Gucci Mane Talks Getting His 'Life Together' in First Interview Since Release From Jail

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Gucci Mane photographed on March 6, 2011 in Atlanta. 

Gucci Mane has been hard at work since he was released from prison in May and not just on music for his new album Everybody Looking that's out this week, but on himself too. 

In his first interview since his release, the highly influential Atlanta rapper discussed his return with the New York Times and why it's going to be different this time around. 

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As Gucci serves the final months of his more-than-three-year sentence for possession of a firearm by a felon under house arrest in his suburban Marietta, Georgia, home, the 36-year-old rapper is now sober for what he estimates is the first time in probably 17 years since he was a teenager. He had been smoking weed and drinking alcohol since he was a teenager and drinking lean (aka syrup with prescription-strength cough syrup) since he was 21, while sometimes adding in ecstasy or prescription pills.

"I felt like I couldn’t make music sober, I couldn’t enjoy my money sober," he told the Times. Why would I wanna go to a club and couldn’t smoke or drink? I felt like sex wouldn’t be good sober. I associated everything with being high.... In hindsight I see it for what it was: I was a drug addict. I was naïve to the fact that I was numb."

He continued, "I can’t say I felt happy my last six, seven years in the music business. I was just numb. You told me that I was doing good or told me I was doing bad, you hated me or loved me, either which way I greeted with nonchalance. It was sincere nonchalance — like, I really didn’t care."

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He had attempted rehab before but when he entered his most recent term in jail, he decided to make a change for real. He described the withdrawals then as "death." 

"It feel like death," he said. "Your body just craving lean bad. Stomach tore up, can’t think straight. Just mad at the world. Temper so short, so violent, so aggressive. So just rude and toxic."

But he found his way out with a new focus that he put towards a routine of prayer, exercise and reading, particularly the Bible and self-help books. He lost wait and gained a six-pack, which he's maintained now that he's sober. He also kept working, writing for the first time with pen and paper (rather than freestyling everything) and kept releasing mixtapes remotely pulled from his hard drive of unheard material, estimating his income from those at more than $1 million over this period. 

Whereas Gucci has previously self-sabotaged his own success with more than 10 arrests on a number of drug, assault and gun charges, it's looking like Everybody Looking has the makings to solidify the rapper as one of the game's top dogs. 

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