Even at such a young age Hip Hop star, NLE Choppa has made his mark, and he’s even already expanded his endeavors far beyond just Hip Hop.
NLE is certainly his own competition as he continually battles himself on the journey of continued greatness.
Debuting at 16, NLE still displays so much passion and conviction with quite an energetic and aggressive delivery to this day.
The 19-year-old recently dropped his ‘Me vs. Me’ album that displays his sharp prowess and chronicles the layers and different sides of his life as well as the battles he faces with self daily.
While music is still very much on the forefront, the Memphis emcee also has been working in his community to open schools and libraries. He has also launched his food truck with the purpose of putting healthier food options in the community with the intent to change the thought process and improve the overall health of his community.
Health and wellness are near and dear to NLE Choppa, as this has also been evident through his work in alternative medicine and with the birth of his NLE Heath & Wellness store. NLE’s mission with the store is to help heal people holistically without the use of pharmaceuticals.
AllHipHop’s Rea Davis had a chance to talk ‘Me vs. Me,’ health and wellness, expansion, and more with NLE.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to have achieved so much success at such a young age, especially since everything kind of took off when you were 16?
NLE Choppa: I just feel like it’s a blessing. I feel like it’s a lot of people, you know what I’m saying, a lot of older people that wasn’t doing what I’m doing at this age, and a lot of people right now are not doing what I’m doing at this age, so I feel like it’s a huge blessing because at the end of the day, it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come to a lot of us that early. A lot of people gotta work a little harder for it. Some things like this don’t come until like early or late twenties, damn near in your thirties. So, I just feel like I’m blessed, and God saw something in me that he instilled in me since birth. It put me in the position that I’m in today.
AllHipHop: Has it hit you yet? Sometimes when success hits, life is moving so fast. Do you live in the moment? Do you take it all in?
NLE Choppa: I really live in the moment, but I still feel like it just ain’t hit me hit me yet. I feel like the best time things do hit you is when it’s memory. I feel like a little later on in life I’m going to be like yo I really did all of this at this age. I really was this. A lot of stuff I don’t really too much enjoy right now because I’m always looking for the next thing. I’m trying to be better than who I was yesterday. I’m never really complacent with what I’m doing now. I’m just all about the next step. So when it does get to the time where I really just sit down and relax and look back on my life, I know like I’m going to be more grateful for these years/ my early years because it’s the foundation for my future.
AllHipHop: Talk to me about this project. What was the inspiration behind ‘Me Vs. Me?’
NLE Choppa: Um Myself. That’s pretty much why I named it ‘Me Vs. Me’ because I feel like I was battling myself good and bad. Whatever it was, I always came back to self with questions. Came back to self with what songs I should put on there. Came back to self with which songs were hard. Just battling myself. So, I feel like the biggest inspiration was me.
AllHipHop: So a lot of times we are in our own head, battling our own self on everyday decisions, or sometimes it can get a little hectic and sometimes we are in our own way. So how do you get around it when you are battling yourself?
NLE Choppa: Trusting you. You know what I’m saying. Having faith in what you do. Having faith in what God has already designed you to do. I feel like that’s why I named it ‘Me Vs. Me’ because it’s a lot of times as people we sit down and doubt ourselves, and that’s when we become our enemies. But as long as we know like whatever we doing is going to be achieved it’s no pressure on it, so I realize that even if I do doubt sometimes, I still stay with that goal. I still stay on a road that’s hard and that’s rocky because I know on the other side, it’s gonna be smooth. Just knowing that whatever you are trying to achieve is already achieved. Keep working.
AllHipHop: So you are big on meditation. A lot of people are trying to get into meditation; a lot of people like it. What does meditation look like for you?
NLE Choppa: Meditation, I ain’t gonna lie, it saved my life. It was at a point of time where I was at my lowest, and I was at my lowest because just off the simple fact that I wasn’t even breathing right. I wasn’t getting the right amount of oxygen into the brain. I wasn’t getting the right amount of oxygen, and I wasn’t releasing the right amount of carbon dioxide. A lot of stuff had me toxic. A lot of stuff was building up. It really just saved my life because it brought calmness in my life because I was always on edge or just anxiety built or just depression built. It just brought a type of calmness in my life to let me know that everything is okay. Stay patient. Keep working.
AllHipHop: I know you are big on wellness as well, so did you stop smoking and drinking to focus on mental health? What was the reason?
NLE Choppa: No more smoking, no more drinking, no pills, no lean…none of that. I even cut off a lot of people and even changed my diet. So I feel like within meditation it opened my eyes to do all of the things to make sure I’m in the right state of mind.
AllHipHop: Do you ever have any conversations with your rapper peers about the importance of mental health?
NLE Choppa: Anytime I’m in a room with any rapper, I make sure I’m vocal about what I believe in and about what I do everyday. You never know, it might be their third or fourth time hearing it, and that may be the time that they take heed to it. When they see me do it, a lot of people wouldn’t listen to their own mom about certain things, but when they listen to someone who comes to them as them, they’ll listen to it. It’s like if a rapper comes to a rapper as a health guru, or like if a basketball player comes to a basketball player as a health guru. God sends you the help you need as you. God doesn’t send himself to people on who you think he might be. He sends it to people you will listen to the most. That’s my job.
AllHipHop: I know you are very passionate about also giving back to the community. I know that you are working on libraries and schools, and your herbal stuff. What else are you working on?
NLE Choppa: My food truck. Developing my food truck. Trying to get it to be a worldwide thing. When it gets up and running, do food truck tours, help feed people, do something like free food Friday for whomever is starving. They can come get some free food. Feed the homeless. Just stuff like that around my food truck. Just implementing…that’s really one of my main focuses right now.
AllHipHop: How has dad life changed your life? Especially having a little girl?
NLE Choppa: That’s pretty much why I got where I’m at. I knew change had to give especially if I was having a little girl because I wanted her to look up to somebody because you know at the end of the day I want her to view me as who she would like to date in the future, so she won’t be broken-hearted. I want to be a perfect role model to show her what a man is and what a man is supposed to do for her. I know that’s something that’s lacking in this world right now. Showing your daughter or giving your son who they are really supposed to be. How they are supposed to be taught and how they are supposed to grow up. That’s the one reason why I changed a lot of my life. I try to empty out a lot of the negative and bring in a lot of the positive.
AllHipHop: Talk to me about Tupac’s influence on you. I know you have the tattoo. We saw you pay homage in “Picture Me Grapin.” Talk to me about Tupac’s influence on you, and also, who else were you influenced by coming up?
NLE Choppa: Tupac was a major influence, major because not only what his music was, his music was beautiful. He had balance in his music, but who he was as a person day-to-day is what spoke volumes for me. What he stood on; the principles he stood on…the type of person he was. I’ve been in the same room with people who said they were in the room with him. I’ve been in the same room with producers who say they produced music for him. They said the type of person he was it never changed. It was always him. Even if it was one of his other six personalities, it was always true to that personality. Just being real. That’s what I take heed of, and that’s what I support. I feel like that’s what I want to be remembered for just being real.
AllHipHop: Who else influenced you coming up? What other artists?
NLE Choppa: Lil Wayne for sure. The diversity he had with his music. The diversity he had with his style. [He was] comfortable just in his own skin. I have to give a big shout out to Bob Marley. On my Rasta side because most of my family is Jamaican. My mother she was born in Kingston. My grandmother was born in Kingston. So I have Jamaican roots. Bob Marley, he played a huge role in my sound also.
AllHipHop: Speaking of Tupac, no one can deny that you are talented, but how did you feel about some of the critiques that came and some of the backlash that came when you made the comment about people drawing comparison to you and Michael Jackson and you and Tupac?
NLE Choppa: A lot of people don’t understand me. They don’t really know me. A lot of those comparisons come from people within my circle who see me on a day-to-day basis. A lot of people just see what they see on the social media, and that’s not who the person is internally. So a lot of people wouldn’t know the comparisons I give, but they’ll probably understand it when it’s too late. Like everybody else does when a person is probably gone or when a person is further down the road way older. They’ll understand it, it just wasn’t meant for them to understand now.
AllHipHop: So we’ve gotten a lot of great music out of Memphis over the years in Hip Hop. Who are some of your favorite artists out of Memphis?
NLE Choppa: Moneybagg, Pooh Shiesty, Big30. Those three are strong with me. I f*ck with them, and I grew up with 30 and Shiesty. We were in the studio before we blew, before I even blew. I always looked up to Bagg when he made his ‘Federal’ mixtape.
AllHipHop: Did you listen to any of the older artists too out of Memphis? Did you check out the Verzuz with Three 6?
NLE Choppa: Three 6 Mafia. Yeah Three 6 Mafia. DJ Paul, Juicy J, 8 Ball & MJG. All of those guys. It’s always been heavy in my household growing up from my parents. My mom, she went to a lot of Juicy J parties growing up, so just a lot stuff like that culturally and stuff.
AllHipHop: So speaking of Verzuz, who would you like to see in a Verzuz battle?
NLE Choppa: In a Verzuz battle…I don’t really know. I’d like to see…if they were alive, I would’ve loved to see a B.I.G. and Pac one. I feel like that would be crazy, a Biggie and Pac one. Put some holograms together, and do something like that. That would be amazing.
AllHipHop: How would you describe your sound?
NLE Choppa: My sound is unique. I gotta lot of different sounds, a lot of different flows. I feel like they all come back as unique to me. I can rap on any beat. Country, rock, metal whatever it is, rap, R&B, anything. It’s just people haven’t heard that diversity yet, but this year they will hear it. I’m going to be dropping a lot more music. So, I just feel like my music is unique. One of a kind.
AllHipHop: Do you think you will be into polygamy forever, or do you think it’s a right now thing?
NLE Choppa: Naw for sure forever. I just know the purpose of it. A lot of people do things because they hope it goes this way or think it may go this way, but I actually know the benefits of everything. I actually know what I can accomplish. I actually know what my ancestors did back in the day. I know how the Egyptians, how the Roman empires, how the Aztec empires, how all these empires thrive and strive for a long time because they had civilizations; they had villages, and people played their role, and did their role, and did what they had to do. Now we are in a new generation where a lot of stuff is brainwashed because the power that we hold is not really to be shared as far a melanated people, melanated beings. The power we have and the power we had once before, if we start to implement more of it in this generation, in this age, we would be able to get back what’s ours.
AllHipHop: Who are your Top 5 favorite rappers dead or alive?
NLE Choppa: I don’t really like to do these because honestly I feel like I always miss out people. I gotta give Pac…gotta put Pac in there. I gotta put Wayne in there. I gotta put DMX in there. I gotta put Biggie in there, and I’ll guess I’ll put me in there. I guess that category is kind of hard because I resonate with people for different reasons. I try to stay away from those type of questions because I feel like I always forget somebody. It’s so much talent dead or alive. You can go to the Lil Snupes. Lil Snupe had so much potential. Great artist.
AllHipHop: What other endeavors are you tapping into? What else do you want to do? What else do you see beyond music?
NLE Choppa: Acting, TV shows, movies. I feel like I need to implement this year. I’m supposed to be getting my own TV show, and hopefully I’m supposed to be in a movie by the end of this year, so we getting it done.
AllHipHop: If your sex life was a movie? What would be the title?
NLE Choppa: ‘Young & Wild.’
Photo Credit- Johnnie Carpenter courtesy Warner Records