With plans to release not one but two mixtapes on the first day of April, Ronald “Caveman” Rosario, who helps distribute 1017 Brick Squad projects, described how Gucci Mane made more than a million dollars from music sales in 2013. “With Gucci, last year we did a total of 12 projects, including nine Gucci Mane projects and three 1017 projects,” Rosario said. Noisey goes on to cite “Caveman” as claiming that Gucci made “about $1.3 million from that” before speaking on the continued merchandise the rapper sells and benefits from on TrapMerch.com, an outlet that Rosario co-owns. “We have the official ‘Free Guwop” tee shirt. That shit sells all day everyday,” Rosario said. Rosario, who works for a music distribution company, also explained encouraging Gucci Mane to distribute the mixtapes themselves. “I sat down with Gucci right around the release of Trap God and let him know that these mixtapes were a source of income and that he was basically giving the money away to sites like LiveMixtapes,” he said.
Speaking with Noisey, Rosario also detailed Young Thug’s complicated label situation, noting that Gucci Mane is positioned to benefit from any success the Rich Gang managed rapper might experience. “The fucking reality of it is Thug is signed to 1017, regardless of where he wants to go,” he said. “So regardless of what people want to say, what they want to Tweet or Instagram, Gucci is still gonna get paid. Thug is running around saying Rich Gang, but a lot of people don’t understand that Rich Gang is a management company. It is a management deal. It isn’t a record deal. So Birdman and his team are now representing him, but regardless of his representation he’s still signed to Gucci.”
Adding an explanation of Gucci’s approach to developing young artists more generally, Rosario described how the Trap House rapper has mentored artists like Young Thug. “[Gucci] has his ears to the streets,” he said. “So when people come up to him like ‘This dude’s poppin’, this dude’s winning he’ll bring them close and in a sense teach them. He’ll bring them on the road, have them open up for him. He shows them how this shit works.”
Noisey’s article is also built out of an interview with 1017 audio engineer Sean Paine who explained how the rapper’s behind-bars releases are put together. “1017 isn’t at a standstill, but we’re definitely waiting to see what they’re doing with Gucci first,” he said. “He’ll call from jail and give us some direction on these projects and then we kind of go from there,” Paine said. “Gucci really makes all the decisions.”