In January, Atlanta-based Warner Bros./1017 Brick Squad trap-rap king Gucci Mane was committed to a mental institution following a judge's recommendation that he serve jail time for violating the terms of his probation. In the hearing, Gucci's lawyers filed for a special plea of mental incompetence, claiming the rapper was in no state to "intelligently participate in the probation revocation hearing." The judge then ordered Gucci into custody and committed him to a psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment facility, where his condition could be evaluated. A week or so later, Gucci was released and drove straight to Tenth Street Tattoo, where he got his face tattooed with a triple-scoop ice cream cone with red lightning bolts shooting out of it and "Brrr" printed on the cone.
For Gucci, the three-scoop cone is not a new symbol; he often wears a medallion of the same design. Tattoo artist Shane Willoughby told me he tried to talk Gucci into putting the tattoo somewhere else on his body, but Gucci insisted on the cheek. It was 2:00 p.m., and Gucci was sober. Willoughby (who also tattooed a flower on Chilli from TLC) said, "I won't tattoo anybody if they're drunk or high. I don't like the smell of weed. Gucci seemed completely sober. He knew what he was doing." Gucci wanted his tattoo to be rock 'n' roll, saying, "There's nothing more rock 'n' roll than lightning bolts." Upon the tattoo's completion, Willoughby said Gucci was extremely elated: "He was stoked and was jumping up and down." Willoughby says he won't be tattooing any more faces, though, no matter how much of a celebrity the person is.
Questions: Is Gucci Mane (real name, Radric Davis) legitimately insane? He violates probation, gets jail time, and then suffers some sort of episode rendering him unable to participate in his probation hearing. The judge sends him to a mental institution, and when he's released, he gets an ice cream cone with red lightning bolts coming out of it tattooed on his right cheek. Could the tattoo be a stunt to make Gucci appear insane so he won't have to go to jail? Or is the tattoo that takes up the majority of the right side of this man's face a physical representation of some next-level dedication? Are the three scoops of ice cream a tripartite representation of (1) going harder, (2) taking it farther, and (3) being so real that you can't begin to believe how real it is?
What's known is that Gucci Mane is a mixtape master and a successful rapper who's sold millions of albums and collaborated with Mariah Carey, Big Boi, Soulja Boy, Snoop Dogg, and Busta Rhymes. The flow of his low, slow, roundly mouthed Southern roll is enunciated and enticing. His lyrical imagery is lowbrow, streamlined stream of consciousness. The Stranger's own Larry Mizell Jr. refers to it as "murder casual." Out now on Warner/Asylum Records is Gucci's latest LP, The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted, which debuted at number four on the Billboard charts. In the song "Remember When," Gucci's raps, "Girl, you my type, you just right/That blouse on you fit just right.../I'm colder than a Klondike/Bipolar, I got dumb ice.../We go together like hamburgers and french fries."
Next up for Gucci is a street album called The Return of Mr. Zone 6 slated for a March 22 release, featuring Brick Squad affiliates Waka Flocka Flame and OJ Da Juiceman, Cash Money's Birdman, Wale, Master P, Webbie, 8ball, Rocko, and Wooh the Kid. Much is in store for Gucci and by Gucci, and one has to wonder: What does he think about when he looks in the mirror and sees an ice cream cone on his cheek?
In 1780, Benjamin Franklin wrote a piece called "Dialogue Between Franklin and the Gout." In it, Franklin has a conversation with the gout that he suffers from, and the gout is basically giving him shit for not exercising or eating right. Here is an adaptation of the piece:
Dialogue Between Gucci Mane and the Tattoo on His Face
Gucci: Yo, what have I done to merit these cruel sufferings?
Tattoo: Many things. We were about to drop The Return of Mr. Zone 6, but you can't stay out of jail. Warner Bros. is pissed. For real. Brrrr.
Gucci: Who is it that accuses me?
Tattoo: It is I, the three-scooped ice cream tattoo on your cheek with lightning bolts. And Fulton County Superior Court judge John Goger.
Gucci: But I got you, on my face, big as hell. I'm seriously crazy.
Tattoo: Well, it is dedication, I'll give you that. But the thing is, I don't like your rapping. You've got no skills. You say your own name too much. It's inane. I want you to get me lasered off.
Gucci: No way. You're keeping me out of jail. You're stayin' right where you are.
Tattoo: Then I'm filing an injunction in the case of Gucci Mane v. Me, the Three-Scoop Ice Cream Tattoo on Gucci Mane's Cheek.
Gucci: Fine. I'm going to get a four-scoop tat on my left cheek to outcrazy you.
Tattoo: I don't care how many scoops you get, I resurrected Johnnie Cochran from the dead to represent me.
Gucci: Oh shit.
Tattoo: Oh shit is right. See you in court.