Yo Gotti Goes Back 2 Da Basics

Yo Gotti Goes Back 2 Da Basics

March 30, 2006

As one of the five epicenters of Southern hip hop,
Memphis has always had a thriving underground
capable of producing major platinum superstars such
as Eightball & MJG, 3-6 Mafia and Project Pat. All of
the above-mentioned artists at one point in time
literally dominated the city’s underground rap scene
before going on to become national superstars. Next
up to bat is Yo Gotti, M-Town’s current underground
rap kingpin.

Like his namesake John Gotti, the Memphis based
rapper has been running the Southern underground
scene with an iron first for the past. Known and
respected throughout the South for his skill and
finesse on the microphone, Yo Gotti is one 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 call Frazier. His childhood was typical
for a poor ghetto youth in the Deep South. Raised in
a family of hustlers and exposed to hard times 24
hours a day the Tennessee rap titan soon turned to
the only thing that knew could get him paid,
hustling. “Being from the hood things like hustling will
come your way,” says Yo Gotti.
“Everybody in my family hustled in some kinda way.”
Ironically, hustling is what ultimately led Yo Gotti to

Taking his cue from Memphis rap legends such as
Eightball & MJG, Al Kapone, Gangsta Black, Triple 6
Mafia and Kingpin Skinny Pimp, all of whom he lists as
influences, Yo Gotti released his own underground
tape entitled, Youngster on the Come Up and
placed it on consignment at local mom & pop record
stores as well as hustling it out the trunk. The tape
sold like hotcakes on the street and made Yo Gotti
the hottest rapper on the streets of Memphis.

From the Dope Game to the Rap Game, Yo
Gotti’s sophomore effort 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. Soon he found himself ranked among the
city’s top rappers. In addition to being featured on
the cover of Murderdog Magazine along side his idols
Kingpin Skinny Pimp and Al Kapone his record From
the Dope Game to the Rap Game made the list
for the magazine’s top independent record for the
year 2000.

Two years later he inked a distribution deal with TVT
Records and released the critically acclaimed album
Life, which did respectable numbers for an
independent label. “It sold about 40 or 50,000, with
no promotions or video,” says Yo Gotti. “That record
did what it did on its own.” But as the old saying
goes when one door is closed another opened. Gotti’s
reputation as the king of Memphis continued to
spread and that eventually led him to a production
deal with Cash Money/Universal records for his group
the Block Burnaz.

With his TVT sophomore album entitled Back 2 Da
Basics, Yo Gotti returns with the same hardcore
street flavor that his die-hard fans have come to
know and love, only this time around the true king of
Memphis has elevated his game a bit. Given the fact
that his last record didn’t do the type of big number
he’d hope for you’d think that Yo Gotti would switch
up his style to reach a larger audience. Right?
Wrong! According to Gotti his street credibility with
his underground fans means more to him than gold or
platinum status.

“The one thing that you have to understand is that
when you create a fan base off of street product the
last thing you wanna do is disrespect them by
changing because of the record companies and stuff
like that. When you do that you change what
created you. To me it is very important that I keep in
tune with the people that helped to sell 40,000
records independently. That’s why I call my record
Back 2 Da Basics.”

Produced by DJ Thoomp, Mannie Fresh, Carlos Brody
and newcomers Street Tunes, Back 2 Da
Basics offers fans a gritty, insider’s view into the
real streets of Memphis as seen through the eyes of
Yo Gotti. Nowhere is this viewpoint more intense
than on “Full Time,” the amped up lead single –and
featured in the MTV Films’ Hustle & Flow movie – with
a thunderous bass and intoxicating beat that
espouses Gotti’s formula to success –hustle full
time. “A lotta cats wanna be a rapper or a street
hustler but they don’t wanna put in the time that it
takes,” says Yo Gotti. “They want the money and
the cars and the girls, but they don’t wanna work
hard for it. But to be successful at anything you
gotta grind for it.” On the song “Mama We Gone Be
Alright,” he waxes introspective by reflecting on all of
the hard times that he and his family have suffered
through the years and offers her hope-filled words
encouragement. “Mama We Gone Be Alright” along
with the gripping tune “My Story” emerges as two of
the most interesting songs on Back 2 Da Basics.
These three titles along with club banging songs
like “Shorty” featuring Baby make Back 2 Da
Basics one of the best albums of the year.

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