memphis rapper

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Keep Hustling: Yo Gotti on His New Album, Throwback Pics and How to DM

To see more from Yo Gotti, check out @yogottikom on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

Somehow, Instagram @music has existed for almost a year without mentioning “Down in the DM,” a literal erhm … love letter to direct messaging with the actual lyric “I love the Gram, I love the Gram.” It’s time to fix that. The song is by Memphis rapper Yo Gotti (@yogottikom), it recently hit No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Hip-Hop/R&B chart, and it has thrown the veteran emcee’s DMs into overdrive. Good thing the man knows how to handle attention.

Gotti has been hustling ever since he was a red suspender-rocking, gold chain-wearing 8-year-old. (Yep, that’s him in the photo above; even as a kid his style game was on point). This year, he’s throwing all that swagger into the title of his new album, The Art of Hustle, and its cover image. “I have been looking at those pictures all my life,” says Gotti. “We had houses in Vegas. My mom and auntie, any [boxing] fight that was poppin’, they would show up with the mink coats on and get front row seats. And for some reason I was just into that lifestyle, so I always asked to tag along with them. And they let me go.”

Gotti is already calling The Art of Hustle (out on February 19) “his best work yet” — a serious boast for someone who’s dropped almost two dozen mixtapes and eight studio records over the last 20 years. It’s got a hell of a lineup: The inclusion of “DM” along with features from Future, Pusha T and Lil Wayne, plus production from producers Drumma Boy and Timbaland. “I think it’s a classic album,” says Gotti. “It’s got a lot of different components on it, speaking about my past and upbringing, being raised by a family full of hustlers who taught me the game and the rules and the principles of the streets.”

Those rules are what have kept Gotti going for the past two decades. (And he has them for everything, including DMing: “No screenshots,” he says. “It’s kinda like the Stop Snitching campaign. If you screenshotting and want people to DM you messages then you violating the game and the purpose of it.”) In an industry where artists come and go and what’s hot today is trash tomorrow, he is holding strong.

“Man it’s just consistency and always being able to adapt to changes,” Gotti says. “When the industry turns you gotta turn with it. I pay attention, I study. It’s always about keeping up with your hustle.”

––Instagram @music