Gucci also has a 14-year-old son, who he only became aware of when the child was 10 months old and finally met when he was 1. “Me and the mother were kind of like strangers,” he says. As a result, Gucci felt like a first-time father with Ice. “I never knew how much attention you got to pay to a baby,” he says. “It’s not easy. It’s a great thing and I love it, but it’s definitely challenging to be a parent.”
Much as his own father inspired him, Gucci hopes to build something for Ice. His new album, Ice Daddy, set for release on Father’s Day, pays homage to his infant son and to his father, who was nicknamed Slim Daddy. In addition to gracing the cover of the album, Ice is listed as an executive producer. “I always want my music to talk about what was going on in my life,” says Gucci. “And the most important thing in my life now is my son.”
Fatherhood has caused him to reflect on his own parents’ struggles a bit differently. “Having a baby definitely made me less critical of my parents,” he says. “Now I see that we’re all humans and do the best we can.” According to 1017 artist Enchanting, Gucci is an especially protective father. “His kids are in quarantine, which he does not play games with,” she says, adding with a laugh, “Nobody sees those kids unless you get a corona[virus] test or a damn vaccine.”
As Gucci’s mother-of-all face tattoos — the infamous ice cream cone on his right cheek — has slowly faded away, so too has his trapper lifestyle. Gone are his weekly strip club outings; family nights have replaced evenings of throwing $50,000 in cash in the air. And, “He doesn’t travel with a gun anymore,” says Ka’oir. “When we first met, the gun was on his lap at all times. Now, he’s definitely a businessman.”
Like Gucci’s own come-up, the rise of 1017 hasn’t been entirely smooth. In March, Foogiano was arrested after he violated probation by melting off his court-ordered ankle monitor; he’s now set to serve a five-year prison sentence. “Foogiano getting arrested and locked up, that put a damper on everybody’s spirit,” says Gucci. From the tone of his voice, his sympathy is clear. “He’s going through the same things that I went through,” he says. “It has been tough seeing him go through that, especially with him having a little boy. Me and him had a son right around the same time. He’s in good spirits, but it’s still unfair to him, and we’re going to try and appeal it.” While Foogiano is in prison, 1017 will still roll out his music and visuals.
When it comes to the decision-making of his signees, Gucci says he uses his own life as a testimony. “I definitely don’t want to come off as a hypocrite,” he says. “I always tell them I want them to have a long-lasting career, and I show them what it takes to get there.” His own arrests, addictions and damaged relationships came at a high cost: He parted ways with signings like Migos and Young Thug, whose careers he could not oversee from behind bars. Each arrest or personal setback often disempowered Gucci in his quest for both peace and profit. For his protégés, he’s determined to get it right. “With my artists, it’s different,” he says. “I do want to be their role model.”