Gucci Mane Is Finally Free, So Let’s Celebrate His Best Verse Ever

The rapper Gucci Mane was released from prison yesterday, after nearly three years served for probation violations so complicated they command an entire bullet-pointed subsection on his Wikipedia page. This probably isn’t the best week to be flippant about the sometimes-thorny relationship between hip hop and crime — so let’s acknowledge shit is complicated and move on to celebrating Gucci’s one indisputably great moment: his featured hook and verse on “Shine Blockas.”

The best track on Big Boi’s great 2010 album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, “Shine Blockas” is a four-minute blast of aggressively joyous self-regard — vanity so potent it’s contagious. Over a flawless, relatively obscure Teddy Pendergrass sample, Gucci’s gruff, mush-mouthed flow never sounded better. “Don’t block my shine,” he slurs, so convincingly I occasionally find myself upset at Gucci’s non-specific antagonist: “Why you gotta block his shine, man?!”

Gucci’s subsequent verse is full of silly, objectively stupid lines like “They put Gucci in a cell, then Madea went to jail/I make music, I make movies, I need Tyler Perry sales.” And yet I have never, not once, sounded as cool Gucci does on this song. Swagger is a state of mind. If one of hip hop’s truest purposes is to trumpet the self-worth of historically marginalized people — and it is, but that’s a think piece for another day — “Shine Blockas” is a pinnacle of the form: “I can’t close my safe no more ‘cause I got too much money in it.”

So, in honour of Gucci paying his debt to society, have a listen. Whether it’s your first time or just your first time in a while, you deserve to feel this good.

Photo: Jeff Kravitz / Stringer