Gucci Mane - Nickelodeon (So Icey Ent., 2008)
If someone were to come up to me and ask me what my favorite song is, as difficult as it would be to conjure up an answer, as many spectrums as I’d have to cover, I think I could rest assuredly by answering with Gucci Mane’s Nickelodeon. For close to three years, I’ve been absolutely infatuated with this song, finding something more interesting about it each time I listen to it. Even though rappers like The Last Emperor based entire songs around battles between rappers and comic book characters long before Nickelodeon was conceived, and plenty of rappers (including Gucci himself, on more than one occasion) have tried to incorporate cartoon imagery into gangsta rap, none have ever succeeded on the level that Nickelodeon does. It’s only appropriate that Gucci himself is a walking embodiment of this very song; a rapper who is equally cartoonish and animated in personality, but sharp-witted and physically imposing due to his past and stature.
There are so many quotables present - from the ridiculous the Grinch Stole Christmas, Gucci just stole 80 pounds! line that inspired a rather entertaining track on Waka’s original Salute Me Or Shoot Me to the three X-Men fell victim to my .40 cal triple-entendre that just effortlessly rolls off of Gucci’s tongue (along with all those x pills). There is never a dull moment here; Wonder Woman bracelets, He-Man watches, Batmobiles, Spider-Man kush, references to being observed like Underdog and even paraphrasing Elmer Fudd when he utters a shotgun like Elmer Fudd to kill dese dirty wabbits, this may, to this day, be the most clever song Gucci has ever written.
I think Gucci’s probably the only rapper genuinely capable of releasing a song about cartoon characters, and having it play in traps, strip clubs, dorm rooms, and D&D sessions alike. Gucci always had this strange nerdy-side to him - a product of the fact that Gucci clearly watched too much television and ate too many generic Fruit Roll-Ups as a kid - and even though he later went onto rap about Robocop uzi’s it was never more prominent than it is here. It’s a testament to his ability as a storyteller, artist, and above all else, personality, that he managed to touch so much ground without ever being labeled a sell-out (pre-Warner, at least). The fact that this virtually flawless, damn near impeccable track was left to languish in Gucci’s large mixtape catalog with very few words written about it (a severe tragedy) is equally disappointing and telling - telling because Gucci had so many more songs at the time as capable at crossing over as Nickelodeon.
Although Gucci says multiple times on this track Shawty Redd is behind the production, it’s long been disputed whether Shawty or his associate D. Rich produced Nickelodeon. I believe most are leaning towards the latter, due to the fact that D. Rich pretty much co-produced most of Shawty Redd’s tracks post-2007, and he headed in a more bouncy direction once D. Rich. Regardless of who should be given credit for the beat, it’s really a piece of work. The scale is epic; yet the light-hearted overtones of a song called “Nickelodeon” do immediately shine through. When listening to Nickelodeon, half the time I imagine Gucci cruising around East Atlanta with Pinky and the Brain in a Ferrari smoking purp. The other half of the time, I imagine a bunch of strippers dancing to this at Magic City. Either way, it’s always enjoyable imagery.
I could write about this song for ages - there’s just so much to cover, words simply can’t do it justice. If you ever, for any reason, missed out on this marvelous track, do yourself a favor; grab your best pair of headphones, and crank that fucking volume up. Maybe grab some Cap’n Crunch and throw on some old Rocko’s Modern Life episodes - make sure that shit’s on mute though, and just enjoy the bass and cartoon-antic being pounded into your eardrums (ayo).