Exclusive: 10 Questions with Yo Gotti
It's really hard for artist in hip-hop to keep the faith alive, especially during a recession and when music sales are at a all-time low. It can be challenging to stay motivated or create a circle of loyal team players that can help you elevate in such a volatile industry. One rapper that comes to mind is the self-proclamied "King of Memphis, Yo Gotti. Gotti, who is now 10 years deep in the game, had a bit of a tug of war with his recent label situation at TVT Records, which was well publicized within the hip-hop community. The talented and well-respected rapper (including in the streets) is no longer with the now bankrupt TVT label, and is set to hit mainstream with his J Records debut, Live from the Kitchen, early this year. JimmyJazz.com had a few minutes to touch base with his current situation and got more details about his forthcoming release.
There's no arguing, Yo Gotti is keeping the faith alive in hip-hop. Someone must have sent him an angel.
JimmyJazz.com: What label are you currently signed with? Cash Money or J Records? I think some fans may be confused.
Yo Gotti: I got a artist All Star, that I put out throughout Cash Money/ Universal. But in between that, Slim and Baby always took me in like family and gave me the game. They even helped me when I was signed to TVT. That's why a lot of people thought that I was signed with Cash Money cause you would see me around rolling with them.
JimmyJazz.com: What would you say is the biggest difference leaving TVT and joining a major [J Records]? Would you say that you still have that independent grind or do you feel you can focus on different things, now that you have a bigger machine behind you.
Yo Gotti: Like you said, I'm always going to have that independent drive. But the difference now is that you have a team of people that work with you in getting there. You can sit back just because your on a major label, it's more about team work. You take it to a certain point and give it to them and they take it to the next point. But I always think, no matter who you signed with, it always has to start with you. You got to create the buzz and get hot enough to let them go do what they can do with it.
Yo Gotti gets deep with his current and past label situation on "Send Me An Angel" and tours the J Records offices in New York City.
JimmyJazz.com: Your debut album, From Da Dope Game 2 Da Rap Game, dropped back in 2000. What's going to separate your first album to your upcoming release, Live from the Kitchen?
Yo Gotti: I've seen a lot more. Done a lot more. Learned a lot more. Even when it comes down to the music and how I record and how to pick a beat. The subject matter is pretty much the same, because I still live the same life. We just putting it in with big production... better quality shit.
JimmyJazz.com: Who are some of the producers and artists fans can expect on Live from the Kitchen?
Yo Gotti: We worked with Cool & Dre, J.U.S.T.U.S League, Drumma Boy, Toomp, Jim Jonsin, Hot Rod [our in-house producer who did "5 Star Chick" track], a whole bunch of producers, man. As far as artists, we just got Rick Ross and Lil' Wayne on there.
JimmyJazz.com: Your hometown, Memphis, is a hotbed for top notch producers. Juicy J (Three 6 Mafia), DJ Squeaky, Jazze Pha, Drumma Boy, just to name a few. Have you ever considered stepping away from the booth and behind the boards?
Yo Gotti: I tell some producers how some tracks should go. But I don't know how to use the hardware. But you never know. One day shit might just come to me. But right now, I'm just fucking with that mic.
JimmyJazz.com: To date, you've had collaborations with just about ever key artists in the game. Your featured on Gucci Mane's "Ridiculous" remix, your featured on the the Clipse's Til' The Casket Drops album on "Showing Out" and several others. Who's someone you would like to collaborate with that you have yet to have the opportunity to hook up with?
Yo Gotti: [Short pause] I had this one track I was trying to get Tip [T.I.] on right before he went to jail. I say him right now, because I think this certain track really fit him.
JimmyJazz.com: Pertaining to southern hip-hop, what's your opinion on a bunch of southern artist from the south being locked up and going to jail? Do you think that's going to put a void or motivate other artist to gain and come up?
Yo Gotti: All artists, no matter what coast you from, south, east... you can be put in the same situation. They just ran into a little bump. They gotta deal with it and get back out and take care of business. They real people. Anybody can run into those situations.
JimmyJazz.com: Do you have any ventures on the side? Special collaborations, movies, etc.?
Yo Gotti: I'm shooting a independent movie. I was in a movie before ["Video Girl"]. I also just shot a movie with Megan Goode down in Baton Rouge [New Orleans].
JimmyJazz.com: How about fashion?
Yo Gotti: No fashion right now, but we are focusing in on it.
JimmyJazz.com: Any last words before we wrap up?
Yo Gotti: Fans can keep up with me on MySpace.com/YoGotti, Twitter.com/YoGottiKOM and most important in the street. If you see me, come holla at me. No 300 or 400 pound security around us. Just me and my homeboys.
Listen to Yo Gotti's latest mixtape, Cocaine Muzik 4: Gangsta Grill: