2019 Grammys

The Galaxy of Gucci Mane: The Trap King Is at the Center of Atlanta's Rap Universe

Patrick Crowley
           

Now out of prison (three years on a weapons charge), the rapper is back at the center of Atlanta's rap universe. With his album Everybody Looking due July 22, Billboard explores his orbits of influence. 

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Young Scooter
Scooter -- a childhood friend of Future's -- spent time on Mane's 1017 Records and partnered with him for the 2013 joint mixtape Free Bricks 2, but their bond goes beyond the studio: The pair shared a cell at the DeKalb County Jail.
 

This media is not available on this platform.OJ Da Juiceman
Growing up in the same apartment complex as Mane, OJ -- now an underground ATL rap stalwart -- was one of the first signees to 1017 Records. Guwop is featured on OJ's biggest hit, 2008's "Make Tha Trap Say Aye."

 

Future
A 2011 joint mixtape with Mane, Free Bricks, gave ATL native Future his first major co-sign. "If he sees talent, he'll give an opportunity," says Atlanta radio legend DJ Holiday. "It bled into the culture: Now, you get Drake and Future doing a whole tape together."
 

This media is not available on this platform.Waka Flocka Flame
For Flame and Mane, rap is a family affair: Flame's mother, Deb Antney, once managed Guwop. Not long after coming up with Flame's rap name, Mane joined him for 2011 joint album Ferrari Boyz.

 

This media is not available on this platform.Young Thug
"Thug is the guy who took Gucci's star power and made it into his own," says Holiday of Atlanta's latest star, who began his career as a 1017 Records signee after a stand-out turn on Guwop's 2013 mixtape Trap God 2.
 

This media is not available on this platform.Migos
"One of the best A&Rs in the game, and that's not even his job," says Holiday of Mane, whose frequent producer Zaytoven helped the southern trio break through with "Versace." "Without Gucci," he adds, "they'd probably still be trapping."


 

Peewee Longway
A 1017 Records signee, Atlanta rapper Longway has done three joint projects with Mane since 2013. "Peewee's whole bag is exactly what Guwop is about," says Holiday. "Trap and get money. Work hard, and get your check right."

 

Fetty Wap
Growing up in New Jersey, Fetty was so enamored with Mane's music that he earned the nickname "Wop." Fandom paid off: Fetty's first Billboard Hot 100 hit was the Guwop-alluding "Trap Queen."

 

This media is not available on this platform.Kodak Black
Rising Florida rapper Kodak Black's mealy-mouthed delivery is straight out of the Mane playbook. On Holiday's recommendation, the two collaborated on Kodak's new "Vibin in This Bih."

 

This media is not available on this platform.Young Dolph
The Memphis street rhymer, who credits his own work ethic to watching Mane's seemingly endless recording pace, has linked with the rapper for two mixtapes since 2013 (including his breakthrough, East Atlanta Memphis).
 

Chief Keef Arnold Turner/Invision for Interscope Records/AP ImagesChief Keef

Chief Keef
The Atlanta veteran took Keef, a Chicago rapper who modified Mane's trap sound to fit the city's drill scene, under his wing in 2013, signing him to 1017 Records and releasing joint project Big Gucci Sosa.

 

 

 

This article originally appeared in the July 30 issue of Billboard.