Rappers love LeBron James. Yo Gotti is the latest to tip his hat to the Miami Heat giant with his new single, aptly titled “LeBron James.” Before the cameras rolled in New Jersey, the I Am rapper took VIBE aboard his tour bus to talk his vision for the video, his own hoop dreams and why he doesn’t light up. —Sowmya Krishnamurthy
VIBE: Why did you decide on “LeBron James” as a single?
Yo Gotti: I think this record has high energy. It’s going to be crazy in the clubs and in the streets as well as on radio. The whole title of the record, I compare myself to LeBron James before the ring. That’s what this album is for me. We’re in the playoffs trying to go for the championship.
Has the real LeBron James heard the song?
Actually, I don’t know yet. I’ve been moving so much I haven’t had a chance to personally get it to him.
Are you friends in real life? Maybe you can send him a tweet.
Nah. I ain’t never met him like that. I’ll figure it out. I can reach out and get in touch with him.
What’s the vision for the video?
High-energy and making it creative. We’ll do some things where we tie basketball into it. We want to make it an all-white theme, which is my favorite color. All white wardrobe. Girls. You know, just having fun. A fun, party video.
Will you be playing basketball in the video?
I don’t know. We gotta see. I might try something. I’m alright. I got a cool jump shot.
Were you an athlete in high school?
I ain’t never really play sports.
So you were a nerd?
Nah. I was really gangsta.
That was a different table in the cafeteria. I was a nerd.
Yeah. I remember looking at y’all over there. I probably come holler at ya’ll to come do some work for me. I need some little help over here. [Laughs]. I played pee-wee football coming up. If I had known the type of chicks they would get when I was in school, I’d probably focused on it a little more. You know what I’m saying? If I knew they’d be getting $100 million checks and shit like that.
Wait, did you say “chicks” or “checks”?
Checks. I had the chicks.
As a rapper, you’re getting the checks and the chicks now.
Yeah but you know… You gotta grind up to the Ms though.
Totally. But in all seriousness, who gets the better chicks? Athletes or rappers?
We probably get the same ones! I’m saying like, you know. They moving around. I’ve seen it happen like, “Oh. She with him now.”
On the topic of vices, you don’t drink or smoke. Why’s that?
I actually like the smell of weed. When my partners have weed I’m like “Lemme see that,” but I’m a numbers guy. The shit isn’t worth my money. Somebody who really smoke the good weed, my people around me, they probably spend in a year smoking weed on what I spend on like an exotic luxury car. I be on the numbers like, $1,000 a tab. You smoke that in a day or two? That’s too much money. I buy fucking Lamborghinis or something.
You’re a closet nerd, my friend. Welcome to the table.
CLICK THE ARROWS ABOVE FOR BEHIND-THE-SCENES PHOTOS FROM YO GOTTI'S "LeBRON JAMES" VIDEO SHOOT