Atlanta hip-hop and the rap game at large owes a lot to Gucci Mane. The 37-year-old rapper's mixtape grind is one of the most influential of the 2000s—he's released so much music at such an astonishing rate that you almost forgot he spent large chunks of his career behind bars. You can trace his style—a magnetic flow delivering hard-hitting bars over production from superstar trap-beat architects such as Zaytoven and Mike WiLL Made-It—to many younger rappers who have carried the torch since his three-year absence. (He was released in May 2016 after serving time for federal and gun charges.) Here are five whose own careers have been inspired by the marble-mouthed MC.
As an A&R man, Gucci Mane has an incredible ear for talent. And sometimes he doesn't even need to hear it to know it's there: He signed Young Thug to his 1017 Brick Squad Records label before listening to a single song. The eccentric MC is forever in Gucci's debt, paying homage with tribute songs ("Again") and eventually reuniting with him after Gucci's recent prison stint on comeback album Everybody Looking.
Like Thug, Migos also signed to Gucci's label early in their careers. Adopting Gucci's method of releasing multiple tapes per year, the group officially became a mainstream phenomenon when its hard-hitting single "Bad and Boujee" went No. 1 in January.
Atlanta's young prince has amassed a feverous internet following after "Fetti" and "Broke Boi" broke out on SoundCloud. Although Carti doesn't have a debut mixtape out yet, he is reaching Gucci levels of popularity from oddball singles that showcase his peculiar strain of genius.
Chicago upstart Dreezy collaborated with Gucci Mane on "We Gon Ride," a BFF anthem on her Interscope debut, No Hard Feelings. Of Gucci's influence, she's said, "He always been his self. He never switched up for nobody. I like how he stands his ground. I like how you can make it from the streets. It's just motivating."
Gucci's DNA is all over the "Trap Queen" rapper-singer's music. This is how much Gucci means to Fetty Wap: After meeting his idol for the first time last year, he exclaimed "life goals" and even joked about quitting rap. Because what else is there left to accomplish?
SEE IT: Gucci Mane plays Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., with Playboi Carti and Dreezy, on Tuesday, April 18. 8 pm. $39.50 advance, $40 day of show. All ages.