Yo Gotti Biography
Born Mario Mims, Yo Gotti grew up in the infamous Ridge Crest Apartments in a North Memphis neighborhood. His childhood was typical for a poor ghetto youth in the South and he was raised in a family of hustlers and exposed to hard times 24 hours a day. “Being from the hood, things like hustling will come your way,” says Yo Gotti. “Everybody in my family hustled in some kind of way.” Ironically, hustling is what ultimately led Yo Gotti to a promising rap career.
Yo Gotti followed in the footsteps of Memphis rap legends Eightball & MJG, Al Kapone, Gangsta Black, Three 6 Mafia and Kingpin Skinny Pimp – all of whom he lists as influences – and released his own underground mixtape, Youngster on the Come Up, by placing it on consignment in mom and pop record stores as well as hustling it out of his trunk. The tape sold like hot cakes on the street and made Yo Gotti the hottest rapper on the come-up in Memphis.
Yo Gotti’s sophomore effort, From Da Dope Game to Da Rap Game, sold so well that Select-O-Hits, a local based independent distributor, offered him a small deal and the Memphis rapper more than doubled his fan base – with absolutely no marketing or promotions. His hardworking hustler mentality ensured that these early releases made waves throughout Memphis and beyond, landing From Da Dope Game on West Coast-based Murder Dog Magazine’s top independent records of 2000 and a cover alongside his idols Kingpin Skinny Pimp and Al Kapone, and on the “ones to watch” lists of hip hop heads nationwide.
In 2003 he signed a deal with TVT Records, then home to some of the south’s hottest rappers such as Lil Jon and Ying Yang Twins, and released his first official LP called Life. The move was a turning point in Yo Gotti’s career, as he continued to hustle and make inroads into the national hip hop scene, and his reputation as the King of Memphis continued to spread. The next three years saw Yo Gotti sign a production deal with Cash Money/Universal Records for his Block Burnaz group, land a hit single “Full Time” on the soundtrack for the 2005 feature film, Hustle and Flow, and release his most well received album to date, 2006’s Back 2 Da Basics, a near classic album that showed Gotti’s versatility as a rapper and featured appearances by Lil Wayne, Bun B, and 8 Ball.
If the past six years have shown us anything about Yo Gotti, it’s that he never slows down, and the upcoming release of his latest album, CM2, is sure to once again open a new chapter in Gotti’s career and build on the legacy he’s quickly establishing for himself.