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September 19, 2017 10:45 PM

In his new book, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, the southern rapper proves he has just as many dramatic life experiences as he does tattoos. Gucci Mane‘s story, written with Neil Martinez-Belkin, is one of reinvention.

Beyond his highly publicized murder charge (Mane maintains he shot in self-defense; the charge was later dropped), the newly released book dives into his childhood (he started selling drugs in the eighth grade), his own drug use, multiple arrests (some for assault, others for drug and weapon possession) and feuds with other rappers like Jeezy.

It all changed during his most recent stint in prison. The platinum-selling artist served three years for illegal possession of a firearm and was released on May 26, 2016.

“Unlike a lot of guys in this place, I was getting another chance. My last one,” writes the 37-year-old. “I couldn’t drop the ball again. I needed to do more than pray. I needed to make better decisions.”

According to the book, Gucci Mane is now sober and healthy. Here are some of the top highlights from the book about his life leading up to his transformation.

Simon & Schuster

Gucci Mane once thought rappers were “lame.”

Growing up, Gucci Mane’s main goal was to make money. While he loved rap, he had no desire to be an artist. Instead, he worked to be the “money man behind a rapper.” He only started rapping seriously after he was encouraged to by his friend, now longtime producer Zaytoven. “Not only did I have that stigma that rappers were all broke and lame, but I had long ago convinced myself that people never take me seriously if I started up rapping,” he writes.

He fell asleep while filming his sex scene in Spring Breakers. 

Gucci Mane played Archie in the 2012 movie Spring Breakers alongside James Franco. The exhausted new actor was on high on Kush and lean (prescription cough syrup) when he shot the sex scene. “It was four in the morning and even with these two naked bad bitches on me … I couldn’t keep my eyes open,” he writes. “I was knocked out snoring in the middle of the movie.”

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He suffers from paranoia. 

According to The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, Gucci Mane was constantly plagued with paranoia, especially after his years stealing and dealing. He used drugs to cope with the constant stress and found that the drug use and paranoia fed into each other.

“I would use the drugs to numb those feelings [of paranoia] but really they magnified them,” he writes. “People have called me bipolar or that I suffer from depression, but I always identified most with the symptoms of someone with PTSD. Like a soldier who came home still dealing with the effects of being in a war zone.”

In 2013, his mother petitioned unsuccessfully for guardianship, claiming that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; a psychiatrist testified that she was unsure if Mane’s behavior “was based more on the primary psychiatric issue or on the substance-abuse issue,” The New Yorker reported.

Gucci Mane didn’t know he had a son until the baby was 10 months old. 

The artist was on a flight to Houston when his plane got caught up in a tornado. During those moments of panic, he writes that all he could think about was his infant son, born in 2007.

“I know what you’re thinking. What son? Truth is I didn’t know him all that well either. I’d only learned I had a child a year before. He was already 10 months old,” he writes. “A girl I used to see had a baby and people were saying it looked like me. I hadn’t even known she was pregnant. I reached out and asked her if it was mine. She was unsure. I took a blood test and sure enough, I was the father of the little boy.”

The plane eventually landed safely, but in those tense moments, Gucci Mane writes that he was glad he wouldn’t leave his son “empty-handed” even though he admits he hadn’t been involved in the baby’s life as much as he should have been.

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He was addicted to prescription cough syrup and lost almost 80 lbs. by the time of his release from prison. 

Following his arrest in 2013, Gucci Mane tweeted, “I’ve been drinking lean for 10 plus years & I must admit it has destroyed me.” According to the book, lean had affected his body’s chemical balance and made him extremely constipated. Without access to it and other drugs in prison, he quickly went into a painful withdrawal that lasted for days and lost 25 lbs. in two weeks. (“The f—ing lean,” he writes. “That’s why my stomach had gotten so fat.”)

Finally sober, he started working out and reading self-help books. “I looked different from the man in my September mug shot. And I felt different. Sharper. Stronger. More at ease. The exercise was helping me deal with stress,” he writes. “When I did get out, whenever that was, I wanted to be able to go on tour and have the energy to put on a show for my fans… I wanted [girlfriend] Keyshia [Ka’ior] to lose her mind when she came to pick me up.”

He lost almost 80 lbs. in total and later proposed to Ka’ior. Their wedding is scheduled for Oct. 10.

“I don’t like regretting,” he told The Guardian in October. “Anybody that I ever hurt, if I had the opportunity to apologize to them for doing something out the way to them, I’ve already done that. I done forgave myself for a lot of things I did. So I just keep pushing forward.”

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