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Originally known as Lil Yo, Yo Gotti (born Mario Mims) made a name for himself during the '90s when he was a teenager. Performing in and around Memphis with support from Kingpin Skinny Pimp and DJ Sound, he also issued the tape Youngsta's on a Come Up, and in 1999 moved forward with his first album as Yo Gotti, From da Dope Game 2 da Rap Game, issued on his Inevitable Entertainment label. Gotti continued to expand the Inevitable catalog and struck a nationwide distribution deal with TVT, which enabled him to hit Billboard's R&B/hip-hop chart for the first time with 2003's Life, an album boasting appearances from Lil Jon and Lil' Flip. After having his track "Full Time" featured in the Memphis-based film Hustle & Flow, Gotti hit the Top Ten of the R&B/hip-hop chart in 2006 with Back 2 da Basics. A series of Cocaine Muzik mixtapes, along with the gold singles "5 Star" and "Women Lie, Men Lie" (featuring Lil Wayne) carried the rapper into the early 2010s.
A couple major-label deals resulted in greater commercial success during the rest of the 2010s and into the 2020s. Live from the Kitchen, Gotti's second straight Top Ten R&B/hip-hop album -- also a number 12 entry on the Billboard 200 -- landed on RCA in 2012. Gotti then settled with Epic and put together several consecutive Top Ten Billboard 200 albums. This began in 2013 with I Am, highlighted by the gold singles "Act Right" and "I Know," and continued through the end of the decade with 2016's The Art of Hustle and 2017's I Still Am, the former of which also topped the R&B/hip-hop chart. These two LPs included the double-platinum "Down in the DM," the gold "Law," and the triple-platinum Top Ten pop hit "Rake It Up" among their triumphs. During this hot period, Gotti also issued supplemental mixtapes -- such as the high-performing White Friday (CM9), another Cocaine Muzik installment -- and scored one of his biggest hits as a featured artist with Kanye West's "Champions."
In 2019, Gotti notched another platinum smash when he and Lil Baby teamed up for "Put a Date on It." The track was included on his fourth consecutive Billboard 200 Top Ten album, 2020's Untrapped. He also paired with Lil Baby for the non-album track "Drop," which arrived in June 2021. Gotti's 11th album, CM10: Free Game, appeared in February 2022, preceded by the single "Cold Gangsta" featuring 42 Dugg and EST Gee. It also cracked the Top Ten of the Billboard 200, as well as the R&B and Rap Albums charts. That same year, he contributed "Big League" (a collaboration with Moneybagg Yo, Mozzy, and Lil Poppa) to the CMG label compilation Gangsta Art. In 2023, he paired with DJ Drama for the full-length I Showed U So. ~ Alex Henderson & Andy Kellman