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Gucci Mane On The Major Style Transformation That Has Everybody Looking

Gucci Mane on the Major Style Transformation That Has Everybody Looking

gucci mane
EXPANDPhoto: Courtesy of Gucci Mane / @laflare1017

When rapper Gucci Mane—né Radric Davis—talks about fashion, he does so with unabashed glee. You can detect it in a recent video the Atlanta-based rapper posted to hisInstagram account, where, sporting a kaleidoscopic Moschino sweater, he excitedly points to his Day-Glo high-tops, fire-engine red Giuseppe Zanotti backpack, and even his girlfriend Keyshia Ka’oir’s glinting array of new diamonds. “Look at my shoes! Look at my bag!” he exclaims. It’s infectious watching him embrace his newfound obsession, especially for anyone who has been following his career in recent years. Currently on house arrest, serving the last months of a three-plus-year prison sentence, this turn for Gucci signals a much larger personal transformation from embattled rap star to pop culture figure. Consider it hip-hop’s biggest makeover in recent years.

Watch the exclusive premiere of Gucci Mane’s “Gucci Please” video.

For more than a decade, Gucci has maintained a level of cultlike success in the rap world, but his new album,Everybody Looking, debuted at number two last month on the charts after being recorded in just six days. Gucci has always been impressively prolific: The latest album, which also features Kanye WestDrake, and Young Thug, is his ninth studio production; even while in prison, he continued to release a steady output of mixtapes. And it was during his recent incarceration that Gucci successfully kicked a debilitating addiction to prescription cough syrup, known as “lean,” and took up a re-energizing gym routine in its wake.

Dropping 75 pounds in the process, recording his most critically acclaimed album to date, and sporting an irresistible smile, the 36-year-old rapper looks and sounds like a new man. Enjoying the benefits of kale over drugs and alcohol, a newly sober and trimmed-down Gucci proudly announces he can finally fit into, say, the Balmain shearling jacket he sports in his “Gucci Please” video, which premieres on today. In fact, his robust online shopping habit (a by-product of both his stylist’s influence and the circumstance of house arrest) has introduced him to plenty of new designers and certainly contributed to his growing archive of, yes, Gucci designs. But it’s the steadfast candor with which he talks about his evolution that has everybody looking—and listening.

Via email, he tells us what inspired him to hit the gym, what keeps him motivated, and what he really thinks about fashion in hip-hop these days.

gucci mane
EXPANDPhoto: Courtesy of Gucci Mane / @laflare1017

With the “Gucci Please” video, we’re getting glimpses of last month’s Gucci Mane & Friends homecoming concert in Atlanta. What was it like to be back onstage after your hiatus?
The Gucci Mane & Friends concert was a very triumphant time for me. Being confined in the house all of the time, it was finally good to get back on the stage and see all of the artists I have been recording with for years. I finally had the chance to embrace and talk to them. Most importantly, it was a welcome-back concert for me and my fans. It was a chance for me to perform in front of my city and at the same time, it was a chance for me to see some of the people I hadn’t talked to in the last three years.

You certainly had everybody looking at your new style—it’s undeniable. What went into the look?
I’ve always been really into fashion and clothes. I’ve always liked Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hugo Boss, and just anything dope that catches my eye. Before I was incarcerated, I had gotten so overweight that I couldn’t fit into any of the clothes I wanted to wear. So with the time I was away, I decided I was going to lose weight so I could be able to wear all the brands that I really like.

Your new song “Richest . . . In the Room” also seems to speak to your style evolution: “glow up.” How do you think your approach to fashion has changed over the years?
I’ve always liked a real classy look. I love colors, I love fabrics, and I love anything that’s well made and put together with class. I like my clothes more fitted now—my style has kind of matured and evolved. I’m embracing being 36 years old; I’m so comfortable with it and I think it’s just a part of my fashion direction now.

gucci mane
EXPANDPhoto: Cortesy of Gucci Mane / @laflare1017

I hear you have a serious online shopping habit—how did that develop? Have you discovered new designers that you love by shopping online?
Some of my favorite designers are GivenchyBalmain, Buscemi, and Christian Louboutin. My stylist, Shun Melson, and my girlfriend, Keyshia [Ka’oir], always shop online. My girl is a huge online shopper, so being around her made me start getting more into it. I used to be like, “Bring the clothes to me and I’ll see what I like and what I don’t like,” or, “Send me pictures of stuff,” and go from there. But now, I just Google designers I like to find the clothes I want to purchase—I feel like it’s easier. I can go to 50 shops online, but if I go to the mall I only have a select couple of stores I could go to.

One of my favorite recent purchases would have to be these vintage Cartier glasses that I’m crazy about. I also have a Givenchy jacket—that’s badass. Recently I just got a crazy red biker’s jacket that I’m going to put in my videos that are coming out at the end of the month. I’m always buying shades, I love glasses; I just got some Gianni Versace vintage glasses—I wore them to the after-party, after my Gucci & Friends homecoming show.

It should also go on record that you have been talking about “lemonade” since 2009! Tell us a little bit about your interest in jewelry. Who are some of your favorite designers? What do you look for in a piece?
My jeweler in Atlanta is named Fevzi. Aydin & Co. is one of my favorite jewelry designers; they made the ice-cream cone piece, which is one of my favorite jewelry pieces that I’ve ever had. I also have a rose gold Audemars Piguet watch that I love, and I just ordered a Patek Philippe watch in all-white that arrived the day of the homecoming show—it’s a badass watch. I love jewelry, I love being creative, and I love coming up with designs. I just love inventing stuff and bringing my ideas to life.

gucci mane
EXPANDPhoto: Courtesy of Gucci Mane / @laflare1017

You also have a higher SEO ranking than the actual brand, Gucci, which is really quite fascinating. Have you been following their new design direction? Are you fan ofAlessandro Michele’s latest designs?
I am a huge fan of the Gucci brand, they have some nice stuff out right now. They have some glasses I really want. I love Gucci clothes as well. I recently bought a Gucci sweat suit, and some Gucci slides, and I also bought my girl some Gucci slides too.

So many artists who you collaborated with on this album (Kanye, Drake, Young Thug) have such a pronounced sense of personal style and it feels like rappers are really more experimental with fashion these days. What do you think of fashion in hip-hop right now?
I love fashion in hip-hop right now—I love how people are just taking risks, and I love how they’re embracing the high-end designers. There’s a more fitted, grown, mature look now. I love the way the young kids take chances with what they wear. Fashion is a part of your personality—it’s an extension of yourself. You can’t really get more personal than what you choose to put on. You can learn so much about a person when you see how they present themselves to the world.

gucci mane
EXPANPhoto: Courtesy of Gucci Mane / @laflare1017

Speaking of which, congratulations on the weight loss! What inspired you to hit the gym? What is your workout routine?
I work out six days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday. I just started working with a trainer this past week because I wanted to take my training to the next level. I feel like working out humbles me. I used to live a life of excess, greed, and gluttony. Now I’ve learned to challenge myself—to get up every day and push myself to live a healthier lifestyle. My workouts consist of boxing, working out with weights, and I do a lot of cardio. I just bought a StairMaster two days ago. I work out on the elliptical machine, I run up and down the steps, I do burpees, sit-ups, work with an ab–roller, and I get in my pool and swim. I go super hard.

Has your weight loss freed you up to experiment more with your style?
Yes, it definitely gives me a chance to experiment more with my style—it gives me something to look forward to. I’m shooting some videos at the top of the month for my new project, and I’m really focused on training right now so I can look good in my clothes. I really love to dress and I really love to stay fresh, so that keeps me in the gym and motivated.

gucci mane
EXPANDPhoto: Courtesy of Gucci Mane / @laflare1017

I know kale is a recent favorite of yours, but what other healthy foods are you adding to your new diet? What were some of the hardest things to cut out of your diet?
I eat squash, which I never ate before, along with zucchini; I eat a lot of cashews, peanuts, bananas, apples, and I love salmon and chicken. I try to eat very clean, and I drink about 120 to 130 ounces of water a day. I mark everything I eat on a chart so I can keep track of my daily intake.

The hardest thing to cut out of my diet was drinking lean [cough syrup]. That would put so much weight on me, more than anything else  I would eat or drink. Once I stopped drinking that, the weight began to fall off immediately.

What’s up next for you? Do you have plans to tour? Are you going back into the studio?
I’m looking forward to getting off house arrest so I can get back on the road and start doing shows. I want to go everywhere, be everywhere, see everybody, and just shine for the rest of the year. I have something special planned for everyone real soon.

gucci mane
EXPANDPhoto: Courtesy of Gucci Mane / @laflare1017

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