WASHINGTON — yo Gotti is in a great place personally, professionally and financially. About the only thing that isn’t going his way right now is the weather.
A few days before Halloween, I sit in a suite at nearly empty Audi Field, home of D.C. United, one of Major League Soccer’s founding franchises, waiting to speak with the team’s new minority owner. I am outside, a nor’easter is lashing the city with heavy rain and sometimes strong winds.
Yo Gotti is in town the next day for a fan appreciation event and he’s eager to blow it off on a myriad of topics. CM10: Free Game is his new double album, dropping on February 4. (The album was originally scheduled for release in November 2021.) Yo Gotti’s Collective Music Group imprint sports an impressive array of talent, including EST Gee, 42 Dugg, Black Youngster, Bloc Boy JB and Moneybag You, whose A Gangsta’s Pain The album was number 1 in the country in 2021. He is advocating fair treatment of prison inmates. And now, he is part owner of a major league sports team. In a field that rejoices diverse collections, yo gotti deserves to be stated among hip-hop’s premier hustlers.
Yo Gotti ambles into Suite 25 eating hot tea. An assistant holding an umbrella keeps Yo Gotti’s black puffer Dior jacket, black shirt and iced-out D.C. United chain dry. After hitting the people in the room — a pandemic precaution that makes Depp feel safer — he begins to take off his jacket. That is, until one of the suite doors was flung open by a gust of wind.
“Hell an,” Yu Gotti chuckled as he put his jacket back on. “I am good.”
U Gotti, 40, is eager to talk around his new scheme. Free Game is the 11th studio album in a career spanning a quarter of a century since 1996’s Youngster on a Come Up, when he switched to the moniker Lil U. At the time, he hardly thought of himself as a rapper. He was making more money from music on the streets of Memphis, Tennessee. Still, poetry brought a certain sense of therapeutic freedom.
This activity was also an exercise in neighborhood relations. One of Yo Gotti’s homeboys trained him how to blow. He would write bars for everyone on the crew and each person had four to eight bars to shine. U Gotti quickly picked up the writing process and created his own wave. But it took a few years to relax, she told XXL. “We’ll have to go down three or four albums before I really start to feel like a rapper.”
Since then, Yu Gotti has not only convinced himself that he is worthy of being called an MC. He has compiled a huge body of work, including all of his albums, at least 22 mix tapes and who knows how many more features. At this point, he doesn’t need to say another word. Although, of course, he has a lot to say. U Gotti is genuinely happy.
“I’m grateful to be here. Doing what I love to do, responsibility what I want toward do. The environment I grew up in,” U Gotti said, referring to the infamous Ridgecrest Apartments in Memphis. Pay was the person who changed his trajectory.
“Who would have always thought we would get to anywhere we are currently?” yo gotti asked rhetorically. “Not me. That’s the process behind this album.”
CM10: The Free Game was over a year in the making. About two years at this point. Although he’s now apparently a world away from Ridgecrest Apartments, he’s still very much linked to the city. A quick check of his Instagram shows Yo Gotti reflecting on his life and times in the Grind City. The one thing he can’t escape is the reality he survived, and the trauma that comes with it. Running alongside the good memories are the dangers that come with the house. The song titles reflect the mental struggle between the realities of U Gotti’s early years and the times in which he lives. Some were written and recorded while Yo Gotti, like most Americans, sat alone in 2020 and even parts of 2021. With your thoughts and feelings. Then, as the restraints slowly loosened, the tone of the music changed. (So did Yo Gotti’s body. He’s lost more than 50 pounds in the past year.) Hence songs like the marching band-inspired “Amazing.” That in particular
Excited about featuring a graphic song with Moneybag Yo. As this goes on, the room is clearly feeling the gangsta duo. Yu Gotti smiles and nods in approval. (Just last week, Yo Gotti announced that he would be adding a new artist to his album by starting a contest to allow artists to upload verses to a record that appears on the project. The victor will be featured on the book. will be displayed and possibly signed by the CMG. .)
Next, he plays “I Just Left-hand the Hamptons,” which originates with a quick backstory. Here, Yo Gotti raps about presence Michael Rubin’s star-studded “white party” and not only follows his financial ambitions, but other power sporting as well. “It’s the people in the room,” Yo Gotti said of attendees like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Robert Croft, Jay Balloon, James Harden, Jon Bon Jovi, Vinnie Harlow and others. “We might not even know their name. It’s like the head of TikTok over there. So this room is not like any other room. The solitary energy and self-reliance. What I’m doing is going in the right direction and I feel the right way. It’s leading to invitations to places.