TRUTH: On Being A 2014 XXL Freshman: “I don’t feel this type of thing should validate you. It’s how you feel about yourself. At one point I did. When I first heard of Freshmen, that Boosie and Lupe [cover] with all that shit on it, I was like, ‘This is gonna be some tight shit.’ They weren’t even Freshmen. They was like the newest ones or whatever, the youngest powerful voices. I always wanted to be a part of that. I always wanted to get the recognition—not the right now but the next. I’m just proud that I get to be on the same cover as some of the dudes that’s on it. I actually listen to some of these dudes, so it is cool.

When you decide on your career field, it’s up to you how everything happens. You are in complete control. Whether you have to talk to anybody or have to interact with anybody, you just go make music. You don’t have to do none of that extra shit. When you are in music, it’s rare that you get to do what you want to do. So my plan is to make the music that’s good as I can, so I don’t gotta do shit. No matter what I gotta do. The shit I don’t wanna do.

I’m just happy to be a part of this. I’m happy to get to experience this. It’s an experience that a lot of people don’t get to have. You feel me? I just want to soak it all in.

I feel like it just speaks volumes that TDE has been on lock for the last four, five years. As far as development, isn’t this an example of developing artists? I feel like TDE developed more artists than anybody else besides maybe Funk Volume. They got three. We got five.

I never felt like an underdog in TDE. I don’t know how people will take that. I didn’t grow up with these guys, so I am adopted, and I am just happy to be there. They love me. There ain’t no pressure or none of that stuff. They signed me to be me. We met over dinner, and a week later I was signed. Niggas fucked with me. Ain’t no pressure. Ain’t make you freestyle for two hours type of shit. It was about the music. It was about how real the music was. They fuck with me, and I fuck with them. That’s why I got it tatted. It’s for life, my nigga.”—As Told To Eric Diep