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In a year when hip-hop’s biggest names and most promising up-and-comers did little for the genre, a rapper who began 2009 in jail and will end it there excited everybody. In his review of Gucci Mane‘s The State vs. Radric Davis in this week’s City Paper, Ben Westhoff writes:

Admirers lauded the Atlanta MC’s genuine passion for his craft and his ability to deconstruct complex beats. Even the golden era nostalgics—who find his rhymes garbled and reactionary and see him as the epitome of everything wrong with the slurring, iced-out, Stanky Legg-shaking South—deemed him worthy of dissertation-style discourses. And this was before they even heard his latest major-label studio album, The State vs. Radric Davis, whose title references his government name and his myriad legal problems. So hold onto your hats, haters: Gucci’s big-budget shot at the title is every bit as rewarding, innovative, and delirious as Lil Wayne’s 2008 masterpiece Tha Carter 3—and it might be the finest rap record of the year.

Read the full review here.