I am sorry to say that Tom Wolfe gets pretty close, in the somewhat unflattering A Man in Full, to an accurate social map of Atlanta, and it’s a good read if you ever want to understand the city. But beyond literature, the physical police zones are pretty important too, in the way they divide up ATL. So important, in fact, that Gucci Mane named his latest mixtape after his home, Zone 6, declaring himself king of the district – a an appropriate and well-deserved title which few will fight, and here’s why.
Zone 6 is a police zone in East ATL where Mr. Mane resides. For reference, T.I. lives in Zone 1, Jeezy and Lil Scrappy live in Zone 3, Lil Jon, Outkast, Luda, Ciara, and Yung Joc no doubt get together for block parties and bbqs in Zone 4, and Zone 5 is central downtown and is for tourists and DJ Unk, only. Nobody lives in Zone 2 except residents and some NBA players. So in declaring himself “Mr. Zone 6,” Gucci is laying a claim to a title that nobody else even wants, except for him. It’s like saying you’re the boss of your house: great for his hometown pride and sense of his roots, but sort of unnecessary.
It’s not that Zone 6 is any worse than the others – it’s just that there was never any competition to own the turf, in terms of rap sales and fame. This is an apt metaphor for Gucci’s entire career and as of late, his success on Top 40 radio. He collaborates on killer tracks more often than he makes them himself; he rides on exceeding low expectations and benefits from the lack of hype. In fact, while a solid effort, Mr. Zone 6 will get positive attention if only for the fact that it was hardly hyped at all, especially compared to the typical anticipation that surrounds the releases of similar artists like Jeezy and T.I.