Last week I got to sit down with ‘Down In The DM‘ star, Memphis rapper and music mogul of the moment Yo Gotti ahead of his debut London show at Birthdays, in Dalston.
Yo Gotti, who “grew up on the street right behind Elvis Presley house” has been rapping since he was 14, when he was inspired by rappers such as 8 Ball & MG, 36 Mafia “and a local cat called Skinny Pimp, I used to see him driving through on a drop top on mustangs.” It was seeing rappers like Skinny Pimp, that helped Gotti realise that the dream of success and big automobiles was attainable.
Gotti’s career really got going when he met Birdman, “I met him a minute ago. He tried to sign me. I flew down to new orleans and met with him and chopped it up with him. He seen something in me. He seen that boss figure in me.” Utilising this opportunity, Gotti was able to bring through artists such as Block Burners and Starlito.
He also famously linked up with Jeezy, early on in their careers, “before Trap or Die…he had rose gold jewellery way back then. I walked in saw his jewelry and watch and knew he was in the street.”
Gotti’s mother & aunties we’re big hustlers on the Memphis scene, I ask him about some of the game they put him on to, “They didn’t sugar coat it. My aunt did 15 years in federal prison simply cause they wouldn’t tell on their boyfriends or people who was around the family. So the whole not snitching, taking the responsibility for your own actions is big in my family. You make your bed you gonna lay in it.”
Gotti definitely managed to soak up some of the game his family turned him onto as evidenced by his success in the business world. From his music career, Gotti has managed to delve into several avenues: “I’ve got a restaurant in memphis called Prive, 18 wheeler truck transportation, real estate and a clothing line called Hood America.”
Gotti has also recently signed a “partnership deal with LA Reid at Epic”, to which he has signed Snootie Wild after the success of his song ‘Yayo’. Snootie’s first two singles have both charted in the top 15 in the US. Gotti’s latest album also managed to reach No.1 on the Billboard Charts, but he is somewhat blasé about it, “a lot of the things in the charts I don’t really be hip. I be acting like I dunnoe what the fuck they talking about,” – he say’s grinning. It is this same success that has allowed Gotti to recently paint his fleet of cars all Tiffany Blue.
Despite Gotti’s cars and chart topping success it’s his interactions with those who love his music which he really values,”my measurement of success is what i see the fans do and how they react. When i see the reactions from the fans thats how i see the music transcending. I don’t really chart watch and shit.” Despite Gotti’s dominance of the very charts he claims to not pay attention to, it is precisely this attitude of projecting his energy on what matters to him that has lead him to the enviable position he’s in today. “It’s Going down!“