Gucci Mane has been stunningly sober since getting out of prison in 2016.
But he still raps about drugs. One of those tracks, "Rich Ass Junkie" from El Gato: The Human Glacier, was named as one of the New York Times's "25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Headed".
In their interview with Mane, the Times asked him to contrast the hustler's detachment rappers like JAY-Z and 50 Cent display toward their roles as drug dealers to his far less sober tales of narcotics.
“That’s the difference between New York and Down South,” Gucci replied. He mentioned Pimp C, the iconic Houston MC who died in his sleep after a lean overdose and whose 1992 song with UGK “Feel Like I’m the One Who’s Doin’ Dope” is a gory fantasia of debilitating drug use. He named other Southern rappers: “B.G. been talking about doing drugs. Juvenile. Soulja Slim. Geto Boys. It’s been going on, self-medication, and that’s the people I admired coming up, because they were talking about stuff you knew was authentic.”
Would the South's recent dominance of the game explain why drug rap has shifted so starkly from the supply side to the demand side?