Interview: Yo Gotti Talks 'Down In The DM', Skepta And More
What were your thoughts behind releasing ‘Down In The DM’ as the lead single from your album?
Well it was one of those records that once I’d recorded it, I wanted to throw it out there. I threw it out there with a couple of other records and that was the one that the people picked. I think whenever the fans and the people pick the singles, that’s how you know you got a real record.
The video has been a bit of a phenomenon due to it’s tongue-in-cheek humour and cameo appearances, so was a funny video something you thought about as you made the track?
If you heard the record, you knew how the video was gon’ be, it was that simple. I needed the video to be fun and capture certain things. I couldn’t say exactly how I needed it to be but i just knew what I wanted it to be. So I went through a tonne of directors and a tonne of treatments and I could never get the right video treatment. At one point I didn’t think we’d have a video for it because I wasn’t gonna a video just to shoot one. Gil Green finally came with the treatment that I love and once I’d seen the wedding thing I was like ‘there ya go, right there’.
The track is taken from your latest album ‘The Art Of Hustle’, which is a brilliant project. Have you got a track on there that you feel best represents you as an artist in 2016?
I think ‘Mama’ is one of my favourite tracks on there as a personal record. I think it touched a lot of people and helped a lot of people understand my life and what I’ve been through. Also ‘My City’ which features K. Michelle - both of those records are powerful records and really explain me.
The album includes some really diverse elements, with some grittier, traditional rap sounds supported by more mellow and often orchestral sections, so did you always plan for it to be quite diverse?
That’s putting an album together and some of these cats don’t know how to do that. I put this together how I prefer to listen to an album. If I’m listening to your album and track four sounds like track three, or track five sounds like track four, I may not finish it. I don’t wanna hear the same thing through the whole twelve or fourteen songs. I think albums should take you to different places - you may be in deep thought on a song, you may be turnt up on another or turnt down, you may wanna ride a smoke to a different song or wanna get in the middle of the club and rage. But each record should take you to a different space because I think music is emotion.
For the records where I wanted features, I got everyone I wanted. Of course I would like to work with artists like Kanye, but the record I would’ve put him on wasn’t on this album.
So I hear this is your first time over to London - how have you found it and what was your knowledge of the UK scene prior to coming over here?
I think it’s dope man. I like the culture, the vibe and the energy. It’s all new and I really like learning things so I feel like I’m learning here. Before I came over here I’d heard the ‘Shutdown’ record from Skepta. After I heard that we pulled up a few more videos from him, so I heard some of his music and I liked it. From being over here and looking up the UK artists since I’ve been over here, I like the market and I think there’s a good selection of different artists. There’s a lot of great artists who represent the street culture that we represent too and I look forward to working with them.
Yo Gotti’s ‘The Art of Hustle’ is out now and you can download your copy on iTunes here.
Words: Matt Tarr
Online Edit: Ra'ed Khan