TRUTH: On Being A 2014 XXL Freshman: “I always been a fan of XXL. I read all rap magazines. I always knew in my heart one day. The issue they had on all white. It was one of them Freshmen covers where everybody had on white, and I knew, one day. So for me to be recognized by XXL, it’s a dream, an honor. Above all else, it’s a blessing.

What doors I think Freshmen 2014 is going to open? I really don’t know or don’t care because I believe whatever meant to be is going to be. I like to live in whatever moment I’m in. We’re in this moment right now, and it’s a beautiful situation, and I’m enjoying it. You can see the enthusiasm, and I’m really enjoying it. I have a working relationship with some of the Freshmen. Like Ty Dolla $ign, I look at him as my brother. We were in the studio, and we had talks about giving up sometime. But to be here, it’s an accomplishment.

I don’t do fear, I don’t do worry, because I believe whatever is meant to be will be. I don’t worry at all. I do stress sometime. I stress because I’m anxious. I might want something to come faster than it’s coming. But we do pushups for that. I know if I start stressing, I’m going to beat my body up with the pushups and sit-up that will take your mind off that stress quick. I’m an individual that allow other individuals to be themselves and accepted and appreciated for being themselves because I’m the best me I know. No one else can be Kevin Gates better than Kevin Gates.

I say the things that a lot of individuals don’t say for fear that it’s being offensive. I don’t care if I’m taken offensively. We’ll deal with that by any means. I’m on my third hard drive, and they’re no media files in that hard drive—it’s all music. You do the math. This is my therapy. I can’t speak to another individual about me because I do come with no instructions. Psychology is a gray area. It’s categorization of human behavior and characteristics. I don’t fit into any of those categories. I can say, ‘Oh, you’re bipolar and you’re bipolar,’ fuck that. Every individual has his or her one need and deficiency. I don’t come with instructions. That’s what I represent. Follow your heart. It will never lead you in the wrong direction. I promise.”—As Told To Emmanuel Maduakolam