At 20 years old, August Alsina is on the verge of blowing up. The Def Jam signee, handpicked by The-Dream for his Radio Killa imprint, has proven himself to be an exciting singer who takes bits and pieces of R&B and hip-hop themes. He broke through with “I Luv This Sh*t,” a cut featuring current XXL Freshmen Trinidad Jame$. The single embodies August's style—edgy lyrics blurred with the sweet sentiments of a crooner. It’s caught the attention of many R&B aficionados who have taken to his latest mixtape The Product 2. The New Orleans native's got a knack for re-appropriating songs (“Shoot Or Die,” “Confessions”) and his original songs also pack a punch when collaborating with the likes of Juelz Santana and Curren$y. Here, he opens up about The Product 2, his inspirations coming from the N.O. and what’s it like working with The-Dream.—Eric Diep (@E_Diep)

XXL: I peeped the “I Luv This Sh*t” video. Did you have fun seeing two girls fight over you?
August Alsina: You know what? When people saw the video, they was like, “So these niggas leave two bad bitches, just to go to the club with some ratchet hoes, with cuts on they ass?” But man, that was cool. That was my first big budget video, and it was a cool experience. I remember it being super cold that day, and me and Trinidad was riding in a droptop, and I’m driving so anybody’s life is in danger at this point.

Was the video concept your idea?
It was me and Trinidad's. Trinidad wanted to be a part of the treatment. I hit him and was like, “What do you wanna do?” He actually said, the exact treatment, like the storyline, but in a ghetto ass fashion.

I heard you and Trinidad met in a tattoo shop. Where was that at?
It’s City of Ink in Atlanta. And they play both of our music, and they had been trying to connect us for a long time, and eventually I bumped into him at a A$AP Rocky concert. I was like, “Man, what’s poppin’?” Mind you that we had been texting for a minute, but never met each other. He doesn’t know my face, but of course I knew who he was ’cause that nigga was on fire. He was like, “Man what’s poppin’? Who are you?” I’m like, “Man, I’m Aug!” He was like, “Damn nigga, you could have shot me!” I told him I had a record for him, and I had a session next week with Curren$y. He came through, played it for him, and he got it done. I had that song for about six months before he even touched it.

You just dropped The Product 2. What’s the biggest difference from the first one?
From the first? I mean, everything. Product 1 was really my introduction into the game. And not to say that I’m known or anything like that right now ’cause I’m still just a young nigga grinding and trying get it, but it’s more original music on The Product 2. You get a feel for who I am. You know what I’m saying? And with The Product, it was really me just hopping over other peoples tracks.

Your last tape was hosted by DJ Scream and this one is by DJ Drama. How does it feel to have the Gangsta Grillz stamp of approval?
Drama, he's the OG with this mixtape shit and it's just like with anything else. Somebody that’s respected, you know that they not gonna put they name [on it]. Well, let me say you wouldn’t expect them to put they name on some shit that ain’t worth hearing.

It’s a blessing man. Just coming from hearing Drama on Jeezy shit and then hearing him on my shit, its super cool. You know, like all the niggas in the hood like, ‘Nigga you got Drama.’ I’ve never been like a ostentatious type of guy, but like, sometimes that’s some shit that you gotta kind of show off a little bit.