Yo Gotti can’t sleep. “When I lay down at night, my mind can’t stop running,” says the 41-year-old rapper-executive, sitting in his pristine, tan-toned trailer in the parking lot of a photography studio as the sweltering Miami sun descends outside.
Discussing something as personal as his life-long battle with insomnia is out of character for the fiercely private rap mogul. In most interviews, Gotti remains strictly hustle-centric, doling out advice on investments, ownership, and artist marketing techniques, imparting gems of wisdom picked up from billionaire friends Jay-Z and Michael Rubin. But as the sky transitions from baby-blue daytime to a twilight gradient, Gotti digs a little deeper. “I damn near feel like it’s a sickness or some sh-t,” he says, “because even at this point, my hunger and eagerness to win is something scary.”
Kept awake by an incessant stream of plans and questions — where he will be in 2023, the offices he still needs to build, purchases to be made — Gotti typically lies awake until 5 a.m., catching five hours of sleep until around 10 a.m. Even as a teenager, Gotti (born Mario Sentell Giden Mims) pulled all-nighters — but instead of being kept awake by lucrative deals, he was in the streets of North Memphis, hustling alongside friends from dusk until dawn and releasing raw, mile-a-minute rhymes under the name Lil Yo. A 15-year-old pushing his body to the limit, Gotti would lay his head to rest when most of the block’s alarm clocks began buzzing, almost never making it to school in time for homeroom.
“It just became a lifestyle — I’d be like, ‘I ain’t going to sleep. I’ma be getting to the money all night.’ ” Gotti adds with a smile, “So, I guess it’s the same now.”
Read the full cover story on Yo Gotti’s Collective Music Group here.