Free Bricks 2 inevitably has caught a lot more attention than the original Free Bricks; both rappers’ stock has risen considerably since 2011 when they released the first instalment of the series. Gucci Mane’s long-overdue coronation as trap godfather neatly coincided with his release from prison in May 2016, whilst Future’s all-conquering 2015-2016 run of 5 mixtapes and 2 albums has brought massive critical acclaim along with popular recognition. Like Future’s previous mixtape with Drake, 2015’s What A Time To Be Alive, this is a collaboration between two of rap’s biggest stars, something that couldn’t be said of number 1. However Free Bricks 2 doesn’t have the same feeling or weight of expectation that What A Time To Be Alive did, which works in its favour. Instead, Free Bricks 2 is the sound of two enormously charismatic and engaging rappers messing around, making low-stakes trap music and having fun doing it. In Gucci’s own words, ‘We talked about recording some more, adding more songs… But I didn’t want to think it over or plan things.’ Suggested by the tape’s hasty recording and release (the songs were recorded and mastered in one night) they were right not to.
The tape is relatively solid throughout, starting strong with RR Trucks and Selling Heroin before slightly fading towards the end with the too short All Shooters and the sluggish Zone 6. Unlike Future and Drake’s collaborations, where it too often feels like Drake featuring on a series of Future songs, here, neither rapper overshadows the other. Future for the most part forgoes his depressive drug addict persona that has characterised his recent projects, meaning every track simply serves as an exhibition of both rappers’ innovative ability to talk about money and drugs. Gucci shines particularly on Selling Heroin with a hoarse semi-tuneful flow, whilst Future’s usual rapid-fire delivery is most effective on Die A Gangsta. Fans of either won’t be disappointed by this enjoyable, if inessential work. It’s a solid end to what has been a good year for both rappers.
Words: Nick Bedingfield