The Break Presents: NLE Choppa
Memphis teen rap sensation NLE Choppa has seen his circumstances change with the swiftness. He began freestyling with his friends at 14, started taking it seriously at age 15 and had millions of views and major-label interest shortly after his 16th birthday. He first got his buzz from "No Chorus Pt. 3," a song and video from his crew Shotta Fam on which Choppa kicks off the song off and steals the show.
Since it's release in early January, NLE Choppa's "Shotta Flow" video has amassed more than 12 million views in nearly six weeks. The visual for his breakout record shows a precocious youth who is just as adept at dancing as he is at swinging choppas.
His flows and stylistic choices recall his friend and fellow hometown rapper BlocBoy JB. Yet Choppa is unique. His intensity, voice and dark sense of humor set him apart from the fray. His follow-up record, "Shotta Flow 2," is approaching 2 million views in under a week.
Always business-savvy, Choppa turned down a $3 million dollar deal and opted for a partnership with UnitedMasters, a company that distributes his music while allowing him to keep his masters. With an EP coming in the spring and more videos on the way, the young artist's name is everywhere, even catching the attention of legendary rap mogul Birdman, who he's been spotted sharing studio time with.
Learn about NLE Choppa's meteoric rise in XXL's The Break.
I grew up listening to: "A lot of Lil Wayne from the younger days. Around 8 or so I was listening to Lil Wayne. He stopped droppin', so now I listen to more like YoungBoy [Never Broke Again], Meek Mill [and] Lil Durk."
My style’s been compared to: "Who you think? I know you know, it's so annoying. They say NBA YoungBoy. They say I look like him, sound like him, stand like him, dress like him. They say my hair's like his—everything around me is compared to YoungBoy. Bloc[Boy JB] [because of] the way I'm dancing but it's Memphis in general. If they was callin' me Bloc, then everybody in Memphis is Bloc—everybody do that. He just a product of his environment. He Memphis."
My standout records to date have been: "When I went to sleep I saved the 'I Don't Need No Help' song; it was like 27,000 [views]. I woke up to 87,000. No, I said that's wrong. I walked in the studio with 20,000 and left out with 94,000. That's what shocked me. I was YouTube tweaking. 'Shotta Flow,' I think it had 20,000 views in one day. But this one, it got 100k and counting."
What’s your most slept-on song: "'Redrum.' That joint hard. It's one of my best. I think they were asleep. If I would've shot a video to it—like a real lit video—it'd probably have 60,000 on it."
My standout moments to date have been: "I performed at Whitehaven [High School] and it was crazy. I ain't never seen it in my life. I feel like Michael Jackson and YoungBoy at the same time. I think a girl asked me to sign her titties. When I was in the car, they were yanking on the door, banging on the door trying to get in. I don't think it can get any more hectic than that. There were so many people around me."
Most people don’t know: "Most people don't know I'm 16. They think I'm older than that. I hoop—I play basketball. I'm challenging any rapper. I promise you. I love to play games. I don't think a game has ever made me angrier than [NBA] 2K."
I’m going to blow up because: "I work hard and I'm humble. I just go anywhere by myself. I don't even realize how big I am. I went to the mall just by myself. [I] told my dad, just stay out there, I'm finna go get something really fast. I'm walking, taking hella pictures. They like man why you in the mall like that? [I'm] like, why not?"
I’m going to be the next: "Me. I get compared to YoungBoy so much I don't even like to compare myself to other people. I just want to be the next me or the next best I can be of me."
"No Chorus Pt. 3"
"I Dont Need No Help (Glokknine Remix)"
"Shotta Flow 2"