Yo Gotti is having a very good year. The Memphis, Tenn.-based rapper inked a new deal with Epic Records earlier this year, after an extended period of uncertainty regarding his career. Not only did it give him a new label home, but it also provided a launchpad for his CMG (Cocaine Muzik Group) imprint. With the deal in place, Gotti set to work on his sixth studio album. With I Am set to hit the streets this week, Gotti sat down with RO and reflected on where he is and what he’s been through.
“I think I am is the best work I’ve done so far. It’s got a lot of different components in this album — just real-life messages and things I’ve gone through,” Gotti says. “Struggle and pain — along with the club music. My best album yet. One of my main focuses with this album was to show growth. I wanted to show growth from mixtape material to album material. I think I’ve done it.”
With this being his first album on a new label, there are understandable expectations. His career is at a crossroads and he knows what the stakes are. But Gotti isn’t sweating any of that.
“I ain’t feeling no pressure. I’m still doing 100 percent me, I still feel the same way. I got no pressure. I feel better than ever,” he says. “I’ve got a team of people working just as hard as me, so I’m cool.
“I wouldn’t say [being on Epic] changed my approach to the music, it’s just a better business platform,” he explains. “You’ve got a dedicated hard-working team, just like I’ve got. I felt like it was the perfect team to partner up with. And I feel like they believed in what I believe in when it comes to my label, CMG.
“I went through a couple of bad situations and overall what I learned is most things are based around what you do. It’s not the label that you’re with. You can put yourself in the priority seat if you’re doing the right s— or not. A lot of it has nothing to do with what label you’re with. That was something that I learned going through two bad situations. I ain’t the type of dude to just sit and blame everything on everybody. I try to see what I’ve done wrong in the situation and what I could have done differently. I take it all as a learning experience.
“I know where we were wrong,” Gotti adds. “Me and the people I was doing business with. I ain’t going through those same situations again. I know how to dodge those situations.”
Gotti got a lot of attention on Twitter last week after he tweeted what sounded like confrontational words to fellow Memphis rap superstar, Juicy J. “Somebody Tell @TheRealJuicyJ Quit Dodging Me Everytime he see Me.. My N—a I ain’t tryna do nothin To U…” Gotti tweeted. “My N—a u from Memphis.. if I was tryna do some to u it woulda been Happen @TheRealJuicyJ And if I had yo line I woulda hit U.. #RealS–t”
But Gotti says that despite the tone, he has no problem with Juicy. In fact, they squashed their differences with a phone call just hours after the tweet.
“I had just seen him. If I had his number, I woulda hit him. Because I don’t believe in that,” he explains. “But I ended up talking to him after that. We got on the phone. I talked to his brother. I ain’t got no issue with Juicy. That’s what I was trying to tell him. I hollered at him.”
“To me, the most important thing is that, when its involving real people and real life, is that y’all work it out,” he says. “The media is gonna do what the media is gonna do. That’s their job. As long as n—as is on the same page, it’s cool.”