In an oral history of Gucci Mane’s life published in The FADER, many of the people who worked on the track recall their experiences making the song that helped create an infamous beef between the two Atlanta rappers.
“You’ve got Young Jeezy, the hottest guy in the streets,” Zaytoven, who produced the track, says. “Then you’ve got Gucci Mane, who’s like an underground guy who’s trying to get on. Both of these guys need the song real bad. Jeezy didn’t even want the song, but he needed it. He had the streets on lock, he just didn’t have a song that defined ‘Jeezy got the hottest song out,’ or, ‘Have you heard the new guy, Jeezy, on the radio?’ He didn’t have one of them. So ‘Icy’ was that. And for a guy like Gucci Mane, it was like, ‘This is my only shot. This is my only shot in the game so I’m not fixing to give this up to nobody.’ ‘Icy’ sounded like a Jeezy single because he’s rapping on the first verse, talking about jewelry—and him and the people he was with was always in the fancy cars, with all the jewelry, popping all the bottles—so it almost fit him. It just wasn’t his song. It was Gucci Mane’s song. So it started turning sour real quick.”
Greg Street, who was working as Gucci Mane’s manager at the time, says that Def Jam was trying to make “Icy” Young Jeezy’s song since Jeezy was signed to the imprint, but Gucci Mane wouldn’t agree to it.
“Def Jam wanted the record to launch Jeezy’s career,” he says. “But at the time, Gucci’s whole thing was, ‘Jeezy’s trying to take my record.’ I was trying to make Gucci understand that it can be beneficial to you, too, in some circumstances, to let the signed person have the record. Because it’s still going to be your record regardless of who puts it out. And if it happens, if it blows up, sky’s the limit for what you can ask for in a deal. But he didn’t really understand that as a new artist. That’s how the whole beef started.”
Street says that the situation, like most feuds, was blown out of proportion.
“It never really should have turned into a beef,” he says. “It could have been from the start a beautiful situation for both parties—and it did turn into a beautiful situation for both parties anyway because the record is a classic. But it also just escalated and never turned back. Most of these beefs in Hip Hop could be solved with two grown men sitting down and having a conversation.”
Gucci Mane’s Collaborators Compare Him To Tupac
Street and others compare Gucci Mane to Tupac because of his work ethic and love for music.
“He makes records like Tupac,” Street says. “He makes records like Cash Money. He lives in the studio. That’s all he do.”
“I drew parallels to the way he worked to how I heard Pac worked back in the day,” engineer Kori Anders says. “I would wake up in the morning and I’d get a call from PatchWerk, like, ‘Gucci’s here. He’s ready to work.’ A producer would start playing a beat, and five seconds later he’d be like, ‘Stop. I’m ready to go in.’ Eight hours later, five songs completed. That was a typical day for years with Gucci. And the sessions would be crazy. There would be 30-40 people there, but his ability to focus and tune out all of the background noise was just amazing to me.”
“The myths I’ve heard of Tupac, I think of Gucci instantly,” Drumma Boy says. “I think Gucci would be rapping on the corner or on the block, entertaining the hood, whether he’s famous or not.”
To read the entire oral history, visit The FADER.
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