TRUTH: On Being A 2014 XXL Freshman: “I got a phone call when I was in the studio. I was working on this ill shit, and my manager called me that I got the cover, so I just said, ‘Let’s get the flights. Let’s do it.’ So I didn’t go to sleep. I just kept working and just went to the airport, and now I’m here. It’s dope. I’m excited. It’s a great piece of exposure. I feel as if the past years, it’s a double-edge blade. Most people that are poppin’ right now were on the XXL Freshmen list. But there is people on the list that don’t do shit.

Ultimately, I think what it can do is that it can add to my momentum and what I can do. But it’s not making noise of breaking me. At the end and the beginning, it’s about the records, it’s about the music that I make, it’s about the content that I produce. That’s what has me where I am not. That’s what takes me where I’m going. Things like this are all amazing pieces to the storyline, just stamp of approval that Vic is that nigga. But in my mind, it ain’t never been no doubt. So the world is going to know with or without any shouts or covers or anything. But to get them is all the love. I appreciate that. If the cover wants to be accurate, the cover is going to be me because if I didn’t make the cover, I’m still going to be me. I’m still going to bump shit off and go crazy.

In general, I think the cover needs us, the artists. We’re the artists or would be the artists if the cover didn’t exist. But it’s dope though. It’s like a symbiotic relationship. We’re eating off of each other. It’s an appreciative gesture. I think the reality is all this shit is that we all feel pressure, but it’s how you deal with it. It’s how you deal with stuff put in front of you. It makes you who you are and determine what you do. This is a door to new fans—that’s the name of the game. It’s stacking these supports on you and just winning the people over. I got a lot of people in my corner. I got a lot of people every day picking up and joining the movement.

What I’m finna to do is hotter than anything I’ve done. I just decided I’m putting out a new EP with straight strangers on it. When that shit is going to drop, it’s going to fuck niggas up, I’m going to play shows, I’m going to get more money, and I’m going to make more music and collaborate with people and have fun and work on this album. This is a rap contest. As is apparent to those who pay attention and would be apparent to everybody, I do a lot more than rap. And what I’m finna to go down for is more than just 16s on beats. That doesn’t take away for the fact that this shit all started with rap. This is an accomplishment as a rapper and as an artist. Overall this is a dope accomplishment. It’s a really good look.”—As Told To Emmanuel Maduakolam