Yo Gotti is no one’s underdog. The Memphis rapper has been cooking up projects since the year 2000. Growing up in an impoverished area of North Memphis, Gotti, born Mario Mims, decided that he would be the bread winner for his family and try his hand at the music business. Entrepreneurship proved to be Gotti’s strongest skill. He never hesitated in making the necessary decisions to move his fledgling career forward — even if that meant driving hundreds of miles to meet DJs in person, or literally selling discs out of his trunk. “The plan starts in the kitchen,” Gotti has been noted saying. During his humble beginnings, one could say the world was his kitchen and only he set limits on what he was capable of cooking up.
Twelve years and countless support from fans since his street debut, ‘From Da Dope Game 2 Da Rap Game,’ was released, Yo Gotti can currently say he’s tapped uncharted territory with his major label debut, ‘Live From The Kitchen,’ out now. The LP had been ready to go for at least a year but Gotti has experienced his share of false starts within that time. So much so that the release date itself was rushed by the label, resulting in promotion that proved to be insubstantial and dismal sales. Still, the rhymer remains unaffected by setbacks and prepared to take his brand even further.
The BoomBox spoke with Yo Gotti about the Jadakiss track he’ll turn into a video, the winning industry formula, and thoughts on Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J joining Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang.
Which tracks are you thinking of making visuals for off of ‘Live From The Kitchen’?
I’ma shoot the visuals for ‘Second Chance.’ I just spoke to Jadakiss and we’re gonna shoot the ‘Red, White and Blue.’ I just talked to him… and we’re gonna go to New York for it. Of course, I’ma do the joint, ‘Cases’ with 2 Chainz and you know I already did ‘Harder’ with [Rick] Ross. So we’re gonna shoot a few…
What new singles are you thinking of?
Man, I’m like… You know how you go through the album process? I mean, I’m on some new music. I got some new singles for the new album already. You feel me? [Laughs] I’m like 80 percent done with that.
So you’re already on to the next album? Are you planning on putting in out through RCA as well? I know you’ve had some problems with them making ‘Live From The Kitchen’ available in stores everywhere.
I don’t know. I don’t know about that. I mean, you know we’ll see, but right now I’m just really focused on making sure that the music is right for the people. That’s what’s most important.
You’ve been putting music out for years, but this is your first official major label release. It was due more than a year ago but all of a sudden within the last month, RCA forced the January date. Did you feel rushed?
Yeah. I’ve been putting out music independently so I know the procedures and the process behind putting out an album, so this definitely came out of nowhere, you know what I mean?
You said the title, ‘Live From The Kitchen,’ was derivative of the “first step taken in any process,” “the beginning of a plan.” What does that mean to you?
It’s all about planning. My plan is to make good music for the people and get on a platform to put the music out so that the people are able to get it. And the music has to be accessible. It has to be in the stores for people to buy it, there has to be a whirl for you to know it’s coming. You get what I’m saying? That’s like, “One, two, three…” steps to the music business. But you know, as long as you stay connected to the fans though, it don’t really matter what the situation is and that’s my focus.
Did you feel any pressure going from independent projects and mixtapes to ‘Live From The Kitchen’?
Nah, nah. No pressure. No pressure with the music, no pressure with the work. We don’t have those issues.
You’ve said that you started because you wanted to provide for your family. You’ve been getting show money for years though, so you guys are good now?
Yeah, believe that [laughs]. We good, we more than good.
Why continue then? Your family is taken care of so what’s your reasoning behind doing music now?
I feel like, to touch people through your music is a whole other responsibility you feel you have. I feel like when I’m telling my story, I’m telling other people’s story — it helps them get through their day. I’m doing it for the people now. I got money… It’s just strictly about the fans now and just giving good music out to the people.
I see you brought Lody on as a producer on ‘Live From the Kitchen.’
Yeah, Lody has three on there. Lody did ‘Single,’ ‘Harder’ and the ‘Letter’ track.
What was it like to work with someone from Memphis, not only the city, but your actual neighborhood of North Memphis?
It’s always good to work with people from the hometown. You know Lody and them, they’re young so that energy… I like to be around positive energy and people who have a lot of energy, it gives you energy.
For years, there’s been a stubborn rumor about there being some kind of beef between your camp and Three 6 Mafia, also from Memphis. You address it on this LP, saying there’s no animosity at all. With that said, what are your thoughts on Juicy J signing with Taylor Gang?
I think it’s a good look. We rock with Wiz [Khalifa] and we think Wiz must definitely did his thing as an artist and he’s growing, his whole label. So I think it’s a good look for Juicy. You know what I’m saying? And like you said, we ain’t got nothing against Juicy and them. We don’t really know ‘em. I don’t really know ‘em like that.
If you don’t really know them, how do you think the rumors started?
Man, long story short, it’s like, the people around him. The people around them in their entourage… One of their little artists talking foul about me and you know, I’m a boss, you know what I’m saying? If they got something to say, I take it to the bosses because you got to allow them to say it. I don’t play with no soldiers ’cause I got soldiers [laughs]. Bosses got to go to war with bosses, you know what I’m saying?
As reported by TheBoomBox