He got killed by our next door neighbor. Bro, I seen my little brother’s brain and the front of his head smushed on the ground—that changed me forever. To this day when I look down at the black street—that’s what I see. Every time I see brand new street or stop signs I think about what happened. Some shit you just never forget.
Was witnessing your brother’s death your motivation to start rapping?
If my mom never met Gucci, I’d never start rapping. I’d probably still be outside trying to get it in. I would be selling anything pants, candy, socks, CDs, candy, whatever I could get my hands on. It put me around rap and exposed me to the business. After my first song, “Planes,” took off I knew I wanted to rap full time.
Earlier this year you were the victim of a shooting. How do you explain that incident to your younger fans who may be more impressionable?
Sometimes I get kids telling me about being shot and messing with guns but I tell them every time that shit ain’t cool. Ain’t nothing cool about shooting anybody.
Your music, though, sometimes paints a different picture.
If somebody tries to take your life, you might have to take his to survive. That’s in the Bible. If a man comes at me with a sword, you defend yourself with a sword. And if he comes at you with something else, you gotta defend yourself with that… I’m not condoning any violence but I’m about reality, bro.
There was also incident that was captured on WorldStarHipHop.com where some dudes ran up on you at a video shoot.
Let me make it clear, that was some dudes trying to get free promotion. I ain’t trippin’ on that stuff anymore. I’m good, bro. There’s always assholes in life. Certain people just feel like that’s their niche. I ain’t worried about no critics. I’m only worried about what my fans think. A critic is in the category of a hater in a high position.
Your mother Debra Antney was managing both Gucci and Nicki Minaj at one point in time, but was she always supportive of your career?
My mom was always there for me. She’s a real understanding person, but it was always about tough love. You can’t get no tighter than family. But when it’s business, I’m not her son. There’s no special treatment or anything. When I wasn’t working, she wasn’t even fuckin’ with me in music. [Laughs]. I had to put in work to get her attention. She told me she wasn’t putting money into a street dude. So I had to change up my plans.
Do you know why Gucci and Nicki decided to part ways with your mom?
I can say when you start getting hot, there are a lot of people that get in your ear. I call that the devil. It’ll turn you against the people that helped you. They must have just felt like they needed a change. Maybe they felt like other people can take their career somewhere else. I don’t know. Just like LeBron going to the Heat. I ain’t mad, though, or got problems with anybody. Moms is good; her bills are paid.
Has the split affected your relationship with Gucci?
Yeah, all the way… All the way. I ain’t got beef or anything but it has changed.
So what’s your relationship like now?
There is none. We don’t talk anymore.
What about with Nicki?
Nicki is still my homey, though. I got her number and can call her whenever. My momma ain’t got no problems with her or anything either. Let’s make that clear.