Watch Kyle’s 2017 XXL Freshman Freestyle and Interview
Some might write off Kyle's rise in music as a lucky break or freak phenomenon, but it took the Ventura, Calif. rapper five years of grinding to look like an overnight success. The bubbly leader of the Super Duper crew is likely best known to the masses for his 2016 hit single, "iSpy" featuring former XXL Freshman Lil Yachty. The track peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 this past April.
"'iSpy' has been the most unexpected event in my entire career," says Kyle in his 2017 XXL Freshman profile interview. "I put out 'iSpy' just as something to give out to my fans. It wasn't something that I made happen myself."
While that light-hearted banger about scoping out baddies is a worthy snapshot of Kyle's personality and rap skills, it barely scratches the surface. Growing up on the West Coast his whole life, Kyle gravitated towards New York rap at first (think Ol' Dirty Bastard and D-Block), before switching over to acts like Kid Cudi and Wiz Khalifa for inspiration.
Kyle dabbled in rap as a teenager, producing his own beats and releasing music under the moniker K.i.D, but he decided to get serious about his craft in 2012, when moving to L.A. From there, the rhymer linked up with contemporaries like Kehlani, G-Eazy and Chance The Rapper and dropped two impressive projects, Beautiful Loser (2013) and Smyle (2015).
Kyle's strength as an artist lies in his ability to pass on his sunny disposition to anyone within ear shot. While others in the game have tried to hold up a false image of what a rapper is supposed to be, Kyle doesn't try to be anyone but himself in his songs. Subject material in Kyle's rhymes range from Super Smash Bros. to relationship drama caused by social media.
"I think my style of rap is just very honest," Kyle shares. "But almost so honest to the point where it's like, 'Okay, you didn't need to tell us all that.' I just feel like I have to reveal stuff about myself within my music or else it doesn't resonate with me... I feel like nobody's approached music, especially hip-hop music, from this point of view."
At just 24, Kyle has already mastered the art of being himself and it's proving to pay off big time. The rapper has already headlined his own nationwide tour, inked a deal with Atlantic Records and has plans to drop his next project before the year is up.
Get to know Kyle better in his video interview above and see how his 2017 XXL Freshman freestyle stacks up against his classmates below.
And if you missed any of the freestyles and interviews featuring this year’s XXL Freshman class, check out their individual pages here: A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, PnB Rock, Playboi Carti, Ugly God, Madeintyo, Kamaiyah and Kap G.
Go Behind the Scenes With Kyle at the 2017 XXL Freshman Cover Shoot