It seems like wherever Gucci Mane goes, he attracts controversy and perplexing questions. Whether it be his various run-ins with the law, his outlandish jewelry, or his decision to get an an ice cream cone tattooed on his face, Gucci always makes headlines. With his new street album The Return of Mr. Zone 6 in stores today, we figured it was the perfect time to talk with the Brick Squad leader about the various moving parts surrounding his career. We asked about his friendship with Waka Flocka Flame and their upcoming joint album, the making of his new street album, and why in the world he got an ice cream cone tattooed on his face. GUCCI!
Interview by Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)
Gucci Mane: I just felt like on my last album, I had so many big collaborations, from Wyclef to Pharrell to Estelle. So I guess inside of me, I just wanted to go back to my core fans and give them a street album.
Complex: What was the recording process like?
Gucci Mane: It was fun. I had my whole team in there with me. If I recorded a song by myself, I had my whole staff in there with me, so it would be easier for good energy. And I had a lot of collaborations. I collaborated with Waka three times on that album. I collaborated with Master P, Birdman, and 8Ball, so I had a lot of legends on there. It was a great experience. I recorded from December through January in Atlanta and at the Hit Factory in Miami. I wanted to feed the streets, so I just went in there and banged out like 13 tracks with it. Threw it out there. I just really started reaching out to everybody I had met in the rap game. Everybody who I looked up to and listened to as a teen, I wanted to involve them in this CD.
Complex: You mentioned you were trying to feed the streets with this one. Do you feel like you haven’t been feeding them lately?
Gucci Mane: I feel like I took my fans a little too far left with my last album, so i just wanted to come back and give them a hood album, just for my core fanbase that’s been with me since the beginning.
Complex: Do you feel like The Appeal had more of a pop feel than a street feel?
Gucci Mane: Not necessarily more of a pop feel, but just more collaborations and not enough Gucci. I wanted to bring them back to what’s relevant and current in the hood, so I wanted to go back and give the inner-city a CD. I threw this one out here for my fans. As if to say like, ‘If you didn’t like The Appeal, or you weren’t pleased with The Appeal, I definitely know you’re going to be pleased with The Return Of Mr. Zone 6.
Complex: Were you satisfied with the way The Appeal performed?
Gucci Mane: I think it was a great album. I’m not satisfied with the way it performed, but I definitely don’t take anything away from the album. It’s a great album, well put together, and has some great records on there. I just think it came out kind of quickly and it wasn’t promoted long enough. But I still feel like it was a stellar album and it did pretty good. I definitely think it could have done better if we’d had more time to promote it.
Complex: Do you feel like a lot of your fans weren’t pleased with The Appeal?
Gucci Mane: I feel like they were pleased with it, because I get a lot of good responses from “Weirdo,” “Making Love To The Money,” and “Haterade.” But we didn’t follow up with a lot of videos for these great records that we had and I think that was one of the mistakes I made with The Appeal. That’s why with The Return Of Mr. Zone 6, I shot like four or five videos from it. I didn’t just put out the mixtape.
Complex: You mention doing a lot of collaborations, I feel like the streets would love to see you get on a song with Jeezy. Do you think that’s something that would ever happen?
Gucci Mane: It ain’t happen yet.
Complex: So, it’s not gonna happen?
Gucci Mane: It hasn’t happened yet. Moving on to the next question.
Complex: One of the things recently that caused a big stir was your ice cream tattoo. What inspired you to do that?
Gucci Mane: Just me being the coldest emcee in the game is what inspired me to go get that tattoo.
Complex: So you had to get an ice cream tattoo?
Gucci Mane: Yup.
Complex: But why did you put lightning on it?
Gucci Mane: That’s just what I wanted.
Complex: Was that something you’ve been wanting to get for a long time, or was that a spontaneous decision?
Gucci Mane: I’d just like to tell everybody that’s going to read Complex Magazine to go get The Return Of Mr. Zone 6, and see how much growth I’ve done in a short time, from The Appeal to The Return Of Mr. Zone 6.
Complex: Okay. You talked about having three songs with Waka on The Return Of Mr. Zone 6. For a while you and Waka weren’t cool, but that relationship has recovered, right?
Gucci Mane: Me and Waka were never not cool so I don’t know where you get that from.
Complex: Well, in one interview with VIBE they asked Waka what his relationship with you and he said, ‘We have no relationship.’ Then a little while later it seemed like you guys were cool again.
Gucci Mane: There was a period of time I wasn’t speaking to him. But it wasn’t no bad thing about that. We just wasn’t talking at the time.
Complex: I see. But you guys are talking now right? There’s talks about you guys making an album together.
Gucci Mane: Yeah, it’s already recorded. It’s completely done. [It’s called The Ferrari Boys.] You can expect it in the spring sometime. It’s got like 17 tracks. You got production from Drumma Boy, Southside, J. Cole, Shawty Redd. We got collaborations from Rocko, Tity Boi, and OJ Da Juiceman, and everybody in the Brick Squad camp. We just wrapped that up last week. So after I recorded The Return of Mr. Zone 6, me and Waka went to the Beatmakerz studio to record the whole album in Atlanta.
Complex: And what is the vibe for you guys when you get into the studio together?
Gucci Mane: I feel it’s just a lot of energy. We come in and depending on who’s starting the song off, Waka may have an idea before he gets there or he might have one potentially after he hears the music. Or the producer might come in and bring an idea to us. So, we’re just open to any type of way to make a hit record. We usually try to make two or three songs in a session to feel like we got our money’s worth. It’s quick, but at the same time it’s thought-out.
Complex: Why do that album now?
Gucci Mane: I don’t know. [Laughs.] We feeling each other right now. I’m feeling his swag. He’s feeling mine. I’m feeling his music right now and he’s feeling my music right now so we just came together and said let’s combine. We’ve been talking about putting this album out for the last two years. Since we formed Brick Squad, we been saying we’re gonna come out with a group album. So the perfect time is now. We’re gonna come out with our group album and then we’ll come back out with our solo albums.
Complex: What other kinds of ambitions are you aspiring to in the future?
Gucci Mane: In April we’re shooting our first movie to put it out in the summer. We’re working on getting the script written up so we don’t have the title just yet. We got Mr. BoomTown who shots all my videos and it’s starring me and Waka. I would say we definitely have to pay homage to Cash Money and No Limit because that’s definitely where we got the blueprint from.
Complex: Okay. So what do you want fans to take away from The Return of Mr. Zone 6?
Gucci Mane: I just want fans to get something to ride to for the summer. Something to be entertained by and something to feel good about. Something to play in their cars. I went to a radio station the other day and we played a bunch of songs off of the album and we got great feedback. I really do hope people go out and personally listen to Zone Six and get something out of it.
Interview by Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)Complex: How did The Return of Mr. Zone 6 come about?
Complex: Is Waka's mother, Debra Mizay, still your manager?
Gucci Mane: At one time, Mizay was my manager. I manage myself right now.
Complex: Why did you stop rolling with Mizay?
Gucci Mane: Because I wanted to manage myself.
Complex: What kind of challenges does being an artist/manager entail?
Gucci Mane: It’s fun and it’s more profitable. I want in the future to manage other people's careers, but I feel like if I show people how good I’m doing with myself, then it’ll bring people to want me to manage them as well.