TRUTH: On Being A 2014 XXL Freshman: “It means a lot. It’s a verification of everything that you knew. Everything that you were working towards and hustling with. I felt like, how can I not be?

I fuck shit up. I did the damn thing. I went against the grain. I went against what’s popular. I’m different because I’m from New York City. They ain’t got this shit coming out. Just hustling. Staying humble. Staying working. This shit means a lot.

I envisioned it. I wanted it for the past three years. I wanted this shit for four years. On the year that I thought I should have got it, I didn’t get it. I was like, ‘All right, whatever.’ Everybody was like, ‘Yo, he should have got it.’ I was like, ‘All right, whatever. This year I don’t care. They gotta give it to me, but if they don’t, I’ma be a millionaire anyway.’ Now the music shit is starting to work.

I thought the Freshmen cover was going to make it happen. Now, it’s going to happen either way. If they didn’t put me, it would be an outrage. I felt like I earned it. This cover puts me on a platform. My music is like heroin, and heroin is one of the most addictive drugs. Once people actually take a minute to hear my music, then they love it. Always. It’s like a 90 percent rate of them fucking loving it. Once muthafuckas get to hear it and put me on this platform, they gone fuck with it and we just really gonna take it from there.

I think there’s a lot of talented artists that tell they story from their perspective. I think it’s good. It’s like some real musicians shit. I don’t even getting the real and people be looking at me as a musician. It’s like fucking selling drugs and talking about it. Trying to get out of that and now to be amongst musicians and shit like that and people that are dope creatively, it just lets me know, ‘All right, you doing the right thing.’ This muthafucka started with $10 grand and a dream. Look where we at? Word up. For a fact though.”—As Told To Eric Diep