It has been an interesting year for Mario Mims b/k/a Yo Gotti. The self-described “King of Memphis,” a title that a lot of people from the city claim a piece of, has been involved in drama with fellow Memphis emcee Young Dolph for most of the year. Blac Youngsta, one of the artists affiliated with Yo Gotti’s CMG label, allegedly fired over 100 bullets into Dolph’s SUV back in February. He later turned himself in to the authorities investigating the attempted driveby shooting. On top of that Dolph was shot in Hollywood last month and Gotti was named as a person of interest in THAT shooting. It’s fair to say these two men just can’t get along, and it all allegedly stems from Dolph turning down an offer from Gotti to sign with CMG a few years ago. It’s been on ever since.

Personally I’m hoping someone can step in to mediate this drama before we lose more rap artists to violence. There have been FAR MORE than enough bodies caught by hip-hop beefs over the years. One of the unfortunate side effects of the rise of social media has been to amplify beef, because before people would have to wait to amplify the feud with diss records and mixtapes, things that would take time to record and release. Then you’d have to wait for the response record, or an interview on TV or the radio, and then there’d be another response and the whole thing would drag out over time. Eventually cooler heads could prevail with so much time going by. Now beefs can be made instantly and responded to even quicker with the push of a button, and everybody takes it more personally because they can’t be insulted that way in front of ALL OF THEIR FANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA who follow them. Nobody wants to look like a p—y. Songs like “Different” off Gotti’s new “I Still Am,” the sequel to “I Am” from four years ago directly reference the feud and keep the beef cooking.

“On Twitter better get out my mentions
I’m paranoid I’m shootin quit flinchin, nigga I’m from the trenches
My bag different, ny swag different
My bitch went seen Dr. Miami, her ass different
I’m extraordinary young nigga, I’m past different
This little bulls–t you doin young nigga, my past history”

There’s at least a chance to get away from the drama with the lead single “Rake it Up” though. Featuring a hard bumping beat courtesy Mike Will Made It, Gotti brags about his pharmaceutical prowess all the way “back when Jay was still with Dame,” then brings in guest star Nicki Minaj to give the song a little extra pop and crossover appeal. The video has already received 88 million views as of this writing, but for radio play they need to censor this one VERY heavily.

Yo Gotti just can’t resist bragging about his success throughout “I Still Am.” I would have said “loudly” but Gotti is not the type of rapper to yell. In fact one of the appealing aspects of his style is that he’s soft spoken, his voice is a little bit raspy, and while he’s got that Memphis drawl even international listeners should easily be able to follow along. Gotti also goes out of his way to collaborate with the popular figures people want to hear from. Meek Mill and YFN Lucci guest on “One on One,” Chris Brown croons on “Save It For Me,” 21 Savage appears on “Yellow Tape” and French Montana brings his wavy flow to the Ayo/Keyz/Hitmaka produced “Oh Yeah.” Gotti seems to be paying tribute to Juvenile on this one.

“They like G-d damn Gotti, boy I Googled your net worth
All them chains on, I can tell that your neck hurt
You look good in them heels but I can tell that your feet hurt
So drop down on your knees baby gimme that neck work
Double C’s oh you’re bad, ha
Oh you know you fine, ha
You blew a bag on your ass, ha
Quarter mill off that stove, huh
You off that dro, huh
Oh your momma ain’t raise no hoe, huh”

Since Gotti declared “I Am” and presumably meant “the King of Memphis” and followed it with “I Still Am,” it’s fair to say that if the crown ISN’T his there are only a limited number of people in contention for it. He’s got an established track record dating all the way back to the early 2000’s, he’s got some of the hottest producers going right now on the album (Zaytoven, London On Da Track, Murda Beatz, etc.) and he’s got a distribution deal with Epic to make sure his albums are available in physical and digital formats just about everywhere. With so much going for him why even beef with Dolph or for that matter vice versa? The two of them could each have their own hustle and make their own millions without needing to resort to taking figurative or literal shots at each other. Unfortunately unless they call a truce we’re going to see members of each camp’s crew going into business for themselves trying to prove who is the baddest. I’d rather they leave the beef on the beats than in the streets.

Yo Gotti :: I Still Am
6.5Overall Score