TRUTH: On Being A 2014 XXL Freshman: “It feels incredible, it feels rewarding. It feels like hard work pays off. Shit, I thought I was going to get it last year. I was going hard on Twitter, fucking with the fans like, ‘Vote for me.’ But this year it was obvious. I learned that when shit is supposed to happen, it happens. You just gotta keep on going and don’t give up and it’s gonna happen.

I’m just excited that people actually fuck with me now ’cause I’ve been making tight songs. I promise you and everybody around me always said it. I’m not the type to toot my own horn and shit. So now that people are actually knowing what it is and I can really go H.A.M. Like niggas like Kendrick, they know me for what I really do and all the homies back in L.A. They know I’ve just been giving them lightweight club joints and just playing the game. But I really do music though. It’s going to be crazy.

And I’m really into this hip-hop shit unlike other muthafuckas. I don’t really care about fame or any of that. I’m more about the music. I can play all the instruments.

Then I have the whole Free TC movement. It’s the name of my album, and it’s a movement because my brother’s name is TC and I’m trying to free him [from jail]. He got knocked for a murder, and everybody says he didn’t do it, he said he didn’t do it, so I don’t see why the fuck he got locked up. It’s obvious that when you gang bang, they gotta take somebody down, so they took my brother down. And I’m sure there’s millions of others in every other hood that’s going through the same thing. So what I’m going to do with this album is use the money to get my brother a 2014 Johnnie Cochran to get him out. And also, I’m going to start a fundraiser called Free TC. To get everybody else money on their lawyers and their books, just supporting niggas in jail ’cause it can happen to anybody.”—As Told To Miranda Johnson