Yo Gotti’s rise to the mainstream wasn’t an easy journey. After an output of mixtapes that included his underground series Cocaine Muzik, Gotti got his big break when his album, I Am, cracked the top ten album sales in the first week. Never one to keep quiet, Gotti is returning to the place that made him a household name in the first place. Earlier today, Gotti and his CMG crew (Snootie Wild, Zed Zilla and Wave Chapelle), debuted their first mixtape as a unit. CMG Presents: Chapter One features K Camp, Fabolous, Jadakiss and French Montana. Despite those names, Gotti wanted to keep it focused on his roster and showcase what they have to offer. XXL chopped it up with the CMG leader on the tape, and what we can expect from his cast of fledging talent.—Eric Diep

XXL: What does this mixtape series mean for your brand?
Yo Gotti: Actually, I've done some CMG tapes that was collectively before. Me and Zed Zilla [made] CM4 together. Both sides, both stories. That's the first time I did it with somebody. That was me and Zed Zilla. Then, CM5, it was me, Zed Zilla, and Starlito, which we've done together again. So, to me, they special. When you get the straight Gotti ones and then you get the ones when I collaborate with people. To me, it's just to keep it exciting and just to swap it up.

Who do you think is going to standout from the mixtape?
Me, personally, I think everybody is gonna stand out. I think everybody got their own lane of music they doing. That's what make it so creative and collective. When you hear Yo Gotti music, it's that heartfelt, life, pain, struggle music. When you hear Snootie, it's that turn up, party music energy. Wave Chapelle more conscious, lyrical lane. And you got Zilla who is coming from that street element too. I just think when you put them together,that what make it kind of unique and even creative. It what make it look hard and unique everybody is different. It ain't that simple of just putting on a beat and everybody on one song. That's the task of it, but I like that type of challenges where it fit right in the pocket.

How come you didn't put a lot of features on here?
I got a couple of records with features on it. I want to make sure that this tape is all about CMG, artists that are on CMG. So I don't want to steer away from that really.

Why did you change the meaning of CMG? It's called Collective Music Group now.
Cocaine Muzik is a mixtape series. You get what I am saying? That's a mixtape series. We gonna keep that a mixtape series. From a label's standpoint, it is Collective Music. It is what it is. Again, when you listen to Yo Gotti, you see Wave Chapelle, you see Snootie, you see Zed Zilla. Even future artists that we plan on signing like anybody might be a different genre of music, so to me, it's Collective Music. We all have the same goals--winning. The same visions. It's just different paths you are taken. You take the street way, you take the interstate. It's on you. The backstreet, however you want to take it. You might want to cut cross the field. It's on you.

How come you decided to put out for free?
I come from the streets. I come from that culture where you gotta test the product. You know what I am saying? I ain't scared of it. If you can stand behind it, you gonna see what it is. That's how I feel about it.

How many chapters are you doing?
The fans dictate what I do. When they call on it, I give it to 'em. We put out the first one. We let the fans take it in. When they ready for Chapter 2, we coming.

What are some songs fans should look out for?
Zed Zilla got a record called "REALest." He feel like he the realest or something like that. I think it is one of my favorite songs on there. Wave got a record called "Magic" that's crazy on there. Snootie's got a few records on there that is crazy. That "Stackin' & Flippin' It" is crazy. Then he got this record called "I Want U 2 Kno." It's like a female record, but that one is my favorite joints too.

What's it like to have artists you can shape and mold?
The good thing with me is my molding just comes from a business perspective. You know, teaching you the things I've done in the game and the things I've seen. Things that work that I have seen. Things that work and didn't work. So hopefully, you can bypass some of them hurdles. Other than that, I try to live by letting those guys do what they do creatively. Obviously, what you was doing made me want to go in business with you. So, I want you to keep doing that. I don't want you to stir away from what you are doing, trying to do what I think. You know what I am saying? I try to let any artist that work with me be creatively do everything.