Whether you know him for his relentless work ethic in the music industry, his infamous ice cream cone face tattoo, his role in 2012's Spring Breakers or something else, it's likely you've come across Gucci Mane at some point in time. He's established himself as one of the most ubiquitous rappers of the 21st century, and in The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, he gives insight into his intriguing rise to fame, from being a drug dealer in the streets of Atlanta to a household name in the rap world.
The book details the struggles Gucci Mane faced while building his career, from feuds with fellow rappers to excessive partying to the multiple prison stints that loosely frame his story. His latest (and hopefully last) stay in jail came after the rapper isolated himself from most of his friends and peers at the height of his codeine addiction, leading to him being arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Gucci Mane was facing the possibility of decades behind bars, but received an early release in 2016 and emerged a new man. He sobered up, lost a ton of weight and took a newfound positive outlook on life that has changed his career and motivations.
Guwop's had a hand in building the careers of far too many rappers to list here, so inevitably the book is jammed with anecdotes about the early days of their careers. Whether it's Migos' shock and disbelief that Gucci Mane was calling them to work together, discovering Nicki Minaj while on tour with Lil Wayne or the rise of famed Atlanta producer and career-long collaborator Zaytoven, the rapper brings stories to life here that may never have been brought to light otherwise in a laid-back yet hilarious way.
The tales of his drug dealing and rap career are fascinating, but it's his stories from prison that both shape who he is now and make The Autobiography of Gucci Mane a story bigger than just himself. His experiences reflect many of the problems in America's prison system, giving a closer look at how prisoners handle the isolation and danger of life behind bars. From month-long stays in solitary confinement to random assaults and disgusting living conditions, Gucci Mane's experiences in prison are similar to many prisoners' and help shine a light on the inequities they face.
The Autobiography of Gucci Mane is a detailed and intriguing read about the life of Atlanta's trap god, and while it could have benefited from being a little longer than it is, the book is riveting from beginning to end. Fans of his music or rap culture in general will be pleased with the behind-the-scenes look into the lifestyle, but its appeal stretches far beyond, too, as it reflects on how one man worked his way to the top and had to choose between changing his life for the better or losing it all. (Simon & Schuster)