Yo Gotti Discusses New Deal with Roc Nation, His 'White Friday' Album, and Premieres "Weatherman" Video with Kodak Black
Gotti's 'White Friday (CM9)' drops Friday.
Yo Gotti started his year with his hit single "Down In The DM" reaching number one on the Billboard Mainstream Hip Hop/R&B charts. It was his first number one and it came weeks before the release of his fifth studio The Art of Hustle. These advancements gained Gotti a mainstream fanbase that he'd never seen before and breathed new life into his already-established decade-long stronghold on the south. But even with hitting those milestones, history would suggest that Gotti wouldn't let the year pass by without releasing more material.
On Friday, Gotti will release White Friday (CM9), the ninth installment of his famed Cocaine Muzik mixtape series. The project comes just after Gotti dropped all-star coke anthem "Castro,"and announced that he'd be joining Roc Nation for management last week. In a documentary that follows the nine-day recording process of the album, Gotti provides a day-in-the-life experience showing how he and a small team of people manage his career. Today we are premiering Gotti's new video for his "Weatherman" song with Kodak Black. We caught up with Yo Gotti to hear about the making of the video, his new deal with Roc Nation, and how he'll continue his Cocaine Muzik series.
Noisey: When you first started the Cocaine Muzik series, you'd already had successful albums. What were you trying to accomplish that you couldn't with an album?
Yo Gotti: You know mixtapes back then was the thing to do so I was looking at the brands like Gangsta Grillz and Southern Smoke at the time. All the DJs that had strong brands of doing mixtapes. I wanted to create my own. I never wanted to be waiting on somebody else's brand to do my tape. So that was the creation of it—create my own series that just as popular and creates the same demand so i could release my music whenever I felt like it.
You had a deadline to finish the tape in nine days. How did that time constraint influence your creativity?
I just wanted to challenge myself to do the project in nine days and do it from inside of a house, even though it was a mansion and not the houses we grew up in and recorded at. But it's still the same feel to it; putting everybody in the same house, all the energy, and producers, and my homies.
I think it came out good. I'm a perfectionist so i can overthink it. I would usually come back and redo it. I recorded The Art of Hustle album three times because I had the time to do it. But on this project, we only had nine days so you had to get it right the first time.
You recently partnered with Roc Nation for management. Was that in any way influenced by the success of The Art of Hustle or having your first number one song this year?
I don't think it was about a song. I most definitely respect Jay Z hustle and everything he built. He's a businessman first and I think he respects my hustle. We got a talk started. The talk started about hustlers and respecting each other's hustle and music. It's about aligning yourself with the right hustlers and I feel like, from both of our perspectives, we aligned ourselves with the right hustlers. We knew hustling together could be something special.
How did the "Weatherman" collaboration with Kodak Black come about?
Kodak like one of my favorite artists right now. If you pay attention to me, I keep my ear to the streets so if you look at all my Cocaine Muzik tapes, I always work with the artists on the way up or killing the streets early. Kodak one of the artists I picked to work with. He was locked up at the time so i reached out to his people to figure out how I could get this on the tape while he was still in jail. I think that whole process was interesting because we flew his people out to the house I was recording in. We created the record and I got on the phone with him and talked to him about what my plans was and what I was trying to do. It just happened that he got out of prison a week later. So soon as he got out of jail, a week later I shot out to his house down in Florida in Broward County and shot the video.
In the CM9 documentary you go into the mission of your label CMG and you mentioned getting young street artists and giving them a shot at life to provide for their families. Is that your thinking with Kodak, especially with him facing 30 years for sexual misconduct?
Like I said, I like Kodak. So when I like you, I'm gonna give you any game that I done learned. Any information that I can give you that will help you or show you to get in a better situation, I'm gonna tell you because I like you as a person, I like you as an artist. If you can pick anything up from that, it's great. That's what it's for.
In the documentary, you talk about the importance of having different styles to the intros of every Cocaine Muzik tape. How does this one stand out?
Yeah I think the intros to my Cocaine Muzik joints is always legendary, always special. And they always like the summary of what I've been going through between the last project and the current project. On "81," even if you listen to the chorus it got like that old Memphis feel; the way you could chop up the samples with the MPC. It got that feel but I'm still telling you my mental state and what I'm in right now.
Your manager, Mel Carter, passed during the recording process of the project. Did his passing influence the tape at all or just help you push through?
Actually when Mel passed, I was finished with all the music. I went back and did one song after he passed called "What Happened." It's the last song and kind of like a dedication to him. That's the only song I recorded after he passed. Mel was my partner; he handled most of our business behind the scenes. With him passing in the middle of the project coming out, I'd say my work doubled or tripled because I had to not only do Yo Gotti business, I had to do his part too to make sure it still come out in December. All the clearances, all the paperwork, getting it to producers and artists. Just a lot of paperwork that ain't on the creative end. It was a lot of pressure from that because I could have dropped the ball and missed the date. I wasn't gonna do that because I know he really wanted me to put it out. I felt like I couldn't drop the ball. Once he passed, I felt like I had to make sure it came out for him.
Now that you've revived the series, will you be making this the final installment or do you not want to put that cloud over it this time?
I ain't gonna put the cloud over it because, CM8, I really wanted to end it there but then at the same token, I'm an artist who was birthed by the streets and birthed by a certain game that whenever they call, I feel like I gotta show up. I feel like they called for this CM9. The only difference is that we gonna come out sincere this time.
Photo: Courtesy of Epic Records
Follow Lawrence Burney on Twitter