The Autobiography of Gucci Mane is one of the most compelling music autobiographies ever written. It’s more than just the story of how one man went from rap reject to the most magnificent “glow up” ever seen. It is a story of black manhood in the American South as never described before. Written by Gucci and former XXL Editor, Neil Martinez-Belkin, the book is an eye-opening look into the life of the Trap God and the sound he influenced.
The story begins with the turning point that landed Gucci in federal prison for a 39-month sentence, immersed in a promethazine-induced haze he found himself in an altercation with Atlanta police where he required two shots of sedatives to calm him. From this turning point, that is revisited toward the end of the book, Gucci Mane introduces us to the origin of Radric Delantic Davis in Bessemer, Alabama at 1017 First Avenue to be exact. In the book, he explains his complicated family structure one of unmarried parents, half-siblings, and a close network of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. He reveals that it was from his father Ralph “Gucci” Dudley that he got his rap moniker. Gucci’s early life reveals a lot in common with many rap artists, an early exposure to hip-hop music from a savvier older brother, good grades, and a passion for making quick money fueled by a working class economic status.
Undoubtedly, one of the most riveting sections of the book is the time that Gucci spends explaining his beef with Jeezy. It’s a beef that was seismic in its effect in Atlanta. The two titans and their rival crews divided the city for years with only brief, tumultuous moments of peace. The beef eventually caused Gucci to catch a murder charge that he later beat due to self-defense. “I was angry. Directly or indirectly this guy had put me in a situation where I had to fight for my life in the streets, and now I was going to be fighting for my life in the courts. Meanwhile he was out there enjoying all the success of his debut album.” (p. 110)
In November of 2013, Gucci was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, he was prosecuted by Sally Yates, the federal prosecutor who would go on to become Acting Attorney General of the United States and later fired by Donald Trump after refusing to defend his travel ban. During this stint in prison, unlike his multiple trips prior and his various stints in rehab, Gucci dedicated himself to sobriety, working out and reading inspirational books. The evidence of which has been seen in his newly defined body, and Twitter account that reads like an excerpt from a self-help book. Incarcerated, for what we hope is his final time, Gucci learned, “It’s about how you bounce back from those moments that make you who you are.”
The Autobiography of Gucci Mane is available now in bookstores and online.