Photography by Donna Permell/Prime Phocus Photography for Steed Media Service
Styling by Emoda.com/Atlanta
|When Gucci Mane enters the photo studio in Atlanta, he’s relaxed — reserved even. It’s his first photo shoot since being released from jail. While his label, So Icey Entertainment, the city (and the entire hip-hop community) celebrated his return with a full-on “Gucci Mane weekend,” Gucci concentrated on getting back to what gives him peace — his music.
Gucci’s career has been full of highs and lows. Just as his breakthrough single, “Icy” from his debut album, Trap House, was hitting hard on radio in 2005, he got wrapped up in a beef with Young Jeezy that ended in allegations of murder. All of the charges were eventually dropped.
In 2007, Gucci released the slow-grinding single, “Freaky Gurl,” which contained a hypnotic sample of soul singer Joi’s song, “Lick.” The single showed that he had the potential to expand beyond the street sound that made him one of the most popular acts in a city bursting at the seams with rappers. But in 2008, he was arrested again, this time for violating the terms of his probation. He eventually served six months in county jail.
Still, his buzz remained strong, propelled partly by the drama that has followed him since his career began, and partly because of the infectious singles he routinely drops, including the recent, “Stoopid” and his latest feature with Busta Rhymes, “I’m the s—.”
Now, the pressure is on for Gucci to realize his full potential and become the bona fide global hip-hop star he seems destined to be. As he sits calmly in the barber’s chair getting a fresh trim for the photo shoot, it’s clear that his time is now — and Gucci has finally come to terms with himself and his career.
The Prescription for Business:
“You can’t depend on nobody. You gotta build your own fire.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since ‘Icy’ dropped?
You gotta stand on your own two feet. You can’t depend on nobody. You gotta build your own fire. You gotta stand by your own heat. You can’t ride nobody else’s coattails and be mad at nobody else if they don’t help you. You gotta help yourself.
The Prescription for Avoiding Jail Time:
“You should try to do everything you can to not get there.”
Did you receive preferential treatment in jail?
Nah. I think I got the same treatment.
What was the one thing that got under your skin the most while you were incarcerated?
What’s the ‘scared straight’ story that you would tell young dudes to sway them from going to jail?
The Prescription for Dealing With the Recession:
“… save, save, save.”
What tips do you have for surviving the recession?
Definitely save, save, save. If you save something now, then you can put that with something that you save later on. Do whatever you can do to cut back on spending — every penny counts right now.
What do you say to the people who are still focused on material things, even as the economy tanks?
The Prescription for Relationships:
“Eyes tell a lot about a lady.
You can tell almost what kind of person she is.”
What’s the best part of a woman’s body — besides the obvious?
Eyes. Eyes tell a lot about a lady. You can tell almost what kind of person she is. You can tell if she’s shy, if she’s sexy, if she’s mean, all just by looking in her eyes.
What type of woman do you like?
What’s the best thing a woman has ever told you?
But how do you know she’s not just conning you?
What’s the worst thing a woman can do in a relationship?
The Prescription for Life:
“Try to be more knowledgeable about the world …”
If you could go back and talk to yourself as a kid, what would you tell yourself?
I probably would’ve told myself to stay in school longer [and] get a college degree. I’d try to be more knowledgeable about the world, because I could’ve used that in my profession right now. My vocabulary would be wider. I’d be more knowledgeable. I could touch on more topics in my music. But I only go as far as I know, and that’s the streets.
What were you like when you were younger?
Did you work any odd jobs?
What was your job?
Tell us about your foundation.
Who’s the first person you think about when you wake up?
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you?
Why do you think you have that reputation?
The Prescription For Becoming a Man:
“If you’re a man, you can’t fault [anybody] for [what’s] going wrong with your life.”
What is your best quality as a man?
I would have to say my work ethic. I’m the hardest working person in the world. Once I have a goal and plan, I’m real diligent on keeping focused on that. … My whole family is like that.
Break down your work ethic.
What’s your definition of manhood?
What does that mean — ‘live life with no excuses’?
At what point did you realize that you had become a man?
So you were a man at 14?
I think I was.