YK Osiris Tells His Life Story With Passion and Purpose
When the XXL Freshman cover is unveiled every summer, each artist is welcomed with a rather polarizing reception: either hip-hop fans love or hate the members of the new class. Subjectivity is the beauty of music; there's something for everyone's tastes, which is what the XXL Freshman cover highlights when the new class is inducted. While XXL's tag line has been "Hip-hop on a higher level" since the start, R&B has weaved its way into the conversation as the genre has flourished, bringing with it plenty more artists to consider for the annual Freshman class.
Singers Ty Dolla $ign and August Alsina landed on the 2014 cover while rap crooners A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and PnB Rock made their way into the 2017 class. Now, Jacksonville, Fla. native YK Osiris follows in the footsteps of the respected XXL Freshman singers before him, bringing his soul-stirring voice and lyrical depth to a new crop of listeners as a member of the 2019 XXL Freshman class.
At 19, YK Osiris is a proven success story when it comes to his songwriting skills and freestyling talents. He created "Worth It," his biggest hit to date, during a freestyle session in a friend's small Florida studio set up in a house in 2018. Once YK—the YK stands for "Young King"—put the song on Instagram, the track went viral and the demand for the singer to release it skyrocketed.
Four months after crafting the song, produced by his boys Kiwi and M.Geezy, he landed a record deal with Def Jam, one of hip-hop's most storied labels. Almost a year later, "Worth It" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 87, marking YK's first entry on the chart. With a peak position of No. 52, the song has also found success on streaming platforms like Spotify, where it currently sits at more than 77 millions streams, and YouTube, where the video has been viewed upwards of 47 million times.
With a legion of supporters in tow, it’s likely to come as a surprise that YK didn’t believe in his talent early on. "When I was young, I didn't take it serious at first until somebody told me that, you know, 'You got a great voice. It's unique.' And I just started taking it very seriously because I didn't really think I could sing at first," he admits. "But then I started feeling myself, you know, and singing and people liked it. I made viral videos, people loved it and it made me go harder." “Worth It” is indicative of that virality.
Florida has been strongly represented in the XXL Freshman classes over the last few years, with Kodak Black repping the Sunshine State in 2016, XXXTentacion in 2017, and Ski Mask The Slump God, Wifisfuneral, Lil Pump and Smokepurpp in 2018. Now YK Osiris continues to carry the torch for the bottom of the map. "I'm from Jacksonville, Fla., a.k.a. Duval, and it influenced me to go harder, you know, because I ain't came from a lot, you know, and you can hear through my songs," the rising talent continues." I spit it all out." YK truly got it out the mud.
Like many singers before him, the King of Pop has been a main source of inspiration for YK. "One of the artists who I looked up to that inspired me is Michael Jackson ’cause he have a lot of pain, he just not a singer, he a artist," shares YK, who plans to drop his debut album, Love & Hate, this summer. "And, you know, when he sing you can feel it. Just like how you can feel my music when I sing and I put my heart out."
YK Osiris' position as the sole singer in the 2019 XXL Freshman class is unique. With 11 artists featured on this year's cover, he's the only one crooning his heart out. But don't write him off as just another singer creating baby-making music. While YK Osiris can do plenty of that, he prides himself on his versatility.
"This is XXL Freshman and it is hip-hop, but I fit in it because I got swag, you know?" he declares. "I’m not just no singer. I got swag, I got the drip [and] I got the looks. I fit in ’cause I’m versatile. I’m different. It’s important that they shine a light on singers because we have a story, too. We have pain. We for the culture. We go all around the world. We got swag. We got drip, you know? I’m very glad that they shine a light on the singer because we have the same thing rappers have; we just don’t rap." YK Osiris got a story to tell.
For all those people wondering why a singer made it into the 2019 XXL Freshman class, YK Osiris puts you on game above.
See Photos of YK Osiris Behind the Scenes at the 2019 XXL Freshman Cover Shoot