XXL’s fall 2016 issue features a special cover shared by Gucci Mane and Young Thug. For Thugger’s interview, he opens up about everything from his passion for fashion and his connection with Guwop to speaking things into existence and embracing his birth name, plus much more. Watch XXL’s full video interview with Young Thug above or check out some excerpts and info about the magazine cover story below. The fall issue of XXL hits stands everywhere on Oct. 18.

“I’m kinda weird...I think weird,” Young Thug says several times while describing himself. It’s a September afternoon and Thugger is chilling at Atlantic Records offices in New York City. He’s in town for Fashion Week, which is no surprise with how into fashion the hip-hop star is. Besides modeling a Calvin Klein Collection women’s look for their fall 2016 global campaign, Thug recently caused a stir with the cover of his most recent mixtape, Jeffery, where the rapper rocked a ruffled avant-garde dress by new designer Alessandro Trincone. People talked more about the mixtape cover than they did the actual music but that doesn’t seem to bother Thug, who’s focused on high-end fashion anyway. That doesn’t mean the tracks aren’t important to the 25-year-old Atlanta native.

Born Jeffery Williams, Young Thug broke onto the scene in 2013 with his mixtape, 1017 Thug. Since then the trapper rapper, who was first signed to Gucci Mane’s 1017 Records, has dropped 16 mixtapes and landed seven of his songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart including “Stoner,” “Check,” “Best Friend” and “Pick Up the Phone.”

With a growing fan base and both music and fashion opportunities coming left and right, Thug is one of the most in-demand hip-hop artists of the moment. Currently signed to Atlantic and 300 Entertainment, he’s the main focus of one of rap’s most legendary executives, Lyor Cohen, who believes wholeheartedly in Thug’s future. And so does the first guy who gave him a shot, his mentor, Gucci Mane.

Here, Young Thug discusses his history with Guwop, his love of fashion and why he considers himself so “weird.”

Young Thug:

On Being Taken Seriously in the Fashion World
"Yes, it means a lot to me. I don’t care about people understanding me because I didn’t do it for people to understand me. I did it for, like, the weird ones. I did it for the people that’s for that. People that literally live for dressing going to always understand me. And I want to bring out that encouragement to young people that want to do it, but [are] kinda scared. That’s my main reason to do it. I don’t care if nobody ever looks at me. As long as I know I did it and somebody saw it and is like, I ain’t scared. I want to do that."

On His Connection With Gucci Mane
"He’s just genuine. Kinda like Kanye West. He was like, 'Bruh, the rap game yours. You just gotta... don’t get in trouble, keep rapping and I’ma make sure.' He kept me in the studio, then he went to jail again for the three years and I was there, every day. Going to work, going to work, going to work, going to work. And I always showed love. I’m always like, 'Free Guwop' at my shows. He’s my brother. He really gave me money. This nigga really gave me money. Nigga really helped me with my kids. That’s my homie."

On Speaking Things Into Existence
"I’m big on speaking shit into existence. I had to learn not to say stuff like, 'If I go to prison, I’ma still be...' Know what I’m saying? I had to learn to back away from that type of stuff and gang bangin’ because I feel like I really speak so much stuff into existence. And sometimes I forget. Sometimes it be in my old music. I be like, What the fuck? I really was like, 'Next year I’m going to have rings on every finger' and the next year, I really got rings on every finger. But yeah, I’m big on it. It affects my life so, so much. So much."

On Embracing His Name Jeffery
"I guess I’m just getting mature. I’m getting older. I don’t want my kids to grow up and be like, 'My dad’s name is Young Thug' or 'I want to be a young thug because my dad was a young thug.' I want to be who I really am. I’m really Jeffery. I’m not no lame or anything, I’m kinda cool. I’m a cool person. So, Jeffery...I feel like I used to hate that name so much, but now I’m understanding the name. My dad gave me the name. The name is who I really am."

See Exclusive Photos From Young Thug’s XXL Cover Story

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