White Friday (CM9)
[Collective Music Group/Roc Nation/Epic Records]
Being quite unlikely to get a white Christmas in Memphis this year, Tennessee rapper Yo Gotti made sure that at very least a ‘White Friday’ was guaranteed when he dropped his festively titled – yet drug innuendo filled – White Friday (CM9), the ninth mixtape in the Cocaine Muzik series on December 23. The notable difference this time out is that CM9 breaks tradition by being the first commercial release in the series.
This project is also Yo Gotti’s first release since the announcement earlier this month that he and Jay Z had entered into a partnership between Roc Nation and Gotti’s Collective Music Group (formerly known as Cocaine Muzik Group). CM9 caps off a very successful 2016 for Gotti as his album The Art Of Hustle peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in February after him returning from a three-year hiatus from the rap game.
CM9 opens with ’81’, an almost haunting trap Marvel Hitz-produced track and a nod to the year of Gotti’s birth. In the opening lines Gotti talks about how “It’s amazing what three-hundred and sixty five days can do for you / This time last year nigga was like talking ‘bout cuttin’ budgets and shit / And I dropped the biggest album of my career.”, and deals with how he was already feeling the pressure of an impressive follow up after the recent CMG/Roc Nation partnership.
The mixtape includes lead single and street coke anthem ‘Castro’ produced by frequent collaborator Ben Billions, alongside a star-studded line up of GOOD Music’s Kanye West, Big Sean & 2 Chainz and also Quavo (of Migos) boisterously comparing themselves to recently deceased Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro. With witty bars from Gotti like “Cubans on me like I’m Castro / Hit your bitch with a backstroke / Spanish bitch, J-Lo / Dope money, Pablo.”
On the project’s other lead single ‘Weatherman’, Gotti continues with his tried-and-tested formula on the Cocaine Muzik series by giving up and coming rappers that have begun to make some waves in the streets a chance to prove themselves on features. Again it is successful as he recruits one of the hottest names in hip hop currently; 19-year-old rapper – and recently freed from prison – Kodak Black.
“I think that whole process was interesting because we flew his people out to the house I was recording in. We created the record and I got on the phone with him and talked to him about what my plans was and what I was trying to do. It just happened that he got out of prison a week later. So soon as he got out of jail, a week later I shot out to his house down in Florida in Broward County and shot the video.”
The official video shows the rappers shielding themselves from showers of cash with umbrellas, chilling in luxury cars, and even a cameo from baked gingerbread versions of themselves.
Another notable feature on CM9 is a rousing and uplifting motivational speech from none other than the ‘living meme’ DJ Khaled about never giving up on the track ‘I Remember’. Gotti also enlists his CMG signee Blac Youngsta on the Southside produced track ‘Free Lunch’.
Being President and CEO of CMG and having a career that has been spent predominantly in the shadows of the glitz and glamour of mainstream hip hop and not being new to the game having already dropped six studio albums and close to 20 mixtapes, it is clear that interesting times lie ahead for the Memphis rapper. It will also be worth keeping an eye on the career direction Yo Gotti takes and how much of an impact the new management partnership with Roc Nation can have in slingshotting him onto the mainstream’s radar.