Live From the Kitchen with Yo Gotti: SoJones Exclusive

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In Hip Hop, respect is hard to gain, and even more difficult to retain as time passes. Hip Hop is also one of the most critiqued and controversial music genres, from fans who are lightning quick to point out anything that isn’t “keeping it real” to Oprah’s disapproval of gangsta rap.

With that said, it’s to be understood that Yo Gotti is hands down one of, if not the, most consistently well respected artist of this…decade dare I say? I read the blogs; I don’t see one bad thing out there about this dude. (Fans of Yo Gotti, am I joking? Haters?)

Of course the haters hate, but fact is, Mario “Yo Gotti” Mims keeps it moving, keeps it 100%, and takes some time out of his busy schedule to speak with SoJones on his fashion game and why his first major release, “Live from the Kitchen” is gonna be a problem when it drops.

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SoJones: You started in 2000, worked with so many artists in the game (Gucci Mane, Plies, Lil Wayne to name a few), and your next release “Live from the kitchen” drops next year. Tell me a little about the new album.

Yo Gotti: Well you know the new album is out 1st quarter next year. I’ve been working with a lot of producers like Cool and Dre, Justice League, Jim Jones, Hot Rod (who made “5 star chick”), lots of producers…

SoJones: You hit the top rap charts with “ridiculous” ft. Gucci Mane & OJ Da Juiceman, and currently you had a spot on the new Clipse record. What was it like working with the Clipse?

Yo Gotti: Those are my homeboys, we work all the time. I’m a fan of the Clipse music so, when they reached out for me to get on the record, I’m gonna get on it. I think it’s a good response, me being on the record.

SoJones: It really was. I was always curious, how did you get the name Yo Gotti?

Yo Gotti: It was like a nickname that they gave me in the neighborhood, before I even got serious into rapping, so it was already my nickname. Then once my music jumped off, we just kept it the same.

SoJones: You and Gucci Mane I noticed have a really keen ear for beats. What your process for picking beats?

Yo Gotti: I get 1,000 beats a week. Good beats stick out, you know what I mean? You hear it when it first come on; if a beat can rock the club with no words on it, that’s the beat you wanna rap on.

SoJones: For our readers out there trying to get into the producing game, tell me the issue with sample clearance from your standpoint.

Yo Gotti: Pretty much it can be an inconvenience you know? Sometime it’s way expensive, sometimes it takes too long to get it done, and basically what they want is a clearance fee, and how much publishing they want out of the song. It really gets to be a hassle, you know what I’m saying? So I look at it like this: the sample doesn’t really make the song. I don’t really deal with it.between-cars.jpg

SoJones: Drake recently mentioned in an interview that when he was growing up in Tennessee, he used to sneak into your shows. He also mentioned you as one of his influences.

Yo Gotti: That’s what’s up!

SoJones: You mentioned in an interview how it’s important for an upcoming artist to not focus too much on getting the money, a hustler can get money millions of different ways. Speak on that a little more if you will, that’s real talk.

Yo Gotti: I mean if this is what you do, you focus on being the best at that. And if you win, the money will come automatically. But I think when you do it vice versa you screw up what you doing because you think about the money and not what you’re doing so you may not pay as much attention to the actual art of what your doing. I think anything you do in life you got to love doing it. The more you focus on doing it the better you get and the more you learn as you go on. The money gonna come…

SoJones: Tell us about your record label. Who do you have signed that our readers should be looking out for? Are you accepting new talent?

Yo Gotti: Yeah we look for new artists everyday. If they hot enough we work with them. We got a couple people on the radar, nothings fixed yet, but they on the radar right now.

SoJones: You, like many pioneers of the game, printed up posters, flyers, CD’s , drove everywhere handing out music from your trunk…obviously it’s a new day and age now. What advice do you have for the new internet age of rappers?

Yo Gotti: I mean, you gotta change with the times. Even though I started way different than a lot of artists today, you still gotta have the same fire, the same dedication whether you was doing it like I was doing it, going city to city to the actual hoods, or you doing it from your house on the computer. You still gotta have that equal grind to be on that computer 24 hours out of the day. It’s the same grind you just gotta stay down with it.

Yo Gotti ft. Gucci Mane, Trina, and Nicki Minaj- 5 star chick remix

SoJones: I was watching 106 and Park when they dedicated an entire show to figuring out why black-on-black violence is still so prevalent in urban communities. As the show went on, show host Rocsi was in tears as she demanded to know why the “stop snitching” cultural mandate persists in the hood. I wanted to know what your stance was on that. If something tragic happened to a loved one of yours, would you want someone to know what happened, to snitch?

Yo Gotti: I’d want em to tell me. I’d like them to tell me what happened; if something happened to one of my people I wanna know it. This whole “stop snitching” thing is…you know, from my angle where we look at it it’s more about…when you get in trouble, yourself not wanting to take responsibility for it. To me that ain’t cool. If you a hustler making money and you was doing certain things that you was living off of, then once you got in trouble, you wanna tell on the next person that was doing it: I don’t believe in that and I don’t think its cool. I believe you should take responsibility for your own actions.

SoJones: You mentioned before how important it is to have a team when your doing music, and that you can’t do it by yourself. If you can tell our readers what a “team” consists of, in terms of the music?

Yo Gotti: With a team, you gotta have real people not just like, 10-15 people that are gonna always agree to whatever you thinking or whatever you feelin’. Your team is your manager, your friends, just different people you respect. You respect their word and they respect yours and y’all just trying to win. So nobody trying to tell you nothing just to be cool and everybody got the same intentions.

SoJones: You’ve said before “don’t depend on the superstar DJ’s to play your stuff”. Why not?

Yo Gotti: I don’t mean don’t depend on them, I mean like don’t think that’s the only way you can get hot!

SoJones: With so many rappers in jail, what keeps you out of it?

Yo Gotti: What keeps me out of jail? Moving the right way, basically…
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SoJones: Tell us about your clothing game. What was the first time you spent major bucks on an apparel item for yourself?

Yo Gotti: I was spending all the money on clothes since I was in junior high school. I was spending all the money on Coogi, Versace, Avirex jackets…when it comes to clothes I’m always gonna buy the fly, hot shit.

SoJones: What kinda kicks are you wearing right now?

Yo Gotti: I do my thing from the Gucci to the Louie and Prada. Keeping it basic with the force’s, know what I’m sayin’? It’s according to the situation.

SoJones: Who makes your favorite jeans?

Yo Gotti: I wouldn’t say favorite jeans, but right now I’m on those hard denim jeans, you know some Levi’s…that hard denim look.

SoJones: What’s one fashion trend you’d like to see go away on men or ladies?

Yo Gotti: …Hmm, I don’t know…

SoJones: I remember talking to Hurricane Chris, and he was mentioning tall tees for this question…

Yo Gotti: Yeah! I was gonna say that but I thought that was already gone! (laughs)

SoJones: Is there anything you stopped wearing this year because it was just game over?

Yo Gotti: Anything I stopped wearing this year? Not really. With the way I move, when fads change I be up in it so it’s like, I don’t really have no old stuff that I have to stop wearing. If it’s hot I’m wearing it, and if it faded then I’m not messin’ with it.

SoJones: Do you stay up on the blogs reading on what’s good or what?

Yo Gotti: I’m in the streets, you know? Nothing against the blogs or none of that but it ain’t nothing like real life. When you in the stores the thing is, I’m around people five days out of the week. I’m in clubs and different cities five days out of the week so I’m seeing what it is.

SoJones: Anything you’d like to say to our readers before you sign out?

Yo Gotti: Hit me up at: http://twitter.com/YoGottiKOM, myspace.com/yogotti. Live from the Kitchen is on the way.

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