ATLANTA — Gucci Mane was showing out for Atlanta’s Zone 6 on Saturday night — and well into Sunday morning. Not only did Gucci and DJ Drama release his first post-prison mixtape, Mr. Zone, over the weekend, but the street favorite headlined a concert that followed by a packed-to-capacity afterparty.
“We were definitely in the same spot last year,” Gucc said Saturday at the Philips Arena in ATL. The Atlanta rapper was the closing act at the Hot 107.9 Birthday Bash 15 event. Rick Ross, Ludacris, Plies, Monica, Shawty Lo, Rocko and Travis Porter all also held down slots.
“We here again and we’ll be here the year after that too,” Gucci smiled when we caught up with him in his dressing room, where Waka Flocka Flame and the rest of his crew were holding court. “It feels good. At the end of the day, I do it for my city. I do it for my side of town, but I do it for the whole town. It ain’t nothing like getting out there and getting in front of your people. It’s like a holiday. It’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas, me getting out there and getting with everybody in the city. East side, West side. This is my first year performing last — it’s a challenge but I’m up to the task. I got my boys with me. I got Flocka with me. I got the [Brick] Squad with ‘em. We can handle it.”
Gucci wasn’t selling any wolf tickets; his set went over extremely well. The crowd rapped along with records like “White Girl (I Think I Love Her)” and “Heavy.” Waka Flocka sealed the deal with “O Let’s Do It” and “Hard in the Paint.”
Hours later, Gucci, Pill, DJ Holiday and others headed over to Zone 6’s Club Esso for the afterparty. Even just driving to the lounge, it was clear this was a big night for the still-emerging rapper: A line of cars stretching for what seemed like a mile waited on parking spaces. And pulling up to Esso, a small helicopter was actually hovering in the lot. Talk about beating traffic!
Gucci arrived in his Ferrari trailed by a caravan of cars and SUVs, as well as his tour bus. From our vantage point in the club’s VIP section, it felt as if fans were coming to see a king. While Gucc doesn’t exactly boast sex symbol status in hip-hop circles, several women beamed up from their spots on the dance floor to tell Gucci how much they loved him. One particularly bold female clubgoer kept a rolled blunt in one hand and a digital camera aimed at the MC in another.
“Zone 6!” yelled DJ Holiday, kicking off his set. Yet, even as ‘hood anthems like “Trap House” came on, those closest to the VIP seemed distracted, mesmerized even, by Gucci.
“I need 15 bottles of Rosé to the VIP immediately,” said Holiday, as the party continued.