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October 12, 2010 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-12

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 - 5A

Gucci Mane proves
prison does work

Daily Arts Writer
It seems nowadays that rap's southern
titans are spending more time in the
slammer than in the studio. Weezy's out
of commission for the
time being and T.t. was
released last spring
after almost a year Gucci Mane
in the can. Atlanta's
Gucci Mane, like his The Appeal:
reckless peers, is no Georgia's
stranger to the joint. Most Wanted
Though these not- Waner Bros,
quite-upstanding citi-
zens have been busy
paying their civic debt, there seems to
be no shortage of releases coming from
these rappers.
Gucci Mane's latest release comes
fresh off his six-month stint in Fulton
County Jail. With The Appeal: Georgia's
Most Wanted, Gucci is one step closer
to becoming a household name rather
than a hidden gem from the streets. The
Appeal shows no sign of Gucci quitting
the roll he has been on since 2009's The
State vs. Radric Davis. Incarceration
serves him well.
The Appeal features Gucci's regular
circle of guests, including crooner Ray J
on R&B burner "Remember When" and
the ubiquitous Nicki Minaj on dreamy
"Haterade." However, Bun B takes the
prize for fiercest guest appearance on
album leadoff "Little Friend," as he
An album full of
gritty guests.
seems about one inch away from beating
someone into the ground. But despite his
aggression, he still manages to intimi-
date listeners in a kid-friendly way: "You
look like a clown / Take the red ball off
your nose / Bitches sit yo ass down," he
snarls. Mostly kid-friendly, then.
"Making Love to the Money" kicks
off the album's first blatant dance-on-
the-table party jam. Gucci deadpans
exactly what the title implies: "Makin'

love to the money like a sex tape / I'm
talkin' Kim K / I'm talkin' Ray J." A
driving organ-like synth and a surpris-
ingly full production beat keeps the
song captivating from the first intro
beat to the last ringing proclamation of
"'S Gucci!"
Guest Swizz Beatz's stamp is promi-
nent on The Appeal's lead single and
album standout "Gucci Time." The furi-
ous stop-and-start looping beat sounds
like a tinny broken record (in the thug-
gest way possible) reminiscent of classic
Swizz production on Jay-Z's "On to the
Next One."
Gucci does miss the mark, however,
on Wyclef-assisted "Odog." With an
awkward and screechy electric guitar
buried under a schmaltzy beat, Wyclef
underwhelms with bland lines like "Sky
is the limit now / My jet just took off the
ground now / Ain't nobody gonna stop
my destiny." Good thing this lackluster
track won't get any airtime on Wyclef's
shut-down political campaign trail.
Gucci's greatest strength perhaps lies
in his nonchalant, muffled monotone.
He delivers his lines with a tone as dry
as the Sahara, whether he is rapping
about money (his favorite topic), women
(a close second) or the pressures of being
Gucci Mane (few could ever appreci-
ate the exertion of wearing as much ice
as Gucci). So what makes him different
from every other money-flashing, sexist,
Lamborghini-driving rapper on parole?
It's simple. In an age when hip hop
can only chart on the radio if it's bur-
ied under cheap pop schematics, when
the actual rapping is snuck in between
bombastic cookie-cutter choruses
(cough, B.o.B., cough), Gucci Mane is a
breath of fresh air. His flow is dripping
with charisma and his songs have more
character in one verse than all the top
10 singles on iTunes combined.
Gucci can turn from goofy self-dep-
recation ("Weirdo") to spitting street-
heavy rap more gracefully than almost
any other rapper today. For those peo-
ple who judge rap by how cool it makes
them feel while driving their ride (and
make no mistake, there are many of
them), when blasted loud enough, "Trap
Talk" could make even a Prius-driving
soccer mom feel gangsta.

Some members of Hanson were more receptive to performing a song called "MMMBop" than others.
Love vs. organ harvesting

'Never Let Me Go' hopes
strong acting will save its
unconvincing backdrop
For the Daily
With the eponymous silver-screen adap-
tation of KazuoIshiguro's 2005 novel, Mark
Romanek ("One Hour Photo") teases his
audience with a picture of
love, death and the ways
we skirt around both - a
picture elegant in its aes- Never Let
thetic crafting but plod-
ding and unrefined in its Me Go
thematic execution. At the
A brilliant trio of young Michigan
actors - Carey Mulligan Fox Searchlight
("An Education"), Andrew
Garfield ("The Social Net-
work") and Keira Knightley ("Pirates of the
Caribbean" series) - star as Kathy, Tommy
and Ruth, respectively. They are alumni of
Hailsham, an exclusive British prep school
where students are groomed as "donors":
individuals genetically engineered to sur-
vive multiple organ donations before dying,
or as is the donor vernacular, "completing."
(This medical achievement, prefaced with
the film's opening text, was realized in 1967

and allows life past 100years).
The film starts with Kathy reflecting on
her education at Hailsham, where she pain-
fully played third wheel to best friends'
Ruth and Tommy's puppy-love romance.
Kathy has long had misty-eyes for Tommy,
but the domineering Ruth effectively
squelches that fantasy.
The film then quickly shifts in time, to
when the three friends have graduated
Hailsham and been shuttled to The Cot-
tages, a pre-donation pastoral community.
As they face "completion," Ruth, Kathy and
Tommy seek to prove the popularly-prop-
agated rumor that Hailsham students can
defer donations if they can show they're in
"verifiable" love.
The film's most noteworthy feature
is the performances of the cast: Knight-
ley is almost unrecognizable as a woman
weathered by her donations and scarred by
subtle self-loathing and regret. Mulligan
and Garfield prove compatible, believable
romantics, with Kathy's level-headedness
a soothing complement to Tommy's disen-
chantment with the world.
With its dampened color palette and a
moving score, the film perfectly captures
the hopelessness to which the characters
are relegated. Long shots feature repeat-
ing structures - bridge trestles, apartment
windows and milk bottles - tastefully
alluding to the inescapable order inherent

to a Hailsham student's life.
But beyond the visuals and its actors,
there's nothing too convincing about
Romanek's universe. Glaringly absent is a
credible backdrop: apart from the charac-
ters wearing electronic bracelets that serve
as tracking devices, little indicates the
extent to which the characters are guinea
pig outsiders to a hellish world. The medi-
cal experiments seem all too human, mak-
ing sympathy difficult to find for their lot
and the narrative less compelling.
Moral reservations about this type of
world certainly abound, but do not receive
any significant treatment. The film does
not deem important any exploration or
explanation of its moral implications -
instead, the magnetic personal relation-
ships, which make life desirable for the
characters, are the film's focus. Romanek
discards a potentially engaging story about
the incongruent balance between societal
"progress" and basic human desire in favor
of the love triangle between Kathy, Tommy
and Ruth. The film never fully articulates
the horrors of Hailsham and boils down to
a tired formula of desiring an unattainable
Omnipresent in "Never Let Me Go" is the
aforementioned label for a donor's death -
to "complete." But though visually engag-
ing and well-acted, the film never quite
achieves that goal.

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