Lil Keed has made huge strides by simply trusting the process. The 20-year-old YSL/300 Entertainment signee mixes the enthusiasm of the youth with the confidence of Atlanta street rap. In 2018, his song "Bag" got him on Young Thug's radar—he was so impressed that he met with Keed, flew him out months later for a studio session and eventually signed the young star.

Keed got his start by freestyling with his friends as a 16-year-old high schooler, deciding to pursue a rap career after the death of his close friend, Rudy (who also rapped). Keed's music heated up locally within a year or two. These days, he's shoulder to shoulder with huge acts like Gunna, who is also YSL affiliated. Keed's December 2018 project, Keed Talk To Em, was his true arrival, as the release housed tracks like "Nameless," which has racked up 5 million YouTube views in two months. His follow-up project, Studio Junkie, is set to arrive next month.

Read all about Lil Keed's road to the top in this week's edition of XXL's The Break.

Age: 20

Hometown: Atlanta

I grew up listening to: "[Young] Thug, Peewee LongwayT.I., OutKast. My dad listened to that shit. Back then, though, ScHoolboy [Q] was poppin', so I used to listen to shit like that."

My style’s been compared to: "[Young] Thug—they can't compare me to nobody else. I learned from him. I incorporated my own style but I don't sound like him. You know Thug when you hear him; I don't sound like Thug. They just say that cause I'm signed to him."

My standout records to date have been: "'Nameless,' 'Money Fetish' and 'Blinky Blinky.' That shit got straight-up fire, man. You play that shit, the whole goddamn Atlanta gonna sing that shit. Grandma, dog, cat, bird, everybody gonna be singing that shit, man. On God. Gotta make sure it's hot locally. You gotta build that with your hometown. How the hell you going to go around the world with some shit if your hometown don't fuck with you? That's crazy. Ain't gonna work. So you gotta go ahead and touch base with home."

My most slept-on song: "I don't want to say "Wop"—"Wop" hard, bro. It could've did better, though. It got leaked out, so that's probably why. All the songs that was on Keed Talk To Em, they kept getting bleeped out, that's why I dropped them so fast."

My standout moments to date have been: "I don't know 'cause I didn't have nothing. I'm here, this is one of my biggest moments. I'm here doing this to get on that [points to XXL cover]. I'm gonna do it, I promise you. But my biggest moment [is] a million views on YouTube. I used to always see that shit like, 'Damn. That's a lot of folk.' 'Money Fetish' was my first real video. 'Nameless' went right past it—it just hit 4 million."

Most people don’t know: "I used to know how to dance back in the day. I knew every single dance that came out."

I’m going to blow up because: "Cause I am. I don't need none of these rappers. I don't need to ask any rapper to get on a rhyme with me. I'm not stuntin' that. I'm gonna do my own thing. I'm not tripping. I'm here to do me. I'm not starstruck for no rapper."

I’m going to be the next: "Michael Jackson, Thriller."

Follow Lil Keed on Instagram and SoundCloud.

Standouts:

"Blicky Blicky"

"Fetish (Remix)" featuring Young Thug

"Nameless"

"Player" featuring Paper Lovee

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