Yo Gotti's reign as the King of Memphis is kicking into high gear, and with his recent performance at the city's prestigious Orpheum Theater marking the first time a hip-hop artist has graced the venue's stage, he's now packed out just about every place in town. With a new record deal with L.A. Reid's Epic Records signed last March, new artists arriving on his CMG (Cocaine Muzik Group) imprint, and an album in the works, XXL spoke to Yo Gotti about his recent collaborations, working with Wale and Cash Money, and why he's trying to be the Lebron James of this music business.

Congratulations on your Orpheum show.

Appreciate it, appreciate the love. It sold out, first hip-hop show there. It was history, you know what I mean. We had a good turnout, lot of special guests came out, from Jeezy to Jadakiss, Travis Porter, Ca$h Out. It was pretty big for our city. Yeah. There was a lot of history in there—that was the first show we performed "Act Right" [with Young Jeezy] live at.

That's off your album that you're working on?

Yeah, that's coming out in October, we're aiming for October with that. The album already crazy so far. I think it's gonna be a classic, definitely one of my best albums yet. I been working with artists like Young Jeezy, T.I., Lil Wayne, Jadakiss, and a whole bunch of producers, too. I worked with Sean Kingston on the album. So many producers; some new producers too, up and comers, along with producers that I like to work with. I'm just trying to just capture—I look at my album as a movie, you know, I'm gonna give you my life in music form. So I want it to be musical, but then I want to be able to go to the club and have a feel-good [aspect] to it, where you can party and it puts you in a good mood. I want to be able to to take you through it through stages. Then I'm gonna give you some real life shit where you may relate so close to home that you feel some kinda way about it.

With Wayne, T.I. and Jeezy, are you getting the South together?

I just like to work with artists who I feel like I have good working relationships with so that it's natural, we do so many records that it's natural.

Are you still recording the album?

Yeah, we're still recording.

Are you gonna continue with your Cocaine Muzik mixtape series?

Well right now I'm just focused on the album, you know what I'm saying. The mixtape we're trying to do will be with the label, CMG (Cocaine Muzik Group), where we introduce the new artists we working with. We had Zed Zilla, he's the first artist we signed, and other than that we have in the mix a couple different artists right now. We're working with them, we're just waiting for things to get locked in.

What else have you been working on?

I did some work on Wale's new album The Gifted, I got a record on there called "Bricks" with Lyfe Jennings. I like working with Wale because, like, he's both musically and lyrically inclined. I like working with artists like that because it take me that distance. I also did some work with the Rich Gang album, did a record for that. Got a few projects out there. [Cash Money and I], we like family. I've known them for so many years, so every time I work with them it's just like family. I hit them up, they hit me up, we do music back and forth, it's easy. My new album I Am is coming this fall, new single "Act Right," I got Young Jeezy and YG. We gonna turn up.

What are the next steps for you?

Well I feel like I come from the streets, totally, so it's gonna be, like I said, the response we get to the music, the way we drive people out to the clubs or wherever we be at, I think is self-explanatory. At this point in my career, we just trying to bring my whole CMG brand to the next level. It's like LeBron—now I'm trying to get the ring. That's where I'm at with it. Beyond just being good and being hot in the streets, now we want the ring, we want the championship. I think we gonna get it with this one.