Just like any super fan in the age of social media, I knew this book was going to tell me everything I wanted to know about the rise, fall and rise again of Radric Delantic Davis, known to the world as Gucci Mane LaFlare. Everything from his relationship with now fiancé Keyshia Ka'Oir to fall outs with rappers to his addiction to promethazine aka lean.
Then it dawned on me, this is not some star who thrives on airing his dirty laundry (and he has a lot he could air), this is the Trap God and as he says multiple times in the book, there are some things he just can't talk about.
If you're looking for that detailed tell-all about his rap beefs and intricate accounts of when he was more known as a street pharmacist than as the Godfather of Trap, this is not that book.
The Autobiography of Gucci Mane is about growth, resilience and how no matter the setback, Gucci Mane is always prepared to come back harder than ever before. A lot of people think Wop (another alias for Gucci) is having a moment right now, some has even deemed it a major ‘glow up’ since his release from jail in May 2016. He’s been getting a lot of attention from his engagement to his longtime girlfriend, to being featured on countless songs like Fifth Harmony’s “Down” and Rae Sremmurd’s mega hit, “Black Beatles.”
The truth of the matter is Gucci Mane may have been known as a drug dealer or has struggled with his own addictions early in his career, but this memoir shows his crazy road to success and even gives us few key lessons to apply to our own glow up.
Every setback is a setup for an even greater comeback.
Throughout the book, for nearly every positive thing that happened to Gucci professionally there always seemed to be some legal matter looming over his head, ready to rain on his parade. By no means was Gucci an angel, but he couldn’t catch a break.
Let's be clear: Gucci was his own worst enemy. And it didn't help that addiction, his self-destructive nature and unstable household as a child perpetuated a lifestyle of fast decisions and hard repercussions.
For example, for years Gucci had dreamed over being on BET’s Rap City. When he finally got invited, instead of feeling accomplishment and happy the experience was tarnished by an impending murder warrant. This is just one example of his unshakable black cloud.
No matter how many times something negative happened, he always came back 1,017 times harder than before. He took his frustration and used it to challenge himself. In this case, Gucci came back after beating the murder wrap with “Hard to Kill,” that included the hit single, “Freaky Gurl.” He didn’t worry about what people were saying. He stayed focused and made himself the only competition.
As a teenager Gucci Mane started out selling drugs in East Atlanta but he didn’t limit himself. Eventually, he branched out to music and created not only a name for himself but another source of income. At first, rapping wasn’t bringing in as much as hustling but the more time Gucci spent in the studio, the more songs he had, the more shows he booked, the more money started rolling in. As a smart businessman, Gucci branched out to mixtapes as another source of income. He practically lived in the studio and recorded song after song. This would be beneficial in times when he was locked up because him and his team would put out the tapes to keep him relevant and the money rolling in.
Branching out even more, Gucci wanted to be the Berry Gordy of the South and he opened his own studio, the Brick Factory.
It’s common knowledge that Gucci Mane took rappers like Waka Flocka Flame and OJ Da Juiceman under his wing and helped them get into the rap game, but the list doesn’t stop there. From connecting Nicki Minaj to DJ Holiday for her breakout mixtape, “Beam Me Up Scotty” to signing new acts like Young Thug and Migos; to working with up-and-coming producers like Zaytoven and Metro Boomin’, Gucci knows how to put people on to the rap game.
In the book, Gucci acknowledges the importance of helping other artists. He recalled a time when Migos came to the Brick Factory, to sign a deal. While there Gucci noticed, their chains were fake and he gave them a gold chain from his own neck just to show good faith in them as artists and their new partnership. To this day, Migos and Gucci are still working together to create hits.
Gucci also recognized that having younger talent around him would help him with his own professional development, citing the slang he used in his raps could have been easily outdated, but because he had “young cats” around the studio, he was also learned new things.
“My father used to say that if you keep looking back you’re going to trip going forward," the 37-year-old says. "That in life, sometimes you reach a fork in the road and you have to make a decision. Which direction will it be? Left, or right?”
To understand Radric Davis, you must understand his dad too. His dad was the original Gucci Mane LaFlare, who young Radric got his moniker from him. OG Gucci was a con artist that would scam and trick people out of money and other things. This is what young Gucci grew up knowing and learning, in the process he’d become a good judge of character. Throughout the book, Gucci says when things got rough with music he’d look back and revert to hustling and vice versa. After arrests, stints in rehab, industry beefs, etc. it was the last time he got locked up did he not only choose a different path but he committed to it.
While in prison, the drug lord, El Chapo had escaped jail again. With this news, Gucci recalls being excited and wanting to release songs about Chapo’s escape because this was someone he’d rapped about before. As he made plans to call his engineer at the Brick Factory, Gucci said he stopped in his tracks. He realized that when he got out there were going to be a lot of good things happening for him, his girl, Keyshia, the artists signed to his label, new music and his sobriety. It donned on him that playing up El Chapo’s new found illegal freedom would be looking back and could make him trip on his new path forward.
Since Gucci Mane’s release from prison nearly a year and a half ago, he has released three studio albums, a host of mixtapes and features, toured nonstop and it doesn’t look like he is slowing down any time soon.
It’s easy to read about all of Gucci’s circumstances of growing up in a non-ideal situation, getting into the drug scene, pursuing music, many legal encounters and setbacks, enduring his own demons and addictions and dealing with being in the public eye.
Many of us reading this would not be able to handle it but the many lessons Gucci Mane endured and shared in this autobiography can be valued by us all.