For someone who's been seriously rapping for only 10 months, Innanet James is having a fantastic start to his hip-hop career. The 21-year-old DMV native wasn't rapping at all until December of 2015. Going to school and working kept him busy until one day he said enough is enough. With the help of a friend, he got into the studio and struck gold with "Summer." After the release of his project,  Quebec Place in August, Innanet James has been steadily building a buzz.

"It’s crazy, the pace this shit been at, a lot of places fuck with me," he tells XXL. "It’s a blessing. It’s a lot more wild, a lot more women, a lot more late nights. I travel more, I try different foods, I just get to do things I didn’t have the time to do. I went swimming [the other day]. I didn’t have time to do that before."

Now with his movement growing and more shows on the way, Innanet James plans on taking things to the next level.

Name: Innanet James

Age: 21

Hometown: Sliver Springs, Md.

I grew up listening to:
“The first thing I ever listened to is Wu-Tang. Like my father would play the fuck out of 'C.R.E.A.M.' in the car. Like he played that shit so much my mother got mad. Aretha Franklin, hella go-go [music] in the house. Lil Wayne, everything, I listen to it all."

"I didn’t really gravitate towards rap until [Lil Wayne's] Da Drought 3 came out. Me and my cousin were playing Xbox and I used to listen to Pac Div really heavy. He was older to me, he said, 'Cut this wack shit off; and he put on Da Drought 3 and my life changed."

"[The earliest memory of me rapping] is when I was in third grade and I wrote a rap. My teacher, Ms. Gunn, she seen me writing a rap and made me read it out loud. I was so embarrassed. I was rapping about guns and all this wild shit. She made me read it out loud and everybody was laughing."

"I started getting serious with rap January of last year. I started slightly taking seriously in high school but I stopped rapping soon after. Years later, my man Roger, during a semester at this community college, we get to talking and one day I played him this old song we did. He was like, 'You still rap?' and I said, 'No,' but he said I was too good to stop. So he like pressed me for like two, three weeks to get in the studio. I told him I don’t have the cash to be in the studio but he said I was tight and he would put up the cash. He paid for like my first three, four studio sessions. That’s my nigga. He believed in me before I did. This was like December of 2015."

"I worked at DSW and went to school. One day I woke up and was tired of working and school. I went to my job, went to the door and turned around. I went home and my mother seen me come home and was like, 'Fuck are you doing here?' I told her I quit and she smacked the shit out of me [laughs]. I just wanted to rap. I wanted to rap so bad I stop paying for other shit. Would only pay for water to drink. I didn’t want to pay for food. I wanted that shit."

Most people don’t know: “I tried playing tennis for a little bit of my life. I could never hit it inside the box. I always hit it over the fence. I really like burritos. I went to California once and I can’t eat East Coast burritos anymore. I love women. Like I love, love, love women."

My style’s been compared to: “I get compared to an array of people. One day it’s Vince Staples, another day it’s Anderson .Paak. I don’t have a name for [my sound]. It’s just good music. You’re going to hear it and you’re going to love it."

My standout records or moments to date have been: “Standout song is 'Summer,' it’s the biggest song I have. It’s crazy how that song happened too. I re-wrote it three times. My favorite song is 'Frequency.'"

My goal in hip-hop is: “I don’t know, I take it a day at a time. I don’t have an overall goal. I like making music, I like performing and I love music. I guess to win a Grammy one day. Shit, that’s my goal, I want to drink champagne out my Grammy."

I’m gonna be the next: "Samuel L. Jackson, he’s tight as fuck. I ain’t never heard anyone say, 'Muthafucka' so passionately. I like movies. If I wasn’t rapping I probably would try and be an actor."

Follow Innanet James on Twitter and SoundCloud.

Standout: Quebec Place


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