Gucci Mane LaFlare is back! Well, he's not back back. He's still sitting behind bars at Fulton County jail in Georgia (with bottles of Ace of Spades and plates of lobster at his disposal, apparently?) serving a 12-month sentence for violating the terms of his probation late last year. But as far as music goes, the Atlanta rapper is back. Today, he's releasing his DJ Holiday-hosted street album, The Burrrprint 2 HD—the follow-up to last year's DJ Drama-helmed Movie 3: The Burrprint. Wondering how the hell he managed to do it from the clink? So were we. So we tracked down 1017 Brick Squad artist DJ Holiday, who also teamed up with Gucci in May 2009 to put out his Writing On The Wall mixtape, to talk about the logistics behind getting the album ready for release.
On getting in touch with Gucci Mane
"Gucci Mane reaches out to me, Wacka [Flocka Flame], OJ [Da Juiceman] and everybody in his camp every so often. He really doesn't try to bother us too much because we know where he is and we know what he's going through. But when he reaches out to me, we talk for a good 30 minutes. He asks me what's going on in the streets and what songs from the album [2009's The State Vs. Radric Davis] are big in the club."
On the idea to release The Burrrprint 2 HD
"Gucci hit me up one day and said he wanted to do something. I was like, 'Well, it ain't too crazy out here yet. They're still bumping the album! But if you want to come up with something creative...' He said, 'Let's do it while I'm in here.' I said, 'You sure you don't want to wait?! Let's wait and do Writing's On The Wall 2 when you get out.' But he wanted to do it now. Personally, my Twitter is full of people asking me when Gucci is gonna drop something new [so I didn't argue]. And he wanted to do something for the fans. He can't really talk to them or touch them or say what he wants to say right now, so he wanted to give them this."
On the street album's name, The Burrrprint 2 HD
"[Laughs] When it comes to the names of Gucci Mane's mixtapes, I really don't get too involved. I did help create [our 2009 mixtape's title] Writing On The Wall. At first, Gucci was like, 'Man, I don't want to name my mixtape after no Destiny's Child shit!' [Laughs] But he got it eventually. I didn't talk to him about the name this time. He called me one day and we were talking about music and the future and tours and stuff and then he was like, 'Let's name this project Burrrprint 2 HD.' I was like, 'Uh, okay?' I guess that's just how he's feeling right now. It's more clear and more honest, and when you hear it, I think he gets his point across."
On creating "Intro (Live From Fulton County HD)," the only new track on the album
"I knew we needed to switch it up on this mixtape and do something different. Gucci told me he wanted to do a song over the phone from jail and I knew that would be different. So the intro to the mixtape is him rapping over the phone over a beat that Drumma Boy did. [Gucci's advisor] Coach K and Drumma Boy coordinated it. Gucci called Drumma Boy and laid the vocals down on the microphone. That's why you hear the rawness of it, like when it goes, 'One minute left...' Gucci had it all written out, he laid it down for Drumma Boy and then Drumma took two or three days and matched up the beat with it."
On selecting the rest of the songs for the album
"If you know Gucci Mane, that dude can knock out an entire album in a day. He sleeps in the studio. So, for the mixtape, we had plenty to choose from. That guy has so many records in the stash—I'm surprised he didn't give me more songs. But we wanted to make sure the songs we picked were right for this particular project. So we went back and forth with Gucci for a couple weeks and he would yay or nay tracks. Once we had that settled, I took the mixtape and listened to it for two or three days. I played it for a few people who have ears that I really trust. They listened to it and then I did my thing and put my magic on it. It sounds like an event."
On the involvement of Gucci Mane's label, Warner Brothers/Asylum
"At the beginning, Coach K reached out to Gucci's label and let them know what we were trying to do. They were like, 'Okay, we're going to put it out on our thing.' So, at that point, we had to pick the best songs outta the stash. We also wanted to include features from artists like Yo Gotti, Nicki Minaj, Jim Jones and Rick Ross that actually support Gucci. Everybody was cool about everything as far as getting clearances and all that, too. The album makes you feel like everyone is in Gucci's corner right now [despite his situation], including his label. And, at the end of the day, it's always good to have the label backing you anyway, especially with a mixtape album. So, what were we going to do? Say no? [Laughs]"—As told to Chris Yuscavage
DJ Holiday is currently putting the finishing touches on Wacka Flocka Flame's forthcoming mixtape, Flockaveli, and starting to work on his own debut album. Follow him on Twitter here.