Even with a fat discography already in the books, Live from the Kitchen was designed as Yo Gotti's "official" debut, with all previous efforts relegated to "street" or "independent" status. That's all well and good, as the production (from Drumma Boy, Lex Luger, Shawty Redd, and others) and the guest list (Jadakiss, Big K. R.
Memphis' Yo Gotti is the latest subject in the rap industry's ongoing, long-term study: If an album is released in a Best Buy and no one is around to purchase it, does it exist? As it pertains to Live From the Kitchen-- the rapper's first major-label album, despite having been in the game for over a decade-- the answer might as well be no. To be fair, 16,000 people bought it in its first week, but amongst his fans, there's little doubt that Live instantly took a backseat to the mixtapes and tracks that preceded it. That's something close to a shame, because it's a solid, listenable, blue-collar rap album, the sort of thing that used to start careers as opposed to branding them dead on arrival.
Yo Gotti deserves a medal, because Live From The Kitchen is just about the most predictable rap album you could ever listen to. That’s quite a dishonorable achievement for most, but in Gotti’s world, predictability plays heavily into a fan base that wants the same kind of songs to slip into rotation. From the title alone, you can guess what the Memphis-raised Yo Gotti’s studio debut is going to sound like – and as it progresses it confirms every suspicion.
Yo Gotti has weathered his benchwarmer status with dogged persistence, releasing four independent albums and eight mixtapes over the last decade, turning in dutiful cameos whenever rap superstars beckoned, and then going back to his grind in the Southern gangsta scene. Naturally, patience is where the Memphis-based rapper’s saint-like qualities begin and end: He’s a rapper in the mold of Too $hort and Bun B, and he’s as likely to brag about his prowess as a coke slinger as he is to give an X-rated account of his last visit to the strip club. And as easy as it is to admire the MC’s drive, you can’t exactly say the major labels were wrong to pass on him year after year.
After plenty of delays, buzz and mixtapes, Yo Gotti has finally delivered his debut major label solo album, as he serves as master chef, cooking up hard rhymes over block-hugging beats on Live From The Kitchen. The Memphis rapper sets the tone on this 11-track album with the opener “Testimony,” on which Gotti declares, “Cocaine dose, fish…vicious/Pray the lord forgive a nigga, streets is my religion. ” From there, the instrumental for “Harder” bangs through the speakers with Gotti and Rick Ross’ trading fitting tough-talk and gritty rhymes.