Memphis rapper Shanegutta speaks on his close-knit relationship with rapper Yo Gotti, from selling drugs with the fellow North Memphian and friend to recording an album, under the label Cash Money Records, which was destroyed in the raft of Hurricane Katrina.
In an exclusive interview with rapper Shanegutta, formerly of the group Block Burnaz, Shanegutta speaks on his close-knit relationship with rapper Yo Gotti, from selling drugs with the fellow North Memphian and friend to recording an album, under the label Cash Money Records, which was destroyed in the raft of Hurricane Katrina.
Shanegutta tells Memphisrap.com that the studio album was lost in the studio in Katrina which led to him recording in Memphis with producer Carlos Brody but again unfortune struck when the group Block Burnaz started having issues stemming from too much money and too much partying.
The rapper and now founder of his own label, Swisha Box, goes on to talk about what he's been doing after the Block Burnaz, the work he has upcoming, and sheds some light on why he doesn't feel too good right now about the Memphis rap scene including why he believes certain things, like the recent incident between Memphis rapper Kia Shine and Three 6 Mafia, hurts his city.
Check out the full interview of Shanegutta with MemphisRap.com....
MemphisRap.com: We know you were associated with Yo Gotti, are you still down with him?
Shanegutta: Yo gotti and I will always be cool. We are still cool. We are just following two different paths right now.
MemphisRap.com: How did you and Gotti meet?
Shanegutta: We actually grew up in Ridgecrest in north Memphis, we've known each other our whole life.
MemphisRap.com: Were you rapping before you met him?
Shanegutta: Before I met him no... Gotti and I started out with DJ Sound -- who is also from Ridgecrest -- he was an in house dj sort of speak. He had the whole set up -- turn tables, big speakers, cross faders, the works u digg... at that time we was just lil knuckle heads and Sound would let anyone from the hood just come in and rap, Gotti was a standout at an early age. We was like 10 or 11 years old -- this was when Paul and Juicy (Members of Three Six Mafia) were doing mix tapes out their house and Gotti got a few songs done with Skinny Pimp and Lil Jin -- that's what it was like, the very beginning.
MemphisRap.com: When did you first start rapping?
Shanegutta: I was like 11 or 12 years old man.
MemphisRap.com: When you first started did you do it for the love of the music or was it like a hustle to make paper?
Shanegutta: Look... I always had a love 4 music I knew all the old songs and was always in the mirror performing and just seeing acts like NWA, Ghetto Boyz, 2 Live Crew, that really inspired me to do this.
MemphisRap.com: What was life like coming up for little Shanegutta?
Shanegutta: I mean it was hard outside music -- we were selling drugs by 13, Gotti and me. I was selling weed first. No dad around, mom was on welfare.. so I would settle for fast money, every body was doing it. I would put the money in my momma's purse. She would ask me about it, I would say I don't know... I couldn't put it in her hand I was just a kid, I wasn't supposed to have any money, u know... I took a lot of trips to juvenile for various reasons. I played football and was very good. I seen people get shot, stabbed, use drugs, steal cars, robberies and so on... you know just the street life... it was hard to make it out of that, but you had to grow up early.
MemphisRap.com: When did you first start calling yourself Shanegutta?
Shanegutta: My mother named me Shane, so all my life I been Shane. The gutta come from life experiences... I'm from Ridgecrest, the gutta... so it was really simple -- that's who I am, Shanegutta.
MemphisRap.com: Did you have another name before Shanegutta?
MemphisRap.com: You were signed with Cash Money music as a Block Burnaz [member], I know you were involved with CM when we first met, whatever happened to that deal? So, has all ties ended with the label Cash Money?
Shanegutta: We are still all very tight I talk to Lil Wayne and Baby... Slim and Lo Jak, often. We did an album that was never released because of the hurricane Katrina -- which destroyed the studio where all the material for the album was slated to be called Gutta... every song was a hit honestly no lie... [We] went back into recording in Memphis and we dropped a song called D Boy produced by Carlos Brody. We never finished because the group started to have certain issues and the money started to go to people's head -- we were out partying instead of working.
MemphisRap.com: So how's thing so far with your own label Swisha Box?
Shanegutta: The Box is good it's actually called Swisha Box/ The Black Gang Music Group. I started it in 2005 while I was still with Gotti and I & E. Out of all the members of the Block Burnaz only Gotti and myself were lab rats we wrote a lot of stuff over the years man and I just miss them cats just the everydayness we had if that's a word... but I had to branch off to become me and find myself. I didn't leave like f**k Yo Gotti nem but the streets thought I did, I already had a label when I left so I wanted to get out of Yo Gotti's shadow and create my own image for yall and it's been good so far.
MemphisRap.com: Are you planning a solo album?
Shanegutta: Yes, it doesn't have a name yet I'm still shopping for a label deal as we speak. Right now, I'm sitting on 8 albums already so I have my very own catalog -- how many rappers can say that that's platinum?
MemphisRap.com: Is it just you on your label or do you have other artists you're working with?
Shanegutta: Just me, as an artist but I have a team that works the company with me. And yes, I work with everyone from Mac E, Yung D, Yung Kee, Gangsta Blac, Al Kapone, Free Sol, Rock Star, Devin, from Making The Band 4 and plenty more.
MemphisRap.com: How do you feel about the Memphis rap scene right now?
Shanegutta: I don't feel good about it. I think Kia Shine had something good going. I think he really dropped the ball for us at Universal by getting dropped from the label. Then the situation with 3 6 Mafia at their cd signing just made us look un united. I think that's why we don't grow as a whole because we don't work together as a whole. When you look at other cities like Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, and Los Angeles you can name 3 famous rappers or groups within those towns that worked together but not in Memphis -- that's some b******t. Gotti numbers not great, where is Tela and Fly far as a national stage? We don't have anybody out there -- I'm speaking from inside the game, and not on a street level!! If everyone came together we would be the powerhouse that we are. If everyone worked on each other's albums, like 8ball, MJG, Al Kapone, Yo Gotti, Gangsta Blac, Fly, Yung D, Kinfolk Thugs, Jazzy PHA, Drumma Boy, Stockholdaz, Justin Timberlake, Carlos Brody, Lil Chat,... I mean the list is non stop -- until that happen, we just gone have that one big act while Chicago got Common, Lupe, Kanye, Twista... those niggas work together.
MemphisRap.com: What can we look forward to, what's next for Shanegutta?
Shanegutta: I got my clothing line "Artvision," its independent now. I'm working that with various artists like Young Jeezy, Pastor Troy and D Junk. So hopefully that jumps off round bout the same time the music kicks off really big.. it goes hand and hand.
MemphisRap.com: Coming to an end now, we'd like to get your advice maybe for any up and coming artists being that you got some experience from what the game has thrown at you, what's the best thing you could tell someone that they definitely need to know before and when they get in this game?
Shanegutta: Just stay loyal to yourself man and understand that these folks you hearing on the radio been in the game a minute.. [it] doesn't happen overnight and the music game is a business 90% bizz, 10% talent -- that's why you hear so much garbage on the radio now, so do your numbers and learn the game.
MemphisRap.com: Last but not least, what's your favorite NBA team?
Shanegutta: Aw man come on.. I'm always with the home team win or lose I'm a Grizzly n***a, don't bleed like me I bleed blue, my true love is the tigers.. Best wishes to Larry Finch.
MemphisRap.com: Obama or McCain?
MemphisRap.com: Are there any last words or something we didn't cover in this interview that you'd like to add?
Shanegutta: R.i.p to Tweety, DP, and Ced White... thanks to Memphisrap.com & DJ Howard Q, the best DJ in the south.. shouts out to Big Yak, King Snake, Ace, for Swisha Box/ The Black Gang Music Group.. what's up G Ball and Ish.
Shanegutta: Thanks for the interview.