“Free Gucci! Free Gucci! Free Gucci!”
The crowd chants as if entranced; they scream it to the rooftops while one of his many classics boom from the speakers. This is a scene I’ve witnessed in various venues and clubs across Atlanta, so often that I don’t remember when it became a customary tradition or how long he’s been locked away. All I know is that the entire city is awaiting the day he escapes the bars and returns to his throne in East Atlanta. After all the years, after all the jail stints, there hasn’t been a waiver of passion. Go to any club or concert, watch the crowd as his song drops; it’s not the reaction of a man imprisoned. Despite his extended time away, it also feels like he never truly left. He may be trapped in the physical sense, but his team has been active, so active there’s this illusion that he is freer than he truly is. There have been numerous times I found myself questioning if Gucci was truly in jail. When we talk about Gucci, it’s never about what he did or how long he’ll be gone for; it’s always about when he will get out.
At the start of this new year, Gucci’s Twitter and Instagram accounts mysteriously disappeared without warning. It’s a bit strange; both mediums have been instrumental in keeping him alive on the outside. Pigeons and Planes spoke to Sean Paine, Gucci’s engineer, and the man who has kept the streets flooded with new music since he’s been away, who revealed that Gucci is stepping away from social media to build anticipation for the day he reemerges. That reemergence might come sooner than later, just yesterday his label, 1071 Records, posted a picture on Instagram with the caption:
“Guwop gets out in March 2016”
It’s a huge deal. While vague, it’s the first real news of a possible release sometime soon. Knowing that the day of his freedom draws nearer it makes me want to look back at what landed him in jail originally. I can remember a violation of his probation, but I’m certain it was unlike Meek’s situation. What was he on probation for? Was it pushing that girl out of the car? Was he even charged for that? When did the incident with Jeezy happen? I honestly don’t know, and I’m betting you don’t either. This is our attempt to timelining the history of Gucci’s arrests, incarcerations, and freedom. While he has some incidents that occurred as early as 1999, the goal was only to cover what has transpired since becoming a well-known rap artist. Which kicked off with the song “So Icy,” and we all know what happens after that.
- February 12, 1980: Radric Davis escapes from the womb. It’s not exactly prison, but it’s a small, compact area that most people spend nine months confined to.
- May 2005: During the height of his beef with Young Jeezy, five men attempted to rob Gucci Mane due to song lyrics that placed a bounty on the rapper’s ice cream cone chain for $10,000. The men attempted to ambush Gucci, a scuffle transpired; in an alleged attempt to defend himself, Gucci acquired a gun and shot at his assailants, ending the robbery and killing one man, Henry Clark III, better known as Pookie Loc. His body was found three days later at a local middle school. Dekalb County put out a warrant for Gucci’s arrest for first-degree murder. He turned himself in on May 19, pleading that the shots were made in self-defense. He would post the $100,000 bail on May 24, the day his debut album Trap House was released. In January of 2006, the murder charge was dropped due to insufficient evidence.
- July 2005: Gucci Mane is arrested in Miami for an assault that occurred earlier that month. The altercation involved a club promoter that was visiting Big Cat Records, the label that Gucci was signed to at the time. The promoter claims that an argument ensued between him and Gucci and that when he turned his back, Gucci struck him with a pool stick and continued to strike him once he fell to the ground. Gucci’s lawyer claimed the rapper wasn’t involved in the reported fight. In October, Gucci pleaded no contest to the charges. He was found guilty of aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for that incident and was sentenced to six months in prison. He would remain on probation for six-and-a-half years. He also agreed to pay medical bills of about $3,000. He was in jail on that assault charge when the murder case involving Pookie Loc was dismissed.
- September 2008: Gucci was arrested for only completing 25 out of 600 community service hours from the 2005 assault case. The probation violation led to six months of incarnation in the Fulton County jail. He went to jail and would serve until March.
- November 2009: Gucci would go back to court for another parole violation and leave in handcuffs. He would serve until May 2010. It’s unclear how much that sentence overlaps with the September probation violation. His major-label debut album, The State vs. Radric Davis, was released on December 8, through Warner Bros. Records.
- November 2010: An off-duty officer notices a white Hummer driving recklessly down Northside Drive and reported the vehicle. When officers finally caught up to the vehicle, Gucci and an unnamed man were arguing outside a body shop. The officers attempted to intervene. Gucci ignored them and punched the man he had a dispute with, which eventually lead them to pepper-spraying Gucci. He would be booked under various charges: damage to government property, obstruction, driving without a license, reckless driving, running a red light or stop sign, failure to maintain a lane, and driving on the wrong side of the road. The charges were eventually dropped, but he still risked violating his probation. In the courtroom, a special plea of mental incompetence was filed, claiming he was in no state to fight prosecutors.
- December 2010: During a police raid at Waka Flocka Flame’s home, who wasn’t there, officers find Gucci Mane, cuff him and take him into custody, but he’s eventually released without charge.
- January 2011: The Superior Court of Georgia’s Fulton County ordered Gucci Mane to a psychiatric hospital due to the mental incompetence filing. The judge ordered that Gucci is transported to a “111-bed psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment facility.” He would undergo tests to determine mental health. He was sent to Anchor Hospital. On January 13, a few days after he was released, Gucci would get his infamous ice cream cone face tattoo.
- April 2011: Gucci is arrested while visiting his parole officer for an incident where he pushed a woman out of a moving vehicle back in January. Outside of South DeKalb Mall, Gucci approached the woman in his white Hummer and asked if she wanted breakfast. The woman entered the vehicle, familiar with the rapper with the ice cream cone tattoo on his face. They never made it to breakfast. The woman claims Gucci offered her $150 for sex, and when she refused, he forced her out of the moving truck.
- On September 13, Gucci was sentenced to six months in county jail after pleading guilty to two counts of battery, two counts of reckless conduct, and one count of disorderly conduct. He would only serve three months for good behavior and was released on December 11. He gave an interview with XXL the very next day; he was optimistic about his future, believing that it would be his very last time in jail. In September of 2012, the woman, Diana Graham, sued and won her settlement for an estimated $58,000.
- March 2013: Atlanta police issued a warrant for Gucci’s arrest after allegedly attacking a fan who attempted to get a picture with him. James, a soldier who was in attendance at the Harlem Nights club, was speaking to Gucci’s security guard outside of V.I.P about snapping a picture with the artist when Gucci attacked him with a champagne bottle. The bottle left him with a deep gash that was treated at Grady Memorial Hospital; he needed 10 stitches and suffered from a concussion and bad headaches.
- March 2013: It wasn’t until the very end of March that Gucci turned himself in for the aggravated assault charges. He was denied bond and appeared back in court on April 10, where he was indicted on one count of aggravated assault. Two days later, he posted the $75,000 bail, but he wouldn’t be free for long. The next day, he again was arrested for violating his parole. It would be three weeks later before he was released.
- September 2013: A late night with a friend leads to Gucci being arrested. The friend claims that erratic behavior is the reason why he called the police on Gucci; when they arrived, he threatened the authorities and cursed like an East Atlanta sailor. After being arrested, the officers discovered marijuana and a handgun in Gucci’s possession. He was booked and charged with a concealed weapon, possession of marijuana, and disorderly conduct. Two days before, the police were called because he was acting erratically in his attorney’s office. When the officers arrived to remove him from the premises, a .45-caliber handgun containing eight rounds of ammunition was found with Davis’ stuff in the office. No charges were pressed. Both these situations happen the same week as Gucci’s legendary Twitter rant and his fight inside of Atlanta’s Lennox Mall.
- September 30, 2013: It’s announced that Gucci would be charged with firearm possession by a convicted felon, disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon, marijuana possession, and probation violation. He would serve 183 days in jail for the charges.
- December 2013: Gucci Mane is charged in federal court with two counts of possessing a firearm as a felon. The prosecutor cited both incidents that occurred in September, two different situations, two different loaded guns. Gucci could receive a maximum of 20 years in prison.
- May 2014, Gucci pleads guilty to possession of firearms by a convicted felon. He agrees to a plea deal, which impacts his sentencing immensely. He’s expected to serve three years and three months in prison, meaning he should be released in late 2016 or early 2017.
- January 2016: 1017 Instagram post caption that says Gucci will be free in March of this year.
Writing this, I realized that I’ve never seen Gucci Mane show any fear, any weakness, any indication that his spirit has been broken. It’s been over a decade of little success and a lot of trouble, a pattern of endless rebirth and destruction, but he always resurrects stronger than before. How could such a troubled man live such a troubled life and still look forward to what tomorrow will bring?
Entrapped in this love triangle with drugs, music, and the revolving door that is the judicial system, where does he find hope? Hope is hard enough to find when free; I can only imagine when confined to a cell how hard you have to look for the smallest reminder. Gucci Mane is a strong man. He isn’t perfect, far from it, but every time he has done wrong and been caught, he’s done his time without cry or whimper. Weak men can’t handle the consequences of their actions; they would fold under the pressure of having to lose all that they have gained. Take a look at Gucci Mane’s Oral History or read about how Sean Paine has worked without him from behind bars to continue releasing music. It’ll show you a troubled man that refused to be confined by his circumstance. For every time he took a loss, he has somehow turned it into a net positive.
When it’s all said and done, Gucci Mane won’t be remembered for the indictments, the violations, the fall from grace. They are a part of his history, but his track record doesn’t make the man. He won’t be remembered as a thug, a delinquent, or some rapper that could never get it together. These are the descriptions that will be whispered that you won’t be able to hear over the chanting, over the singing, over the thunderous applause that are rewarded to strong men and unforgettable artists. Gucci Mane won’t be forgotten. So whether it’s March, May, or 2020 when they finally free Gucci, it will be a day to remember. Hopefully, on that day, we will never have to update this article, and I’ll never hear “Free Gucci” again.
By Yoh, aka Louis Vuitton Yoh, aka @Yoh31