April 30, 2015
Gucci Mane, Diamond Eye At Odds In Southern Rap Scene? Anti-Violence Legacy

Two of the biggest rappers that hail from Mobile, Alabama, Gucci Mane and Rich Boy, lost a member of their Southern rap scene on April 29. While the rest of the Southern rap community is mourning the loss of Diamond Eye A.K.A. The Last Mr. Bigg -- he and Gucci Mane could not have been more different.

The legendary rapper that came from the same state as Gucci Mane went by Diamond Eye, but his real name was Donald Maurice Pears. Diamond Eye died of a heart attack following "losing weight and experiencing kidney problems in recent months." Regardless of some signs of failing health, Diamond Eye's death was unexpected because he was only 43-years-old.

Alabama Online covered the events of Diamond Eye's death, and stated that, while he may not have shared a stage too often with Gucci Mane (if at all), Diamond Eye was part of Three Six Mafia's hit "Poppin My Collar."

How prominent was Diamond Eye? In a crash course for the Alabama rap scene, Complex Magazine ranks two main legends: DiamondEye and Dirty. They state Diamond Eye is "another key pioneer on the underground side of things [in Alabama]." However, they go on to a quote about Diamond Eye's late 90s hit "Trial Time" that represents a part of his life he would have rather forgotten.

As it appears, Gucci Mane and Diamond Eye likely played a lot of the same clubs in the South, but were probably not going to ever perform in the same shows -- and it wasn't because Gucci Mane was more popular. The story of how they could be two polar opposites in the same Southern rap scene begins in 2004. At that time, Diamond Eye survived two gunshots to the head -- and it was from this experience that he earned his nickname. He put a diamond in his prosthetic eye, but this was not the only thing that changed for Diamond Eye.

Despite being involved with violence earlier in life and making songs like "Trial Time," it was getting shot in the head that changed Diamond Eye's focus in rap music. Diamond Eye would eventually take a stand against fighting in Alabama that included working with a documentary released in 2010 called "Number One with a Bullet." For these reasons, although they emerged from the same music scene, his philosophy eventually conflicted with Gucci Mane's.

For example, in an interview about "Number One with a Bullet" that talks about the link between lyrics in rap and youth violence, Diamond Eye says the reason there is violence in rap music is because it "that's what sells records." But instead of going for the money, Diamond Eye felt that getting rid of violence had to be done and "it has start with rappers" because young people look up to them.
Gucci Mane, on the other hand, is known for being violent -- and getting arrested for it. Gucci Mane's long list of assaults is astounding -- and certainly the opposite of what Diamond Eye was doing in the last ten years of his life. Unlike Diamond Eye, Gucci Mane's lyrics are filled with violence. XXL Magazine says about Gucci Mane's Trap God 3, "No sound represents this sentiment better than '5 O'Clock,' as it paints Gucci's callous and violent expressions of murder and mayhem."

On his Facebook page and on Twitter, Diamond Eye is remembered by fans for his hashtag #Chuuuch and his music. Rich Boy and others have paid their respects online or through social media, but it is unlikely we will hear anything about Diamond Eye from Gucci Mane since he is in jail until 2016.

[Feature image via Instagram.]