Do you feel high-profile?
Definitely. I’ve got a lot of notoriety. I feel I’m more infamous than I am famous. When you say Gucci Mane, you can get mixed feelings. You can get feelings of praise and love, you can get feelings of hate and judgment, you know what I’m saying? And some of that I brought on myself, and some I didn’t bring on myself. So I just feel that that’s the truth.
During our visit, you spoke about closure, the need to get closure on the events of the past in order for you to be ready to talk about things in your life publicly. How do you achieve that closure, in order to move forward?
Well, I say that closure is just like having peace within myself. A lot of things I didn’t want to deal with or even think about. I would try to push them out of my head, just work and consume myself with my schedule and record and just all the requirements it takes to be an artist, so I didn’t have to deal with what was going on with me personally. I had to get to the point where I said I want to handle that. And once I did that, it made me a better artist.
It’s a common perception that going to jail can, in fact, help a rapper’s career, make them hotter. But throughout history, that hasn’t always been the case. Do you think jail makes rappers hot?
I feel like jail doesn’t make nobody nothing but bitter. But in this situation, it’s going to make me better. Because I have had time to get my mind clear, analyze my life, refocus on what I’ve got to do. Just take a break mentally and physically, rest up a little bit. Because when I get out, I plan on going hard. There’s not going to be too much sleep, so I might as well get as much as I can now, because when I get out, I’m really going to turn it up. It’s not aimed at nobody. It’s not a mad thing with me. It’s just, Okay, this is the situation, and it could’ve been worse. If it could’ve been worse, then I’ve gotta be thankful that it is what it is, and I’ve gotta make it better. And that’s what I’m gonna do. When I get out, people are still going to be off my last album, so it’s going to be right on time for me to get back in the lab.
How did you feel your first night back in jail, two weeks ago?
I went to court at 1 p.m., and by the time I got to my cell, it was almost 12:30 a.m. or 1 in the morning. So I was defi nitely tired. Going through the process of booking, processing, fingerprinting, changing out, and using the phone downstairs. By the time they took me upstairs, to where I am now, I didn’t really have time to think about nothing. It was just wanting to lay down, because I had a hectic day, physically and mentally. By the time I woke up and started realizing that this was where I had to make my home for the next couple of months, or maybe another year, I was at peace with it. I had time to think about it. I wasn’t down about it, because it could have been so much worse.
You counted your blessings.
Yeah, that’s where I was at with it. Not even thinking of what I’m gonna do. There wasn’t no panic or nothing. It was just, Well, I got a lot of things done before I came in here, which is another blessing. Sit my little hot ass down and just chill for a minute.
How do you prepare your family for the possibility of going to jail? Who takes care of them?
I’m always planning for a rainy day. That’s something that I learned from my mom, you know, so I’m always planning for tragedy, for the worst. If there’s a hurricane, a tornado, a death in the family, or my unfortunate death, it’s a part of life. Or jail, or a car crash, or something like that. You’ve always got to keep something prepared to take care of your family. That’s how it’s got to be, if you’re the man of the house. And that’s definitely what I am, so…
I understand putting stuff away for a rainy day. But preparing for your own death, that’s heavy.
Yeah, because I’ve got a little boy who’s two years old. I’ve got a little brother who’s 13 years old. I’ve got a mother, and she’s not married. I’ve got a niece, and I love her; she’s six years old. I think about them every day. I think about them constantly. That’s what I work so hard for, so that, one day, I can make sure that they’re well taken care of for the rest of their lives… I love being that go-to guy. So now my chance is to just always show them something positive. They can get the mixed message that Gucci went through all of this and this is what it takes to be successful. And I’m gonna show them there’s a whole ’nother way you can go. The way that I took is not the only way to get there.
So do you want to be a role model?
I definitely want to be a role model, but I feel that, right now, I’m not the best role model I could be. I hope that I can grow to be a better role model and be that role model that everyone want to look up to.
Do you look at what has gotten you in trouble in the past, the things you’ve done, as wrong? Or just, like, you lived that, and that’s who you are?
I say, like, for every decision that you make, you’re going to get judged on it. Because somebody sees it. Even if you don’t get caught by the judge, God sees it. Nothing goes unnoticed. And I believe that a lot of what you put out you get back. There are a lot of things that I have done that just weren’t right. I’ve been getting punished for that. There’s things that people never know about. But they were wrong. And I still get the backlash from that. But I’m man enough to say that I did make those decisions and that I have to endure that and try to get through that storm until the sun comes out again. And when it does come out, then everybody can be happy. But to get somewhere, you gotta go through something or you gonna never get nowhere. So I’m going to get through this shit and get where I’m supposed to be.
There’s a famous YouTube video—it’s been watched more than 520,000 times—of you punching a girl onstage. Is there anything you want to say about that?
That was back in, I think, ’05, and it was at a party. That was a girl I knew, and she had threw something at me and hit me with it. And when she did, I reacted quickly, and I had never ever put my hands on a female in my life prior to that incident. I apologized to her and made amends with her, and since then we regained our friendship. But it was an unfortunate incident, and
I do apologize to anybody who seen it and was offended by it. Because it’s definitely something I’m not proud of. And she knows that I was sorry for it, and she forgave me, and I appreciate her for that. And I applaud her for that, because she’s a stand-up female.
You released a lot of mixtapes before the album. One of them, Movie 3: The Burrrprint, featured a skit where you asked yourself in a survey whether Jay-Z is the hottest rapper in the game. Your answer was, “No, that’s a lie.” Jay’s been taking a few shots from folks lately. What was the reason for your skit?
The reason I said that is because I feel like a lot of people, even bigger than… Even way past Jay-Z, like with Rick Ross and 50. For example, if you say, “I don’t like 50 Cent because I like Rick Ross,” or “I don’t fuck with Rick Ross; I fuck with 50,” I feel like that’s just a lame-ass stance to take. If you don’t like either one of them, cool. If you like one of them more than the other, cool. But don’t dislike somebody just because they ain’t rockin’ with them. Be your own man and own how you feel. Don’t let anybody coerce you to feel some way different. Even with me and Jeezy, people say, “Well, Gucci, I don’t fuck with Jeezy, you know what I’m saying, I fuck with you.” And that will make me close the door on them so quick, ’cause—’cause you don’t like him you fuck with me? That shows me that you’re not your own man.
And they might not even really know you.
You don’t know me, but you don’t like him, so, like you said, you’re gonna come fuck with me to spite him. That’s lame, and I feel like, even with Jay-Z, a lot of times I felt that was the type of situation he was making. He was saying, “Well, I like Jeezy, so I don’t like Gucci Mane.” And by him saying that, it kind of made me look at him different. And [then him saying], “I self-proclaim myself to be the greatest rapper alive.” And I just feel like no one person can do that. No one can say, “I’m the best up north,” or “I’m the best down south,” or “I’m the best on the West Coast.” You have to let the fans do that.
Lil Wayne did that.
And I’ll say the same about him, or anybody. Or T.I. saying he’s the King of the South. Or somebody saying they run the West Coast. It’s no shame, really. A lot of these people that I’m naming are great entertainers and great rappers. They are that. But to self-proclaim yourself to be something, as the undisputed champion, it’s not true.
You’ve got a short life to live. And if you’re a rapper, rap. Get in the booth, kick that shit. Do what you gonna do. Do your interviews. You don’t even have to go about that lane about, “I’m better than everyone else.” You can sell more CDs than everybody, you can be more acclaimed than everybody, you can have more wealth than everybody, you can put out more records than everybody. That’s something that can be researched and be found to be true. But to say, “I’m the mostswagged-out rapper.” What the fuck you mean? Who told you that? You told you that! Because I bet you there’s somebody who don’t agree with you. And I just happen to be one of those people who don’t agree with you. And I’m not scared to say it. I wasn’t saying it to get no response back from him—don’t want it, because I don’t know him. But from what he said, I’m saying that I don’t agree with him. You go out in east Atlanta and they’re not playing [Jay-Z’s music]. So I’m speaking for me and a lot of people who think like me.
Have you been writing in prison? Rapping?
I started writing the day that I got up, the next day. I was writing on any piece of paper that I could get. I was writing on that back of my property sheet. I was writing on every piece of fan mail that anybody sent me. I would turn it over and write on the envelope. I’m gonna write everybody who writes me a letter in here—things I’ve never done. I want to stay active in here, to keep boredom down. I try to read a lot. That has always been a thing I have tried to do. Anything that I can do to help me as an artist when I get out I’m going to do. I’m not mad at all that I’m in here. I’m just missing my family, and missing my fans, and missing my job. But I’ll be back again.