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NLE Choppa talks battling depression, music collabs, and his true feelings about the Black Lives Matter movement

October 15, 2020

Read the full interview on REVOLT.com!

At only 17 years old, NLE Choppa has already achieved what most artists can only dream of in their lifetime. With over three billion streams to date, 12.8 million monthly Spotify listeners, every visual hitting millions of views instantaneously, and multiple plaques, the future is bright for the young star.

Beyond his standout hits such as his “Shotta Flow” series, “Walk Em Down” featuring Roddy Ricch, “Camelot,” and his collaborations such as “Go Stupid” with Polo G, Choppa has recently had a spiritual awakening — abandoning old habits and finding inner peace. This means quitting all substances including marijuana, no longer rapping about violence in his lyrics, meditating, training his mind to be positive and more.

He now has a lot to celebrate with the release of his debut album titled Top Shottawhich went gold in three weeks. The title pays homage to his Jamaican roots.

REVOLT caught up with the artist to discuss being an XXL Freshmen, meditation being his solution to depression, working with Mulatto, his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement, and more. Read below.

Congrats on the XXL Freshmen list! How are you feeling?

It’s a dream come true because I really grew up watching XXL.

You just released Top ShottaWhat does it mean to pay tribute to your Jamaican roots?

It means a lot because that’s something I didn’t really touch on in the beginning. When I was younger, I used to always be over there. Every other four years, we’d have a family reunion. I wanted to start back touching up on it.

Anyone who follows you knows you recently had a spiritual awakening. What sparked this?

I really don’t know what sparked it, I just know it started with meditation. When I started to meditate and found peace, it opened my mind up. A lot of stuff started to come with it, too.

You’ve been vocal about your struggles with depression and mental health. How do you feel?

I feel great, real great for sure. It for sure helped. I used to wake up and tell myself everyday that I don’t have depression or anxiety anymore. It’s a mental thing. When you start thinking positive, getting that negative out can change your whole reality. Your thoughts are your reality, so you have to say you don’t have that.

Have you learned patience too?

It’s an affirmation I say: “I am patient.” It’s all in affirmations, I write them down. I wake up, I speak them and read them. I say them every day, they change your thoughts. One thing I’m heavy on: You put positive thoughts in your heart, it’ll change your DNA. Everything you think, it attracts towards you. You thinking negative, that’s what you’re going to get. You think positive, that’s what you’re going to get.

How long do you meditate?

About two or three times a day. You can do breath work, too, throughout the day. While I’m talking, I could be sitting there and doing it. Breath work is light meditation. You meditate all through the day. Whenever you need that peace or time to yourself, that’s what meditation is for. Or reading a book. I started reading books too, it slows your mind down. Writing in a journal, I keep a journal with me and write down stuff I want to achieve.

How were you before all this?

I was too worried about the future and the past. The future causes anxiety and the past causes depression. You have to live in the present moment. Keep in that present moment, attract all the right stuff towards you, think the right way. Once your intuition changes, it’s over with.

Has fatherhood helped this, as well?

It for sure helped. When my daughter was in my baby mama’s stomach, I knew it was a lot of stuff I had to change. It’s life, you have to change. You’re working with another seed, you have another little person with you, so you can’t be doing the same stuff you’ve been doing. God really has been molding me to change a lot of stuff.

I can’t believe you’re only 17. Do you feel young?

Everybody’s been saying that. I’m mentally on a 50-year-old level. They say you don’t know your third eye until 40 or 50, I already got it. I see everything perfectly clear, 20/20 vision. I see the bigger picture, all that.

Talk about that trickling down to your music, too. You said you want to stop rapping about murder and violence.

For sure, I’ve been putting a more positive approach and more positive message in my music. Speaking on what’s real and what’s not, not getting too caught up in what everybody else is caught up in. Speaking on ways to help people and open people’s minds up.

You‘re probably sitting on hella music. Is the old stuff still coming out?

Yeah, I’ma name my project something like ‘From The Darkness To The Light,’ so you have appreciate your dark, too. In the intro, I’m going to explain it. They’re good songs, so I have to put them on there, but letting people know it’s old. If you hear it from me, it’s an old song, but just accepting your dark, too. You have to admire your flaws and know your growth.

Did you incorporate frequency waves in the creation of this album?

I didn’t put any frequency waves in Top Shotta. I’m going to probably use it on my next album for sure.

“Make Her Say” with Mulatto is a banger. How was linking with her?

It was perfect, I needed that record to get a lot of females. I always wanted to make a record for the females to vibe out with. I know what they used to expect for me was the “Shotta Flows” or the violent music. That was another pocket I got in.

What is the consistent theme between each “Shotta Flow”?

It’s the hard-hitting beat, the bag I get in when I make it. I never went into the studio like, “Oh this will be ‘Shotta Flow 2’ or ‘Shotta Flow 3.’” It was always after the song that I’d be like, “Oh this ‘Shotta Flow’ for sure.”

“Walk Em Down” is one of my favorite songs you put out. What was the highlight of working with Roddy?

Being able to be in the same room, same energy with somebody so creative. I saw the way he records, he’s a real creative dude. So, just seeing the creativity.

What’s your favorite thing to do right now? What do you enjoy?

I like to go outside and look at nature now. I just took a trip to Sequoia Park, it’s three hours from here. The water was so clean and so clear, you see right through it. It was real nice. The air even feels better, and it’s all in Cali. The air feels good as hell. It’s beautiful out there.

What are your thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement?

I just know it’s supported and funded by George Soros. You don’t want to hear my real opinion on it. I support Black lives, but it’s the movement in general. It seems like a gimmick sometimes, I know what’s real and what’s not. People understand what they understand, some people take it the wrong way.

Being someone with such a big platform. How can you continue to push the narrative?

I don’t be pushing that narrative. I support Black people and their businesses, but I don’t label it. When you say that, it feels like some type of controversy. It’s like a race, it builds some type of controversy between races. It’s not even funded by a Black person. I love my kings and queens, but as far as the #BLM hashtag, I don’t get too into that.

Piggybacking off that, you already are touching the masses with what you’re pushing.

Yeah, I’m already touching the masses for sure. If people hear me and see what I’m doing, they’ll know what’s real and what’s not. But, I don’t follow trends.

Have you connected to or made new friendships with artists on the spiritual tip?

Big Sean. He was just telling me about meditation, we talk about all that. Erykah Badu just retweeted one of my things, it’s dope. It’s crazy.

What can we expect next?

I got a new project coming out in the works. I’ve been working, staying tapped in.

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