Atlanta rapper Joe Gifted started his career as Joe Gutta, a reference to his journey out of hardship. Born Joseph McLester III, he originally pegged athletics as his path to success. However, after the death of his father, he switched from high school football to rap, channeling his emotions into his lyrics. McLester began recording as Joe Gutta in 2009. After a chance meeting with Moodswing Productions founder Gary Smith, McLester signed with the label. With a style somewhere between T-Pain and Young Thug, he released a series of mixtapes like Who Hotter and Puttin on Shit, both hosted by DJ Scream. McLester debuted a new alias in 2015, dropping the "Gutta" and adopting a more positive moniker with the Joe Gifted mixtape. He followed with Diamond in the Ruff and its sequel, Diamond in the Ruff 2.0, both produced by DJ Swamp Izzo. In 2016, he issued the Finally Free mixtape, which featured Big Ben, Yung Ralph, Skooly, and Strap Da Fool. The following year, McLester released the Migos-esque single "Water" and signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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