Brooklyn rapper Corey Finesse has his elevator pitch down pat.

“I don’t have colored hair," the 25-year-old rapper tells XXL, distinguishing himself from his peers. "I don’t be yelling in my music. I sing. I rap. I make real music. I hate this music shit, [artists] be lying in their raps.”

If Corey Finesse comes off as a music traditionalist, it may be due to his soulful roots. He got his start singing when he was 9, taking after his uncle, a longtime musician ("That was my Jamie Foxx era," Corey says). By 11, he switched his outlet to rapping, eventually kicking rhymes alongside now-incarcerated GS9 members Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel, who happen to be Corey's childhood friends. The quick-witted spitter began really making noise last year, after delivering one of the best freestyles of 2017 on Funk Flex’s radio show and later released his latest mixtape Life After 9, last April.

“[If I wasn’t rapping] I’d be trapping; I’d be zoe’ing," Finesse says. “I’m banned from all Targets already, so who knows? I’d probably be banned from everything. I’d be in the feds or some shit.”

Though Corey Finesse’s delivery and flow is similar to the lyrical savants who came before him, his next project—which he says will likely be an EP—will find him revisiting a smoother sound: “I’m on some love shit this time coming. Real singy. It’s straight for the ladies.”

With a daughter turning 4 in September, the man behind “Shawty Gotta Thang” and “Waste My Time” is in the studio with his in-house producer Censere just about everyday. “I go harder [now]." Finesse says. “Anybody with a child is gonna know that. You don’t gotta just feed yourself. It’s not like you just out here in the streets no more. It makes you do a lot of shit different.”

Get to know Corey Finesse in this week's edition of XXL's The Break.

Age: 25

Hometown: East Flatbush, Brooklyn

I grew up listening to: “I had a soft side—I was listening to Jamie Foxx and 112. I used to watch The Jamie Foxx Show a lot. And Martin. But when Jamie Foxx would play the piano and used to be singing to Fancy, I used to love that. I was like, ‘I gotta learn to play the piano and sing to one of these hoes.’ [Laughs] Deadass, though. I’m rusty as hell now though. I haven’t played the piano in a long time.”

“And Meek Mill. The old Meek, though—with the braids, the dirty Meek. I could relate. I was listening to a lot of Philly niggas, too. I ain’t gon' front, Lil Wayne. I definitely listen to Drake. I used to listen to him a lot. Heartbreak Drake—'Hate Sleeping Alone.’ I used to be in the crib like, ‘Yo, I feel the same way. Why she moving like this?'” [laughs]

People compare my style to: “A lot of people compare me to Drake, Tory Lanez, Bryson [Tiller]. The singy people. The main one is Drake, though. I get that a lot.”

Most people don’t know: “I’m Jamaican, that’s one. ’Everybody thinks I’m Haitian. All my friends are Haitian. I grew up with a lot of Haitians, too.”

My standout moment to date: “‘Vagabond.’ One day Dave East was listening to the record on Snapchat. I barely go on my Snapchat ever since Instagram got the stories. I go on Snapchat randomly to answer fans and show love so I don’t lose [them], and every recent message I got was Dave East playing the record."

“So I hit him up like, ‘Yo bro, appreciate the love.’ He was like ‘Nah, I’m on that record. Send me that record right now, I’m jumping on that.’ He did that shit like the next day. He just put it out, he didn’t even say shit [laughs]. That’s the thing about these Crip niggas, they don’t even say shit, deadass. Ever since then I fuck with him. My son, he show love—unconditional.”

My goal in hip-hop is: “To be the Drake of music but Jay-Z in the business aspect. Jay-Z and Diddy, those niggas smart. I watch these guys every day. You know this music thing is 90 percent business."

“I see myself owning shit and having a lot of businesses—you gotta speak this shit into existence. Even shelters. All the homeless people [in New York City], I can’t pass one of these niggas. I’ma write a book, too. In five to 10 years I’ll probably have two books. I got too much stories.”

I’m going to be the next: “Drake and Hov.”

Follow Corey Finesse on SoundCloud and Instagram.

Standouts: Life After 9

Marc Mavrick's "Derek Fisher" Featuring Corey Finesse


"Crazy (Save Me)"

"Count It Up" Featuring HoWie DoDaT

Sheff G and Corey Finesse's "No Suburban Remix"

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