This was supposed to be Gucci Mane's time to finally gain mainstream appeal, as he collaborated with Mariah Carey, Mario and Usher while churning out street anthems like "Wasted" and "Go Head," featuring Man Bre-Z.
But now he's found himself trying to figure out his next career move behind bars.
Gucci Mane, whose real name is Radric Davis, is currently serving a six-month jail sentence in Georgia after a probation violation last year. While incarcerated, he celebrated his 30th birthday in February and released his album "The State vs. Radric Davis," which debuted No. 1 on Billboard's rap chart in December.
Gucci Mane hopes to regain the momentum he built before he was locked up. No more than two months after his expected release in April, the rapper plans to release "The State vs. Radric Davis: The Appeal" and then "The State vs. Radric Davis: The Verdict" later this year.
He'll also release a mixtape with DJ Drama, who believes Gucci Mane will use his lockdown to become more of a creative artist.
"Gucci might not be the most lyrical type of artist or the most complex, but he is creative when it comes to his personality. It comes across in his music," DJ Drama says.
In a telephone interview from the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Gucci Mane talked about how he's been more "at peace" during his jail stint, how miserable he felt on the day after his album release and how he's been a mentor to other inmates.
The Associated Press: You were featured on Carey's "Obsessed" and had the hit "Break Up" with Mario and Sean Garrett, as well as the single "Spotlight" featuring Usher. How did it feel to finally breakthrough?
Gucci Mane: It felt good to finally be noticed and get some kind of acclaim. This is by far the most praise I've ever gotten. It feels like all my hard work is getting recognized. It makes me work even harder.
AP: How did it feel to have your album top the charts while in jail?
Gucci Mane: Excited. I still had a release party, though I wasn't there. But the day after was the toughest because I just wanted to get out there to see my fans. ... Getting on stage, it's nothing like it.
AP: Gucci, you've been to jail on a few other occasions. How can you avoid being sent back again?
Gucci Mane: Before I make an action, think about the consequences. ... Any decision I make is a heavy decision. I got a lot of people who depend on me. Everything I do has so much weight on it.
AP: How do the other inmates treat you in jail?
Gucci Mane: It's a great response. ... So I try to take a couple of these young guys under my wing and tell them what I've learned, because you can't teach nobody if you don't know anything.
AP: Rappers who have been jailed in the past like Tupac has said it was difficult to jot down lyrics while in prison. How has writing songs been for you?
Gucci Mane: Unfortunately I've been to jail a couple times. Anytime I come in it's difficult to make music, write songs. This time, I have a peace within me. I've been so excited to get out. I've written about 50 to 60 songs.
AP: How much has your jail time been a setback on your career, which was at the peak?
Gucci Mane: With money and selling CDs, I can always do that. I believe I can make all the money I've missed the last six months. But I can't regain the time with fans and family.
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