Born and raised in East Memphis, 18 year-old NLE Choppa has taken the world by storm. In his younger years the rapper would spend his time on YouTube studying songs from the likes of Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, from their charismatic delivery, to their bars and vocals – NLE Choppa would sit and absorb all he needed to know in order to succeed. Growing from strength to strength, he’s amassed a huge core fan base in such a short space of time. Forming his own distinct, energy-filled and charismatic sound, he has caught the attention of many worldwide. Gaining over tens of millions of views on each video he releases, his climb to success hasn’t gone unknown. Choppa’s 2019 release of ‘Shotta Flow’ was the song that flipped his career completely and since then it’s been nothing but a breeze for the rapper. NLE Choppa is one of the many names at the forefront of U.S Rap, with his recent hit ‘Walk Em Down’ featuring Roddy Ricch to his emotion baring ‘Different Day’ to his self titled album he dropped back in Feburary, NLE Choppa is the gift that keeps on giving!
I caught up with NLE Choppa and asked a few questions…
I read thar you began freestyling at the age of 14. What artists were you listening to around this age that really started to take influence on your pen game and sound?
Really it was Kodak and a lot of Lil Wayne. It’s hard to name a lot of the artists I was listening to because I was really bumping a lot of the local talent in Memphis. There was a lot of music in the city at that time and a lot of unreleased songs so I was bumping a lot of that and for me this has just always been something that I wanted to do. Like, I wrote a song when I saw 12 and it was stupid and didn’t make sense so I kind of quit but around that time I really started to take it more seriously and really get in the studio.
How was it for you growing up in Memphis? Do you think it helped shape you as an artist?
Oh yeah, for sure. Growing up in Memphis really gives you the right mentality to be prepared for everything. Anybody that made it out of Memphis will tell you to make it out is one of the biggest obstacles ever. So I feel like if you can overcome Memphis you can make anything because it’s a grimy ass city
I heard that you have a love for Basketball! Who’s your all-time favorite player? Which team do you support?
All time favorite is Kobe Bryant, rest in peace – and I’m a Lakers fan.
Can you remember the first album you ever bought?
I never bought an album in my entire life. That was not something I was trying to spend my money on, I was on YouTube!
You’ve recently released “Walk Em Down” with Roddy Ricch – How did this feature come about? Did you originally have something in mind for the track before getting in the studio with Roddy?
I just DM’d him and just told him I was trying to do a song and for him to pull up to the studio. He likes to meet the artist before he records and me the same way so I just told him to just pull up we don’t even have to record. So we just got in and we caught a vibe and ended up doing the song the same night. It was history from there we told the label the same night to lock that one in we knew we had a record.
You have a very charismatic and energetic feel with all of your music. You’ve previously said you prefer to make music that touches the soul – Can we expect any songs like this soon?
You going to see a lot of it! I feel like before when I was making the hype music I didn’t really know how to put what I was going through in my music. I wasn’t even freestyling at that point I was still writing I didn’t know how to just go off my sleeve and talk about things I went though. But when I started freestyling at first it didn’t really sound good, but I just kept going with it and put all the stuff I was going through in my songs. My new stuff is so pure to me I bump it all the time because anything I go through you will hear it in my music and overtime, I realized how much my music started to progress. I got some shit on this tape for y’all though, I really feel like I’m going to create another audience.
What’s your creative process like?
Get high and freestyle. I don’t do any other drugs, don’t pop pills, rest in peace JuiceWRLD. I don’t do none of that – I just smoke ganja and record. The Bob Marley way!
Out of all the songs you’ve recorded and put out – which one resonates with you the most and why?
ALL OF THEM! It’s really hard and I have so much music I can never pinpoint one song. Too much music but if we sit down after Corona I can give you a group of songs I like though.
You’ve created a record label ‘No Love Entertainment’ in partnership with Warner – What artists or talent are you hoping to showcase through this venture?
No Love is a rap group that you’ll definitely hear more about soon. I’m actually supposed to be signing artists the day my album drops so you’ll hear more about that soon. But we got a lot of talent in the crew – Drek the Don, 4TM, No Love so once the album drop, we’ll start pushing it.
Your career took off pretty quick! What helps you to stay focused? I saw that your Mom has been supporting you from the very beginning musically which must be really comforting?
What really helps me stay focused is just not getting comfortable and realizing I have to keep working. Like I just have this feeling in my body that I’m never finished that’s why I have so many songs because I can just never stop working. I’m a real workaholic and I never got away from that and I always stay true to myself and that’s how you will forever overcome anything! Even with all of the attention I was facing and still am now, but you just have to push through it.
Are you familiar with any artists over here in the U.K?
Ok so when I was young I LOVED watching rap battles. I don’t know if y’all know the classic rap battle over there, Arsonal vs. Shotty Horroh bruh! I watched that rap battle at least 5 times and I can spit EVERY punchline that Arsonal said! No yack. Arsonal you killed him and Shotty you did ya thing you killed it too!
We have been living in some pretty crazy times! What have you been doing to stay motivated musically?
Just recording every night. Even if I missed a session from being too tired, I make sure to get in tomorrow, but I make sure the session is booked every night. Other than that, just keep my ear open I listen to my reggae and my unreleased music so I stay true to my sound. And yeah, eat and sleep before you go and go in there and go ham! That’s it.
What else can we expect to hear from you this 2020? A new album? Any more features to keep an eye out for?
You’re going to hear plenty after my album I know a lot of people are going to expect me to keep dropping and I’m definitely going to keep dropping so just stay tuned it! Who knows, might even drop a Deluxe!