Gucci Mane, most known for his cult following, or his ice cream cone face tattoo, is currently serving a skid bid in Fulton County Jail and will be back on the streets any day. Alas, if you’re familiar with the southern wordsmith, you know when they eventually free him, it won’t be long before we are yelling, “FREE GUCCI,” once again, as Gucci has been incarcerated well over a dozen times. It may not be hyperbolic to say Big Guwop’s second home is jail. He is accused of committing a plethora of illegal acts from violence to dealing drugs, but, regardless of his crimes, his contributions to us all far outweigh his occasional scrapes with the law. Gucci Mane has played a vital role in many-a-music career. The number of artists who grew under Gucci’s tutelage would rival Puff Daddy’s or even Russell Simmons.
The self-proclaimed Trap God has broken more artists than any DJ could claim, by introducing so many talented unknowns to his own unique cult-like fan base. More than just doing a song or two, Gucci usually goes a step further by doing an entire project, and, at least, a music video with these artists. Once Gucci’s core fans get a hold of these new acts, they are co-signed as hot and fans give brand new artists an actual chance to be heard. Gucci has thrown a lot of shit against the wall but the best always sticks, and a successful career is spawned.
Not only does Gucci make his own core following aware of the virtually unknown artists, but major labels and the music industry elite also take note, cherry-picking the talent accordingly. Gucci Mane’s eye and ear was so keen at one point that–diamond-selling artist–Mariah Carey and Usher were forced to reach down to feature Gucci, radiating him to their own massive followings.
Let’s break down Gucci’s resume as an A&R:
First of all the Bricksquad 1017 CEO has aided countless rappers and this is not a comprehensive list of everyone Gucci Mane has ever worked with. In every up-and-comer’s career, there is a pivotal moment that crosses them over from one lane to another. Gucci Mane has walked numerous artists over this threshold, time and again.
After Nicki Minaj left New York City in hopes of more success down south, and before she found her way to Birdman and Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane found her. He featured with her, and stamped her as a lyricist and a true contender for the hip-hop crown. She went on to enjoy an illustrious career and her own fan base grew to epic proportions. Nicki Minaj currently sits among the music elite.
Waka Flocka Flame played the background as a mentee to Gucci Mane for years before emerging as a solo superstar. Waka Flocka says, himself, that he was never a rapper and more of a hype man, as well as homeboy-turned-bodyguard. Eventually, he got into the act and has successfully toured non-stop since his career began, even scoring a hit record. Waka is shooting for the moon, as he recently told the world that he was running for POTUS in the next presidential campaign.
Before The Migos were the biggest boy group in hip-hop since The Hot Boys; before Drake and so many others were using their rap style to stay relevant, The Migos were signed to Gucci Mane. They were his live in artists and learned tons from the “Lemonade” rapper.
Thugger Thugger was also signed to Gucci Mane before you ever heard his name. Gucci and Young Thug have many songs together, and while Gucci Mane has been incarcerated, Young Thugger has almost become a household name.
OJ Da Juiceman
Gucci Mane said that OJ Da Juiceman’s main focus was the trap, but after dragging him into the studio and shooting a couple of music videos, he was poised to be a huge star. OJ Da Juiceman made the XXL Freshman Cover from his affiliation with Gucci alone.
Yo Gotti is slightly different. He never signed to Gucci and had been an underground king for years before linking with Guwop. However, once Gucci and Gotti began to work together, it seemed as if Yo Gotti had hit pay dirt. Yo Gotti was able to secure a major label deal and has served up street hit after street hit.
Rocko is another artist who has been around for years and has been a great exec in his own right. However, once he began doing music with Gucci Mane, Rocko Da Don’s star power went to the next level. Rocko became an instant street king and thousands of people live by his impromptu mixtapes. Without the Gucci Mane affiliation, Rocko might be looked at only as Monica’s ex.
Jeezy’s success never depended on the help of Gucci Mane, but when they found themselves at odds over the ownership of a Gucci Mane song, Jeezy utilized the street beef element a hip-hop artist needs to show the people why we should care about them. “Icy” helped make the “Trap Or Die” rapper relevant. With three songs in national rotation at the same time and a murderous street beef with Gucci this solidified Young Jeezy as a superstar rapper.
Before French and Puff Daddy were inseparable, but after French’s Cocaine City DVD era, French found his way into the arms of manager Debra Antney, and subsequently in the circumference of down south phenom Gucci Mane. French Montana was instantly able to break through to the southern market with this alignment, which set him on the road to stardom. French went on to enjoy hit singles and is rumored to be dating Hollywood heiress Sanaa Lathan.
Future has been around legends since he began his ascent in music. Future came in under the groundbreaking Dungeon Family, and, though they may have taught him a lot when it comes to making music, they couldn’t do much for his personal buzz. Enter Gucci Mane. Once Future linked with Gucci Mane, his solo stardom began to explode, a feat even Andre 3000 couldn’t pull off. A couple of music videos later, and Future is the best thing to hip-hop since sliced bread.
Soulja Boy is unique. He was already a massive success and worldwide superstar when crossed paths with Gucci. Initially working with Gucci could be considered Soulja Boy reaching back. What happened instead was Gucci Mane changed Soulja’s trajectory. After hanging with Gucci Mane and dropping a music video, Soulja decided to change his style of music completely. Soulja Boy went from a happy-go-lucky dancing teenager to a lean sipping, strap toting D-boy and Gucci Mane played a huge role in this transformation. Since their initial linkage, Soulja Boy has been charged with gun and drug possession and has been involved in a number of street beefs. While being a teen idol has its perks, by shifting gears, Soulja Boy has kept his finger on the pulse of the industry and has set himself up to be an influential figure forever.
Not only has Gucci Mane brought great artists to the forefront but he is even the reason some producers are huge stars today. Most notably Mike Will Made It, who got his start crafting beats for the southern flame spitta. Nowadays, Mike Will spends most of his time managing his own artists or producing for pop sensation Miley Cyrus. Other producers who have made a name via the Bricksquad Captain would be Zaytoven, Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital, 808 Mafia, and even Lex Luger.
The names mentioned are just a sliver of what type of impact Gucci Mane has had on this business overall. Do not confuse the point. Every artist mentioned may have eventually found the right set of circumstances to take them to the next level, but Gucci Mane is a direct portal to the much needed lane switch. Who knows what great acts we have missed since Gucci hasn’t been free to maneuver the only way he knows how. More importantly, what major label head dropped the ball not giving Gucci Mane a President of A&R role? So Free Gucci! Why? Cause he is hands down the best damned A&R hip-hop has ever seen, and without him the music scene would’ve been pretty lame over the past decade!
Born and raised in Washington, DC, Nikki Mack began writing as a way to vent. Nikki Mack is an avid reader, and recluse, who is currently working tirelessly on an urban fiction novel.