Lil Wyte is known for his anthems honoring alcohol and drugs, but he’s also been through some trying times, times that he’s finally ready to open up about. Last month Wyte released his sixth album, Still Doubted?, and on it, mixed in with the requisite amount of crunkness that listeners expect, and love, from Wyte, are some deeply personal songs.

This week RapReviews caught up with Wyte to find out more about his newfound openness, and why he feels his fans are connecting with it. Wyte also discussed the issues he deals with raising two daughters, and told an incredible story from his youth that is a must read.

Adam Bernard: Let’s start by talking about the new album, Still Doubted?. What were the most challenging aspects of putting this project together?

Lil Wyte: Picking the right songs. I got a lot of fans depending on me, so it really had a lot to do with giving a good variety and not too many of the same topics. I’m trying to give them a good diverse set of music for the album, not give them all the same crap.

AB: So even with 20 tracks, 17 of which are songs, you still racked your brain over what to cut out?

LW: Yeah. My guy Big BOI (Beats) from Georgia did about 75% of the production on the album, which is a very big difference for me. Normally I’m cutting albums with Three 6 Mafia, and I think his new sound gave me different things to rap about. When I spoke to (DJ) Paul and Juicy (J) about the project I told them I was going to be working with Big BOI, that he’s this young cat out of Georgia, he makes good music, and he’s a good person, and they were like if you can do it, let’s see it. That was another one of the more challenging aspects of the album. I’m living up to Paul and Juicy’s standards at this point. They didn’t produce the album, but they gave me permission to go produce an album on my own, on my own label, as a project.

AB: They really gave you a responsibility, when you come right down to it.

LW: Yeah. It really was a responsibility for the sole fact that no matter what, at the end of the day, I still reflect on them no matter what I do. Whether they produce the album or not, people will forever know me as Three 6 Mafia’s white boy, and that being said I gotta always keep the bosses proud.

AB: You’ve been releasing music for nearly a decade. On Still Doubted? you have a few songs, most notably “I’m Going Home” and “Lesson Learned,” that are extremely personal. Why did you feel now was the right time to introduce your fans, and the world, to this other side of Lil Wyte?

LW: I think it’s just cuz over time that side’s grown a lot. On Doubt Me Now I was a kid. I was barely going through my first child’s birth, I didn’t even have my first home, I didn’t know about bills, there was a lot of shit I didn’t know about. I was very young and more or less naive. I think with this album being the first album I’ve had 100% creative control on I wanted to touch on a few subjects that I wanted my fans to know. Over time I’ve dropped a real down to earth song here or there on a mixtape and my fans have loved it. I’ve got a good story to tell. It’s a very deep one and I’m not even a quarter of the way in telling it. On those few songs I broke down a lot of information, but I didn’t really touch 100% on a lot of the things that have gone on in my life, like the death of my father in ’08, I’ve been through two nasty breakups with both of my baby mommas, it’s some real Hollywood shit, but it’s happening right here in Memphis, Tennessee. I think them real songs allow me to kinda release a little bit of pressure and stress that I’ve got built up from the actual topics themselves, so I’m gonna keep doing them. I’m gonna always be on that crunk, hardcore, Lil Wyte, but they’re gonna get a little dosage of reality as I get older.

AB: If you had dropped it all on people all at once it might have been a bit overwhelming.

LW: That, too. I was trying to build a brand and get a name for myself, and I think in the beginning I was more or less just worried about keeping that hardcore Three 6 Mafia sound, and Paul and Juicy were interested in keeping a very gutter, raw, sound on me. I think over time I’ve fully let everyone know that I’ve got that under control. I can bring you the raw whenever you need it, but at the same time I like stepping outside my box every now and then.

AB: How have you seen your revealing of yourself change your relationship with your fans?

LW: I think they like it because they’re going through their own problems, too. Of course, everybody likes hearing songs about getting fucked up, but every now and then you like to hear a song from your favorite artist about going through problems and struggling. It lets em know just because I may be on the road, meeting all these crazy people, doing all this cool shit, I still got regular problems like everybody else. My bills are still due at the beginning of the month and my baby momma’s a bitch, too. It is what it is. I think something else my fans take from me is that I’m a very laid back, down to earth, real person. I’m not with that Hollywood shit. I’ve also never seen a ten million dollar check. If you show me a ten million dollar check I might go Hollywood on your ass. I don’t know. That’s just the realness of me.

AB: Speaking of that realness, you have a graphic tattoo on the front of your neck of your throat slit with blood dripping out of the wound. I know this is to represent cutting your baby’s mother, who cheated on you, out of your life, but how do you explain it to your daughter?

LW: I’ve never told my daughter the way I told it to you. One day I will. My two little girls are two of the smartest little humans on this planet and they understand life at a younger age way more than I could have at that age. They both know that me and their mommas had some crazy shit happen. That’s just one area they don’t really touch. They love my tattoos, actually. My little girl, she goes and gets a box of (temporary) tattoos once a month and she’ll cover her whole body with tattoos and go to school.

AB: You’re gonna be that dad that takes them to that tattoo parlor as soon as they’re ready.

LW: I’ma be that dad that has the tattoo artist come to the house. He’s gonna tat me up first and I’ma be like “alright, you sure you want to do this? I’m gonna get one first.” That’s gonna be me, but that’s only if they want it. If they want a tattoo and they’re old enough, I’m with it. Who am I to be a hypocrite? There are a lot of things that I don’t want my daughters to do, but there are a lot of things that I’m not gonna tell them not to do. I don’t want em to get tattoos, I don’t want em to smoke weed, I don’t even want em to look at a boy, but I can’t tell them not to do that shit because they’re little girls, they’re gonna look at boys one day, they’re probably gonna get tattoos because their daddy’s a rapper. It’s just gonna happen, and they’re both gorgeous little blonde haired blue eyed white girls. They’re probably gonna get a couple guys shot in time. {*laughs*}

AB: Hilarious! With that in mind, how difficult is it to go out, as a part of your job, and see all the beautiful scantily clad women who act inappropriately, and then have to go home and raise daughters?

LW: It’s one of the hardest things in the world, to actually juggle that. There have been times I’ve looked at a chick and be like damn she’s hot, and then she’ll do something completely ratchet and I’ll find out she’s barely 18. My oldest daughter’s 11, and that’s not too far off. That fucks with me. When I was younger and my girls were babies, it didn’t hit me. Now that they’re 11 and 8 it’s starting to hit me like oh shit, oh my God, I’ve got daughters.

AB: As your daughters grow up are you finding you treat the girls you see in the nightclubs a little differently? Have you caught yourself giving one a father speech?

LW: I can’t say I’ve done that. Now that you said it, though, it’ll probably be coming soon and I’ll have to call you and be like “it happened. I gave my first father speech to a stripper.”

AB: I can’t wait to get that phone call! Finally, close this interview by giving me a story, a positive story, you wouldn’t believe if it hadn’t happened to you.

LW: Back in the day, when I was around 11-13 years old, that era when you’re riding bikes around the neighborhood, you got your headphones on, you just started smoking weed, I found myself infatuated with Three 6 Mafia’s music. When I found out they were from the same city I was from it changed everything, and when I say everything it literally added an extra rule in the rule book that said I could get away with whatever the fuck I wanted. It made me really want to pursue this whole rapping idea. I literally studied Three 6 Mafia’s music like a fucking Bible. A lot of people don’t know this. Paul and Juicy know this now, because I told them.

I never had any intentions of meeting any of the artists. There was something about the music. The music was like a guide for me. I never had any intentions of going to concerts, or autograph signings, I was more interested in learning the music itself. Fast forward a couple years, Three 6 Mafia put out a mix CD with snippets on it that had a Hypnotize Minds medallion on the back of it. I cut the medallion out with a razor blade and I stuck it in the center of my mirror. Every morning before I went to school I would grab my headphones, grab my little bag of weed, grab my papers, and the last thing I would look at before I left the room was the Hypnotize Minds logo.

My dad’s lucky number my whole life was number three. He was a Dale Earnhardt fan. My birthday is October 6th. Six has always been my lucky number. So in my house there have always been threes and sixes everywhere.

I’m slingin boxes one day at this job I had after I put out this little demo in my neighborhood with the old group I was with. I’m listening to the radio and it’s Three 6 Mafia promoting the new Project Pat Ghetty Green CD. I’m literally throwing boxes listening to Paul and Juicy say they’re looking for new artists. My manager (at work) goes “you need to be that new artist.” I laughed like yeah, whatever. I go home that night and get a call from the guy I was rappin with. He said “I gave Three 6 Mafia our tape. They love us. They want to meet us tonight.” I didn’t believe him. I was like, “I’m tired, I just got off work, I ain’t got time for this shit,” and hung the phone up on him. The phone rings right back, “no I’m serious you gotta come over to my house right now. Juicy’s supposed to be calling in a little bit.” I go over there, and sure as shit stinks, Juicy calls and next thing you know they want to meet us the next day.

We go up to the studio, and I was running a little late, everybody got there before me. This was in like 2000, a lot of the old members of Three 6 Mafia were there, a lot of the people I grew up listening to. I knock on the door, and I want to say the building number was 306. It was like one of those moments where it was like wow, all these threes and sixes are finally tying together. I knock on the door, the security dude lets me in, and I see all these people I’d idolized over the last seven years. DJ Paul spins around in his leather chair like some fuckin movie shit and goes “you must be Lil Wyte.” At that moment, right there, when Paul spoke to me and knew my name before I even had a chance to introduce myself, I knew I was gonna be alright from that point on because this guy had an interest in me for some reason and I was gonna figure out what it was.

That night, he walked up to me, I was staring at all their platinum plaques, and he asked “you want one of these,” and I said “I swear to God I’d love to have fifty of these.” While everybody else in the room was talking about jewelry and cars and bitches and drugs, I’m over here looking at platinum plaques. I think that’s when DJ Paul realized that I was the guy for the job, and for that alone I salute Paul. I look at that man like a father. Since my dad passed away DJ Paul has really been my first guy that I call when I have a problem that I can’t answer on my own, that I need another grown man’s opinion on, and to have, of all people, my first mentor in the rap game, be my mentor in life, that’s positivity. That’s real shit, too.