Gucci's New Memoir Reflects On His Journey of Growth And Success

 By: Imani McGill

Picture this. It's May in Austin, TX. Hot and sticky but the night sky brings a cool breeze. We are waiting for the next set. It was pitch black at first, then all of a sudden the familiar instrumental beginnings of a early 2000s classic began blaring through the amps, Lemonade.  The crowd begins to go dumb crazy over this Alabama born and East Atlanta made rapper in all his country twanged glory. The night went on and we heard other classics like Freaky Gurl and of course, Wasted. Gucci is a storyteller and has arguably earned his place among some of the most influential hip-hop artists of our time. He is a staple in southern rap and has solidified it and himself among the most notable, spanning from east coast to west. That dirty south sound...raw, with that enigmatically intrinsic way of manufacturing gold in the dirtiest places to ultimately come out as clean as a new chain is, in part, credited to Radric D. Davis. 

Since being released from prison, Gucci has featured on “Black Beatles” which hit number one on the Billboard 100, released albums Everybody Looking, Woptober, The Return of East Atlanta Santa, and DropTopWop – all of these projects in just one year! You've probably heard his numerous hits on the radio whether it’s his most recent banger with Migos "Get the Bag",  Nicki Minaj on “Make Love”, Bryson Tiller on “Drove You Crazy”, Drake on “Both”, or with Migos on “Slippery”. 

 Gucci Mane, photo via  Complex

Gucci Mane, photo via Complex

Gucci Mane La Flare. Gucci Mane. Radric D. Davis. He goes by many names and if you only know one of these personalities he's here to introduce you to all of him, in his new memoir. Frequently making references to Atlanta and accrediting Promethazine and Codeine as long time companions, Gucci Mane's autobiography takes you on a journey of a boy turned man who's not done growing yet. Gucci's book is filled with take-away messages that can be applied to everyone, as follows is a list of a few that made the cut: 

Find and exercise your talents.

 Gucci Mane circa 2012, photo via  Rolling Stone

Gucci Mane circa 2012, photo via Rolling Stone

According to his autobiography, Gucci, his peers, and his elementary school teachers knew he was a gifted lyricist, an engineer of the mechanisms and methodology of words and their placement. In his book he expounds on his childhood discovery. This is a perfect example of finding and exercising your talents. He found something he was good at a young age and never let it go. There is growth in finding what you love to do. There’s exceeding growth and wealth in finding what you love to do, finding that you’re good at it, and exercising it to its fullest potential…all simultaneously.   

Observe and adapt

Gucci's life has turned out the way it has, in part, because of his ability and curse in observation. Throughout his book he is constantly speaking on how he's watching, analyzing and maneuvering his way through life. He admits he was always a curious boy and from a young age saw his mother work, his father hustle, his family’s collective living situation, local drug dealers and more. It made him hungry for success and cultivated a drive in Gucci that a lot of people just don’t have. Although his keen gift of observation and analysis allowed him to one up his opponents, naysayers and others, it also sometimes bit him in the ass. For example, in Gucci’s biography he touches on his very personal relationship with drugs, as well as, his mother’s struggle to make ends meet and how itultimately led him straight to the trap. We all make mistakes in life that either call for adaptation or failure and no matter the set backs wither learned in a classroom on in the back ally, Gucci’s ability to get ahead rested on his ability to observe, analyze and adapt. He said “I want that…the cars, the chains, the life”, and he got it. 

 Invest

From page 1 to 304 Guwop is investing in his future, doing anything to ‘secure the bag’. Gucci made moves that initially only made sense to Gucci, like there is a science to it. Being a risk-taker was halfway learned and halfway instilled in his blood. He often times stepped out on total faith, although still strategic; by statistics standards Gucci should have failed a long time ago. From investing in the aspiring young dope boys turned rappers in his community...free of charge, to fronting mix-tapes to bootleggers without asking for a percentage of profit.

Again, he is investing...cultivating and putting essentially everything on the line. Gucci did the work, doing free shows or even paying to perform. One thing you cannot say is 'Gucci isn't dedicated and invested"; it simply isn't true.

One thing Gucci does made clear is that it doesn't matter if you've been on the block 5 minutes, you're a multimillion dollar record label producer, or you're a trending artist, Gucci is Gucci to everybody, and has been since day one. In one excerpt Gucci notes that he once paid a total of $75,000 dollars for a feature from a popular rapper, the established rapper switched up and offered something to a lesser degree. Gucci wasn't making that move and did what some don't have the courage to do, stand firm. Gucci knew his worth and knew the deal called for something more. Standing firm is something that will benefit you not only in the trap scene, but in every facet of life. You’ll never be able to truly get ahead and live the life you want if it’s open season on your will and worth.

Atonement

Last but not least, there is atonement. Mr. Davis knows he has made many mistakes in his life. From being at the wrong place at the wrong time to letting the drugs take over, he understands that his story and origin, although unique to him, mirror many. I believe Gucci has come to terms with his past. He had time to reflect and grow while he was away, and it seemingly changed him for the better. He’s still true to his core but understands that leading the trap life can lead you down some seriously dark paths. His book is a level of atonement, to right some of his wrongs. I can’t say where or what he will be doing next, but I will say he's on the right track.

 Gucci Mane, photo via  BET

Gucci Mane, photo via BET

I have never lived a life like Gucci's but his book awards me some insight and allows me to see myself in him. Much like me, trappin' is probably not your thing, but if you believe glorifying trappin' is all this book has to offer, you are seriously mistaken. From the trap house to the classroom and beyond, this book is more than what meets the eye and has the potential to inspire young and old, male, female and more. Bessemer to East 6, Atlanta, Atlanta to the rest of the world, Gucci and his book spark growth in the reader, and help those that are lost to reset. It teaches lessons to press on and pursue your personal definition of the ‘top’. Like his father said, "If you keep looking back, you'll trip going forward."


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