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You’re Important. Gucci Mane is Fascinating.

His ten albums and seventy mixtapes revolutionized the pop music landscape.

Read More: Feat. Gucci mane

The current music craze is trap. In a little over a decade, it has transformed from an unofficial chronicle of drug dealers in Atlanta’s abandoned houses to the soundtrack of suburban teens commuting to school.

Leading the charge in all of this has been Gucci Mane. The rapper, real name Radric Davis, has entered the mainstream much like the genre he helped create. He went from peddling drugs in bandos to selling verses on popular songs to creating his own hits.

“To me, trap music is simply the music I was raised on, and the music I compose now—I suppose it’s hip-hop music, but it’s also like an inner-city tale, the tale of the hustler,” Gucci said to 1A. But as you can see, things have changed. Many people who perform trap music have since come clean about never having used drugs or having any knowledge of that lifestyle. I can therefore say that it used to sound that way, but now it just has a distinct sound of its own.

Gucci has never shied away from disclosing the real story behind his songs, which includes his battles with addiction and his more than three-year federal prison term. And he documents all of this in his most recent book, Gucci Mane: The Autobiography.

Gucci discusses his knowledge. He also embodies many of the major concerns of the modern world. The War against Substances? Verify. The industrial-prison complex? Verify. An addiction? Verify. Gentrification (of Atlanta’s music and neighborhoods)? Verify.

In his lyrics, there is a balance between light and dark, yin and yang, the fleeting joy of a night out and the protracted weight of personal demons and depression. Gucci has always been one to tell his own story, no matter what.

What gave you the idea to write your narrative?

Yes, during my incarceration. All I did was spend a lot of time by myself reading a wide range of books and autobiographies, including those by Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Mike Tyson, and Pimp C. I said to myself, “I want to tell my story.” You know, since many of those individuals are other people who, after they pass away, write their own stories about them. I want to tell my story, my way, I think. I wish to demonstrate with my own autobiography, you know. And I thought, Why not take advantage of the opportunity while I had it?

What messages do you want your music to convey about the different facets of your experience? What kinds of images are you attempting to draw?

Most of all, just a realistic image. To put it simply, I want to create music that people can enjoy and find soothing. I suppose it can be educational in a sense if you have never seen [this] way of life. However, when I go out and create music, it’s not even as though I’m attempting to fit myself into a certain mold or create trap music. I simply try to create music that I enjoy and feel that others will find useful when I share it with them.

I can’t see who the audience is. Because my fan base is different, I want anybody. There are white suburban kids, college students, inner city street kids, and grown individuals who grew up with me and began listening to me at the age of 23. They are currently between 37 and 40 years old. My music appeals to a wide range of ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, so I hope that everyone who enjoys it will read the book and find inspiration in it—if nothing else, just realize that it’s a tale of perseverance.

Continue aiming for excellence. If you make a mistake or trip and fall, simply pick yourself up and keep going. That has simply been my lifelong way of thinking and approaching things. And all I can hope is that after hearing that, people will consider whether Gucci can succeed and decide to focus through everything, accept the good with the bad, and go with the flow. That’s what I hope this will teach people.

Knowing a little bit about our [NPR] listeners, I can assume that some of them are fans of yours and that there are others who are somewhat unfamiliar with you and may even be thinking, “This guy sold drugs, made rap music about it, made a whole bunch of money and now we’re talking about it?” Why do you think your story should be known by a wider audience, especially those who might not be rap music fans?

I think I’m an interesting person, and it’s not even about one facet or one event in my life. If someone evaluates me solely on the basis of that one incident, they are truly missing out on a wonderful tale of a wonderful person.

Let’s take a brief look back at the time before you were Gucci Mane. You were Radric Davis at birth. Tell us about your origins and upbringing.

My birthplace was Bessemer, Alabama, a small town located just outside of Birmingham. I was about 9 years old when I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and I grew up in East Atlanta.

It was my father’s and mother’s side of the family in Alabama. It was just a close-knit neighborhood. Family is everything, you know. Just combine all of our resources as we don’t have much of them. All I had with me when I moved to Atlanta was my brother and my mother. As a result, we had to learn a lot of new skills and sort of fend for ourselves. And I think that the two of them, those two distinct dynamics, are what shaped me into the person I am now.

Where does the name Gucci Mane originate?

My father goes by that nickname, which I believe his grandparents gave him. I adopted it as my rap name.

Describe your father for us.

My dad was a decent man. He gave it his all. He was a con artist. In reality, he was a street guy. But as a person, he was fascinating. I gained a lot of knowledge from him simply by observing him. His demeanor, the way he interacted with people.

He didn’t teach me anything negative, but I was impressionable as a child, so I took in a lot of his good and bad lessons. I mimicked that.

What kinds of things did you mimic?

Always kind of reading people, feeling when something bad was about to happen. He was constantly aware of what was going on and on point. He was simply very perceptive. I attempted to simply use this tactic. merely paying attention to how people speak and behave, including what they don’t say.