Last year, Logic graced XXL’s Freshman cover and many fans seemed to question who he was. The Maryland MC was unknown to some, but quickly became a household name in a matter of months. After reaching the milestone of becoming a Freshman, something he’d been dreaming about since 2010, he has released the impressive Young Sinatra: Welcome To Forever mixtape, signed a deal with Def Jam and toured with his homies Big Sean and Kid Cudi. And that’s not all—he has snagged No I.D. as an executive producer for his debut LP. As his notoriety continues to grow, Logic is ready to have his moment in 2014.

This month, Logic gave us a taste of how his sound is shaping up with “Like Me” featuring Casey Veggies. Throughout his numerous tweets detailing the recording process, Logic is aiming to create a more introspective and vivid project than his mixtapes. Fans won’t be disappointed. We got on the phone with the 24-year-old lyricist to talk about his goals this year, learning from No I.D., and who he’s been in the studio with lately. We also discuss working with Casey Veggies and if he feels more hated than loved.—Eric Diep (@E_Diep)

XXL: You got on the Freshman cover last year. What is your focus now?
Logic: Basically, I used to look at Cole, Kendrick, Wiz, Big Sean, all these rappers on this Freshman cover. Even Wale, he’s from my hometown as well. I used to be like, “Aw, man, look at these guys. Like, they made it. They are here!” And in all honesty, as incredible as an accomplishment as it is to be considered one of the best new up-and-coming artists, once you’re there, you don’t see it as that. I used to look at that cover as a little rapper dude on the come up. When you’re there, there are people who are looking up at me. With me, I still haven’t even done enough yet. So, I want to do more. Even then, I knew I definitely wanted more.

Especially now because I feel like hip-hop is a little tiny circle and it is filled with tastemakers from XXL to Complex to all these different people who kind of give you that co-sign or not. XXL was the first to do that. Even still, I am constantly having to prove myself, 'cause I did things backwards. There are certain artists that get into the little circle in hip-hop and everybody is talking about them and they are buzzing. But they can’t go out and sell out tours, perform in front of 3,000 people a night and things like that. We did things backwards; with Visionary, we got all the fans first. And then [the industry came]. Thanks to XXL.

What are your goals this year?
This album is for sure something I want to get right. It’s been crazy. Just reaching the level of success that I’ve always wanted. The funny thing is XXL was one of those things. And when I got it, I wanted more. I was never satisfied. I’ve been working a lot with No I.D. and Hit-Boy. Hit-Boy is coming into the mix. C-Sick and 6ix—my guys. I want to put out an incredible album and hopefully the numbers will be good enough to kind of make people turn their heads. Even though I want the music to be good, but honestly the first thing on my mind is getting this album perfect, putting it out and touring the world. And letting the people hear it in front of them.

Even with all the success you've had, do you still feel you are unknown in hip-hop?
Oh, very much so. It’s not necessarily unknown, I think more people could know about me, but it’s okay. Because this album is going to do that. I truly feel like when I drop this album that the music—in no way I am trying to sound arrogant—it will speak for itself. It’ll just speak volumes. People who don’t know me, will know me. And people who know me that are like, “Yeah, that’s that Logic kid. He’s cool or whatever.” They’ll recognize and they’ll see what’s up.

I think one of the things that built your buzz was working with Casey Veggies. You said in your Freshman interview that you never met him, but now you are making songs together. What was like recording with him?
That’s funny that you mention that because I don’t necessarily do a lot of collabs. It’s not like I can or can’t. I’ve just been so focused on me and what I was doing. That was the beginning with Casey. It was super random; we just kind of vibed out. I sent him a record and he loved it. I plan on definitely doing more collabs with homies and people that I am fans of just to get that out there and get ready.

Let’s talk about No I.D. What’s it like working with him?
He’s like Yoda. Like, real shit? That’s No I.D. He doesn’t necessarily do just hip-hop. He’s worked with Rihanna. He’s worked with Drake. He did “Run This Town.” He’s the master of crossover. He did from “D.O.A.” with Jay to “My Last” by Big Sean. This person is an executive, vice president of A&R at Def Jam. But he’s also a legendary producer, so he understands both sides. When he talks, you definitely want to listen, 'cause he’s broken hella stars and worked with the greats. From mentoring Kanye to being there with Jay.

Is he pushing you pretty hard creatively?
Yeah, definitely. It’s dope because I am also very in my circle. I took a couple of months after the Cudi tour and recorded a lot of stuff on my own and really found myself and my sound to the fullest for the album, just in my room. I was back in my basement, before the deal, broke as hell. I was recording in my room, having a good time. I am producing a lot, which is weird for me. When I first started, it was kind of like, “I am just gonna get ideas out.” But now, I’ve already produced two records on the album.

I hear you are going to be less rappity-rap for the album.
With my mixtapes and stuff, I love Drake, I love Kendrick, I love Cole and André 3000. I love so many different artists. With mixtapes, it was me emulating. I remember there was this Kendrick interview and Kendrick was like, “Way back before all this when I used to rap, I used to sound like everybody. I would jump on a record and I would sound like Biggie. I would jump on a record and sound like ‘Pac. I’d jump on a record and sound like Jay.” That’s kind of where I was for the last few years of these mixtapes. It was me learning how to do what everybody does. So for this album, I just found myself to the fullest. It’s literally the sound of Logic, which is really great.

You also bring up being half white and half black in your music. Do you think you’ll touch on that more or have you said what you needed to say?
Not at all. Maybe once or twice, but not really. Because that’s why I did it. If you listen to Welcome To Forever, the reason why race comes up so much is because before that it was always, “Oh, this white boy or this white rapper." Or, "My favorite white rappers on Twitter are this, this and this.” I stated before [that] I am black and white. I look white, I understand that. That’s fine and I am proud of how I look and who I am and where I come from. I’m proud to be who I am, but I’ve personally deaded that. I rarely talk about my race anymore because I did it so much on the last mixtape 'cause I wanted people to know 1) who I am and 2) the fact that I am proud.

Do you feel more hated than loved?
Nah, the love always outweighs the hate for sure. That’s why I feel a lot of rappers maybe get big headed or it blurs their vision because there is so much love. It doesn’t matter. My favorite song is somebody’s least favorite song. My least favorite song is somebody’s favorite song. People tell me I suck and I can’t rap and I am terrible. And people tell me I am the greatest rapper they ever heard. If I listen to either one of those, it’s going to fuck me up. I just take everything with a grain of salt and just enjoy my time.