Gucci Mane Gives 1 Of The Realest Interviews Ever. It’s Unquestionable (Video)

Over the last 10 years, few Hip-Hop artists have been more influential than Gucci Mane. The Trap star has been as integral as Future and T.I. in making the Atlanta sound the most dominant in the culture. At the same time, few artists have been more controversial or faced more adversity during that time than Gucci. In the past decade, he has been a tabloid sensation, arrested countless times and been incarcerated for more nearly 3 years.

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After his most recent release from prison in May of 2016, something seemed different about Gucci. He was lean, focused and seemingly sober for the first time since he became a Rap star. In fact, he seemed so changed that rumors, albeit tongue-in-cheek, began to surface that the man who re-appeared on the scene was actually a clone of the man born Radric Davis. After releasing 2 albums, a mixtape and several high profile guest verses since his he got out, Gucci Mane has been, arguably, at the top of his game. It is in this state that he recently appeared as a guest on ESPN’s Highly Questionable.

As with everything else Gucci has done since his release, the interview was raw and exceptional. Wasting no time, HQ’s Dan Le Batard asks Gucci if he was able to enjoy the success he had early in his career, given some of the demons he was fighting. Without hesitation, Gucci replies “As soon as I had my first CD, I had a murder charge the same week, so I can’t say that I enjoyed it. The whole time, it was always tense. I’m enjoying it now. But, back then, my whole 10 years in the music game, from 2015 all the way to 2012 was just filled with violence and paranoia and drugs.”

Le Batard follows up, saying “that sounds miserable,” and, again, Gucci pulls no punches. “It is miserable when you been doing wrong so long and you done did wrong by other people. You never know when it’s gonna come back on you,” he says, expounding on what led to his paranoia. “I had hurt so many people and so many people had hurt me, I never knew when it was gonna come and it was like I was always preparing for the day that bullets started coming; started ringing out.”

Later in the conversation, the interview turns to mental illness and substance abuse. Gucci says of his time in prison, “I guess when I was in prison, I had time to sit back and evaluate things, think about it, and dry out from the drugs. It’s done. I’m over it. I got past it. So, to me, it’s in the past. It’s nothing that I’m dealing with now.” He goes on to expand on how hard it was to detox from all of the chemicals he was ingesting. “Drying out from drinking lean was probably the worst feeling in the world,” he says. “It tears your body down. It tears your mind down. You been doing something for so long, it’s kinda like food. It’s like starving. It’s undescribable. It’s terrible, terrible pain.”

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When Gucci entered into prison in 2014, he was 290 pounds and he used the time to transform himself, physically and mentally. “When I got in there, I just started working out, drinking water, reading, and planning and plotting on what I was going to do when I got out, and it just kept me hopeful.” In expanding on his addiction, Gucci says “Once I was in that prison, I could look back at it and see it, but during those years, I can’t say I thought I had a problem. I just didn’t think that I could stop it. It’s hard for me to explain. It was just like my daily routine for so long. I knew people that drunk lean and smoked blunts and stopped, but I didn’t think that I could stop. I never even really envisioned me never not doing it. So, when I sat down, it gave me time to say ‘Hold on, listen. Maybe it’s a life where I don’t have to do this every day.'” In reflecting, he’s surprised that his former lifestyle did not kill him.

Near the end of the interview, Gucci cites his sobriety as the principal reason for his turnaround. “I started thinking about what could I do to insure that I don’t come back in this prison, ’cause I didn’t want to live the rest of my life in prison…I was like ‘One thing I need to do is I need to be totally sober. I need to have complete clarity. I need to be razor-sharp focused on everything I do, on everything from when I wake up till when I go to sleep.’ I started thinking about that and after you start doing it for like a year, then it turn into 2 years, and then you like ‘I can get out and I can do it.’ And, once I got out and start doing it, it makes me a better person, makes me a better artist. It just makes me all the way stronger.”