Yo Gotti, Cookin’ Up Soul
Yo Gotti may never host a show on The Food Network but consider him the hood version of Chef Bobby Flay when it comes to cookin’ up hits. Last year, the Memphis rapper had a pair of club singles—"5 Star Chick" and the Lil Wayne-assisted "Men Lie, Women Lie"—climbing the charts like Spiderman. This year, Gotti keeps the heat coming with the latest chapter in his popular Cocaine Muzik mixtape series and his upcoming major label release, Live From the Kitchen. XXLMag.com chopped it up with the M-Town MC about his rise in popularity, workin’ with T.I. and baggin’ Nicki Minaj and Trina at the same time.
XXLMag.com: You've been around for a few years now but your buzz is at an all time high right now. What do you credit that to?
Yo Gotti: Workin' the streets. We put stupid mixtapes out. We put out so much material and the people are fuckin' with it.
XXLMag.com: What do you think your appeal is to people?
Yo Gotti: I think because the subject of my music is real life. You may not be able to relate to the situation that I'm talking about but you may know somebody [that can]. So I make sure it’s real. We make it bounce for the club, we make it feel good.
XXLMag.com: What can fans expect from Live From the Kitchen?
Yo Gotti: Live From the Kitchen coming out on Polo Grounds/J Records. You know, I got all these songs but I'm just trying to make sure the shit clears. I worked with so many producers from Cool & Dre, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Drumma Boy, Toomp and Hot Rod, who made the "5 Star" record.
XXLMag.com: What features can we look for?
Yo Gotti: Right now, features from Lil Wayne on the "Men Lie, Women Lie" song. I got features from Rick Ross and everybody else is like my crew.
XXLMag.com: There were rumors you wanted to get T.I. as a feature as well. Have you reached out to him yet?
Yo Gotti: Not yet, not yet since he's been out. But there's one song I'm still trying to put together.
XXLMag.com: It’s crazy how you landed Nicki and Trina for the "5 Star Chick (Remix)" video. How's it feel having two of the baddest chicks in the game on your record?
Yo Gotti: Man, it feels good. (Laughs) I just hit 'em up and told 'em I wanted them to be a part of the situation and they got on it.
XXLMag.com: You're also doing some work with Cash Money, right? Can you tell us about that?
Yo Gotti: Yeah, I got a production deal with Cash Money. One of my artists, All Star, is signed to me through Cash Money. So I'm able to put out other artists through Cash Money if we wanted to do something like that.
XXLMag.com: How'd y’all link up?
Yo Gotti: It was a while ago when I first did a deal with TVT. They actually reached out to me to try and sign me, but I had just done the deal. So me, Baby, and Slim sat down and chopped it up. They respected my vision and of course I respected what they were doing. Then Universal gave us a pipeline to put out music and we've been rockin' ever since then.
XXLMag.com: A lot of artists that are huge in the South don't get so much love out on the East Coast. As a Southern artist, are you concerned about that?
Yo Gotti: I don't be with these rappers every day so I don't really know their experiences and concerns. But for me, I come in when I get booked to come by anyone out of the area, we coming.
XXLMag.com: New York crowds have been known to heckle Southern artists. How would you respond to a negative response at a show?
Yo Gotti: I don't know. I would have to be in the situation. I don't think everybody have to like your music or you. If you don't like my shit then you don't like my shit.
XXLMag.com: Some rappers care more about making songs rather than making these lyrical records. What's your stance on that?
Yo Gotti: We make music. If you do the research of music, I don't really think there's no word on being lyrical. Music is supposed to make people feel good. Music is supposed to make people dance. Music is supposed to get people through their pain and situation. The history of music is to know how to make songs. Truthfully, we just know how to make songs. If it make you dance in the club and make you feel good, that's what I thought music was. —David Lee