In the last couple years, Gucci Mane has tattooed an ice cream cone on his face, been in an out of jail and institutionalized. More recently, he's had a bit of a return to form, with a prolific run of ambitious mixtapes. He remains an enigma, distributing most of his music only tangentially through a major label system, while positioning himself miles away from it. He made a rare appearance in New York this week, performing with Waka Flocka at Irving Plaza and sitting down with Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club for a candid half-hour interview. Playful and at ease, he refused some questions but spoke at length about his career thus far. Here's what he seems to be up to.
When does Gucci have a tape coming out?
Trap God drops next week, October 17. It's his third release of the year, following two strong showings, Trap Back and I'm Up.
But is he working on an album?
Ten, actually, according to a recent interview with Billboard. "My goal is to drop 10 projects in 2013. All albums. I gotta do it. Maybe 30, 40 percent [of the work is done.] And if not 10, it seems like he's at least got one LP in the works. "I know the time is not right for me to drop my album [right now]. I don't have the right collection of songs for me to put out an album. So I'm just still recording…I'm gonna drop my album, spring break of next year, coinciding with [my movie]."
Gucci Mane is going to be in a movie?
Yes! He confirms the amazing rumor that he'll be starring alongside Selena Gomez and James Franco in Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers. "It's a white movie," Gucci explains. "I'm the only black person in the whole movie. It's like a white Pulp Fiction. I'm the bad guy. That's what they wanted me to play. I could have been the good guy if they wanted me to."
Would he ever star in a reality show?
Doesn't seem like it. "They ain't got enough money for me," he said. When Breakfast Club asked if he follows Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, he told them, "I don't. I don't even watch TV."
Is he staying out of trouble?
Four months after being ordered to a psych ward a couple years ago, Gucci was arrested in April 2011 after allegedly pushing a woman named Diana Graham out of a moving car. That September, he was sentenced to six months in jail followed by probation, and ordered to complete a 12-week anger management class. Graham also sued Gucci, claiming she sustained pain and emotional distress following the incident. Reportedly, Gucci refused to show up in court and submitted false testimony. A Georgia judge ruled in Graham's favor, ordering Gucci to pay her $58,000 and granting Graham the right to go after his assets if he didn't pay up. After all that, Gucci says he's focusing on money and not interested in discussing the case with Graham. "I don't wanna talk about that," he told the Breakfast Club. "It's not an open case, it's just not worth talking about."
Did Gucci Mane actually spend time in a psych ward?
Yes. About the experience, he says, "I definitely checked in to it. Me just trying to work my mojo."
Is he bipolar?
Not by his own admission. When Power 105.1 host Angela Yee claimed that a friend of hers had previously dated Gucci, and thought he was bipolar. Gucci replied, "If she knows me she knows I'm not bipolar. You talk to girls that dated me they'll say, Gucci so intelligent, so charming, so nice."
What's Gucci's relationship with Waka Flocka like now?
Gucci says his decision to fire Waka's mother Debra Antney as his manager "put a strain" on his relationship with Waka. "But we never really separated, " he explains. "We was always family. I just wanted to manage myself, which is what I do now." Gucci and Waka have known each other for a decade, and they're closer than ever. "I'll never find nobody loyal to me like Waka. It just don't happen like that. His momma introduced us. He was 17. She really just gave him to me. From 17 he just stuck with me…I know Waka would kill somebody for me. I don't even mess with me because of Waka." They do mess with each other sometimes, though. "He taped me when I was asleep," says Gucci.
What about Young Jeezy? Will he and Gucci ever settle their beef?
No. Gucci recently attended a birthday party for T.I. and Jeezy without incident, but he's not interested in making peace. "I'm an Atlanta legend," he said. "I wouldn't say that [about Jeezy]…Ain't really let nobody mush me, push me, talk to me in any kind a way. I ain't gonna go for it, period. I don't got no respect for him. You send someone to kill me, you think I'm gonna call you a legend? What's a legend about that?…I'm not a fan of anybody's music who I feel like a sucka."
After returning to Georgia, Gucci Mane released "Truth," a Young Jeezy diss track that loosely references Memphis rapper Playa Fly's "Crownin Me":
Does Gucci still run Brick Squad?
Yes. "1017 Brick Squad is my label," he said Wednesday. The label has three artists, Gucci, Waka and new signee Young Scooter. Who handles the countless other affiliates? Waka manages his own label, "a branch-off of 1017 Brick Squad which he has numerous artists on."
Is he still associated with a major label?
Yes. He's signed to Warner Music, who he calls "good partners." But he still values independence above all. "I came in the game independent. I'm still independent even thought I got a situation, I got a partnership. I've always been signed to myself, I always put out my music... I always been getting 4-5 dollars off my CDs from day one....I help a label out more than they can help me...I'm still a 100% working record label by myself. Brick Squad, we do everything ourselves.... [I have] no expectations for anyone in the industry, so they can't let you down. Cause all of them fake. Anybody in the industry, I don't put no trust in them and don't got no respect for them."
While we're catching up with Gucci; what happened to OJ da Juiceman?
"OJ still got one foot in the street, one foot in the rap game. Just like always," Gucci says.
What's he listening to?
Rocko. "I like Ross. 2 Chainz, Future, I rock with them." he said. "But I really listen to Rocko. I think Rocko one of the artists people really sleeping on."
Does he use Instagram?
Yes. "Did you see my Instagram on [the night of T.I. and Young Jeezy's birthday party]?" he asked The Breakfast Club. "How fresh I was?"
Does he have any new hobbies?
Indoor fishing. Costume play. And skateboarding, apparently.
How's his tummy looking?
Rock solid and round as a basketball. From recent videos: