• GOV'T NAME: Raqhid Render
  • AGE: 22
  • REPPIN': Atlanta
  • TWITTER: @1lilkeed
  • INSTAGRAM: @lilkeed
  • NOTABLE RELEASES: Singles: “Blicky Blicky,” “Nameless,” “Wavy,” “Fox 5” featuring Gunna; Mixtapes: Trapped on Cleveland, Trapped on Cleveland 2, Keed Talk to ’Em; Albums: Long Live Mexico, Trapped on Cleveland 3; Guest Appearances: Young Thug’s “Big Tipper,” Future’s “Undefeated”
  • LABEL: Young Stoner Life/300
  • WHO ELSE SHOULD BE PART OF THIS YEAR'S CLASS: “Lil Gotit, my lil’ brother. My real lil’ brother.”
  • INFLUENCED BY: “Young Thug has influenced me as far as like, how to conduct business and how to be a businessman and how to move and be militant-minded and just take care of business. I like the way he handles business and he a real father. He take care of everybody he need to take care of. So, that make you a real man. I’m a real man, myself.”
  • AS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL: “[I was] a class clown. I always been smart, I always knew how to talk.”

TRUTH ON BEING AN XXL FRESHMAN: “I’m glad ’cause this my second year tryin’ to get this shit, and I finally got it. So, I’m happy. I’m a 2020 XXL Freshman because I work hard. I put in the work. I do what I have to do.I do what I need to do for my family [to] make sure they taken care of. I bring my fans to my world. Most people don’t like folks to be inside they life, ya feel me? Not knowing everything, butI just set it all out there like, I ain’t hiding nothing. Just me, you gon’ accept me for me or you ain’t…My goal and my intentions for my future? I wanna be a megastar. I don’t wanna be no superstar. I wanna be a megastar. I wanna try to be past Prince and Michael Jackson and ’em. And I know I can do it as long as I stay committed to what I’m doing. I wanna get a lot of plaques. I wanna go diamond. I don’t wanna go platinum. I wanna go diamond. One day. It will happen.

I was able to accomplish my goals and see the bigger picture. You can always be a leader and an example. So, I wanna be a mentor. I wanna be everything. This opening up my door in front of millions and millions, you dig? I’m humble.”—Bianca Torres

XXL

LIL KEED'S 2020 XXL FRESHMAN FREESTYLE

XXL

The music industry in Atlanta is one impenetrable dynasty. While the execution is ice skate sharp, the city also thrives from having a rich pool of talent to embrace at all times. In 2018, an artist by the name of Lil Keed floated to the surface. Like his mentor Young Thug, Keed’s aberrant sound was immediately celebrated rather than evaded. The Atlanta rapper took advantage of the warm reception and dropped seven projects in two years, keeping a hulking foot on the gas. Pedal on the floor, he’s been able to swerve through checkpoints in the rap game. The latest is being named as a 2020 XXL Freshman.

With abnormally cutting voice inflections and sing-song flows, Lil Keed brings listeners into his own planet. On his first few mixtapes, Trapped on Cleveland 1 and 2Slime Avenue and Keed Talk to 'Em, he blasts off on each beat with flair, attracting fans to his unconventional delivery. His own rising star power turned him into a regional phenomenon, and he eventually landed on the Thugger-led YSL roster alongside artists like Gunna in 2018. Since inking the Young Stoner Life deal, in partnership with 300 Entertainment, Keed has learned tons of game from his coach and used it to his advantage.

“Young Thug has influenced me as far as like, how to conduct business and how to be a businessman and how to move and be militant-minded and just take care of business,” Lil Keed says.

At the end of 2018, Keed secured his first Billboard top 50 hit on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop and R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charts with “Nameless” and went on an exciting run of collaborations with former XXL Freshmen Trippie Redd, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty and Future. Tapping into album mode, he then strapped Long Live Mexico and the most recently released Trapped on Cleveland 3 under his belt, giving fans plenty of hidden gems to sift through. Songs like “Wavy,” in which Travis Scott appears on the remix, and the Wunna-assisted “Fox 5” are high-standard examples of those pressurized heat rocks. Keed's been bubbling and when it comes to consistency, the 22-year-old artist born Raqhid Render doesn’t plan on switching gears and slowing down anytime soon.

“My goal and my intentions for my future? I wanna be a megastar," he shares. "I don’t wanna be no superstar. I wanna be a megastar.”

As heard in his 2020 XXL Freshman Freestyle, which uses the chorus from his standout Trapped on Cleveland 3 album cut “Grandparents,” Keed’s bigger dreams have made him ruthless, whether he’s on the block or in the booth. “I ain't sparin' none of these people/I'll leave it up to my wrist/Glock got a drum, rockin' out like The Beatles/You ain't takin' losses, I ain't takin' none either,” he raps before cutting himself off.

Once Lil Keed lifts his head, he begins again and takes time to reflect on his newfound status that comes with swollen pockets, customized whips and master plans that stay folded in the pockets of his Chanel pants. “And I'm stuffin' all these bands in my pants, man/Money growin' old like grandparents/Outside white, but the inside cranberry/I make it rain on Harriet Tubman,” he spits, ending the rhyme.

After seeing the freestyle a few weeks trailer, rap fans have been waiting for Lil Keed’s freestyle to drop. Fittingly, roping your attention is what he does here and frankly, what he does best.

Watch Lil Keed's 2020 XXL Freshman freestyle, powered by Rap Caviar, below.—Kemet High

LIL KEED'S ABCs

XXL

One thing that's certain about Lil Keed is that he couldn’t care less about people’s two cents. Though he’s blasé when it comes to outside forces, it’s a different story internally. He prides himself on remaining vibrant from his fashion drip to his music drops to his personality, which radiates in his 2020 XXL Freshman ABCs. The 22-year-old rapper is unapologetically himself at all times, thriving from being comfortable in his own snake skin. Of course, the music will always speak for itself. But what takes a star to the next level is how captivating their moves are outside of the studio. After watching this, it’s evident that Lil Keed doesn't struggle with that part.

Kicking things off as he thinks of the first word that comes to mind when presented with each letter of the alphabet, Lil Keed lets people in on the fact that he’s a mack and matches the letter A with a reality check for the women he courts. Landing on E, the Atlanta native shouts out his brother’s clothing line and uses the same vowel to let everyone know that YSL is worldwide. When he gets to F, he takes a few seconds to preach a little word to his haters. “F is for fuck ya if you don’t love me or like me or support anything I got goin’ on,” he expresses. Nearing the end of the first quarter, he busts out singing Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s classic “Get Money” and laughing to link with G.

He surprisingly doesn’t say his own rap name for K and, instead, couples the letter with kindness. Immediately after he dives into his bag really quick and explains how people take that character trait for weakness at times (we all know the frustration in that). Once Keed arrives at the letter L, the Young Stoner Life rep looks into the future and addresses people who are going to leave negative comments on the video. “L is for lames, like who’s watching this and they still gonna comment on the video and hate, this is for you. Lame.”

Now toward the end of the segment, he calls his mother a queen for Q and immediately follows by pairing his government name, Raqhid, with R. Keed doubles down on his commitment to living “suckafree” for S—something he learned from being bred on a Southside Atlanta street called Cleveland Avenue. The rising artist brings his own spiritual beliefs to the forefront for U. "Universe," he begins. "When you manifest something, it go into the universe and then it happens."

Lastly, he uses Z to reference the zips of Zaza he smokes, which refers to a super potent kind of marijuana. Sticky green aside, the Future-assisted song of the same title appears on Keed's latest album, Trapped on Cleveland 3, and it’s a straight banger.

You can peep Lil Keed crack himself up in his 2020 XXL Freshman ABCs below.—K.H.

LIL KEED, POLO G AND JACK HARLOW'S 2020 XXL FRESHMAN CYPHER

XXL

Combining artists for a hip-hop cypher can always be a tricky business, but, provided each rapper stays true to themselves, it can work out really well. So, it should be no surprise that 2020 XXL Freshmen Polo G, Jack Harlow and Lil Keed did just that to deliver memorable performances for their 2020 XXL Freshman cypher.

Spitting over an energetic, uptempo beat produced by Grammy Award-nominated, South Carolina producer Jetsonmade, who's the music curator for this year's class, each artist brings their own sauce to the mix.

Lousiville, Ky. rhymer Jack Harlow kicks things off with a bouncy flow, tight rhyme schemes and a sense of humor. "My shit classic, Tom & Jerry/Lotta commentary, shit seem cool but it's gotten scary/Fuck the game up, I'm poppin' cherries/At the mall they stop and staring/I got birds, but they not canaries," Harlow spits on the track.

Next up is Atlanta's Lil Keed, who offers some flexes about designer drip, carrying weight and stick-toting over the course of about 30 seconds. "Pounds in the bookbag/Not goin' to school/Got sticks in the jeans, got straps on the shoes," he raps. "Oou, get wavy/Oou, biscotti blunt/Oou, I face it/I'm comin' with cadence."

Finishing things off is Polo G, who takes the XXXTentacion route by going full a cappella mode after having Jetsonmade cut the beat. The Chicago native serves paragraphs' worth of quotable bars that includes him speaking on new generation gangstas and deactivating souls during his minute-long verse.

"Kick in his door and put that sawed in his mouth/I'll have my killers come and paint the walls in his house/Deactivate his soul, hollows logging him out/Lost his mind, seen that blood from his dog spilling out/I was on the front line, standing tall in the drought/I been going hard like I gotta ball for the scouts," Polo raps in a ferocious verse.

Check out Polo G, Jack Harlow and Lil Keed's 2020 XXL Freshman cypher below.—Peter A. Berry

See the 2020 XXL Freshman Class