gotti-article-1Memphis, Tennessee, home of the Memphis Tigers (hopefully they go far in your NCAA bracket), and also the birthplace of Mario Mims better known as Yo Gotti.

Taking his name from the infamous New York crime boss John Gotti of the 80’s, he managed to do something that the person whom he shares a moniker with didn’t—make his hustle legal.

Releasing his first album back in 2000, the former resident of the Ridge Crest Apartments in North Memphis made a name for himself throughout the Southern region with the same “Hustle and Flow” mentality that a lot of artists from that area adopt.

Signing to TVT Records back in 2003, only to watch it get swallowed up by a bigger beast not soon after lead the MC with the Southern draw over to a new home at J Records.

Now his Cocaine Musik 2 mixtape hosted by DJ Drama set to be released along with his official album that bares the identical title—and that boys and girls; is where the story picks up… How’s life been treating you these days?

Yo Gotti: Everything is good… I’m still on the road grinding and working on this new album, Cocaine Musik 2…

Right now I have the Cocaine Musik 2 mixtape about to drop, and I have a new deal with new money… So I’m just staying focused… Speaking of that, the CM2 mixtape is hosted by DJ Drama. What are people going to hear from it?

Yo Gotti: It’s going to be a classic… It’s going to be the reunion of Yo Gotti and DJ Drama since the first Gangsta Grillz

If you think about the first Gangsta Grillz album, and the first Cocaine Musik album, this one right here is going to be the reunion.

It’s going to be crazy, and it’s going to be the hardest thing out to hit the streets… Before this project your, last release was back in 2006 with Back 2 da Basics. Was there a reason why you took a three-year layoff?

Yo Gotti: Nah… I ain’t never took a layoff… I still had a couple hundred songs, and I was recording everyday… I’m in the streets and I hustle everyday, so this is my hustle… The reason why I didn’t have a project come out or an album is because the company I was with took a layoff…

Being signed to them, I had to figure out a way to still put this music in the streets, and the only way to do that is with mixtapes when your record company ain’t putting stuff out. And how did you feel during that time period?

Yo Gotti: I don’t allow my life or my career in general to be in the hands of anybody else… Even if I’m signed to you, you can’t stop what I’m doing in the streets. But in the same token when I didn’t come out within that two or three year span, I became the hottest I ever was….

I made the most money I ever made in that two to three year span without coming out—and that comes from what my team and meare doing in the streets… Besides a handful of notables such as yourself and 8Ball & MJG, not too many people are familiar with the Memphis Hip-Hop scene. How would you describe it?

Yo Gotti: As far as the music scene, you have a lot of independent cats that are right on track; you know what I’m saying? They’re doing their thing, and they get radio play out here around the area.

One of my goals is to help up coming artists get their music heard outside the city of Memphis, and outside the state of Tennessee; you know what I’m saying? I think a couple of artists that came before me didn’t give an artists like me those same opportunities so that’s the thing that I’m going to try and do… Do you think that’s a major problem right now? Established artists not reaching back and throwing a rope to help reel others in?

Yo Gotti: I think it’s a problem, and it ain’t a problem because at the same time; a n*gga don’t owe you nothing… He doesn’t have to do sh*t for you, but for me if you’re a real dude and it’s somebody from your area—like me being from North Memphis, and there’s another hot artist from North Memphis, I don’t see why I shouldn’t f*ck with him… I want to back a little to where you talked about having a new deal… Who are you aligned with now? Who’s cutting the checks?

Yo Gotti: We just did a deal with J Records… I bought myself out of the last deal… The Orchard bought TVT [Records], and I was an asset to TVT, and that was one of the reasons they bought them out…

They gave us a number, which was $500,000.00 for the buyout, so we bought ourselves out and went over to J Records… Right now we’re negotiating a new deal with J Records, and that’s where it stands right now… Did J Records reach out to you?

Yo Gotti: They pretty much knew what my movement was because we were actually in between 3-4 companies at the time we did the deal with J [Records]… We had those other companies with big deals on the table, and to me J [Records] made the most sense…

It wasn’t just about getting a big check; it was bout getting a consistent check and winning… So out of all the people we went to, J [Records] did make the most sense… How do you think you’ve managed to stay in the game for so long when others can’t?

Yo Gotti: When you’re real and you’re talking about real life—real life doesn’t expire… It’s just like reality music, and just like food… You have to have food in order to survive, and it’s not going to play out…

There ain’t no supplement for real. So as long as I stay on that path, and at least the people will respect it if they don’t like it…

  • j.cai

    but if you wanna be BIG, u can’t put everything out yourself.

  • missteeq

    Nice bling bling. keep it crankin!

  • DatNiggaPhil

    I wasn’t even a Yo Gotti fan at all till he did a concert in my hometown.(which I didn’t go to) But his street team gave me his gangsta grillz mixtape and I played the fuck outta that damn thing!!! I loved every song on it. I didn’t expect to like any of it.

  • Serge Fleury

    Are you gonna hit up his show next time he comes to your town?? [Laughs]…

  • $ydnificant

    Gotti tha realest nigga out. I got pictures of this nigga on my myspace and the first time I met him I was 16 at tha reliegh spring mall when it was first poppin…he know wat it is…