If you live in the south, especially in metro Atlanta, you may get a nod of approval for Kanye, Drake or any other “A” list hip hop artist, yet, the mere mention of the name Gucci Mane has many giving reverence to the newest member of the hip hop “A” list.

Outside of Atlanta, Gucci had become synonymous with his laundry list of legal troubles, however, at least for now, prison seems to have done him well. While incarcerated, Gucci Mane found a “creative” means to release new music along with tracks from the vault to remain relevant and hold fast to his loyal legion of fans who really did not care that he was behind bars. In most cases, from a fan or street perspective, hip hop artists earn cred” for going behind bars.

Prior to prison, the norm of the “old” Gucci was incoherent due to drug induced speech so slurred you’d think he was speaking another language, making him the guy true old school hip hop heads loved to hate. He was constantly beefing with everyone and everything from a human being to a lamppost. He got arrested so many times it ceased to be news in Atlanta, with a judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation for mental competency he became increasingly infamous for his courtroom melt downs, antics and blatant disrespect of the law. Forget about the guy you love to hate; he had become the guy who made you want to bury your head in the sand with embarrassment.

On the day of his release from prison it was almost as if a different person was emerging as his track “First Day Out Tha Feds blasted in the background only to light up the charts and assist him in getting “coint up” again. Gucci’s slim, trim and healthy appearance coupled with his coherent speaking clearly made you say “who dat?”

Gucci has done a number of interviews where he’s expounded on the dramatic changes in his life. Prison does change people and Gucci Mane is no exception. It’s also of a no frills detox of sorts that completely separated Gucci from the drugs that fueled his behavior and instead thrust him into an environment of self-reflection where most of the days are spent pumping iron, reading books or learning a menial trade. Drug- free and coherent for the first time in years, Gucci Mane emerged on fleek and free.

Gucci Mane and Drake

If there were to be any doubt it was totally cleared up on July 22 in Atlanta at a sold- out Gucci Mane and Friends Homecoming Concert. The star studded event turned up a notch each time when the likes of Drake, Fetty Wap, Future or 2Chainz took the stage. Gucci did not miss a beat with a command of the stage that again made you forget he was ever locked up or acting up. May he continue moving forward, “winning” and remain true to his title as, “The Trap God.” (Err- body’s lookin’ but they got nuthin on ya so make that trap say aye Gucci)

Gucci Mane’s latest release, “Everybody Looking” is ranked #2 on the Billboard 200 chart.