Who is NLE Choppa?
Born in 2002 from Memphis, Tennessee the Top Shotta artist Bryson Potts best known as NLE Choppa has had an incredible year peaking on Billboard charts, earning multiple RIAA gold and platinum plaques all as early as the age of 16. NLE Choppa comes from the slums of East Memphis, raised in the Parkway Village neighborhood, the streets of Cottonwood known for its high crime and poor living standards.
NLE represents “No Love Entertainment” and “Choppa” being a nickname he earned in the streets for his affiliation in gang-related activities. Growing up Choppa had ambitions to go pro in basketball but unfortunately, his street life kept getting him into trouble, resulting in abandoning his NBA dreams. NLE was sentenced to a juvenile detention center. It is unclear what he was sentenced for, but he stated that it was the turning point of his life and what motivated him to start taking life and music seriously.
He started taking rap seriously at the age of 15 and he focused on portraying Memphis street life in his music and videos. Some of his biggest influences come from Lil Wayne, Chief Keef, and Bob Marley who he states to be his favorite artist of all time.
His aggressive sound quickly earned him a major buzz in the Memphis drill scene, and in 2019 he had his Billboard breakthrough peaking at number 36 with his single “Shotta Flow”. The single hit a whopping 10 million views on YouTube in one month and hit double platinum selling over 2 million copies. This created a bidding war between record labels trying to sign the 16-year-old soon to be rap star. The offers to sign NLE Choppa hit a high of $3 million dollars, offers came from Republic, Interscope, and Caroline records.
The young star declined all record deals that were offered to him, believing in himself to achieve greater success down the line. Patience played to Choppa’s benefit, eventually signing a distribution deal and earning his own record label through Warner Records. NLE Choppa Entertainment became the official label for all of NLE’s music, allowing him to keep full ownership of all of this music.
With this deal came also the benefit of having the ability to hire his mother as his personal manager, keeping more of the money within the family. NLE often mentions how much he loves his mother in his music and interviews, as she is his biggest motivation in life along with his daughter he just had earlier this year. From high school to the big screens, a rap star was born and was on his way to greatness.
What led to such a bidding war for NLE Choppa? As drill rap became more popular throughout the recent years, we have yet to hear an authentic drill sound coming out of Memphis. NLE had put Memphis drill on the map with songs like “Murda Talk”, “Shotta Flow”, “Top Shotta Flow” and “Step”. His delivery method and music style comes off as heavy-hitting, aggressive, melodic, and sometimes even rambunctious. It should be no surprise that his fan base had skyrocketed at such an incredible pace when we have never heard such strong hitting vocals out of the South.
Aside from his aggressive delivery, NLE often includes catchy dance moves to go along with his music. His high energy on the mic translates into the dance moves and keeps the crowd engaged. NLE does have versatility in his music, as well as softer songs that address pain and emotional instability such as “Depression” and “Paranoid”. His style is suitable for many different moods and his music appears to be evolving more as he grows older.
Teenager or not, NLE Choppa has achieved more than most people do in a lifetime. With over 100 million YouTube views, and a total of 7 platinum records selling 1,000,000 copies and 3 gold records selling 500,000 copies, NLE is clearly having a memorable year. Earlier this summer in August he released his debut album called “Top Shotta” which lead single “Walk Em Down” featuring Roddy Rich went viral peaking at 38 on Billboard 100 and 25 on Rolling Stone Top 100.
The collaboration single was the ultimate breakthrough for NLE’s upcoming album going viral on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter. Other notable songs include “Narrow Road” featuring Lil Baby, “Daydream” which was his introduction to the album, and “Murda Talk” where we really get a chance to see how much drill rap had influenced NLE to make a stamp in his ability to deliver authentic Memphis drill music.
Top Shotta the album had been a highly anticipated project which would really separate him from all his previous work. The album had only 4 features out of 20 songs, leaving this project for the real fans who want to hear more of NLE Choppa. The term Top Shotta comes from Jamaican slang meaning “Thug” or “Gangster” NLE often mentions his passion for Jamaican culture as his mother is of Jamaican descent. According to Choppa, Top Shotta was a nickname given to him early on from his family in Jamaica. The album peaked at number 10 on Billboard 100 list, quite impressive for the teenager’s first album.
Aside from amazing record sales and multiple plaques, NLE Choppa had been one of the most anticipated artists on the XXL freshman 2020 class. XXL Magazine is one of rap’s favorite sources of new artists. This year’s freshman class had a number of artists who absolutely deserved to be on the list. However, it was the most obvious that NLE Choppa was going to be the biggest name of the 2020 class. With co-signs from other big stars like Meek Mill, Birdman, Chief Keef, Lebron James, and Damian Lillard it was clear that NLE Choppa’s fan base is growing in multiple different directions leaving XXL with an easy decision to put Choppa on the 2020 freshman cover.
What’s next for NLE Choppa?
The rise of NLE Choppa is real, it’s clear that he is here to stay and there is no slowing him down any time soon. He has done countless amounts of interviews, features, and spent hours upon hours in the studio delivering what his fans want most. With Top Shotta the album out now, we know NLE has been focused on increasing sales and streams on music platforms. He has also been releasing YouTube vlogs “Top Shotta Don Dada” episodes on a weekly to bi-weekly basis showing some of the behind the scenes of his life, music videos, and studio time.
NLE has also been focused on providing more visuals for the biggest hits on his album, coming out with 5 brand new music videos within the last month. We have also been seeing NLE snippet some of his new music on social media which he stated will be featured on the “Top Shotta Deluxe” album. As of right now, we do not have a date on when we will hear the deluxe version of Top Shotta, but we know one thing for sure that NLE will bring us that same hype, energetic, and aggressive tone we know to love him for. Stay tuned for more NLE Choppa this coming Fall.