Prison either makes you or breaks you. What you decide to do with your time is a strong representation of what and who you’ll become once being released.
As a felon, I can vouch that prison is far from reforming. However, while serving time I learned that everything you think, feel, and act on is solely your responsibility. That’s how change within self occurs. This is what happened to Gucci Mane, and this is why I’m proud of him.
Before and after
Gucci Mane is a trap legend. Everyone knows this – unless you’ve lived under a green text bubble for the past ten years. From the murder charge and his beef with Young Jeezy to his hit song “Lemonade,” there’s no denying the presence of Gucci’s street-inspired career and lifestyle. There’s two examples I want to use when discussing who Gucci was then and who Gucci is now. The first example is a classic video of Gucci Mane trappin’, his beef with Young Jeezy, and the amount of guns he has. This was released over ten years ago.
This example of Gucci Mane was during the beginning of his rise to fame: from the trap to mainstream America. We were so young when we saw that video. The young world was obsessed with trap culture (especially Atlanta’s trap scene) and didn’t know any better at that time. My second example of who Gucci Mane is today is a newer video showing him after prison and his new lifestyle.
Almost ten years later, this new video serves as evidence of self-controlled change, with Gucci briefly explaining life in prison and who he became upon release. Unfortunately, when the people around you don’t go through the same change, they look at you differently. As Jay Z once said, “they look at you strange, say you changed / like I worked this hard to stay the same.” This is in fact the truth for many of us and Gucci Mane is the face of it. For instance, remember when the almighty internet claimed that this new Gucci Mane was a clone and that the real trap-god was actually murdered in prison? You’re all weird AF.
Everyone changes at different times in their lives and for different reasons. Gucci Mane himself served many stints behind bars, but something about this stretch changed him. Whether it be a spiritual change or strictly a mental change, everyone can see the difference. Becoming slimmer shows his physical growth while getting engaged (my man didn’t even get on one knee, what a gahh-damn legend) shows his emotional growth. Even the lyrics of his newer released music seems a bit less drug-infested yet more polished.
“So when they ask me how I feel about ‘em, I can’t say. You either with me or against me or you in my way!” – Gucci Mane (First Day Out The Feds)
With the popularity of Snapchat, Gucci Mane has been using the app to put his everyday life on display. It gets pretty personal at times, but the fans appreciate it. To be honest, there’s hope in every situation. Different things inspire different people. I inspired seeing Gucci in videos with less entourage or in public alone with his fiancee. Less yes-men, more loyalty.
Growth Isn’t Wealth.
I also try to look past the financial representation of things, because I believe money is this big facade that makes us believe everything is okay, even when it’s not. Many of us have the tendency to associate success with money, but when inner growth happens, you can’t help but to be proud of the person behind that change, especially when they were already wealthy prior to their growth. When you reroute your train of thought, chase your passion, and become who you dream of being, the money will soon follow.
This ain’t no clone, and the music hasn’t died down. The lifestyle upgraded and the mentality changed for the better. People who remain positive while incarcerated and teach themselves self-discipline end up coming home ready to change their lives. They deserve the utmost respect. Being able to stay away from remaining a statistic is a blessing within itself, famous or not. Going through the struggling time of changing the way you think and react to certain things is difficult but it’s worth it. You’ll learn to appreciate the simple things and take advantage of time because we don’t have much of it. That’s exactly what Gucci Mane did.
Carmelo Marcus is a business owner and creative director with a love for simple fonts, Jordan 3’s, and 56 Nights.