His street single "Yayo" with Yo Gotti kept the club and the hood fed from his North Memphis stomping grounds to radios nationwide. His mantra is motivation — bred from the projects to prison where both are now a memory.
He's Snootie Wild, and like his latest mixtape suggests: Ain't No Stoppin Me.
By now you know the name, but you probably don't know the man. Snootie Wild came up in North Memphis, Tennessee, a spot on the map where both violence and music are the two richest exports. Snootie's father, the original Snootie, had his fair share of legal woes, but always encouraged Lil Snootie to do and be more.
At 6'3, the bright teen was an aspiring basketball star, but a knife wound to the knee at 17 crushed any chances of the NBA.
The streets were calling, and Snootie answered. For four years he was away in prison, he got out, and ended up right back in. That second time he vowed would be his last, but there was a silver lining to incarceration: Snootie found his voice. He began writing rhymes and freestyling about the current events he was missing on the outside. Once he was released, the real struggles began.
"After prison, the reality of my life was crazy trying to figure out what my next move was going to be, especially knowing I've got kids," he says. "It was a struggle, and you lose hope fast, but my kids and my family kept me going."
Snootie started investing his time and money into music. After the death of his father, Snootie dropped the ‘Lil' and added the Wild to highlight his personality. He took on every challenge as he crafted songs and showed up to open mics, and finally the track "Yayo" broke through. Fellow local legend Yo Gotti heard the song, signed Snootie to his CMG imprint, and the rest, as they say, is history.
"Yayo took me to a whole other level in my life, which in turn helped me to change people's lives," Snootie says of the hit single. "It was a great movement for giving people out of my city some hope that they could do anything. It helped change my life."
Both Snootie's Chapter One mixtape and Go Mode EP, which was released in late 2014 via CMG/Epic, showcased a burgeoning young artist with dreams of the bigger picture. However, Ain't No Stoppin Me kicks that up a notch.
The new mixtape is a continuation of Go Mode, full of hits with inspirational undertones. The lead single "Play Wit a Brick" can fuel the club, but listen carefully, and the underlying message is to quit wasting time. In fact, almost every song Snootie touches is blanketed by the word MOTIVATION.
"Me talking about motivation so much comes from my struggle and experiencing bad things in my life," he says.
"Sometimes you can lose hope, so me coming from a bad situation to a better one, leaves me no choice but to speak out and speak the truth. It doesn't matter where you're at or what you're going through. You can always get yourself out of it and live life how you want to live it."
Snootie has already teased some tracks on stage at SXSW 2015, warming audiences up for the main event, but on stage is where Snootie feels closest to his fans. "The people are the ones that listen to the music. They want to know that the person making that music is real," he adds. "There are a lot of imposters out there. I have to be out there with the people. I owe them that."
In a world where many forget the meaning of gratitude, Snootie Wild is thankful for every day out of his past. The man who said "the projects weren't big enough for me" is now rocking on stages from coast-to-coast and dropping audible gems into the ears of non-believers. While Ain't No Stoppin Me will be a game changer, it's just the warm-up for
Snootie Wild. His stardom is just beginning.
"Once they hear me and see me and really get the facts on where I come from," Snootie says, "they gonna learn that I'm a young man that came from nothing in these streets — that had all the hope of being something, but just never had
anything to gravitate towards trying to get there. God sent him a line and got him out of those projects. And here I am."