, is assumed as one of several compilations to follow, and the series is off to an impressive start. Featuring work with both old and new collaborators, some of whom fall under his label 1017 Brick Squad Records, Gucci reminds us all that he won't be forgotten easily.

The tape starts off with the track “Cash Shit,” a nice and steady introduction to the trap music we're about to experience, with a beat that builds up as the song progresses. Gucci lets us all know that he’s back in the game and gives zero fucks when he says “you don’t like Gucci, fuck your opinion.” The next track “Aight” featuring Quavo, a third of the group Migos, picks up the pace with a hot uptempo pulse. Quavo is all about sharing his gratefulness for Gucci when he says “when Gucci called my manager, that night it changed my life / Now all my hard work paid on, Young Quavo I earned my stripes.” 

As the tape progresses, we get into “Paper Problems” featuring Young Thug and Peewee Longway, which is another solid collaboration with rumored Bricksquad artists (it's hard to tell with Young Thugga). It’s an easy listen and contains one of many reminders that when it comes to money, these guys are all set. “My Customer” featuring Yung Fresh and Jose Guapo chills the tape out for a few, starting out slow and picking up speed more in the second half. “Real Gas” featuring Waka Flocka Flame is definitely one of the more powerful tracks on this tape. Gucci reminds us that his words are still hot and the cash is still coming in, when says “I got more motherfucking money than a preacher ho / I’m like a million dollars richer than a week ago.” 

“Serve On,” also featuring Longway and Quavo, may be one of the weaker tracks but it's still worth a spin. “No Love” featuring Yo Gotti, is a favorite, with a powerful collab, despite the rumored past dispute between the two artists (although it's completely possible it's just a cut GuWop had the bank, as he's known to have plenty stashed away).

After a solo Gucci cut (which is one of three on the entire project), we hear “Texas Margarita,” featuring artists Young Dolph and Dr Phil with light, hi-hat driven production from London On Da Track. Although “Bring It On” plays it a little safe, “Homeboys” featuring MPA Duke, Waka Flocka, Young Thug, Young Dolph, &am brings it all back with a well-produced beat and an infusion of string sounds. “Love Somebody,” a Young Thug-featured love ballad, is a point where the mixtape takes a smooth, almost Weezy-like turn, perhaps unsurprising given Thugga's outspoken admiration for Lil Wayne. “NWA” featuring Migos, Wicced, Peweee Longway and MPA Duke is a solid, chilled out way to wrap up the mixtape. Gucci leaves us with a last few words: “I don’t even need a reason to hit you with the heat / These shoes don’t come this season, but they’re still on my feet.”

While Gucci Mane may seem to be limited within the confines of prison until 2016, this mixtape shows that he still has plenty of creative breathing room. Despite a few weaker and repetitive tracks, Gucci knows what works in terms of collaborations and in terms of production, plus he also knows what the fans want to hear from him. Trap. Thus, you may not hear anything groundbreaking from Gucci on this tape, however, there's nothing to shake your head at either-- it's Gucci.