Lil’ Wyte: Wyte Lines

Lil’ Wyte is living his dream. After years of hard work, his career is picking up more speed. When he decided to pursue a Hip Hop career while still in his teens, his father gave him $1,500 to spend on making his first record. But things stalled. Like so many, he joined a rap group […]

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Lil’ Wyte is living his dream. After years of hard work, his career is picking up more speed. When he decided to pursue a Hip Hop career while still in his teens, his father gave him $1,500 to spend on making his first record. But things stalled. Like so many, he joined a rap group called the Shelby Forest Clique, that later dismantled. Undeterred, he released his first solo album, Doubt Me Now, independently through Three-6 Mafia’s label Hypnotized Minds. It was the success of this album that resulted in a distribution deal with Warner Music Group and the release of his second album Phinally Phamous.He has traveled the country with Three-6 Mafia, been recognized by Hip-Hop giants Kanye West and Jay-Z, and was given his own episode on the MTV show Adventures in Hollyhood. But is this enough to push his album to the top of the charts? After selling a combined total of 400,000 records, Lil’ Wyte is more than optimistic about his latest album’s success.  He sat down with to discuss his new album, what it’s like to work with Three-6 Mafia, and what he calls a “smarter approach” to the rap Why did you name the album The One and Only?Lil’ Wyte: Basically, it’s actually a couple different reasons. For me, I got a lot of posers out there and so I feel like I’m the one and only Lil’ Wyte. Paul and Juicy [of Three-6-Mafia] picked me. I feel like a type of chosen one. It’s not lot of White guys in my city that are actually pretty bumpin’. What I bring, I feel like I’m the one and only who can do it. Three-6-Mafia picked you for their label, but as far as your album, you chose to work with them exclusively. Why is that?Lil’ Wyte: Because I grew up on them. I really loved their music ever since I was a little kid. I was like 12 years-old listening to Three-6 on headphones so my parents couldn’t hear it, and I always stuck by their side. They were from [the same] city and they all live like 10 minutes away from me. I never met them though, when we were growing up. I never went to any shows, but [I] just was a real die-hard fan.  So to actually hook up with them—it’s a blessing. And I’m not going anywhere just for that. God sent me here, that’s the way I What was it like working with them? Was it everything you expected?Lil’ Wyte: Oh yeah, it’s still going good. Anytime I go out there to L.A., or [when] they’re in Memphis, I try to hook up with them. I’m actually a part of the family now. I’ve been with them since 2001 so I feel like I’ve been down for a minute. We’ve gone on vacations—stuff that ain’t got nothing to do with the music. Just going out and kickin’ it and to have that type of friendship with them is So what is your writing process when working with them?  Lil’ Wyte: I just get bobbin’. Paul will give me a beat and we’ll come up with a hook. I have issues with hooks. I told Paul that I think that rap is getting so simple, so what do I do? And he told me to just go in there, be yourself and do what you do and your album is gonna sell! He was like, ‘trust me and just go in there and do your thing and it’ll all work out.’ Wow, it sounds like he really has a lot of faith in you and I know that means a lot. How was it recording the album in L.A., on camera for Paul and Juciy’s show Adventures in Hollyhood?Lil’ Wyte: It was an experience, to wake up every morning…and have you own bedroom in the L.A. hills. And then to go to the studio with your favorite producers in the game, and they have beats ready—that’s a blessing. I can’t put it in words, I really can’t. I was speechless most of the time. Were you nervous recording in front of the cameras?Lil’ Wyte: Not really. It’s more like not really being nervous, it’s like I don’t like letting anybody down. Especially family, and to me, Paul and Juicy are family. [Being in front of the cameras] was just weird because I’m used to being in [front of] the camera doing interviews and stuff but I’ve never been in front of the camera and they say, “Don’t look at the camera.” But after the first day, I was alright.  The first day I was just kind of quiet trying to figure out what the hell was going on! You also have your own episode on the show, how did that feel?Lil’ Wyte: That was pretty cool for me to have my own episode because that meant a lot to me from Paul and Juicy and MTV. They really gave me a It seems like things are going really good with your career, but in the beginning things were rocky. You started out in a rap group that later broke up. What advice do you have for up and coming groups?Lil’ Wyte: Always trust your own heart and your own judgment. I feel like it helped me learn about how to be a man about a strong decision. [Leaving the group] was really just a life decision I had to Since you have been solo for the past few years, what is the difference between this album and your previous two albums?Lil’ Wyte: I went for more simplicity on this album. I didn’t work my brain. I had to look myself in the mirror and say, “Don’t go in there and get to sweating and get nervous.” It is a reason to be nervous because it is the biggest album of my career. I’ve had more promotion with the show and everything so I really had to just go in the mirror and say, “You can do this.” But I also didn’t work too hard to where I exhausted myself. I will work my ass off and it’ll end up stressing me out and everyone else will still be happy, so I told myself I wasn’t going to do that this time and to take a smarter Speaking of taking a smarter approach, you mentioned that rap has gotten very simple, how do you stay away from falling into that category?Lil’ Wyte: I think I’m an old school rapper in a way and I’m not [an] old schooler—I’m a young cat, but I think I rap like the old days. I talk about a little bit of everything in every rap. And I guess with music and radio getting so simple, it makes it—I don’t want to say harder on me—I guess I’d say easier.  It’s like you can either stop working as hard as you did and fit in with them or you can keep doing what you’re doing. And if you don’t get radio-play, you’re still going to have so much hood credibility. I have so much hood credibility it’s ridiculous! I love it though. Lately, it seems like the South has the Hip-Hop game in a chokehold. Do you think that will help or hinder your mainstream success?Lil’ Wyte: I feel like it doesn’t matter with me. I have put it in raps to show the South some respect because we deserve it. We have some damn good artists in the South, but I think for me its going to be alright because I have fans of all colors and all ages. I don’t think it matter[s] where I’m from. I think I could’ve done this if I had been from Hawaii. Then again, maybe not because I wouldn’t have that Memphis What is that Memphis mentality?Lil’ Wyte: Just go with the flow. Don’t give up. We know that your name is Lil’ Wyte, but do you think that it has been easier or harder to make it as a White rapper? Lil’ Wyte: Easier. Because a lot of people don’t even think about it anymore. You got folks like Eminem that came out and sold 20 or 40 million records. It just shows that [it] really doesn’t matter what the color is. If you have music in you and it just happens to be rap and Hip-Hop, it shouldn’t matter.