In just a year, NLE Choppa carved out a lane in hip-hop as one of the genre’s brightest stars. The Memphis teenager’s career took off when he released his explosive hit “Shotta Flow” in 2019; the record rocketed to No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and helped him land a deal with Warner Records later that year.
Choppa’s high-octane energy seeped into his follow-up hits, including “Camelot” and his Roddy Ricch-assisted “Walk Em Down,” allowing the 17-year-old to become a consistent Hot 100 presence. Earlier this month, Choppa released his debut album Top Shotta. The 20-track collection coasted its way to No. 10 on the Billboard 200, besting his previous effort Cottonwood, which peaked at No. 57.
Below, read about how Choppa’s handling fatherhood, preserving his mental health and more.
1. What’s the first piece of music that you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?
I don’t buy music but YouTube. I listened to music on YouTube.
2. What was the first concert you saw?
I never to been to one, but mines.
3. What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid?
My momma owns rental properties, and my pops worked at Hershey’s.
4. What made you realize that you could be an artist full time?
When I found out I was good at it, and I found something that I love doing.
5. How did your hometown/city shape who you are?
I think it made me a little grimy, a hustler, a survivor.
6. What’s the last song you listened to?
“Molly” by NLE Choppa.
7. If you could see any artist in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?
8. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen at one of your shows?
I done seen a lot of fights and mosh pits. I’ve seen somebody pass out.
9. What’s your karaoke go-to?
[I don’t have one], but if I was going to, I would sing [Tina Turner’s] “What’s Love Got to Do with it.”
10. What movie or song always makes you cry?
I cry [watching] Boyz n the Hood. I was mad when Ricky died.
11. What TV series have you watched all the way through multiple times?
13 Reasons Why.
12. What’s one thing that even your most devoted fans don’t know about you?
I don’t know.
13. If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
I don’t know. I would be a barber.
14. What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Keep going. You got it. You’re already destined for it.
15. What did it feel like graduating high school this year?
It was a relief. Something I don’t have to worry about no more, for sure.
16. What was it like to work with Lil Baby on “Narrow Road”?
It was like an honor for sure. Sh-t, it was just an honor.
17. What is your favorite track from the “Shotta Flow” series?
Probably “5,” because it kind of ended it.
18. What has fatherhood been like for you so far, and is there any advice you would give to young Black fathers?
Fatherhood has been treating me well, and I would say to just be there for them and make sure that you’re always in their life.
19. You’re an advocate for mental health. What steps are you taking to protect yourself during these rough times?
Just been meditating. Meditation, especially during this quarantine with all the negative sh-t going on, has just been keeping me real positive — keeping me open-minded. It’s just been keeping me grounded and focused on what’s important. It’s serving the purpose.
20. Anything you want to tell your fans or want anyone to know about your debut album?
I just want everybody to go get it because I worked so hard on it. It was a long process; I just hope everybody enjoys it and is entertained by it.