The past few years have seen the D.M.V. (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, for those who don't know) gain recognition as a hotbed of raw hip-hop talent. One young MC from Virginia has quietly gained a reputation as one of the region's best rising artists. Young Moe hails from Alexandria, a city which has flown under hip-hop's radar for years. At just 19 years old, he possesses lyricism and an understanding of the world that rivals the skills of a veteran. His latest mixtape, Humble Hustle 2 (which features the likes of Fat Trel, Freeway and Chief Keef) has received major praise from hip-hop fans and critics alike. XXL recently got the chance to sit down with Young Moe, who spoke on everything from his musical inspirations to his experiences as a rising star in his city.—Chisom Uzosike

On what drew him to Hip Hop:

When I was listening to people’s music, and how much of an effect it had on me...I used to listen to Lyfe Jennings and all that good stuff...when I was struggling, listening to their music, it brought me peace and gave me motivation. Then, like with me, anything I catch a hold of that I like, I just...I got a talent for it. I thank God every day for that. Music is something that caught on to me. Standing outside 50 deep, people freestyling, and I’m freestyling against the old heads and everybody laughing, like “Damn! Lil’ youngin’ just said that!” And the way people in my own hood love me, they were going to other hoods and letting them know like, “Man, listen...shorty serious.” So that’s what really pushed me and motivated me, and turned things from street ties to business minds, you know what I’m saying?

On how he got the name “Young Moe”:

My name is Mohammed. Then it went from...I wasn’t gonna be in the streets calling myself Mohammed and getting caught up at every corner, so they was callin’ me Lil’ Moe. Then, you know what I’m saying, it went from Lil’ Moe—I ain’t little no more—then it went to Young Moe. I ain’t gonna be 30 years old calling myself Young Moe. (Laughs) But damn, I ain’t tryna let go of that, man. It’ll probably just be Moe.