NLE Choppa on His Debut Album, Making the 2020 'XXL' Freshman List, and More

Since bursting onto the scene in 2019, the Memphis native has been working to secure his spot on hip-hop's mainstage. After he went viral last January with his smash 'Shotta Flow,' NLE Choppa released his debut EP, 'Cottonwood,' in December. Now, less than a year later, the rapper is back with his major label debut, 'Top Shotta.' Following the release of the project in August, Choppa has seen his song 'Top Shotta Flow' pick up speed on Triller and TikTok. In a recent interview with Complex's 'Everyday Struggle,' the 17-year-old spoke about his debut album, making this year's 'XXL' Freshman list, his influence, and more.

When asked how he was feeling amid his debut album release and landing on the 'XXL' Freshman list in August, the rapper said that he has unfinished business. 'I feel happy, but I know, like, there's more work to be done,' Choppa admitted. '...There's more to be accomplished.'

'It means a lot because you grow up watching 'XXL,'' he replied when asked about his feelings towards being included in the magazine's yearly honor of rising talent. '...Especially if you a rapper.' Choppa, who also has a passion for basketball, likened the achievement to that of an NBA player being selected to participate in the All-Star game.

Speaking on how social distancing measures affected the 'XXL' Freshman class getting together, the 'Shotta Flow' rapper explained how the process went down. 'I think they split us up,' he remembered. 'We all had different days to come and s**t.' Choppa added he ran into Polo G, Lil Tjay, and Chicka while on set.

Does the 17-year-old ever feel the pressure that oftentimes comes with being a young star? 'It be overwhelming, sometimes,' he confessed. '...It's all about how you get through it.' Choppa, who often raps about mental health issues, added that he turns to meditation when things get too hectic.

Back in December, Choppa dropped his 'Cottonwood' EP. Eight months later, he released 'Top Shotta,' explaining that it felt right. 'I feel like it's perfect timing,' he said regarding the August 2020 release. 'If I woulda dropped it any time before that, it wouldn't have been good timing.' He added that his debut effort took two years to orchestrate.

The rapper, who revealed earlier this year that his account was banned, isn't too worried about his social media presence. 'I just try not to think about it,' he admitted. 'This social media s**t, it's a fake world.'

Speaking on the topic of his absence from Instagram, Choppa rationalized that other artists may not be so calm if they were to lose access to the platform. 'They ain't gonna know how to get no money,' he said. 'They ain't gonna know how to be balanced.'

Despite having his Instagram account deactivated, Choppa managed to turn a negative into a positive. 'It set a different goal for me,' he said. 'It put me on a different path when they took [Instagram] from me. Made me more grounded, for sure.'

Choppa argued that despite not having a presence on Instagram, he's able to succeed in the music industry. 'This s**t really don't matter, though,' he said. 'I got plenty [of] plaques. I think I got the same amount of plaques without that s**t, than I do with it.'

On the subject of the rapper's past social media posts, Choppa explained that he's currently trying to preach positivity and spread awareness regarding mental health. 'Me in the past [are] two different people,' he said of his growth on social media. 'I be telling kids [to] meditate. I be telling kids [to] get [their] mind clear.'

'I ain't just telling nobody [to] pop Percs, smoke weed, shoot 'em up, shoot 'em up,' he explained of his lyrical content. He added, 'If I do say it, it's for a reason. It always starts with you, within yourself.'

Choppa's mother, Angela Potts, has been managing the rapper since the very beginning. The 17-year-old believes that trusting his family to have his back was the right move. 'Gotta have your family,' he said. 'You ain't gonna get f**ked over.'

When it comes to features, the rapper confessed that he doesn't really like to work with a lot of other artists. He also mentioned that he tried to work with Rod Wave but it didn't pan out. 'I tried to do a song with Rod,' Choppa revealed. 'He don't really do too many features.' NLE Choppa's 'Top Shotta' album includes collabs with Chief Keef, Lil Baby, Mulatto, and Roddy Ricch.