Interview by Shelia M. Goss
Free at last…While he's world's away from the civil rights king who first spoke those words, Gucci Mane certainly shares the sentiment. In January, the Georgia rapper learned that he would not be tried for the May 10, 2005, shooting death of Henry Lee Clark III. More than six months after the indictment was handed down, the DeKalb County district attorney's office, lacking sufficient evidence to try Mane, dropped the charges.
Mane had been visiting a female friend the night of the shooting when four men burst into her Decatur apartment. The men assaulted Mane, a scuffle ensued, gunshots were fired and the men fled the scene. Clark's body was discovered several days later outside a nearby middle school after Mane admitted to shooting at his assailants in self-defense - an argument that was eventually corroborated by an eyewitness at the scene, which led to the dismissal of the charges. The Dirty South rapper was released from jail on January 16 after serving a six-month stint for assault. The charges stemmed from an incident in June when he allegedly attacked a nightclub promoter with a pool cue. That term included nearly four months in isolated 23-hour lockdown after he was attacked by another inmate in August.
Today, let Mane tell it, those days are all behind him. He’s now ready to concentrate on his music.
I know you’ve had a few brushes with the law. Is that all behind you?
Everything is clear right now.
What’s something that you learned from that whole experience that may help someone else not go through the same thing?
I learned that everybody is not your friend. You have to watch who you associate with and surround yourself with positive things and people who want to do something positive.
Did your record label stand behind you throughout the ordeal?
They stood behind me 100 percent.
What about family and real friends?
I had a lot of support.
Have you been keeping a low profile since your release?
I’ve been keeping a low profile.
Did you do any writing while incarcerated?
Yes, I wrote over 50 songs.
[Are you still] promoting your current album…?
I’m promoting the current album. I have a second single “Go Ahead” and will be shooting the video in mid-February. I’m also working on my new album which will come out in May.
Do you feel any pressure to top the single “So Icy?”
I don’t feel any pressure. In fact, I think my new single is hotter than “So Icy.”
What other songs should we be on the look out from you?
After “Go Ahead”, be ready for my next album.
What makes this album stand out from some of the others that are out now?
Nobody raps like me. I’m Alabama born but raised in Atlanta. I’m like a country boy with city slang. I give you the best of both worlds. Not too many rappers do it like I do it.
What are your plans for 2006?
I wrote a movie and plan on releasing it this winter.
How can fans keep up with your releases and concerts?
[Go to] www.thinkcatrecords.net_
I understand that when you were incarcerated a lot of fans wrote you. Is there anything you want to say to those fans?
I’ll like to tell all the people who wrote me and said a prayer for me, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Shelia M Goss is a freelance writer and the Essence Magazine Best Selling author of "My Invisible Husband" and "Roses are Thorns, Violets are True." Find out more about Shelia at
www.sheliagoss.com and www.askohshelia.blogspot.com