Gucci Mane doesn’t need to listen to your favorite rapper to know that he’s a star.

The Atlanta rapper recently spoke with XXL and opened up about quitting drugs, the current state of hip-hop, and the moment he met his protege and former label signee Young Thug, with whom he shares the cover of the magazine’s Fall 2016 issue.

Gucci Mane’s second album of 2016 drops on 10/17

“When Pewee got to the studio, Peewee brought [Young Thug] and two other guys,” Gucci told XXL. “Pewee is like ‘Gucci listen, they hard. They’re the ones who got me to start rapping. Sign them!’ I had a bag with some money and got $25,000 out and I signed Thug right there. Never even heard a song from him. I value Peewee’s opinion so much.”

Back in early 2013, Thug signed with Gucci’s 1017 Brick Squad, the Asylum/Atlantic imprint, and from that day on, Thug never left the studio. “He spent the night there,” Gucci said, “he’d have 30 people in the studio, but he’d never leave.”

“I didn’t really know what I had with Thug, I was just taking a chance,” Gucci continued. “A week later I was like, ‘Oh, he’s a star.’ Once we did a video, and I seen Thug doing the video, I’m like, ‘He a star, he outta here,’ and I started putting more focus on him.”

Gucci also said that he’s a genuine fan of the latest generation of breakout hip-hop artists and that he’s inspired by their come-up.

“They’re creative. They’re smart. They’re marketing themselves,” he explained. “They some little geniuses. That’s how I’m thinking now, so when I see them, ‘Hey, I like what you got going on’ and I’m not being fake about it even if I’m not the biggest fan of their music or whatever.”