Young Money: Rise Of An Empire is the label’s second compilation that’ll introduce rap fans to new faces from the roster. Famed for putting a bigger spotlight on artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne plans on bringing the attention to his latest signee, Euro. Wayne has already publicly co-signed the 21-year-old Providence, R.I. resident in his Weezy Wednesdays web series. “I heard about him through a friend, through one of my homies,” Weezy says. “He was just like, ‘There’s this cat Euro. He got a buzz about him. Such and such want to sign him and such and such want to sign him. But the kid wants to be over here with y’all, with Young Money. He’s a real big fan of you and everything you doing.’ So I finally gave him an ear—it was done from that.”

Though Wayne immediately saw his star power, Euro (real name Eufradis Rodriguez) developed his talents throughout high school by recreating popular songs and sharing them with his classmates. In 2012, the Dominican Republic-born MC attended Alabama State University, where he balanced his hip-hop dreams while playing college baseball. After gaining confidence from winning freestyle battles against his friends, Euro lost interest in the sport and wanted to pursue making music. “I can’t say that I had that passion for it like I had for music, but I ended up falling in love with it more than I followed it,” he says. “I took it seriously because you only get so many ways out, especially in Providence, R.I. You only get so many chances to do something big. Baseball was just falling in place, so I kept following it up, but it was never really that passion that I had for music.”

The rhyme rookie was under the guidance of his brother Santi, who helped cultivate his lyrical abilities. He helped pay for Euro’s professional recording, which gave him the platform to lay down his vigorous remix to Childish Gambino’s “Freaks And Geeks” a year later. Santi says he got “goosebumps” when he heard it, and felt it needed to get into the hands of Wayne. Through his ties with Young Money’s DJs and his close relationship with Wayne, he supplied the record and seven others for listening. Weezy was sold after he heard Euro's verses on “Freaks And Geeks.” “I wanted to put him on when he was ready,” says Santi. “I wasn’t gonna go to Wayne—‘Look, this is my little brother.’ I just waited until he heard about him through a different person.”

Clearly, Euro impressed the team and was officially Young Money. Euro recalls getting a random text message from the label’s president Mack Maine, who wanted to fly him to Miami to speak with Weezy. It was after their meeting that the taste of rap fame was all he needed. Euro quit baseball to rock with his new home team. He was invited to go on the road for Wayne’s America’s Most Wanted Tour and had the opportunity to work with him during the Dedication V sessions. He appeared on four songs alongside his boss. “I couldn’t even dream having someone like that be so humble and letting someone like me who doesn’t even have a song out. Doesn’t even have a name,” Euro says. “[To] come in there and work with him and learn from him. Be around him. Everything. That’s the craziest thing in the world.”

Euro doesn’t have a project out yet, but he promises his appearance on Rise Of An Empire will get people talking. He’s on the album’s intro, “We Alright,” “Bang” with Lil Twist and Cory Gunz, and his own joint titled “Induction Speech.” Looking ahead into 2014, he plans on dropping his mixtape debut, tentatively titled Don’t Expect Nothing, to feed his growing fan base. “I got a lot of songs. I’m ready. I had albums ready since last year,” Euro says. “I’m ready to just start unloading. I got a lot of songs ready to shoot.”

Hit ‘em up.—Eric Diep