Inside Yo Gotti’s $100 Million Music Empire (2024)

The Memphis rap star runs one of the biggest labels, owns a piece of an MLS team and is looking to build generational wealth like his mentor Jay-Z. But first, he’s going to business school.

By Jabari Young, Forbes Staff

Kicking back in his 10,000-square-foot Tuscan-style mansion just north of Malibu, Yo Gotti, the 42-year-old foun­der and CEO of the Memphis-based Collective Music Group (CMG), is trying to relax. “Certain things validate the hard work,” Gotti says, overlooking his infinity pool with its pristine views of L.A. sunsets. “This is one of them.”

Gotti has been doing the work for decades, having emerged from the Memphis rap scene in the late 1990s and breaking through with his 2016 album, The Art of the Hustle, which reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 album chart and featured the single “Down in the DM,” which has been heard in ads for the sports betting site FanDuel.

Along the way, in 2012, Gotti formed his own music label, Cocaine Muzik Group, which largely features Tennessee-based hip-hop artists, including Blac Youngsta and Moneybagg Yo. A few years later, Gotti met Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who advised him to drop “cocaine” from CMG’s name and rebrand the label with something more corporate-sounding. “If you know 50,” Gotti says, “he’ll volunteer information if he likes you.”

His has been a long climb in the music business, and Gotti celebrates with the trappings of success. He has an impressive watch collection that he claims is worth about $10 million and includes timepieces by Patek Philippe, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin. He also owns a fleet of luxury cars, including an armored Hummer truck, a 2023 lime green Rolls-Royce Cullinan and a Tesla Model S, a gift from his girlfriend, Angela Simmons, daughter of rap legend Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons of Run-DMC.

In addition to running CMG, Gotti has a minority stake in the MLS team D.C. United and owns the restaurant Prive in Memphis. All told, Forbes estimates Gotti is worth around $100 million, but he still has plenty of hustle left. “If I never wrote another rap again, I’m financially straight,” he says. “My whole career, I was setting up for that.”

Not that he doesn’t want more. Inspired by one of his mentors, billionaire hip-hop mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Gotti began taking business classes at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in December with a focus on corporate valuation. “I may want to buy a company or acquire another com­pany,” says Gotti, who never finished college. “So I’m making sure I’m supertight—and understand the language and the verbiage myself other than listening” to financial experts.

“His business acumen is evident in every move he makes,” Jay-Z tells Forbes, “breaking the mold of the old-guard definition of an executive.”

Valuations are top of mind for Gotti because of the astronomical prices investor groups are paying for music catalogs these days. Bob Dylan, for example, sold his catalog for $400 million in 2020, according to PitchBook; the following year, Bruce Springsteen sold his for $550 million. Younger artists are also cashing in. Last year, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber each sold the rights to their music for more than $200 million.

Would a similar offer entice Gotti? “It’s not that cut and dried,” he says. “I’m beyond transactional thinking. I’m thinking of real generational wealth. How will we have this money forever, like [the Walton family of] Walmart?”

Born Mario Mims, Yo Gotti was raised in Frayser, Tennessee (also known as North Memphis), the middle of three children. His mother and three of his aunts sold drugs to pay the bills, and his father was in and out of prison while he was growing up. The fast-cash, illegal street lifestyle was enticing. Geraldine Mims recalls giving young Mario life’s finer things—shopping sprees at Neiman Marcus and trips to Las Vegas to see championship boxing matches. “They put the value of having nice things in my mind because they had them,” Gotti says of his mother and aunts. But he also witnessed the downside of living outside the law.

“I saw it all get taken away—all the money,” he says.

His mother went from having a fresh roll of cash every night and driving a new Mercedes to making $5.25 an hour working in a grocery store and driving a Chevrolet Cavalier. Still, “I refused to go back to the streets,” she recalls. Today she is the chef at Gotti’s restaurant, but the street life recently caught up with the family—in Janu­ary, Gotti’s older brother, Anthony Mims, was shot and killed in Memphis.

And while Memphis is always on his mind, for now, he is a world away. Seated in the back of a Malibu restaurant he frequently visits, Gotti has his phone face-down and his social media on pause. Soaking in the breathtaking views and euphonic sounds of the Pacific Ocean, he fin­ally relaxes. He contemplates where he’s been and where he’s going next, thinking particularly about how to teach young CMG artists—including GloRilla and EST Gee—what he has learned across 20 years in the music business. “If you pick up information, you pass it down,” he says.

Asked what he would share with youth in Memphis to help them avoid the tragedies of drug dealing and gun violence, Gotti is clear: “I hope that what I’m doing today is showing them that there’s a better way.”

And what better way will he seek for himself? How will he make his next $100 million?

“It’s in the process,” Gotti says. “I’m planting the seeds. A lot of people don’t have patience—they want it all tomorrow. So they can’t execute a real plan.” Armed with his education and good mentorship, when that exit does arrive, Yo Gotti will be ready. “What I do know,” he says, “we’re coming out on top.”


ForbesMeet The Billionaires Buying Up HawaiiBy Phoebe LiuForbesMegan Thee Millions: Rapper Reaps Record RichesBy Jabari YoungForbesInside Pharrell Williams' $1 Billion Plan For Black And Hispanic EntrepreneursBy Jabari YoungForbesBeyoncé Is Now Worth $800 MillionBy Marisa Dellatto

Inside Yo Gotti’s $100 Million Music Empire (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated:

Views: 6492

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.