In his first official interview since being released from prison to begin his house arrest until September, Atlanta-raised rapper Gucci Mane sits down with the NY Times where he opens up about his drug-abusing past, and how much going to prison changed him this time around.
“It’s been tough to be a Gucci fan,” Gucci admitted in this first interview since being released to home confinement. “It’s been tough to be a Gucci friend, a Gucci sibling, a Gucci girlfriend or a Gucci partner. I done took people through a lot, man.”
That means incarceration, and also drugs. Before his latest sentence, Gucci, 36, estimated, he hadn’t been fully sober since he was a teenager — around 17 years: “I felt like I couldn’t make music sober, I couldn’t enjoy my money sober. Why would I wanna go to a club and couldn’t smoke or drink? I felt like sex wouldn’t be good sober. I associated everything with being high.
CreditRick Diamond/Getty Images for Radio One
“In hindsight I see it for what it was: I was a drug addict,” he said. “I was naïve to the fact that I was numb.” He had been smoking weed and drinking alcohol since he was a teenager, and drinking lean (or syrup, the prescription-strength cough syrup concoction) since he was 21; sometimes he added ecstasy or prescription pills.
“I can’t say I felt happy my last six, seven years in the music business,” he said. “I was just numb. You told me that I was doing good or told me I was doing bad, you hated me or loved me, either which way I greeted with nonchalance. It was sincere nonchalance — like, I really didn’t care.”
He attempted rehab once, but it didn’t take. Near the beginning of his most recent stint behind bars, at the high-security federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., he decided it was finally time for a change.
First came withdrawal. “Death,” he said. “It feel like death. Your body just craving lean bad. Stomach tore up, can’t think straight. Just mad at the world. Temper so short, so violent, so aggressive. So just rude and toxic.”
For all of Gucci’s emergent beatific calm and geniality, there is still a strong whiff of competitiveness hovering over him. When he was in jail, he heard “a lot of people imitating stuff that I did, and I was flattered by it.” Last month, he released a song called “All My Children,” in which he exults, “I love my kids!” On “Waybach,” a song from the new album, he raps, “All these folks impersonate me like Elvis.”
But where that might have been a critique coming from the old Gucci, the new Gucci is merely assessing the scope of his influence. Contemporary Southern hip-hop, particularly from Atlanta, feels cut from his mold of “quasi-comedic, abstract, nonsensical wordplay,” as Mr. Korine put it, from the electric eccentric Young Thug to the pugnacious rapscallions Migos to the schoolboy croon-rapper Lil Yachty.
And so, his legacy secure, Gucci can focus on himself — for now, a homebound life of sobriety (with random drug tests), followed by three years of similarly scrutinized probation, according to a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He has hobbies: He’s working on a clothing line, Delantic (his middle name), and recently filmed a fantastically loopy ad for the cult skate brand Supreme with Mr. Korine. Every morning he works out. Every day he eats well. Every day he gets dressed up, even if just to walk around the house.
“Anybody can do the stuff Gucci used to do,” he said. But he hopes his new choices will be just as influential as his old ones.
“Can y’all copy living how I’m living?” he asked. “Can y’all copy getting y’all life together?”
Read the full article on NYTimes
Feature Image: CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times