Introducing XXL Freshman YG
Gov’t Name: Keenon Jackson
Reppin’: Compton, California
Notable Releases: Singles: “Toot It and Boot It (Remix),” featuring 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg, 2010, “Patty Cake,” 2011; Mixtape: The Real 4 Fingaz, 2010
Currently Working On: Promoting his most recent mixtape, Just Re’d Up; recording Def Jam debut EP, Fresh on Campus, due June 2011; recording his official untitled debut album, due late 2011
Label: Pushaz Ink/Def Jam
Aligned With: 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg
Side Hustle: Owns his own label, Pushaz Ink; acting in the film We the Party, directed by Mario Van Peebles and costarring Snoop Dogg and the New Boyz
On Being a 2011 XXL Freshman: “I’m new to this whole game, so getting on blogs, that shit is going to start happening. I’m going to be on all of the blogs and shit, but right now I’m in the streets. I’m getting all of my shit ready for all of that. That’s what niggas know me for, is being in the streets, with the hit song on the radio. I’m not really in the blogs, but I feel like I need the blogs. I’m trying to be successful, so I need everything. I need the Internet, the blogs. I need BET; I need MTV. I need to sell out shows—I need to do all of it. I’m gonna keep dropping records; I’m gonna be touring—all of that shit. I’m gonna just take this whole Freshmen cover shit, and I’m gonna run with it. I’m gonna get it popping.
I was at the house [when I got the call to be on the Freshmen cover] and shit I just felt like I made it. I felt like I made it to the next level. I felt like I passed the first level where you gotta go through just being known. I felt like I passed that level. Now, I feel like it’s official.
[At the shoot] was my first time meeting [all the other Freshmen]; except for Lil Twist. Lil Twist was in my hotel room the night before that. I was talking to Lil B on Twitter. I used to talk to him all the time, we always talk, but that was my first time meeting him. Mac Miller, I did a song with him and Juicy J like right before that but that was my first time meeting him. Everybody, that was my first time meeting them.
I just respect [Lil B’s] hustle and I respect his grind. I know he got a lot of haters and he ain’t letting that put him down. He still doing his stuff. He on his ten toes doing his stuff, I respect that and he from the West Coast. So we were just talking on Twitter like a long time ago. He told me he saw me and all my shit popping off and I was like ‘I see you too.’ He said he’d been hearing about me like before my song started getting put on the radio. He said he’d been hearing about me just like on some street shit so I fuck with him. He respect me, I respect him, so it’s all good.
I’ma just let shit like fall in place, but I would like to have a song with everybody on the cover, ’cause that's just the type of shit I'm on. I'm on a cover with them, so I need a song with them, feel me? But, I ain’t finna be thirsty, hitting up niggas begging them to be on songs.
[I met Snoop one day when,] I went to the studio with Battle Cat at the Record Plant [studio in Hollywood, CA]. Snoop had a session, I was in there with Snoop, chopping it up and he was like, ‘Yeah I hear about you all the time’ and then after that he came out and performed in L.A. at this radio station show he had. He brung me back out during his show and then after that it was just all good. I went on tour with him; we shot the movie [We the Party] together. I did a couple of shows for him, he hopped on the ‘Toot It and Boot It’ remix [and] did the video for me.
[We the Party] is like some young shit, but I'm playing a character in the movie, I make it kind of rough. I'm playing this 20 year-old nigga, I'm in high school still, I got two kids, I rap, but my big brother is always beating on me so I got a scar on my face so I'm always wearing a hoodie at school. And all of the kids are scared of me because I always got on a hoodie and shit. So I'm playing this character who wasn't talking much at first, always mad and shit, and throughout the movie I open up. It's some good shit though; it's going to be cool.
I'm finna do this other movie right when I get off this tour. I got my mixtape finna drop. I got a single with Chris Brown and Tyga that I'm trying to drop and I got another single I'm going to drop; it’s called ‘Mack.’ It’s gon' crossover and shit. I got a lot of shit. I got my own label I'm finna get going. I got artists and all that and I got my EP finna drop like May/June. When I get off this tour, I'm finna go on another tour [that] I'm setting up in like April. Yeah, that's goin’ hard to me, keep making music and putting it out and keep touring and doing shows.
I think hip-hop is based off of what most of people do, that's why I rap about shit I do. I'm 20 years old, I’m young. All I'm doing most of the time, I’m in the studio most of the time but besides that, we having sex, we in the club, we poppin' bottles, smoking weed, that's what we doing. So, that's what my music is gonna be about you feel me."
FOR MORE ON THE 2011 FRESHMEN COP THE APRIL ISSUE OF XXL, ON SALE MARCH 15.