Juan Gotti (born Juan Ramos, Jr.) is a Latin-American MC who blends hardcore rap with regional Mexican styles such as norteño and ranchero. Rhyming in both English and Spanish, his lyrics are often brash, expressing gritty tales of street life, but overall he intends his music to be optimistic and empowering.
A lifelong Texan, he grew up in Houston's south side, and took interest in cars and tattoos as well as music. After serving a five-year jail sentence during the 1990s, he became motivated to change his life for the better. He started his rap career after becoming associated with locally successful rapper South Park Mexican, founder of Dope House Records. Gotti began performing at concerts and low-rider events around Houston in 1998, and his debut album, No Sett Trippin, arrived on Dope House in 2002. The album was tremendously successful for a regional release, selling an estimated 50,000 copies and eventually garnering a Latin Grammy nomination.
The success helped gain Dope House a national distribution deal with Warner Music Latina, and Gotti's 2005 follow-up, John Ghetto, hit Billboard's Latin and rap album charts. The album was also issued in a "chopped & screwed" edition, inspired by Southern rap legend DJ Screw. Several underground mixtapes appeared, and a third full-length, Raza Ville, appeared in 2007.
Gotti left the Dope House roster and released two albums in 2008 (Texas Es Mexico and The Chronicles of Juan Ramos) before taking a brief hiatus, but he resumed his prolific release schedule in 2011, delivering four albums that year, including a collaboration with Carolyn Rodriguez. He continued releasing full-lengths on labels such as Atraco, Criminal Mind Records, and Ice House Records, and made guest appearances on albums by artists including Point Blank and Low G. ~ Paul Simpson