If anyone can rival rap sensation and breakout style star Cardi B as having possibly the best year of 2017, there’s one person that stands out: Gucci Mane. The southern rap artist, who has been creating music for over 10 years, was released from prison in fall 2016 after a two year stint for a firearm possessions felony and his “glow up” has commenced since. In addition to releasing his eleventh studio album, “Mr. Davis,” Gucci Mane made time to write a New York Times best-selling autobiography, wed long-time love Keyshia Ka’Oir (and film it for a reality special on BET), as well as nab a Reebok Classic sponsorship this year. That’s quite the busy 2017.
Still, the humble Atlanta-based musician penciled in a stop in New York City to promote his book in tandem with Reebok and High Snobiety at a Workout Plus event, the sneaker campaign he now fronts. The artist is one of the latest ambassadors to join the athletic brand and at the event, he spoke to Footwear News about his childhood connection with Reebok, key takeaways from his book and whose shoes he would walk in for one day if he had the chance.
FN: What sneakers did you love when you were younger?
Gucci Mane: “The NBA Slam Dunk Contest used to be so big when I was a kid. And I never even knew who ‘Dee’ Brown was, but I remember him pumping [his Reebok] shoes up and going down the court and [reaching his arm back] and dunking the ball. Instantly, I was like, ‘I want those shoes. Those shoes [are going to] make me jump higher.’ That’s how it was at that age. That was a big deal back then.”
FN: Why do you think Reebok resonates so strongly with the South and hip-hop?
GM: “The Reebok Classic was so big with the Hot Boys and [all of] that hype, but at the same time, Reebok is so huge in Atlanta. Just a classic Reebok — that’s like a staple of Atlanta culture. Even when the Hot Boys did it, the reason we took to it so much is because we were already doing it. The high-tops, the low-tops, the straps — that’s just been a part of it. My [entire] teenage years, all people were wearing were Reeboks
and Classics. That just was our thing.”
FN: Where did you wear your Reeboks?
GM: “At that time, I wanted to be a basketball player. My whole thing was, as soon as I got them on, I was going to the park, and I wanted to shoot ball. I felt like, ‘I can play, I can dribble, I can jump higher.’ When you feel like you have some fresh shoes on, it just makes your whole swag different.”
FN: What’s the biggest thing fans can learn about you from reading “The Autobiography of Gucci Mane”?
GM: “I read a lot of autobiographies when I was away [in prison]. When I wrote mine, I wanted to make it very important when it first
starts that they know about my grandfather, my grandmother, my great-grandfather, [record label] 1017 and Alabama. Everybody just knows Atlanta. I want them to know we’re descendants of slaves and Indians, and what part I was from, because all of that makes me unique. That determines how I look, how I talk, how I think, and I want them to know all the things that make me, because there’s a lot to it.”
FN: What are you up to in the coming weeks?
GM: “I have Vegas for New Year’s and a bunch of festivals, [like] Rolling Loud. I’m grateful to be able to travel and be booked, although for my Christmas break, I’m looking forward to being around the family. I just want a week without work. I’m looking forward to resetting going into the new year. I want that break for new ideas, to rest my body, rest my mind.”
FN: What’s one thing you can’t travel without?
GM: “I like to travel with the Beat Pillz so when Im in the room I can play stuff off my e-mail in the room.”
FN: How has your wife, Keyshia Ka’Oir, impacted your style transformation?
GM: “She’s the biggest factor. I couldn’t have [done] it without her. She’s the most positive thing that ever happened to me. An angel sent from heaven.”
FN: What will you be getting Keyshia for the holidays?
GM: “I’m going to ask her what she wants and whatever she wants I will give it to her.”
FN: If you could walk in anyone’s shoes for one day who would it be?
GM: “Anyone shoes for one day? That’s a good one…Obama.”