“I couldn’t go back to school with the same old shit on while everybody else was fresh as hell. I just couldn’t. I tried to explain but my momma cut me off.
“Look, here’s fifty dollars,” she told me. “Get whatever you want.”
What the hell was I supposed to do with fifty dollars? I couldn’t buy that Starter for fifty dollars. I couldn’t get a pair of Jordans for fifty dollars. I couldn’t get any of the things I wanted.
Frustrated, I took the money and left the apartment, walking toward the other side of Mountain Park. I knew that’s where the dope man stayed. I handed him the money and he handed me two tightly wrapped fifty-dollar slabs of crack cocaine.
“Now you owe me fifty dollars, get it?” he said.
I sure did.
That was all she wrote.
The dope game was on and poppin’ from that moment on. There would never be any other sort of extracurricular activities for me again.”
I was aware of Gucci Mane’s existence for years before I ever paid the guy much mind. East Coast rap is in my blood. It was Gucci’s 2012 Trap God mixtape, which I acquired free via Miss Info’s site, that was my first honest listen to Gucci. I became an immediate fan of the East Atlanta Santa. I loved the raw ignorance of his raps (“my A&R’s are dope boys!” / “I got young niggas in my ‘hood that’ll kill yo ass for fifty dollars”) and how his presence in interviews directly matched the guy in the songs.
Then Gucci went to jail — again, this time for 3 years. He came out of lockup skinny (he’d had a serious belly last I saw him), and with a clarity to his presence that you could feel, even though the lens of social media. The guy seemed to be calm and even peaceful. Had you seen his 2013 Breakfast Club interview, you too would’ve been wondering if Gucci Mane had indeed been cloned and replaced by a sober facsimile of himself (a tongue-in-cheek internet rumor around the time of his release from prison).
Gucci posted a photo of a book he’d read — Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers — and then whet the appetite of his fans with a preview photo of this very book.
Gucci has benefitted greatly by the existence of (and his wild popularity on) social media to spread the world of his book; the hallmark of that anticipation is when people who don’t even read books went out and bought his. Seeing how it stayed on the Amazon and New York Times best sellers lists for weeks, I was still not rushing to get to it. Then I read it and now know it was more than fervent Gucci fans propping him up: The Autobiography of Gucci Mane is actually a good book.
Prodigy of Mobb Deep wrote the best rapper-authored book I’d ever read. A few days after finishing Gucci’s autobiography, Prodigy keeps the title. But for those of a younger generation who wouldn’t connect most of P’s references, I wouldn’t be mad at Guwop owning in your #1 spot (minimum 4 autobiographies read).
Gucci’s story is a bit better-written than Prodigy’s, and feels a bit shorter. Both are page-turners that you always want to keep reading. I read the final 90% of Gucci nonstop on a flight from Los Angeles to Miami.
Gucci Mane’s story fits my expectation of any first-person account: There was never a point I wanted a chapter to be over. I was constantly pulled forward to see what happened next. It reads in Gucci’s voice, which shows the great work of his co-author and editor. It reads as if Gucci Mane is talking to you.
Gucci shares his path from Alabama to his move to Atlanta and into the streets; his introduction to rapping and how music intertwined with the streets, and all the criminal activity/legal situations that came with all of this. As the story flows, we get introduced to the same name brand rappers — Future, Migos, Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, Jeezy — that we all know today, the same way Gucci was introduced to them.
If you’re a Gucci Mane or trap music fan, you should already have this book. It’s worth your time, and may help get you into reading more books.
You Should Read The Autobiography of Gucci Mane IF: You’re a Gucci fan. You love trap rap. You don’t read much, but you would if one of your favorite rappers wrote something. This is a great place to start.