Hard work has paid off for certified hit-maker Yo Gotti. Now, with a new album and a renewed perspective, the Memphis rapper takes a look back at the work put into his hefty catalog.
Words: Kai Acevedo
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.
Starting from the bottom, Yo Gotti rose from underground kingpin to one of hip-hop’s reigning kings in the South. Introduced as Lil Yo in the mid-1990s, the Memphis legend dropped off his debut album, Youngsta’s on a Come Up, independently in 1996, and has been on his grind ever since. Guided by his hustler’s spirit, he managed to navigate the independent route on his own terms, eventually locking in deals with major labels like RCA Records and Epic Records. “Coming from the streets, I was taught that good dope sells itself,” says the I Am rapper, who has supplied the streets with gold and platinum hits such as “5 Star,” “Act Right” with YG and Jeezy and the Nicki Minaj-assisted tracks “Down in the DM” and “Rake It Up,” which peaked at No. 8 and No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. “So if you got the music and it’s good, people will want to come get it.” Now, with over two decades in the game, Yo Gotti is 10 albums deep and has amassed an empire that includes his CMG collective—which officially launched in 2013 and is now home to artists such as Moneybagg Yo, Blac Youngsta, Lil Migo and 42 Dugg—as well as partnerships with Roc Nation and Puma. Here, the veteran rap star walks fans through his career album by album.
See Yo Gotti Take a Look Back on Every Album He's Ever Released
Check out more from XXL’s Spring 2020 issue including our Future cover story, in which he speaks on his Life Is Good album, Lil Yachty discusses his new album, Lil Boat 3, and the respect he deserves, Van Jones talks about his love for hip-hop, Show & Prove interviews with Jack Harlow, Key Glock and City Morgue, YBN Cordae in What's Happenin, Rapsody talks about getting her flowers in an exclusive interview; G Herbo speaks on building up his community like Jay-Z and Meek Mill, Royce 5'9" considers his next move with Eminem for a new Bad Meets Evil project, plus there's a brewing, new hip-hop scene in New York and more.
See Exclusive Photos of Future on a Yacht for XXL Magazine's Spring 2020 Cover Story