In a recent radio interview, Gucci Mane told Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex, “There’s nothing in Atlanta that ever moves that I don’t touch.” There’s no need to look for further proof of that statement than the meteoric rise of former protege Young Thug, with whom he shares the cover of XXL Magazine‘s Fall 2016 issue.
What exactly does it take to catch the attention of the Zone 6 Berry Gordy, though? Gucci has simple, yet specific guidelines when looking for the next artist to bring into his fold, which he outlined in the cover story video interview above. They need a unique voice, a sound he can work with, and most importantly, proper work ethic.
“If somebody got a voice that sound good on a track or makes them different or unique, that kind of catches me,” Gucci said. “Then it really goes back to the music. If you sound alright, then I can help you sound good. If you sound good, then I can help you sound great.”
“I need you to be punctual,” Gucci added. “[If] I need you to come to the studio [or] if you have to go somewhere, I need you to be on time. I need you to value my time like I value my time.”
All of these rules allowed Gucci to teach his “children” the most valuable lesson of all: self-sufficiency. As he told the rappers he worked with, “you got to handle yourself like you a business, like you a brand, so that everybody that meet you be like, ‘I want to do business with this guy. He talented, but at the same time, he understand what’s going on.’”
Of course, all of this advice circles back to Young Thug, who benefited from Gucci’s teachings just as much as anyone else. Even though Gucci was busy working with other artists at first, Thug’s work ethic and growing buzz were impossible to ignore. Although Gucci got locked up behind bars just as Young Thug’s career was really starting to take off, at least he gave Thug a parting gift in his current label, 300 Entertainment, encouraging him “boss up” and really push “Young Thug Records.”
While Gucci hasn’t given any clues about who’s caught his ear recently, it sounds like he’s keeping an open mind for now.
“I’m forcing myself to see what’s going on now. I be like, They’re creative. They’re smart. They’re marketing themselves. They some little geniuses. That’s how I’m thinking now, so when I see them, ‘Hey, I like what you got going on’ and I’m not being fake about it even if I’m not the biggest fan of their music or whatever.”