It’s been a long time coming and the self-proclaimed King of Memphis still sticks to this basics- and this is what’s up. Meet Mario Mims, better known as Yo Gotti who is respected as one of the realest Southern rappers in it today. From the streets of North Memphis into the rap game, Yo Gotti keeps his street mentality while remaining the ultimate independent hustler. In this piece, Yo Gotti breaks down the Gotti termed genre, clears up label confusion, and of course gives us a “live” preview of his upcoming album Live From The Kitchen. It’s clear that his dude makes moves for his betterment; listen up while we broadcast live- live from Yo Gotti.
AllHipHop.com: You’re on tour right now, how is that going?
Yo Gotti: Yeah, it’s going great, we just finished it- The Russ Parr [Bus] Tour, you know.
AllHipHop.com: Did you have any crazy run-ins with fans?
Yo Gotti: I mean it was a different situation for me ’cause you know I usually do club shows- 1 in the morning. [The Russ Parr Buss Tour] shows were like 8 in the morning. They’ll do lobby call at like 6:45, 7 o’ clock. Only thing different is we’re used to all the fans and getting love and showing love back.
AllHipHop.com: There was a rumor floating around that you were robbed. Are you O.K.? What’s up with that?
Yo Gotti: Yeah I’m great. I don’t know, I woke up one morning and one of my partners told me that it was on the Rumor page on AllHipHop.com. I don’t really know where it came from or anything like that. I’m great.
AllHipHop.com: When I hear your voice- no matter who else is on the track, I automatically know it’s you. What influences your style when it comes to your delivery and lyrics?
Yo Gotti: I think like… I think you can feel the subject matter that I’m talking ’bout. You can feel the pain in exactly what I’m saying within my voice. It makes you feel like you’re right there or like you knew. You can be from New York, when you hear me talking on all my songs, you feel like you’re from North Memphis and you know [what I’m saying] it’s true. I’m saying I’ve got other rappers who are like “I’m kind of natural” [with] what I’m doing and what I’m talking about because it’s real, I’m not trying to be something [I’m not].
AllHipHop.com: How would you describe growing up in North Memphis?
Yo Gotti: I think it’s like typical to any hood, anywhere. Only thing is just like growing up in New York, Los Angeles or any other city, it’s the same thing, the same struggle. We’re just trying to hustle and make a better way for our family, you know what I’m saying. Get in a better position.
5 Star Chick Yo Gotti
AllHipHop.com: What would you classify your music as? How does it differ from other Southern Rap?
Yo Gotti: I call it “Reality Music” you know what I’m saying. Even though they put it in the category as Gangster Rap, I consider my music “Reality Music” because it will always be what’s real life, something I’ve done or something I’ve been in reach or distant of. It’s never going to be something that doesn’t make sense.
AllHipHop.com: Coming up in your success, did it find it difficult to gain national attention being that you weren’t from southern hot spots Atlanta or Florida?
Yo Gotti: Yeah it may have took me a lil’ longer than it took one of those artist who was in that situation, but I don’t complain. I don’t complain because where I come from the hardest [situations] were getting me anyways. That’s typical life where I’m from.
AllHipHop.com: You and Gucci Mane seem to have a special chemistry and you two defiantly compliment each other. Have you ever thought about doing a duo album with him?
Yo Gotti: We’ve done a mixtape- our own mixtape in like 3 or 4 days. When ever we’re in the same city or on the road doing the same shows, we always get in the studio and do something the fans want to hear you know. We’re having fun, getting money and giving the fans what they want.
AllHipHop.com: Now I’m confused with this one, were you ever signed to Cash Money?
Yo Gotti: I never been signed to Cash Money. I just describe them as my home boys. I was looking at Twitter when Bow Wow signed to Cash Money and a lot of people were making references to me saying I was signed to Cash Money. But I have a production deal with Cash Money/Universal and I have an artist name with All Star, who signed me through Cash Money. That’s my business with Cash Money but we’re like family so I’m always used to being with them and running with them. They done a lot of things for me, helped me and showed me a lot of things. People think that I was signed to them but I was never signed to them.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of Bow Wow, how do you feel about the new act signing over to Cash Money? With Bow Wow, that’s not the image a lot of people see for him nor Cash Money.
Yo Gotti: I mean like I said Cash Money is my family so you know I always know Baby and Slim would always do something because they’re smart They’re gon’ always do something that makes sense, and hopefully they’ll work for the best. I mean they had to feel like it was smart for them to do it so you know I just wish him [Bow Wow] the best.
AllHipHop.com: You’re now on an independent label right?
Yo Gotti: Naw I’m with J Records. I just signed the deal, this deal is fresh.
AllHipHop.com: So how is that going so far, are you liking it over there?
Yo Gotti: You know we put out the single “5 Star”, we have the video- it’s on 106 & Park countdown right now, I think it’s like number 17 on the charts and growing. So far so good but I’m an independent dude, I’m always going to function in that independent manner. Everyday I wake up, I’m going to do what I have to do to make sure Yo Gotti gets to the next point. I’m not going to get on J Records and wait on nobody. I’m going to work with them, but I ain’t never gon’ stop working independently.
AllHipHop.com: Your recent release was within the mixtape series Cocaine Muzik, tell us about that.
Yo Gotti: I like to work with a lot of different DJs. I done did my second mixtape with Drama- Cocaine Muzik 2 and I done dropped Cocaine Muzik 3 with DJ Scream- that’s in the streets now. We’re probably going to put out Cocaine Muzik 4 with my new artist from South Memphis Zed Zilla- we’re doing it together. But I’m trying to peep which DJ we ‘gon roll with on this one. I like to work with different DJs.
AllHipHop.com: It seems like you have no problem constantly keeping your fans loaded with new music. Whether it be a mixtape or an album, you drop these projects within the same year- sometimes even months apart. How do you stay successful doing this?
Yo Gotti: I treat this rap game just as if I was hustling in the streets. I was hustling, I try to be the 1st one out, I stayed out the latest. It’s the same thing in the rap game. I’m trying to get in the studio today. I leave the studio 5 in the morning and when I wake up I’m back in there. I treat it as the same hustle you know what I’m saying?
AllHipHop.com: What’s a basic studio session like with Yo Gotti?
Yo Gotti: A basic studio session with Yo Gotti is you know me, a couple of my home boys from the hood, my artists who I work with- you know I like to have them in the studio with me even if they ain’t recording, just to see what I’m doing. From time to time, we turn it into a small get to together, but most of the time I’m focused and just straight working.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned you have an artist, are there any other artists that you have lined up?
Yo Gotti: On All Star the artists I have signed to me is through Cash Money. Zed Zilla is the newest artist I just signed.
AllHipHop.com: Of course you’re single out right now is “5 Star”, how’s your journey in finding a “5 Star” chick? Do you have one yet?
Yo Gotti: (laughs) You know I’m still looking for a “5 Star” chick.
AllHipHop.com: So you’re still looking for one, well where are some places you might look?
Yo Gotti: I just look where ever I be, like right now I’m in the mall on an interview and I may run into one in here, I don’t know.
AllHiphop.com: The name of your upcoming album is Live From The Kitchen. What does this title mean?
Yo Gotti: Live From The Kitchen is a term towards everywhere it started. On a street level, you put it together in the kitchen, but not only that, you can create your plan in the kitchen, you can be at the kitchen table counting your money. So the overall meaning of it is that’s where the plan started, where you cook the plan up at.
AllHipHop.com: What type of approach are you taking with this album? Is it going to be different from any of the previous albums you’ve done before?
Yo Gotti: My subject matter is always going to be the same ’cause this is my life, I’m telling you about what I done and what I done seen. I’m just making sure that I get with the right producers to give it that universal sound… to tell my story in that universal sound.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think you think “Trap Rap” will get old?
Yo Gotti: Like I said, I only know the lifestyle that I live and every song I rap about isn’t no “I’m trapping”. It may be something that falls off the lands of it meaning if you were hustling before you may know something about going to jail or having people in jail. So I may make a song that’s strictly about jail. You may have a song about people coming into your house and your family getting caught up in the mix of what you’re doing. So there’s many different subjects to declare your lifestyle- that’s what I do. I just don’t simple base it on “I’m selling this, I’m selling that.”
AllHipHop.com: Who can we expect to be on this album? Is there anybody not lined up but you would like to work with?
Yo Gotti: I had this record that I wanted to do with T.I. before he went in. That’s just about the only person right now that I couldn’t get a song with.
AllHipHop.com: Who can we expect on the album?
Yo Gotti: I already did a song with Rick Ross- that’s crazy. I have my one with Lil’ Wayne- that’s crazy. I’m going to do one with Gucci too but outside of them, I’m just focusing on the features that are like singles, off the course [of the song].
AllHipHop.com: After Live From The Kitchen, what can you say is next for you?
Yo Gotti: I mean I’m just trying to be the ultimate hustler so what ever comes my way that volumes to 100 to 200 to 500 [show] tickets, what’s what I’m trying to do you know.
AllHipHop.com: After your done with rapping, how would you like to be portrayed in the game? For example Jay-Z.
Yo Gotti: I just want to be remembered as the realest dude in it. The dude that stood for something. I’m not into all that industry sh*t. Like money can’t buy me- you have to stand for something.
AllHipHop.com: Any last words for Hip Hop?
Yo Gotti: You can reach me at twitter.com/yogottikom– King of Memphis if you’re trying to follow and see what I’m doing. You can also reach me at myspace.com/ yogotti. Most important, if you ever see me in the streets, you can come holla at me ’cause I’m not Hollywood.