"I just want to let everyone know I'm not a murderer," a calm Gucci Mane said Thursday night via phone from Atlanta.
He still faces murder charges, but was released from jail on Tuesday after posting a $100,000 bond (see "Gucci Mane Expected To Post Bond On Murder Charge"). Gucci said he was advised by his lawyer not to discuss the events — at least not in any substantial detail — that occurred on the night of May 10. Gucci's attorney says his client was at a woman's house that night when five men burst in with guns and threatened Gucci's life. The female who was with Mane was allegedly pistol-whipped. The rapper allegedly shot one of the men, Henry Clark III, and then fled.
Just days later, Mane was on the road promoting his new album, Trap House. After hitting the MTV offices early in the day on May 18, he went a few blocks away to the BET studios for a taping of "Rap City - The Basement." There, Gucci was alerted by his lawyer that the police in DeKalb County had a warrant out for his arrest.
"I was upset, I was scared a little bit, but I had to do what I had to do. You gotta be a man about it," Gucci said about having to turn himself in to the police. "I'm not a bad person. I have remorse for everything that happened. I feel sorry for the [person] who died. All my fans I let down, I want them to stay positive. I just want to let them know I'm not a violent person. Everything I try to do is positive."
Despite such serious charges looming over his head, Gucci says he's not worried about being found guilty (he returns to court on July 5) and wants to get on with his life.
That means going back on the road to perform and promote Trap House, which was released on Tuesday. Gucci says he's beefed up his security detail between 50 and 75 percent because he is cognizant that there still may be people out there trying to harm him.
"I take it one day at a time, prepare myself every day," he said. "Anything might happen. It's tough. Ain't nobody got no motives to do anything to me but the couple of people in the rap game I had beef with. Other than that I don't have beef out there with nobody. That's straight up."
Gucci named Young Jeezy, the co-star of his record "Icy," as the main rapper with whom he's had differences (see "Mixtape Monday: Alchemist Prepares To Rock For Em; Junior M.A.F.I.A. Know Biggie's Turning In His Grave"). As for the others, he brushes them off.
"A couple of other little independent rappers, but they're not even worth naming," he said. "Whatever!"
Anybody who's been listening to down-South radio or mixtapes has heard Gucci and Jeezy trade blows on records about one another, and how Jeezy — who has a solo deal with Def Jam and is also a member of the four-man collective Boyz N Da Hood, signed to Bad Boy — says the feud is really not that deep. Jeezy vehemently denies having anything to do with or being associated with anybody who allegedly attacked Gucci and says he's done making records about Mane as well.
"He's just trying to turn a bad situation into good publicity," Jeezy said Thursday night during a telephone interview. "He's trying to sell his record.
"Dude is kinda slow, if somebody tells him to do something, that's what he's gonna do, especially if he thinks it's gonna get him on," Jeezy added, implying that Gucci is throwing his name into the murder case to drum up more record sales. "I think he has some hate in his heart, but it's with himself, not me. I put out one [dis] record, smashed him and I was done with it. I got the most anticipated album of the summer [Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101]. When people get his album and see it's trash, it'll be over with. Count it down, check out your watch: T-minus 10, 9 ... It'll be over with soon."
The Gucci and Jeezy quarreling stems from their collabo, "Icy". Both agree that Def Jam asked Gucci for the song to be included on Jeezy's album, due July 27, and were turned down. Gucci says Jeezy was upset and started dissing him. Jeezy says he really didn't like "Icy" to begin with and was not upset that the song was not going to be included on his solo LP. His ire was raised, though, when he got ahold of a dis record Gucci was getting ready to put out about him and was confused. Jeezy subsequently went in the lab and made his dis song, "Stay Strapped."
"I was like, 'Damn, I did the video and everything. What's that about?' " Jeezy said. "There was no beef over 'Icy.' Def Jam asked him if they could use it, he said no, it was a done deal. We did the song a year and half ago, I'm not tripping. I got 40 hits in the street."