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Deeper than the DM: Yo Gotti speaks on the many levels of The Art of Hustle

But in case you were wondering, his DMs really are poppin'

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If you somehow missed it, Yo Gotti’s track ‘Down in The DM’ has been cooling it on Billboard’s Hot 100 for 13 weeks, and the video didn’t do too badly on YouTube either. With a new album out, The Art of Hustle, and an epic north American tour with Logic, YG, and G-Eazy in the works, it’s all going down for the 34-year-old who is definitely no stranger to the game. With 13 years experience in the industry, he knows what a blessing it is to be working on music with people who are all about it as much as he is. We got to have a chat with the self-proclaimed hustler about the lifestyle he’s living and what it means for him to have made it in this era.

You’ve just dropped your album, and now you’re prepping to tour with Logic, G-Eazy and YG in June. Is working this much something that comes naturally to you?

Yeah well it comes naturally to me because I think I’ve always been a workaholic, like I’m a true hustler. I never get tired of hustling and trying to get to the next coin. It’s just something you get used to, it’s something that just comes along with hustling, and I feed off it for sure.

The tour is set to go from June 28 to August 5. What are you most looking forward to for those upcoming months?

I just want to go out and put on a good show, you know. I know it’s going to be a dope tour, it’s going to be a lot of fun and you know all the people that come out with us—they just want to have a lot of fun and that’s what we’re doing it for.

Your album stacks up pretty well on paper. From Lil Wayne, Future, Pusha T, to 2 Chainz and Nicki Minaj, that’s some serious recognition. What is it about what you’re doing that’s attracting these kinds of artists to your music?

I just think that it’s good music. I have always believed that good music speaks for itself. Whenever you’re making the right music, and if you’re bringing it in then I think it styles up well on its own.

Your album covers everything from music that will get the whole club lit to deep tracks like ‘Momma’. How important do you think diversity is within your music?

I think it’s important for the kind of art I’m trying to do. Cause you know I make music about where I’m from. It’s good to make versatile music, and that way you can really tell stories in your songs. Like the next track after that might be one for the club, but I think that there’s just more to it, and there are special things that I can do that make me stand out a little more.

You’ve had such a large wave of new fans come in. They’re downloading The Art of Hustle for ‘Down in The DM’, but what is it you think that makes them stay?

Well they end up getting the whole story. It’s just like [Down in the DM] is just the commercial, know you? You get into the album and get to understand, respect and appreciate the soul of the music. That’s the way you captivate and capture the fans. Because then you get to see that it’s me and I’m out here to make music.

‘Down in the DM’ set a mood for 2016—because young people have become really passive with social media, but you’ve turned around and said “Hey, we can use this technology to get what you want”. Does that philosophy apply to other areas of your life?

Well you know… my Instagram is popping [laughs]. My Snapchat is lit. I just use these devices for how I want to use them. That’s my whole approach you know, to just be direct with it. If I like someone, I’m gonna like you. I’m not going to beat around the bush with it, I ain’t playing with it.

People tend to wait on their crushes to just like their photos, rather than hitting them up.

Yeah, and that ain’t me. I ain’t a waiter, I’m a go-getter. I don’t wait on that, if I want that I’m gonna get it [laughs]. It’s better to be honest and direct and you see that in the music as well.

The video is nearly at 40 million views on YouTube, and people are still talking about it. But are you sick of people asking you about your DMs since the song blew up?

Well my DMs be popping so I ain’t too tired of it yet [laughs]. You know it’s cool, I think the whole DM, the whole thing, the whole lifestyle of it—it’s a fun era. Because people use social media and the internet to talk so much these days, some people just take it too seriously. You know what I’m saying, like it’s better to just use it for what it’s for. If you’re cool with it, and like I mean I ain’t too serious about it because I’m not trying to live my life through social media. I’m out here living, you know what I’m saying? I ain’t about a lotta things that people be doing, when they’re building their whole lives off social media.

You’ve been making music professionally for 13 years. What has motivated you to keep working and grinding this whole time?

Freedom. Freedom, because I come from a culture where it’s like, hey, if I wasn’t doing music, what else would I be doing? You know, so, everyday… I’ve got this understanding that music is the key to my freedom.

You had a pretty rough upbringing. When you’re young, you have no control over where you’re raised and the situations around you – it can feel pretty hopeless for some. Considering you were confronted with some pretty serious shit at such a young age and still came so far—do you have any advice for younger people who may be experiencing the same thing?

You know when you listen to my music and I talk about street things all the time, I try to tell both sides of it. Because there’s getting money and living the high life, sure, but I’m down to talk about other stuff as well. About how there are people trying to take everything away from you, trying to take your freedom away from you, or taking your loved ones away from you. So, I think if you’re in that position, and you’re young, you just gotta forget that negativity and know how to turn it into something positive, because you can change your own life. And try to change the people’s lives around you because you don’t have to follow the same steps as the people around you. Somebody else can make an example for you, and you can learn off it, you don’t have to do it yourself. You see somebody else bump their head—then learn from it, you ain’t gotta bump your head too just ’cause they did. Remember that it’s a great feeling too, when you make it after being in such a rough place. You know what you’ve been through, and you know where you could have been.

Would you ever come to Australia?

Of course I would! I’ll try to get over there, don’t worry. You know the album is out, that’s gotta be one of my best pieces of work so far. Spent a lot of time in the studio working on it and it took a lotta hustle but it’s out now. So hopefully I’ll be over there doing a show soon.

You can check out The Art of Hustle on Yo Gotti’s site or iTunes, and find international tour dates here.

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