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    Yo Gotti

    Yo Gotti Biography

    As one of the five epicenters of Southern Hip Hop, Memphis has always had a thriving underground music scene capable of producing major platinum superstars such as Eightball & MJG and Three 6 Mafia. Next to look out for is Yo Gotti, M-Town’s current rap kingping. Yo Gotti calls himself a “rapper repping reality” and it’s his “real-life storytelling”, skill and finesse on the microphone that have elevated him to become one of the South’s most respected young rappers.

    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.

    Yo Gotti All Music Guide Biography

    Yo Gotti is among the many hardcore rappers who came out of hip-hop's Dirty South school in the late '90s. He is also one of the hip-hoppers who derive part of their stage names from the late New York mafioso John Gotti; others have included Big Gotti, Don Gotti, Juan Gotti, Bazooka Joe Gotti, and Irv Gotti. Not all Dirty South recordings are gangsta rap, but Yo Gotti has favored the thugged-out gangsta side of the Dirty South, and he gets his inspiration from both Southern and non-Southern rappers. Master P and his New Orleans-based No Limit posse are an influence; so are N.W.A., Dr. Dre, and the late Tupac Shakur. Gotti's more sexually explicit lyrics also owe something to Oakland native Too Short, who was never a gangsta rapper but did a lot to popularize X-rated rap lyrics. Yo Gotti, however, isn't from the West Coast any more than he is from New Orleans; his stomping ground is Memphis, the city that gave us the Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Blac, Eightball & MJG, Kingpin Skinny Pimp, and quite a few other Dirty South artists. When Gotti boasts that he is "straight from the North," he doesn't mean the northern part of the United States; he means the northern part of Memphis, where he lived in the infamous, crime-ridden Ridge Crest housing projects. And Memphis' more dangerous neighborhoods have inspired many of Gotti's lyrics, which often describe the dangers of life in the 'hood. Gotti, however, doesn't always rap about crime and inner-city thug life; he also raps about sex quite a bit. After performing around Memphis in the '90s, Gotti started building a catalog in the early 2000s. His first album, From da Dope Game 2 da Rap Game, came out on the Inevitable label in 2000; His subsequent Inevitable releases included 2001's Self Explanatory and 2002's Block Burnin', Vol. 1. After that, Gotti signed with TVT and recorded Life, which came out in 2003. TVT released "Dirty South Soldiers" (a duet with Atlanta crunk star Lil' Jon) as Life's first single. After having his track "Full Time" featured in the film Hustle & Flow, he released Back 2 da Basics in 2006. A series of Cocaine Muzik mixtapes carried the rapper to 2012 when his first major-label release, Live from the Kitchen, landed on RCA. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi

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