B&E: Gucci Mane

Breaking & Entering: A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: Gucci Mane.

Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.

Atlanta newcomer Gucci Mane isn't the first rapper to be accused of murder. But he has certainly set a new precedent for using it as a compelling marketing ploy. After turning himself in for the murder of Pookie Loc, a member of the Macon, Ga.-based rap group Loccish Lifestyle, Mane was detained and later released from prison the same day his album, "Trap House," hit stores.

That perfect timing gave the virtually unknown artist a big boost on the charts.

On June 11, the album, released by La Flare Entertainment/Big Cat Records, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart, No. 101 on The Billboard 200 and No. 20 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums list.

Mane embraces the Dirty South sound, adding his own comedic rhymes to tracks such as "Lawnmower Man" and "Booty Shorts." He even boasts about his love for princess cut diamonds on the album's lead single, "Icy." (One press release claims he has "more karats than Bugs Bunny's lunch box.")

Mane cites Kurtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Beastie Boys and LL Cool J among his influences, and notes that he is currently listening to artists like Project Pat, T.I. and UGK.

"I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but I moved to Atlanta when I was nine years old. So my style is kinda like country boy with city slang, you know what I'm saying?" he says. "I blend the country and the city together, and that's what makes me different from most rappers.

"I put a lot into this album," he adds. "So I want to make sure everyone gets to hear it. I want everyone to see how creative and talented I am. We got a real bag of tricks, and some of the hottest producers in Atlanta on there." Those producers include Heat Makers, Frank Nitty and Shorty Red, among others. He also collaborated with artists like Young Jeezy, Bun B, Lil' Scrappy and Killa Mike.

Mane is currently in the studio remixing "Icy," and he expects to begin touring next month. At the same time, he is developing his own clothing line called FRUDI (For Real Unique Diverse Individuals), which he expects to come out next summer.

As for all the publicity he has recently received in regard to his upcoming murder trial, he says, "In a way it kind of helps. A lot of people were saying they didn't want to put my CD in their stores, so that kinda affected sales, but at the same time, the publicity did help sales a lot. Any press that you get is good press -- bad or good, it's still press, you know what I'm saying? But I didn't put myself through all that just to sell a record."

Label site: www.bigcatrecords.net


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.