Yo Gotti and his CMG label have been winning in plenty of areas across the music industry. After recently signing rapper Mozzy and his first R&B singer Lehla Samia, Gotti reflected on how he built the label and the life-changing advice he got from 50 Cent.
In an interview for Billboard's latest cover story published Thursday, May 19, Yo Gotti opened up about his early beginnings as a hustler in the streets of Memphis, an artist who soaked up gems from Birdman and Slim of Cash Money, and a label leader of CMG aka Collective Music Group. The name of Gotti's label, which was formally known as Cocaine Muzik Group, was updated thanks to advice from 50 Cent.
“I was having a [phone] conversation with 50 Cent, and he was like, ‘Yo, you’re winning, but you can’t be Cocaine Muzik Group — that’s too harsh. They’re going to be scared of that,’ ” Gotti told Billboard. “[I] thought about it like, ‘Damn, he’s right. What else does CMG mean?’ He put it in my head to start thinking in that direction.”
CMG officially launched in 2013 after Gotti signed a deal with Antonio "L.A." Reid's Epic Records and recruited Memphis rapper Snootie Wild, who unfortunately passed away back in February. Over the years, CMG has developed numerous successful artists like Blac Youngsta, Moneybagg Yo, EST Gee, 42 Dugg and most recently Mozzy and Lehla Samia. Although "Cocaine Muzik" was a nod to the "addictiveness" of his artists' music, Gotti was able to change his imprint's name to something more valuable. 50 Cent praised Gotti and his team after he saw the cover story.
"CMG on top everybody don’t make it to this level. @yogotti , 💪🏽 @blacyoungsta @moneybaggyo ,💣BOOM💨 whole squad lit 🔥" 50 Cent wrote in his caption.
Elsewhere in the interview, Yo Gotti also spoke about his work with Team ROC as they assist 200+ inmates at Mississippi's Parchman Prison. The rapper has been working closely with JAY-Z and the social justice branch of Roc Nation to help get the word out about the prison's alleged horrendous living conditions and unfair treatment by its workers.
“The things that were happening in the prison were just crazy, they were unimaginable,” Gotti said.
Read the full interview here.