CM10: Free Game (Side B)

Yo Gotti

CM10: Free Game (Side B)

CM10: Free Game isn’t your typical Yo Gotti record. Sure, there are the constants of trunk-rattling production, appearances from the rapidly ascending stars Gotti has had a hand in launching (Moneybagg Yo, 42 Dugg, EST Gee), and enough cash talk to short-circuit an ATM machine, but when the MC was putting together the body of work that became Free Game, his main focus was inspiring the flock. “You always want a hit record,” Gotti tells Apple Music. “I didn't try to make a hit record on this album. I didn't try to make one record that I thought would play on the radio, that I thought would be a 'Rake It Up' or a 'Down in the DM.' It was all about the message and saying the things that I want to say and just rapping.”
Memphis (and Gotti’s hopes for its residents) is the unifying thread here, the MC impressing upon his followers not just how far he's come as one of their own, but also how far he has to go. “I may be out in the club and a guy walks up to me putting emphasis on how real he is or how street he is or what he doing in whatever city it is,” Gotti explains. “And he don't know that I'm trying to figure out how to be the next Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos. Bro, I don't care nothing ’bout that shit. I'm not trying to be the biggest street n***a in the world. My mind is on becoming a billionaire and building a legacy.” Below, Yo Gotti talks us through some of the tracks on CM10: Free Game that show us exactly where his mind is.
“Strapped in Calabasas” “This is one of those narratives that represents a North Memphis kid—with a certain mentality—that is now super successful. [Whether] it’s Beverly Hills or it's the nicest part of Miami, or if it's Tribeca in New York or something, it’s saying that your success puts you in certain areas, but your mentality still have you moving a certain way.”
“Palm Trees in Memphis” “I went back to Memphis on a lot of this music, meaning the subject matter was about Memphis. Because with all my success—I’ve been traveling the world, I got homes in different cities—I think my music been speaking from a general place of ‘the world.’ The title represents who I am, where I come from, and the ‘palm trees’ part comes from all the success that I'm living today. It's no palm trees in Memphis, only the ones we imported there.”
“Forever Ballin” (feat. Shenseea) “[Shenseea] is part of the Interscope family, but I had already knew about her. I met her years before on a promo run, but I always thought she was dope. I was doing a CMG recording camp during BET weekend and I had the whole studio locked down, five different rooms. I had producers everywhere, and all the artists from the label was in and out the studio, in every room recording. She came into the room, and I really respect her energy as a hustler, because she just heard the beat and she just started singing her shit like, ‘This is what I hear on it.’ And I'm like, ‘Oh yeah, go drop that.’”
“Last Run” “When you think about the title Free Game, I'm trying to talk to people. I'm trying to give people information. I'm hoping that when I tell some of these stories, some people wake up or some people think like, 'I ain't going to wait till the last run to have my best run.' Don't wait till it's too late to make your move. Sometimes you never get that last run. I know people in real life that never got it. People that lost their life or their freedom trying to get that last run.”
“Free Game” “I started recording some of these records during the pandemic and it was going to be one thing and then the world opened back up a little bit and then it went back on shutdown. So it was different things based off how we was feeling. ‘Free Game’ probably came about the second that I said I'm going to call [the album] Free Game. That's when I think I got to the point where it's like, 'Okay, I know the rest of the direction and the rest of the messaging.'”
“Giving Back” “I think at a certain level of success, people confuse being busy with being out of touch, or out of reach. It’s just that my calendar is full—I got places to be, I got money to make, I got shit to do. I don't have time to be standing in no hood all day. I’m on the move. I own restaurants [in Memphis] and I touch a lot of people, so the people who need to see me, see me.”
“Bad Behavior” “I had just landed in Memphis and I went straight to the studio. My guy Dame sent me the track, and soon as he sent me the beat, I sent it to the engineer and I'm like, 'Yo, let me put this idea down.' I didn't even know it was going to turn into a whole song—I just had [the opening line]. Once that part came, the rest of the shit just flowed out. We ended up finishing the whole song in 20 minutes.”
“Rap Check” “You know sometimes when you living in real time and you doing so much stuff, you don't live in the moment. You don't soak it all in because you’re on to the next. In the pandemic, with everything slowing down, it made you think about certain things. In this song, I mentioned Nate Dogg took me to the studio with Dr. Dre. I almost forgot that! Because I'm doing so much stuff since then. But that moment is a very special part of my life. So with the world slowing down, I was able to remember it and was like, yo, I should tell people this shit.”
“Shoot Off Pt. 4” “I feel like we can't do a CM series project and not put a 'Shoot Off' on it. You have to. It's one of those records where it allowed me to have fun and just say random shit.”

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