Among the new releases this Friday are Gucci Mane's Woptober II, which utilizes some recent Harmony Korine-shot photography for the cover art. The cover, fittingly, is taken from a larger campaign with the Gucci label and marks the culmination of a seemingly inevitable though no less fascinating collaboration. Speaking with Hot 97, Guwop explained the importance of the team-up and gave his assessment of the brand’s sweater controversy from earlier this year.
"I wouldn't say that they need me but I would say that it's definitely a 360 from the relationship we used to have where they used to cease and desist over 100 times to where they're embracing me and we're partnering up," Gucci said near the top of the discussion. "That's dope."
He added that the collab is "a long time coming," noting the backstory behind the Gucci Mane name and its deep connection to his family history, starting with his grandfather going to Italy during World War II.
Later, Gucci spoke on the importance of holding people at all brands accountable, using his early Alabama Crimson Tide fandom as a jumping off point for a larger discussion on the issue.
"I grew up being a huge Alabama Crimson Tide fan," he said around five minutes in. "Then you start thinking about the history and what made them let black players come in. I'm just now learning that. I ain't know that then. I don't feel the same way about none of this shit no more. Now I'm like 'Fuck all y’all, man.' All this shit fake. I'm fucking only with the people that's gonna do right and can be held accountable."
Speaking specifically on the brand's recent controversy, Gucci agreed that the sweater widely described as constituting an example of blackface likely wasn't intentional.
"I was outraged just like the rest of the community but I didn't think it was intentional after meeting them," he said. "But my community, we done took so much, man. ... Once I got to know them and talk to them, I have a whole different outlook now. I just feel like they need to include more people that can talk to them and make them be held accountable."
That perspective ultimately inspired him to take on the collab.
"That's why I was open to getting in there like 'If you doing business with Gucci, I'm not gonna turn my eye to something I see. I'm going to say something about it.' It's, like, it's started. If you include me, then you gotta try to expand the role with me. I'm already outspoken as soon as I get there. I got things I'm gonna be saying and now you gotta be held accountable. If there's anybody that's gonna hold somebody accountable, let me do it."
Later, around nine minutes in, the topic of 6ix9ine was brought up by Ebro Darden. This prompted Gucci Mane to speak generally about the practice of making deals with prosecutors and the ins and outs of the legal system he learned while in federal prison.
"Once you've been in the feds and you get out, you understand the power of snitching because everybody snitches," he said. "That's why they got the conviction rate at 98 percent because everybody who goes to the feds they really plead guilty or they tell. There's not no, like, fighting trial and beating it. That's like one in 10. ... They don't even take the case unless they got all the evidence."
Catch the full interview up top. Woptober II is out now.