Gucci Mane Talks Footaction Collaboration & Why 'Atlanta Is the Mecca' for Style

Joseph Okpako/Redferns
Gucci Mane performs during Roskilde Festival on June 29, 2017 in Roskilde, Denmark. 

The resurrection of Radric Davis has been a sight to see. After watching his career nearly get mangled by crime and drug abuse, Gucci Mane was given a second chance at life. With an insatiable appetite for success, Gucci Mane redefined his image to not only cater to mainstream America, but more importantly, to himself. 

Upon his return from prison in May 2016, Guwop's signature gut vanished in place of a rock solid six-pack. With a polished image and a rejuvenated swagger in tow, he was ready to revamp his career for the better. Known for being an indomitable workhorse in the studio, he kept his hunger intact and released two albums last year, Everybody Looking and East Atlanta Santa 2, as well as the Woptober mixtape. While everyone was easily impressed by his return, Gucci Mane was quietly chalking up his wins after every new feat. 

In a matter of months, his face was plastered on publications such as GQ, Vogue and the New York Times. Rather than simply pose as a one-trick pony, Guwop exuded versatility needed to bloom into a mega-star. In the last two months, Gucci Mane has aligned himself with pop darlings Fifth Harmony and Selena Gomez for summery collaborations "Down" and "Fetish." Despite his past blemishes, the thought of expanding his brand always tickled his mind, even as youngster in Atlanta. Not only does he have a memoir titled The Autobiography of Gucci Mane slated for a September release, but he also has a new docuseries with his fiancè Keyshia Ka'oir set to be released on BET.

For his newest endeavor, Gucci Mane has partnered up with Footaction alongside MadeinTYO and Cousin Stizz to encourage kids to up their business savvy ready and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Titled "Summer Hustle," the collaboration not only showcases Gucci's new-found swagger, but his acting side, as well. 

In a new interview with Billboard, Gucci Mane speaks on his collaboration with Footaction, his resurgence in music, why Atlanta is the Mecca of style and which artists he dreams of working with in the studio one day. 

How did this collaboration with you and Footaction come together?

Gucci Mane: Well, it was brought to me by a close friend of mine, Miss Info. I think she got some contacts with somebody who works at Footaction. So she pitched the idea to me and I told her that I was down. 

Take us back to when you were a kid. What were the first pair of sneakers you bought? 

I can't remember the first pair of sneakers I bought, but I remember like I was into Brooks, the shoes. That was because [former Atlanta Hawks star] Dominique [Wilkins] used to wear Brooks. That was my favorite player.

How would you compare your style now to when you were first coming up around 2005-2006?

2006 Gucci was heavy in wearing mink coats and you know, I just came into the game in 2005. So I was just trying to be as flashy as I could. I just wanted to be unique. I just wanted to stan dout. So it was like a lot of bright colors. I wore a lot of Air Force Ones back then, and whatever it was to get people's attention. That's what I was down with.

 

Have there been times when you looked back at your fashion sense and asked yourself, 'What was I thinking?'

Nah, 'cause times change, you know what I'm saying? Stuff that was cool back then, of course you know is not cool now, but then, it'll come back. So my whole thing is whatever makes you feel comfortable, or whatever helps you express yourself, I'm all for it. That's how I've always been, kind of like a free spirit as far as clothing. 

How would you describe your day-to-day style? 

I feel like my style has evolved. It's a more mature style. Like for me, as long as it's well put together and just good material, that's what I'm into more than anything. I just like it to be put together and feel good on me. 

What's one word to describe your style and why? 

Grown. 

Why grown? 

Because you know, I just love being a 37-year-old Gucci. I love maturing. I love what I've evolved to. I'm so proud and just comfortable with being 37 and dressing my age. I just love that. 

Was it a surprise for you to come back strong and be featured on publications like GQ and Vogue?

It wasn't surprising, you know what I'm saying? I kind of planned for it to happen. But I guess I was proud to see things go as planned. 

How would you describe Atlanta's style? 

I feel like Atlanta is the Mecca. It's the center. A lot of people are just influenced by Atlanta culture, period. I feel like the music is influenced by the streets. Atlanta has always been a dope culture, a trap culture, and that transfers to the music. That transfers to the fashion world. It all starts in the streets of Atlanta. It's all about the dope boys and the trap boys. That's what's influencing the rappers, and the rappers are what's influencing the culture. 

With you being one of the innovators of trap music, how would you describe the sound's evolution today? 

I feel like trap just invaded mainstream. It invaded the pop world. It invaded the fashion world, but even before that. It's like trap music still comes from the streets, man. It's just a different name to it. Even when it was in New York with Melle Mel and LL [Cool J], everybody wanted to touch the dope boys. It's just never gonna stop. 

Recently, we spoke to Drumma Boy and he said you were the artist that improved the most since he first worked with you. Do you agree with that?

You know, Drumma is one of my close friends. That's my guy. But I just feel like practice makes perfect. You know, I've been rapping for so long, that I just get better and better. The more I stay in the studio, the better I get. If I was to record every day for 30 days right now, I would be better. The more time I get in the studio -- it's like a basketball player, the better you get. 

Rick Ross said you and him will be filming a movie together. What is this movie going to entail? 

When we did a video for Ross' "Buy Back the Block," there was a scene in the beginning and he was like, 'Man. It would be dope if we made that into a movie, because some of the people were like, 'Man, that s--t was good.' If we were to do that and we planned on doing that, that would be easy. It wouldn't take nothing but two or three days. That came natural. We didn't have no script or nothing like that. We were just being ourselves. 

You're doing tracks with Fifth Harmony and Selena Gomez. How surprised have you been knowing that you've been able to jump into the pop world with such ease? 

It's a hell of an accomplishment that these type of people wanna collaborate with you. Me, I'm a big fan of all music, like rock 'n' roll, pop, gospel, and country music. So to get to collaborate with people who are at the top of their game in the pop world and stuff like that, man, it's a hell of a feeling to just have somebody with such a huge following wanting to do a song with you. 

Which artists that you haven't worked with yet would you would love to do a collaborative EP with and why? 

I would love to do a song with Kendrick Lamar and I would love to do a song with Andre 3000. Those are two people who I listen to their music, but we've never collaborated yet. So I'm fans of both of them. 

I know you and Kendrick had the song "Perfect Pint" with Mike WiLL Made-It. 

Nah. I've never done a [true collaboration] with him. I had a beat that Mike WiLL sent me that I didn't rap on and he ended up giving the beat to Kendrick and Kendrick made "Humble" to it.