By diversifying beyond the music industry, rapper Yo Gotti is following in the footsteps of many of his other peers in the rap game.
The Memphis native is involved in real estate, fashion, esports and, of late, the fight for prison reform.
“Real estate was one of the first things I was doing. I kinda like mistakenly fell into that,” Gotti told Yahoo Finance.
“I bought a house early in my career, and in my head, it was like, ‘If everything goes wrong, I own this one house, you know?’ … As I started doing concerts and more concerts, I started buying more houses. I would buy a house, and try to buy a house every month.”
Despite his success, Gotti’s has had no formal training in the trade.
“I didn’t have education or information about real estate at the time. I learned after I bought a few houses, and then I kind of fell in love with the rehabbing of the houses and fixing them up and just the whole process and turned it into a business.”
Gotti, who is set to release a new yet-to-be-named album, has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry. But after five inmates violently died in one week in the Mississippi prison system recently, Gotti and Jay-Z teamed up to bring legal action against the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
“To me it’s personal,” Gotti said, “It’s not about being an artist, it’s something that’s really bothering me. When I grew up, my auntie was in prison. My brother has been in prison. My father had been in prison. I’ve been going to visit people in prison since I was a kid.”
The recording artist also highlighted the dangerous conditions that many U.S. prisoners face.
“You can’t put people in inhumane conditions regardless — everybody is still human. A lot of people are in there for crimes they didn’t do. Some people are there for stuff they did. Some people are waiting for trial. Some people just can’t afford bond, but it’s the same facility, people are supposed to be there for rehabilitation, not losing their lives in prison.”
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.