It's been a busy few years for Radric Davis (a/k/a Gucci Mane). The enigmatic Atlanta trap rapper and anti-establishment figure was incarcerated, institutionalized, had an ice cream cone tattooed to his face, signed with a major record label and embraced the system while reeling off a prolific run of ambitious mixtapes outside of it. The 33-year-old also made his feature-film debut as Archie in Spring Breakers, the hyper-stylized new experimental thriller in theaters nationwide today from noted enfant terrible auteur Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo), alongside Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and a transformative James Franco. I caught up with Gucci to talk about his experience making the film, his improbable friendship with NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, his thoughts as a Falcons fan on the Michael Vick situation and who he thinks will win the NCAA tournament.
What was it like working with Harmony Korine, himself no stranger to controversy?
Gucci Mane: Well, you know, I had a blast working with Harmony on the movie, man. I really like Harmony as a person. Working together and doing the film, we became even closer friends than we were. It was my first time being in a movie. I had fun doing it. And it showed me -- he showed me -- that I could be an actor.
Is this a one-off or do you want to continue acting?
Gucci Mane: I definitely could see myself doing it more in the future. I produced another movie on my own called The Spot. It's directed and co-directed by and Mr. Boomtown, who did a lot of my videos. Immediately after Spring Breakers, I was already thinking about doing my own movie.
Was the experience what you thought it would be?
Gucci Mane: It was definitely way harder than I thought, man. It was grueling hours and it was jut a lot of time. It took seven days to do it even though I wasn't in the movie but 10, 15 minutes. My presence is through the whole movie. And at the same time, it took maybe seven days to record those 10, 15 minutes you see in the movie, and it took 20-hour days to get to that.
I know you've tweeted with Denny Hamlin in the past. Are you still into NASCAR?
Gucci Mane: Yeah, I like it. I'm a big NASCAR fan. It's not my favorite sport but I look at it sometimes. We haven't spoken in a minute, but he was a cool dude. I got to take him to my house and show him my cars. He was cool as hell.
What's other sports to you watch?
Gucci Mane: My favorite sport by far is football. Huge Falcons fan. I'm a huge Alabama Crimson Tide fan. Huge Atlanta Hawks fan.
You've name-checked athletes from Wilt Chamberlain to Quincy Carter in your songs. Do you have a favorite sports memory?
Gucci Mane: One of my closest friends I've made that is an athlete would be Julio Jones. And I'd just like to take the opportunity if I can to say shout out to Julio and tell him I appreciate all the small things he do for me and the boys. We appreciate.
Being a Falcons fan, how did you feel about the Michael Vick situation when it went down?
Gucci Mane: I was a huge Vick fan. It kind of saddened me to see him go through what he was going through. And as a fan of the Falcons, I hated to see such a great player leave. But I'm still glad they got Matt Ryan. I'm pleased with Matt Ryan. I think he's a great quarterback as well.
Who do you like in the NCAA tournament?
Gucci Mane: I have Indiana. I really like Indiana. I like Indiana a lot.
Do you think college athletes should be paid?
Gucci Mane: I definitely don't think college athletes should be paid. They should not be paid. I think college basketball, football, whatever is just a platform for them to get the money and get paid. They should enjoy the right of going to a school and while they're going to school they got to be humble enough to not get paid and pay that sacrifice and just compete until they can get the check.
You've said you're known for controversy but you're trying to gain respect as a songwriter and as an entertainer. A lot of athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds find it hard to remove themselves from their upbringings while staying true to where they came from. What advice could you give them from your own experience?
Gucci Mane: From my experience there's always going to be people around from before that don't got too much going on in their life. All I could say is as soon as you see there is somebody not positive trying to steal into your life, don't give nobody a second chance.
You had a lot of success as an independent artist and now you're with a major label. What's the biggest difference between the two?
Gucci Mane: I feel like if you're independent you can make a lot of money if you've got a lot of things going on and you've got your buzz going on. You can have success being independent. But with a major you don't have so as business-savvy as you would have to be as an independent. Independent, you've got to come up with some creative ways to get out there and compete with the majors, whereas with the majors a lot of your battles are already won because they already have relationships with people.
If the Brick Squad was a sports team, what sports team would it be?
Gucci Mane: It would definitely be a hockey team.
Gucci Mane: Love fighting. Love shooting.