Gucci Mane Interview
|Next Project:||Back To The Trap House|
|Twitter:||Gucci Mane on Twitter|
|Website:||Gucci Mane's Website|
In 2005 rapper Gucci Mane dropped his independent debut, “Trap House.” The LP has moved nearly 140,000 units (almost double Cassidy’s first week totals) to date and was accomplished without the aide of any promotions or marketing.
Since reveling in controversy over a beef with fellow Atlanta rapper, Young Jeezy, and beating an attempted murder charge that landed the rapper behind bars for a short period of time, Mane has got himself clean and signed to major player, Altantic Records.
To mark his return to the game, and essentially the start of a new career, the head of So Icey Entertainment has titled his new album, “Back To The Trap House,” and will received plenty of marketing and promotions from both Atlantic and their associate label, Asylum.
During an interview with DJBooth.net DJ “Z,” Gucci Mane discusses how he will maintain his image while staying out of trouble, why he has a certain tattoo on the back of his neck and what freaky qualities a woman can maintain without scaring him away.
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Gucci Mane Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an artist who is returning to the Trap House on December 11th. Please welcome, for the third time inside the DJ Booth, Gucci Mane.
Gucci Mane: What it do, what it do? Gucci Mane in the building, what’s up, Z?
DJ Booth: How are you doin’, my man?
Gucci Mane: I’m doin’ good, man. I had to work hard in New York tryin’ to get this album in shape.
DJ Booth: Definitely. Gucci, the first time we spoke you were unfortunately in jail. The second time we spoke you had just been released and were in the confines of your lawyer’s office. Today, you’re not only a free man, but I’m sure more comfortable than any time we’ve spoken previously.
Gucci Mane: Yeah, definitely.
DJ Booth: Does this upcoming major label debut mark the first time in your career when you’ll be able to actually enjoy its success?
Gucci Mane: I already feel like that. I feel like this is my first shot at it, you know what I mean? That’s why the title of my album is “Back to the Trap House,” ‘cause I feel like I’m startin’ my career all over again.
DJ Booth: When we spoke of your success as an independent artist, you gave me the impression that you were comfortable staying the course and not signing with a major. What did Atlantic and Asylum offer you that was so enticing you couldn’t turn it down?
Gucci Mane: They let me put out my own CDs, and So Icey Boyz. As well as my stable of artists, and they give me so much creative control. It’s just like putting out my independent CDs, but on a nationwide level. So it’s still the same creative process that goes into when I was putting out independent release.
DJ Booth: Did you feel you were forced to go the major label route in order to see what you could do there? Was there no more room for you to succeed as an independent artist?
Gucci Mane: I was curious. I wanted the challenge. The independent game, I had mastered that. I did have success with that, and wanted to see if I could do it on a major. I felt like it was time to take that leap, step up to the plate.
DJ Booth: You’re signed to a joint deal with Atlantic and Asylum, and you also have your own label, So Icey. But I’ve also read you’re inked to Czar Entertainment. So explain how this all works…
Gucci Mane: Czar Entertainment, we have a production agreement. Asylum has a lot of radio promotion for me and marketing, and I’m signed to Atlantic. My company, So Icey, has a partnership then with Atlantic.
DJ Booth: With four labels essentially behind you, do you think that’s too many ways to split the pot?
Gucci Mane: No. Maybe to the people who are outside, looking in, but to the CEO of the company who knows what the contract looks like… it’s not what you think it is.
DJ Booth: Okay, so your check is not going to be spoiled because of how many other people have to receive checks?
Gucci Mane: Definitely.
DJ Booth: The single, “Freaky Gurl,” featuring Ludacris, and the recently remixed version with Lil Kim, has been a favorite on both radio and inside our DJ Booth. Did you and Ludacris actually get the chance to work together or was this the result of a mailed-in verse?
Gucci Mane: Definitely – he said he heard the song and dropped his verses, and we put it in there. They were perfect; I wouldn’t have it no other way. I loved it like that.
DJ Booth: Ludacris is from Atlanta, which is your home city as well – what characteristics do you feel you and Ludacris share?
Gucci Mane: I feel Ludacris have a lot of things in common. Both of us are very entertaining, both wanna use a lot of comedy in our verses, both put a lot of passion in everything we drop, and both are good storytellers.
DJ Booth: At what point does the freakiness of a woman reach a level that not even you are comfortable with?
Gucci Mane: Like when she’s not classy with it, you know what I mean? I definitely like a lady to be sexy with it.
DJ Booth: How can a lady remain freaky while also being classy? ‘Cause that’s a very fine line.
Gucci Mane: It’s a thin line. I’m not a female so I can’t do it, but it’s hard for me to explain it right now. It’s like you know it when you see it – she gotta have that impact.
DJ Booth: On your new single, “I Know Why,” featuring Rich Boy and Pimp C, you claim to have the answer to why women love you, but their men hate you. So I’m all ears – explain to me and everyone else, why?
Gucci Mane: ‘Cause 24s on the Chevy make me look like I’m bout to fly!
DJ Booth: [laughter] It’s that simple?
Gucci Mane: It’s like, all the material things that a dude has, it attracts a lot of females but at the same time it attracts a lot of haters. That song is especially about dealing with the spoils, or the bad things, that goes on with success.
DJ Booth: Is there a way for men like you and I to allow the women to continue to love us while not having such hatred from all the men out there?
Gucci Mane: It’s impossible – it’s been goin’ like that I think since the beginning of time, so it’s not going to change in 2007. Not going to change!
DJ Booth: Some artists who hail from Atlanta claim that they’ve lived a trap-led lifestyle, but in fact they haven’t. You grew up in the trap, correct?
Gucci Mane: Definitely, I caught my first case when I was seventeen. I got caught like 70 sacks of crack rock, only seventeen years old – I’m not proud of it, but it’s just documented the history of what going on with the kid.
DJ Booth: Give your fans, Gucci Mane, a little bit more insight as to what life was like growing up in that type of environment?
Gucci Mane: Oh, it was crazy, man. The way I lived, I grew up in a time where people would take your shoes, they’ll take your jacket, they’ll take your cheese without a gun. So people would jump on you – this was like fourteen, fifteen years old. So it always taught me that you gotta have your crew, in some ways you gotta move, don’t put your self in harm’s way, and definitely if you’re a street dude and want any kind off credibility, don’t put yourself under the mercy of anybody else, or you’ll be at their mercy; they can do what they want to do to you. Always watch your back – when I was fourteen I got a tattoo of an eye on the back of my neck, so I could say I was always watchin’ my back.
DJ Booth: There’s certainly different ways to look at the lifestyle which you led growing up. Do you look back on your youth and think, “I wish it wasn’t like this,” or do you look at the situation and say, “I did the best I could and I learned from it?”
Gucci Mane: A lot of people say if they could go back in time they would not change anything. But, to be honest with you, I like it and I don’t like it. I like the fact that all I went through as a youngster made me a great man, but just goin’ through what I went through – I wouldn’t wanna go through that again. I wouldn’t wish that on nobody. I feel like you don’t have to go through jail, that’s not part of bein’ a man. It’s just things that I had to do for me to be a man. It’s different strokes for different folks; for me, maybe I had to go through everything I had to go through to be the person that I am today? I got to cherish that with the good and the bad.
DJ Booth: Understandable. Gucci, in a quote taken from your bio, you state, “I’m best known for controversy, but I’m trying to gain respect as both a songwriter and as an entertainer.” How do you stay clean and out of trouble, but maintain the image that you’ve gained up to this point?
Gucci Mane: That’s a hard question. The way I think I should stay out of trouble is by stayin’ busy. With idle time comes a lot of biz, so the more my work load is heavy, I’ll have no time to get into any trouble or makin’ dis tracks or get into conversation about any other rappers. My work load is so big now I don’t have time to do no controversy things.
DJ Booth: T.I., who is from your home city, has blown up, both in music and on the verge of Hollywood, and he’s currently going through a legal battle because of what he got himself into. How hard is it for you to completely remove yourself from your upbringing, and the type of situations that could get you in trouble?
Gucci Mane: I watch the people I hang around, ‘cause if you hangin’ with people who still got their foot in the street, that really involves you as well. It’s definitely all about the company I keep. If you don’t want anything to do with the streets or whatever, but you got everybody around you in the street, you just as much a part of it as they are. A lot of times it’s very hard; you gotta straight cut off people, you know what I mean? If it ain’t good for you, you just gotta turn your back to it.
DJ Booth: At this point, have you cut out a lot of people from your life?
Gucci Mane: Yes, I have. To get to the point in my career right now, it was very painful but I had to turn my back on a lot of people and a lot of stuff that wasn’t right.
DJ Booth: Well, the best of luck in that endeavor. Gucci, give everybody a website of a Myspace page and information about the upcoming release on December 11th, you’re going “Back to the Trap House.”
Gucci Mane: Well, first of all, I wanna shout out to DJ Z for this interview. Y’all go the the official Gucci Mane Myspace, holler at the kid, send out friend requests, can always chat online. Just got a new website up, soiceyentertainment.com. The album comes out December the 11th, it’s called, “Back to the Trap House,” I need everybody’s support on that!
DJ Booth: Definitely. Well, I appreciate your time for joining me inside the DJ Booth, and again, I wish you nothing but the best of luck in what is really the start of a fresh new career.
Gucci Mane: I really appreciate that, Z. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.