Hailing from Georgetown, Guyana, YK Gotti (whose real name is Gregory Johns), grew up listening to everything from, reggae, to R&B, pop, hip-hop and gospel music. The self-professed “Young King” has one very simple goal in mind: to bring his unique brand of “positive energy, and enjoyable but always relatable music” to the masses. Here are excerpts of an interview with Gotty.
When did music first enter your life? Music has always been in my life; from being a lil kid in the house where I would hear music constantly … CDs, even on vinyl discs my uncles used to own.
Growing up in Georgetown, Guyana, who did you gravitate toward that ultimately influenced you to do what you’re doing today? Growing up in the West Indies, I would hear songs from Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, etcetera. I always gravitated to the melodies and the substance of the songs, and how turned up parties would be.
At what particular point in time did music go from being a hobby into becoming a profession? I would say I started [in] 2010, but took it 100 percent serious [in] 2013.
How do you classify the style of music that you create? Positive, turn up, energetic vibe with a mixture of singing and rapping, depending on the sound of [the] beat.
In having said that, where does your moniker, YK Gotti, originally derive from?
Being a leader, setting high standards and goals for myself, working hard to achieve them, believing in myself, motivating myself and others that are around me, [and] being a self-made “Young King.”
From a lyrical standpoint, when you sit down to pen your lyrics, where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration from the trials and tribulations and struggles I have been through and overcoming them, and also the best time I’ve had in my life. [. . .]
[Photo credit: Andrew “MrChubsPhotography” Ross.]