10 Steps to NOMEX Featuring Geechi Gotti
Geechi Gotti is wearing the West Coast rap battle scene on his back like a strenuous tattoo.
His accent drips the lazy gait of the tongue of a gangsta. He walks cool like he’s not in a hurry, but there’s a silence of intensity and urgency in his presence. Born six weeks and five days before NWA dropped Straight Outta Compton, he represents the culture of his birth with the confident tribalism that we saw in Kendrick Lamar, The Game, YG, DJ Quick and King T. He represents the best qualities of the city’s most revered Hip-Hop icon, Eazy-E.
It’s a heritage he’s painfully aware of, but he never felt he ‘d understand it.
“When I grew up, Compton was lit for sure,” Gotti said.
When asked about artists like NWA, and the impact of the group on the very streets that have shaped the Champion’s “Champion of the Year” for two years in a row, he admits that Eazy-E was the one he most connected to.
“My favorite member in NWA was Eazy-E, off the rip. Even when he wasn’t with them anymore, the neighborhood I’m still rocked with Eazy. So, I was also a fan. I was young, but I was listening to the music at the same time. I knew what it was all about.
“And Eazy was getting a lot of money.”
To most children who grew up in the late 80s and 90s, when money, gangs, and drugs invaded neighborhoods like never before — everything about how Eazy moved had to be enticing to young Comptonians.
“He also had a real swag of Compton. Not to criticize the rest of them, but Eazy epitomized what a Compton guy was meant to look like in the streets … at least in my mind.
There was a young Gotti watching.
Not just Eazy-E, but the other people who decorated his hood like stop signs. The ways of his hood, the traditions of the land, he began to adopt and apply those survival skills. This makes him such a talented singer.
Over the last six or seven years, people have come to know the words of his true gangsta talk. No one’s doing it better. There could be people who have been screened in the streets for as long as they have … And maybe even carry the same flag … But he got them.
One explanation is that Gotti is not trying to persuade people that he is a “G.”
Nicknamed “Baby,” if you’re ever wondering if his version of history matches the folklore of his hood (located between Wilmington Central Avenue and Greenleaf and Alondra Blvd), just remember his slogan, “when it’s real, you can tell, you can see it in their eyes.”
“As you grow up in Compton, you kind of learn to stay in the cut and be more observant; slow to speak and quick to listen.” He says this is a lesson that he lives because the wrong move can “put you in a position that you probably won’t put yourself in.”
Gotti says you can’t afford to pay attention. He knows that. The wrong moves nearly cost him everything.
It’s no secret that Gotti was in the city. Given the best efforts of his birth family, the street family he discovered as a Crip had a gravitational influence over him. But it’s not a secret either … He’s a smart one. He knows how to get the money, he writes, he articulates, and his evaluation of circumstances can be easy to illuminate.
Like an Eazy-E or even Malcolm X, his fast thinking and vocabulary made him a leader even before he knew he was. It also served, unknown to him, as his segue to rap music.
Because let’s be clear … he was good on the streets … rap music was the last thing on his mind.
“I recorded music in my friend’s closet when I was still in high school. He had a little studio set up and took it seriously. Back then, he was making beats and all that. He pushed me like, ‘Man, you dope. Keep it going.’ I didn’t take it that seriously. But as years went by and people started rocking with it, I started to believe there might be something in it.
After graduating from high school, the emcee went to college. He attended Compton College first, then moved to Grambling State in Louisiana. I’ve been there for about a year.
His biological family supported him on his way to the HBCU.
As a student, he entered the ranks of other famous GSU Tigers including E-40 and Erykah Badu. While there, he studied for his Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Criminal Justice. He didn’t know what to do with it. People recommended that the teen take the major so that his probation officer would be impressed and get him out of his paperwork more quickly.
At college, he was also introduced to a different flood of rap music that helped grow the elite pen the made him one of the most hated rappers in the Ultimate Rap League.
“I like the West Coast rappers, but the music I’ve been listening to was down the South or East Coast dudes.” Gotti explains, “I’ve been listening to Cassidy and all his mixtapes. Cam’ron is one of the favorite rappers of mine. Oh, Jadakiss. I’ve been listening to Project Pat and the Hot Boyz. Three of the six mafias and all that. That’s where my theme comes from. I imitate the street talk, but at the same time I keep it lyrical.
In 2006, he enjoyed himself as a rising sophomore and went home to Compton for a break. While he was at home for the summer, he caught a burglary case, which stopped him from returning to the historic Black College.
“I was like, now I’ve got to take it seriously. I’ve been waiting in prison. I’m like ‘I did my thing in school.’ Now, I’ve got to figure things out.”
Remember, Godi ‘s earlier lesson about a wrong step could cost someone everything? Slowly, he truly earned the lesson.
“Just that fast, I kind of messed it all up. Before I even went to college, I was a teenager. Even my family getting me to school was a blessing, and it was a blessing for me to come back and mess up again. It felt like I was letting my family down.
“I was a little young, and I didn’t take it seriously. But I learned a few things, even though I did not recognize the magnitude of the situation.
“I’ve always felt like I could rap this whole time.”
That very thing that he took for granted at high school — that past time that he thought had no value and was just something to do — was actually his lifeline. Forget the wealth and success that he is enjoying now, this was the moment of the Kairos that opened his world all the way up. It was the birth of Eazy-E’s Brutal Records. It was the discovery of the Nation of Islam for Malcolm X. It was the gift of the universe that saved him from himself.
“I started getting heavy on my songs. This time, I ‘m putting out songs in my area, so I’m enjoying my buzz. People are beginning to get to know me.
Gotti battled a rapper called Yak the Rippa, and the URL talent manager, Norbes, was in the crowd. Soon after that, the rapper did his first PG, and he never found himself on a larger stage battling the Cave Gang assassin Ave on the URL Traffic Card.
“When they replied to my first haymaker, that sh*t was crazy. That’s when I knew I was going. They’ve been listening to me now. I ‘d say some sh*t, and they’d catch all of it. I said my slogan, ‘You’ze a B*tch,’ and they were crying. That’s when I knew they were having fun with me.
Geechi Gotti’s slogan, “You’ze a B*tch,” is one of those trademark sayings that you just remember. It packs just as much of a punch as Shotgun Suge’s “What’s Your Life Like?” “John John da Don’s” Multiple Options “or Hitman’s” Remixes. “It really has as much control as his Nome X rival, Aye Verb’s” Showtime, “so how did he come up with it?
“The first battle I used was against the 65 Hunnit battle rapper. I used it on him because of his image as a tyrant. That was my whole goal: to make him look like he wasn’t one of them. ‘You ‘re huge to them, but when you fight me, you ‘re a b*tch to me.’ I used it in all three fights, and people f*cked with it. So, I’ve kept it.
And not only were they f*cking the slogan, but they were so as a battle rapper.
He is one of the few in his generation (who in a few short years) to have not only graced big stages, but also to have a resume of competition that could easily match any vet of the first generation.
After his debut in the Ultimate Rap League, a little over three and a half years ago, he has not only placed 2 COTY under his belt (a achievement that no other battler in history has ever done), The Source Magazine’s “Battler of the Year,” the BET Hip-Hop Awards, but has faced the following names: Glueazy, JC, T-Top, K-Shine, Marv One and Quest McCody in the B-Dot, Shotgun Suge, Rum Nitty, Arsonal, Tsu S.
He featured on Traffic 3, Born Legend Supreme 2, Initiation, Summer Madness 7 and 8, Strike 2.5, SMACK Vol. 3, 4 , and 5, Born Legacy 6 and 7, NOME 9, Summer Effect, Lock Down, Royalty, Genesis, Quarantine Sterilized, and now he’s on the biggest stage of his life at NOME X.
NOME X is a remarkable accomplishment for the lyricist. The card features pioneer rapper Loaded Lux vs. Tsu Surf, Tay Roc vs. Daylyt, John John da Don vs. Ill Will and Th3 Saga, and Mike P. Gotti’s going up against the island of G*d Aye Verb, who is probably the only rapper ever to fuck the lips of both Mt. Rushmore rappers, Murda Mook and Loaded Lux.
As the story goes, Gotti called out all the vets, but Aye Verb, who was the warrior he was, stepped up and responded.
“As a warrior, I’ve had some wars. I can’t even pick who’s been the worst. Anyone I’ve fought has always brought their best, so I can’t see Aye Verb offering nothing but his best.
“The dangerous thing about Verb is that he’s a vet. It’s still dangerous when you fight those guys who’ve been in the game for so long. They know how to win it. They’ve all waged different kinds of battles. I can’t say that I’m going to be something he’s never seen before, because he’s seen a lot of different styles of fighting. It’s always dangerous. Plus, he’s a rapper. He’s a rappy type of guy. He could succeed in a small room setting.
Geechi Gotti knows that this is one of those fights that more than ten years ago, when he was watching old SMACK DVDs … when he was trying to sort out his life … he would never have thought it would be possible. Getting Smack White as a friend and mentor, responding to his bars as he rhymes on stage, praising him as one of the greatest rappers in the history of battle rap, was something he never thought possible. The states were against him. The streets of Compton knew the best way to call his name. And the criminal justice system was waiting for a warm bed. Yet Hip-Hop ‘s saving spirit prevailed again.
“The streets were going to have me. All kinds of hoods are sh*t. But God changed all that (going to prison, being fired, it wasn’t always something positive). I certainly look at it today as a blessing. I was able to live and grow. I am a testament to the fact that you can resolve any little thing that may not fall in your favor. You should still refocus on yourself. We all have a bad vibe when we lose focus and start doing other things. Take it seriously and make your crazy life worth it.
The Nome X Ultimate Rap League will be held on Saturday , July 11 at 5 p.m., exclusively on Caffeine. TV.