After the success of his single “Icy,” featuring a yet to blow Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane was set to be the next big star out of Atlanta. But a murder charge and six months time served for assaulting a promoter seemed to stall out any hopes Gucci had for mainstream success. But you don’t sell half a million albums independently without knowing how to generate a buzz for yourself. Gucci Mane is back with a new album, Back to the Traphouse, on his label under Asylum/Atlantic records, So Icy Entertainment, and a new understanding of how to handle business both inside and outside the booth. That other Gucci Mane album, Trap-A-Thon, doesn’t have his seal of approval and he speaks on why below. Let’s hope time served was a lesson learned.AllHip-hop.com: Explain to the world what led to the situation leading to the charges and time served?Gucci Mane: Well, where I’m from it’s kind of wild. Robbing, stealing, selling dope, all that. You either a predator or prey over there. And sometimes people will try and make prey out of you. After everything was over and I was released I got focused. I look at things differently now. I’m more focused on what I need to do and don’t worry about the bullsh*t. AllHip-hop.com: You mentioned that your legal problems effected how you look at things. You being the man you are now, would you consider working with Jeezy again?Gucci Mane: Honestly, I’m not really looking to do anything with him. He and I haven’t spoken. We don’t have any problems, he’s in his space and I’m in mine and we keep it moving in separate directions. AllHip-hop.com: With your success as an independent artist, I’m sure you had a few choices when it came to linking with one of the majors. What attracted you to Atlantic Records?Gucci Mane: They came with the best deal, and also with the best play. You know what Im saying? And they was really interested in me, they promised me they would be behind me 100 percent. AllHip-hop.com: It’s often difficult to achieve success as an artist and an executive. What’s your formula for winning? Gucci Mane: When it comes to being an owner, being an executive you have to be on top of things man. You have to study and do research. You also have to have a good team around you. I go harder than everybody man. I push it in over drive. I’m trying to win by making this good music and keep dunking on these fools.AllHip-hop.com: While we’re talking business, there have been rumors that you’re looking to sign Shawnna, is there any truth to that, and if so, how close are you?Gucci Mane: We’re real close to getting Shawnna. We’re working with her on her next solo project. She’s amazing, we love her over hear man. She’s real focused and she works hard. On top of all that she spits. She’s better than a lot of dudes out there man. AllHip-hop.com: The new album is called Back to the Traphouse, what’s the meaning behind that name?Gucci Mane: The first album was Traphouse and it was a classic, some of my best work. And I know for a fact this new album is a classic so I called it Back to the Traphouse. I’m taking it back to that feeling and I giving yall another classic!AllHip-hop.com: As far as production you’ve always seem to have a unique sound. Who did you work with on this album?Gucci Mane: As far as production I worked with Nitti. My producer, So Icys own, Zaytoven he made So Icy and he got four or five joints on the new album. I got Shawty Redd, Fat Boy from Beat Bangers, Supa Sonics dropped that Bird Flu that might be a single… A few others man. They gave me what I needed to write great songs. AllHip-hop.com: Your lead single, Freaky Gurls, features Ludacris. How did that come to be and what was it like working with him? Gucci Mane: I already had the song out in the streets. Luda heard it and said he liked it and wanted to be on it. Shout out to DTP because Luda showed me love by jumping on the track. He’s a good dude and a real talented artist.AllHip-hop.com: Is there any other artists you worked with on the album?Gucci Mane: Well really, I’m not looking to collaborate too much. I got the joint with Luda. Snoop reached out, said he liked the music, so we got a song together. I got Pimp C and Rich Boy, did some work with Shawnna. That’s about it. I really want be to focused on my music. I’m trying to show people that I am a great song writer.AllHip-hop.com: Your former label has recently announced the release of some of your older work. You never authorized the release and have made it clear you don’t support it. Why is that?Gucci Mane: They did that to tarnish my legacy. It’s not fair to me and it’s confusing to the fans who want the real music.AllHip-hop.com: So, even though you can make money off this additional release you’re still against it? Gucci Mane: Everything I do I try to put my best foot forward. The music on their is not my best work. AllHip-hop.com: How does the material on that album differ from that of your official release?Gucci Mane: There was more thought and more effort put into this album. This album was made for the fans. The beats are better, I stepped it up lyrically, I got more features…It’s just better. My fans deserve the real thing and that’s what I gave them with Back to the Trap House. AllHip-hop.com: How can artists protect themselves from being in a similar situation? Gucci Mane: Have a good lawyer. Always be careful who you get in bed with. I mean that as far as deals are concerned. Be aware of everything. Always be aware of what’s in your contracts, the people around you and be careful of who you deal with. AllHip-hop.com: With all the labels backing the dance songs and ringtone raps, did you feel compelled to come up with that type of record?Gucci Mane: It’s not in me to do that. Like, I make street music. I can’t make nothing but music for the streets. But it’s going to reach everybody because I’m a great songwriter. AllHip-hop.com: So fans shouldn’t expect Gucci Mane to be on any pop records any time soon?Gucci Mane: I’ll put it like this; If I got an okay jumpshot, but I know I’m going to get two points dunking, I’m going to dunk on fools the whole game. That’s how I approach my music. I give the people what they want every time. I don’t try to do what’s in style or whatever. I do me.