href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/robbyseabrookiii/” rel=”author” title=”Robby Seabrook III”>Robby Seabrook IIIPublished: March 3, 2021Sam Leviton

You never know until you try. Before rap, Louisville, Ky. native EST Gee was hustling in his city, but considered that there may be a place for him within hip-hop around his way. According to him, he got the streets blessing. After Gee was arrested for a drug trafficking charge in 2016, which had him locked up and then eventually put on house arrest, Gee saw Lil Baby rhyming on TV and thought of him as a kindred spirit. By 2018, the aspiring rhymer was making songs in a bathroom recording studio. Since he was off house arrest by May of that year, Gee was able to make more moves toward his fledgling career. At the time, he was already making noise for himself with songs like "New Number" and creating his own buzz in his hometown.

Along the way, he also found a friend in 2020 XXL Freshman Jack Harlow. Both artists are from the same city but make drastically different types of music. EST Gee is a street rapper through and through, unique in his own right with a distinctive voice. His flow and lyrics include solid wisdom, unabashed truth and extremely vivid tales that pull it all together. Gee's sound can be heard on Harlow's 2020 debut album, Thats What They All Say, on the song "Route 66," which the two performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in January of this year. The experience is one of Gee's standout moments to date.

While good moments like that have happened on Gee's rise to the top, unfortunately, he's experienced tragedy and tribulation prior. In September of 2019, he was shot five times in a vehicle in Louisville after finishing a video shoot with Sada Baby. One of those bullets hit him in the eye and the other four went into his stomach. He survived and recovered, but then dealt with the deaths of both his brother and mother in 2020.

While Gee is still mourning their passings, his profile is rising. His videos on YouTube are consistently getting views, especially the visual for the remix of "Get Money" featuring Yo Gotti, which sits at nearly 3 million views and shows off what the streets of Louisville are like. And despite the pandemic taking over last year, he dropped the mixtape Ion Feel Nun, in March of 2020, which features an image of himself with his eye bandaged on the cover, and then followed up with I Still Dont Feel Nun project in mid-December. Before those two efforts, he released the projects El Toro and Die Bloody in 2019.

Now, EST Gee is signed to Yo Gotti's CMG imprint and Interscope Records. Gotti welcomed the rap newcomer to his team by giving him $750,000 in late January, the moment captured on Instagram. Plus, he gained a supporter in Lil Baby, the same rapper Gee saw making a lane for him when he first began rapping. Baby and Gee have a collab on the way. It's all coming together for EST Gee, this week's featured artist in XXL's The Break.

Age: 26

Hometown: Louisville, Ky.

I grew up listening to: "Boosie [BadAzz], [Yo] Gotti, Gucci [Mane]Future. I feel like everybody listened to them. I might be wrong though. They were just talking about gangsta shit. My daddy used to listen to gangster shit. It just was what was most relatable to me, what was going on around me. It was easy to listen to because I understood it."

My style’s been compared to: "Everybody say I make them feel like how the OGs did, and [Yo] Gotti and… how that shit used to feel like back then. They say I make them feel like that. They don't think I sound like them neither, but as far as like just coming in with they own money, a group of niggas with they own money. There's only a couple of rappers that can say they came like us or they coming like us. You hear about this type of shit, but you don't get to see it. And especially not from no Louisville, Kentucky."

I’m going to blow up because: "Me talking to you. I ain't locked up. I ain't dead. I got shot five times. I got shot in my eye and my stomach four times. I could be dead, you feel me? I'm in Miami right now, looking at the skyline. Miami, on the beach. I'm far away from where I come from. I'm doing all right."

What’s your most slept-on song, and why?: "I don't feel like I got no song that people slept on. That's why I get the same type of reaction to every song. I feel like, as far as views and shit on videos, that only goes as far as you promote something, like putting it on the vlog site or shit like that. I don't really even pay attention to views a lot. It just be like more cultural impact. I know if I do a show, they want to hear this song. That means more to me than how many views shit got. People walking up to me and reciting shit from a song or reciting certain shit from a song. Sometimes they do it to the songs that don't got the most views."

My standout records to date have been: "'Get Money.' Everybody is on that. Lil Baby, [42] Dugg, [Yo] Gotti. Like the trap, everywhere. Everywhere there was street niggas was fucking with that song, "Get Money." It was like an anthem. It felt good because it felt like people knew we for real. If you're a OG or you're a person who's been out here. You can't look at us or look at me and not see shit you've been through yourself. That was my fastest video I got to a million. I think that bitch went to a million in like a month."

My standout moments to date have been: "Being on Jimmy Kimmel [Live!]. That's probably… I didn't even understand how big it was at first, but I'm sending a shout-out to my boy, Jack Harlow. My Jack, man. Jack was a fan of me out of nowhere, like we didn't know each other or nothing and he's been supporting me. Fucking with me ever since. How he act then is how he act now. He never, never, never changed. And he used to confuse me. I would just be like, 'Damn, why does he like this shit?'"

Most people don’t know: "I'm a Taurus. I don't know. I'm into astrology. I like astrology. My grannies and them, is into shit like that. My granny, my nana, she's real spiritual. She's into shit like that."

I’m going to be the next:
"I don't really want to be the next nothing, I just want to be Gee. Whatever that is. Superstar. I just want to be me."

Follow EST Gee on SoundCloud and Instagram.

Standouts:

"Get Money"

"Ball Forever"

"Members Only" featuring 42 Dugg

"Special (Remix)" featuring Moneybagg Yo

I Still Don't Feel Nun

See Every Hip-Hop Song Certified Diamond in Music History

Filed Under: EST Gee, Feature, The BreakCategories: News


href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/awoods/” rel=”author” title=”Aleia Woods”>Aleia WoodsPublished: February 19, 2021Pierre Suu, Getty Images

Kanye West allegedly isn't in the best mental shape amid rumors that he and Kim Kardashian have reportedly divorced.

According to People magazine on Wednesday (Feb. 17), a source close to ’Ye says that the rapper is going through it as he has reportedly come to terms with the state of his and Kim's marriage.

"Kanye is not doing well," the source told the outlet. "He is anxious and very sad. He knows that the marriage is over, and there's nothing that can be done right now. He also knows what he is losing in Kim."

However, despite rumors of Kanye not taking the separation well, the G.O.O.D. Music founder and Kim Kardashian are allegedly amicable.

On another note, according to a report from the Associated Press on Friday (Feb. 19), sources close to the couple claim that Kim officially filed for a divorce in Los Angeles County Court following more than six years of marriage.

Last month, reports began circulating online that Kim and Kanye had legally separated. Kim also reportedly hired divorce attorney Laura Wasser.

Weeks later, KimYe, who had allegedly been attending marriage counseling, gave up on trying to salvage their marriage. A report also included news that Kanye was going to be speaking with a divorce lawyer.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian wed back in May of 2014. Since their union, they welcomed four children: North, Saint, Chicago and Psalm.

XXL has reached out to a rep for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian for a comment on this matter.

See Hip-Hop Albums Turning Five in 2021

Filed Under: Kanye West, kim kardashianCategories: News


href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/trentfitzgerald/” rel=”author” title=”Trent Fitzgerald”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: February 15, 2021Rich Fury, Getty Images

Travis Scott is mostly known for his rapping and producing abilities within hip-hop, but he has now transcended into a marketing genius.

In 2020, when most musicians found themselves unable to tour or drop music due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trav was able to switch gears and build lucrative partnerships with brands like McDonald's, Nike, Sony and more. According to Forbes, his brand collaborations across fashion, food and entertainment netted him $100 million last year.

By cobranding himself and endorsing various products, Travis gained the trust of the people while helping companies tap into youth culture. Since the Houston rhymer has proven himself to be a successful businessman who has secured the bag multiple times, there's much to be learned from his business moves.

For example, Trav likes to tease a product first without advance warning. The 28-year-old rapper did that with his "Franchise" music video last year. In the visual, Travis held a can of his new hard seltzer beverage Cacti without and threw his new brand into his lyrics for the song too. Since then, there's been huge anticipation for the drink, which hits stores in March of 2021.

Travis also likes to put a creative spin on nostalgic brands. For McDonald's, the Astroworld creator revisited his childhood love of burgers and fries. McDonald's rarely does merchandise deals, but that changed when La Flame was on board. Together, they created three different merch drops with over 90 items, including T-shirts, crewnecks, hats, a chicken nugget body pillow, rugs and more. Altogether, the merch sold out within minutes of each release, proving that Travis knows what the youth likes.

So while looking at his partnership deals, his lyrics and other aspects of his money-making moves, XXL highlights the ways not to fumble the bag according to Travis Scott's business moves. You can apply them to your own life to make a deal and, more importantly, secure the bag. Check them out below.

See the Ways Not to Fumble the Bag According to Travis Scott

Filed Under: Galleries, Gallery, The List, Travis $cottCategories: News


href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/awoods/” rel=”author” title=”Aleia Woods”>Aleia WoodsPublished: January 20, 2021D. Clemons

Let the Beat Build
Kash Johns, Founder and CEO of Winners Circle Worldwide Publishing & Management.
Words: Aleia Woods
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

Kash Johns hit the music scene fervently in the 2000s, getting production placements with Harlem’s own Dipset. His experience with the New York City-bred collective helped to develop his keen interest in the music business. Johns later dove headfirst into publishing and began developing the next generation of producers, artists and songwriters. In 2015, Winners Circle Publishing, administered by global publisher Warner/Chappell, was born and has since served as a vehicle for individuals who have a hunger for and desire to thrive in the behind-the-scenes roles of creating music. The roster currently boasts Sterl Gotti, YNF Cappo, Pooh Beatz, Smash David and songwriter London Jae as their clients/signees plus more. Here, Johns shares some knowledge.

XXL: What are some of the particular qualities that you look for in a producer?

Kash Johns: Work ethic. Your willingness to go the extra mile. Doing more than whoever’s in the room. With us, in-house, we call it sharpening swords. It’s like sharpening swords, sharpening your skills. So, if you’re not pushing your skill set to the maximum, then you’re not gonna get the results that you really want. And, coming from a publishing background, I educate all my clients to understand the business portion of the publishing so that they can see if you’re a producer, if these [are] the types of records, and these are what these records do and this is what it’s going to pay you out. So, you gotta look long-term.

In your expert opinion, what would you say makes a hot producer right now?

It’s one that’s able to make any type of music… So, anybody coming up, it’s important to be able to get into those rooms, be able to know how to engineer, know how to arrange records, know what’s melodic, know to gain the trust of the artist.

What are some of the biggest songs that some of your producers have right now?

We did the “What’s Poppin” with Jack Harlow. We did DaBaby’s “Suge.” We did “The Voice” that came out with [Lil] Durk—last one that just came out. We’re on the Megan Thee Stallion [Good News Deluxe] project. We did the Dave East single [“Sexual”] featuring Chris Brown. We was on the NBA YoungBoy [“Boom”]. We had the Tory Lanez one [“Friends Become Strangers”]. Oh, and we did “My Window” with Lil Wayne.

How do you measure success for your producers? The platinum plaques, the gold plaques, that type of recognition people definitely care about.

I ask them… Each one of my producers, we call it, “How do you want your movie to be seen?” So, they tell me how they wanna see their movie at the end and then that’s how we measure their success from that point.

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2020 issue including our DaBaby cover story, an introduction to DaBaby's Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment label roster, an interview with South Coast Music Group founder Arnold Taylor, who discovered and signed DaBaby, one of King Von's last interviews, how the coronavirus changed hip-hop, we catch up with Flipp Dinero in What's Happenin', we talk to Rico Nasty about rediscovering who she is as an artist, Marshmello talks about the rappers he wants to work with in Hip-Hop Junkie, Show & Proves with The Kid Laroi and Flo Milli, we take a closer look at how music gets leaked and more.

See Photos of XXL Magazine's Winter 2020 Cover Shoot With DaBaby

Filed Under: Chris Brown, DaBaby, Dipset, Feature, Jack Harlow, Kash Johns, Lil Durk, promo, The Diplomats, XXL MagazineCategories: News, XXL Magazine


href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/awoods/” rel=”author” title=”Aleia Woods”>Aleia WoodsPublished: January 15, 2021Jonathan Hinds

Sum 2 Prove
Flipp Dinero applies some pressure.
Words: Aleia Woods
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

Flipp Dinero is a certified hit-maker and he has the platinum plaques to prove it. Following the inarguable success of his breakout singles “Leave Me Alone” and “How I Move,” the Brooklyn-bred rapper is gearing up to drop his debut album. The impending effort doesn’t have a title or release date just yet, but is promised to be composed of a slew of versatility. And while the LP will arrive amid a global pandemic, that isn’t the only thing Flipp has been focusing on while the nation is at a standstill. He’s been tapping into his own personal growth, honing in on his creativity and delving into new interests he’s developed over the last few months. Flipp is setting out to apply pressure in all facets of his life and he speaks with XXL on how he plans to do just that.

XXL: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?

Flipp Dinero: The biggest lesson I’ve learned? I’ve learned to just keep working. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to keep working and never judge yourself. A lot of artists tend to judge themselves in the sense of—this goes back to following the wave. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to not judge myself and be creative.

What’s one thing that you wish someone would’ve told you before you even embarked on your rap journey?

One thing I wish someone would’ve told me is to be free with the craft. People make this shit so strict. People turn the craft into a job and that’s what makes the music not enjoyable. Actually enjoy the music. And I wouldn’t say I hit a point where I wasn’t enjoying the craft, but it’s like, I wish someone elaborated on, “Yo, actually have more fun with it.” That’s why I’m saying the difference between my prior project and this one is the experimentation. It’s me actually trying different shit. I feel comfortable with the craft. I’m having fun with it. I wish someone would’ve told me, “Yo, have more fun.”

What would you say is the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make during the pandemic that you were most reluctant about?

The biggest adjustment I had to make was being by myself. I was so used to being around people, being at shows, being at parties. I was so used to that and when everything had slowed down because we couldn’t do that anymore as artists, it put me in the zone like, Damn, what the fuck? Then, I caught myself and I started to appreciate the time I had to myself, thus allowing me to create more and just be more creative, which is why I feel like this project that I’m coming out with is just gonna be epic. It’s gonna be something real. Just melodic feel, filled with a bunch of vibes. It’s gon’ be something to take serious.

Did you pick up any cool hobbies during this quarantine? Learn anything new?

Yeah, definitely. Started working out crazy, started digging into real estate, stocks. I actually learned how to ride ATVs. I’m talking about really riding ATVs. Just go crazy. Yeah, that was it. It was a bunch of things I started learning about myself as well.

Aside from dropping the album, what should we expect from you next year?

Definitely just more pressure. Just the music, that’s my main objective right now. I’m just tryin’ to literally flood them with the music. Right now, I’m applying pressure. Thank God I had my debut single “Leave Me Alone” go three-times platinum. Thank God I have my second major single “How I Move” featuring Lil Baby go crazy. And this one, “No No No” featuring A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, that dropped [in October]. It’s going crazy right now. So, what I’m trying to do is just continue that pressure and just show people it’s more in tune. And I just can’t wait for them to get this album, and I can’t wait for them to get the projects after this album. It’s just a lot going on with me. It’s a lot that I gotta untuck. It’s a lot that I gotta say.

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2020 issue including our DaBaby cover story, an introduction to DaBaby's Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment label roster, an interview with South Coast Music Group founder Arnold Taylor, who discovered and signed DaBaby, one of King Von's last interviews, The Kid Laroi's move from rookie rapper to streaming success, how the coronavirus changed hip-hop, our interview with actress, writer and producer Issa Rae about her label Raedio, Marshmello talks about rappers he wants to work with and more.

See Photos of XXL Magazine's Winter 2020 Cover Shoot With DaBaby

Filed Under: Feature, Flipp Dinero, promo, XXL MagazineCategories: News, XXL Magazine


href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/biancatorres/” rel=”author” title=”Bianca Torres”>Bianca TorresPublished: January 14, 2021Jimmy Fontaine

I'm Different
Rico Nasty has been rediscovering who she is as an artist. Now, she’s ready to show the world what she discovered.
Interview: Bianca Torres
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

Rico Nasty is not the typical female rapper. The 23-year-old artist, born Maria Kelly, doesn’t follow rules; she breaks them. With her rocker flare, brash attitude and explosive music, Rico moves to her own beat. On this early November evening in New York City, the Largo, Md. native has just wrapped a day of promo for her debut album, Nightmare Vacation, and now unwinds on a luxurious bed in her 6 Columbus Central Park hotel room. Her look is subtle: two pigtails, minimal makeup and a gray, lacey outfit, but Rico always exudes a rock star. That’s her aesthetic and she carries it to her core. It’s what makes the rhyme-slinger look and feel original and authentic and has helped her recently snag collabo deals with makeup brands Il Makiage and Rihanna’s Fenty.

While busy locking down business partnerships, the Atlantic Records star has also spent 2020 playing the role of teacher to her 5-year-old son during the coronavirus pandemic and in the studio cooking up some new music. Over the past few months, Rico dropped videos for “OHFR?,” “Own It” and “iPhone,” all songs featured on the recently released Nightmare Vacation.

The effort, which includes collaborations with Gucci Mane, Don Toliver, Trippie Redd and more, is a testament to Rico’s evolution. She’s released seven mixtapes to date so an album was long overdue.

Here, Rico chats it up with XXL via Zoom about finding her lane in rap, studio dedication and becoming the next Martha Stewart.

XXL: The name of your album is Nightmare Vacation. What does that mean?

Rico Nasty: Nightmare Vacation means to me, just overcoming moments of your life where it just seemed like you couldn’t get over. I found out throughout this album, I did a lot of growing. I did a lot of, like, not soul-searching, because that just sounds like a bunch of bullshit, but really getting to know myself better. I went through a lot of stuff where I felt like, back to square one, almost.

That’s why I called it Nightmare Vacation because in going through all this shit, I just felt like I had become a person that I never thought I could be. I’ve heard so many people like, “I don’t like this music” and “I don’t like her music.” This album is just a product of getting back up. This [is the] product [of] so many people telling you [what you] should be doing, and this project is just what I am.

Who is Rico Nasty right now?

There’s no more personas. There’s no more alter egos. I just am who I am. There is no hard Rico. There is no soft Rico. I feel like [I] just kind of broke those barriers. I’ve finally found my niche tone. I guess, from a melodic sense that I really, really like and it blends well with other artists. I don’t know, I feel like I’ve given my fans too many groups. This is this Rico and that Rico and everything is just, at the end of the day, it’s just me. There is no other personality and all this shit that I would have tried to hide behind a couple years ago.

You wanted this album to be like Kanye’s Yeezus. Why that comparison?

I just mean the way it was, because I didn’t like Yeezus at first. It was something that had to grow on me. It was a project that when I listened to it, I made time to listen to it. I had made time for that shit, when I knew Yeezus was dropping, I remember Kanye dropped. I was like, OK, when this comes out, I’m going to clean my room to it and I’m going to just listen to it. I’m not going to let nobody’s opinion [affect mine]. I’m going to appreciate this art.

And that’s what I did. I appreciated it. Like, every song, I sat down and I was like, play that back. What did he say? I feel like a lot of times when my fans listen to my music, it’s a party time. It’s girl time. It’s like, we’re about to go beat a bitch ass. It’s group activities, bro. And with this project, I want them to make time for me, go in your fucking room.

How has life changed over the last year?

I had so much confidence going into [XXL] Freshman and then after it, it just kind of, I don’t know what happened. I felt like I had no place. I had no acceptance, whatsoever. I felt like everything else is getting accepted and I was just like getting blown off or put off to be some type of like, “She’s this type of this girl.” And it was like, I had never been this type of anything. I’m just me. And it just started fucking with me.

At the time, [my mixtape] Anger Management is out and everybody was, “Oh my God!” But at the time I’m like, no, actually no, fuck you, because now you’re all trying to make me seem like I’m this bitch that can only do that.

I felt very alone, especially watching it be like, a Hot Girl summer. And that’s weird, because I’m like, I wouldn’t consider myself a Hot Girl and I’m crying about it. Then months later, I’m the Hot Girl, so I’m in a video, which is just crazy, because like, I’m not a Hot Girl. I’m dorky. I’m weird. I live up in a loft.

Yeah, that was a really weird time in my life. Especially like, just the whole XXL scene, the hard hip-hop people, like, this bitch is not real hip-hop. She’s trying to be White. She’s trying to be a rock star. And I’m like, if I’m not hip-hop, what the fuck is hip-hop?

Jimmy Fontaine

If you look at artists like Lil Uzi Vert, he popped up on the rap scene like a rock star. He was completely different.

Yeah, but even now, Uzi, I always consider him a rock star because of his attitude. The way he dresses, the way he carries himself. His music is rap. That’s rap music. And I think that those had hip-hop hits. Like, if I don’t look like Noname or J. Cole, I’m not real hip-hop to them. It blows my mind.

You can see yourself as a trailblazer and they never have it easy. They’re always scrutinized.

It’s very lonely because they’re intimidated. Trailblazers, they are weird. I can’t name a trailblazer that’s not a little bit weird. Just because we make great music doesn’t make us great human beings or completely geniuses at social skills. When I make my music, nine times out of 10, I make my music, I’m in the studio for 72 hours. Any person that stays in a room and doesn’t wash their ass or brush their teeth for 72 hours to make a song is not right in the head. Like, we’re not all the way there, bro. We’re just here for the music.

You’ve got to respect someone who doesn’t wash their ass for three days to do music.

Being a girl is different. I probably shouldn’t have said that. People are going to be like, “Wait a minute.” My boyfriend be in the studio with me, though. Like, why can’t women, why can’t we go as hard as the men? Do you know how many men would say the same thing? “I’ve been in the studio eight days straight, man. I took like two or three showers. I ain’t changed my clothes.” They rhyme about that shit. That’s really my life. I go in the studio and lock in.

How do you feel about the status of female rappers? You see more support amongst female rappers.

I felt like I would have fucking hated to be late to the party because that would have made me really sad, to be missing out on all this love. Our game has never felt like this. It’s never been so warm. You have friends and you get to watch people literally get rich together.

How do you feel about politics and the big Biden-Harris win?

I feel great. Well, let me not say great. Alright. Let me not do this, because…it doesn’t make me feel great. Like, I could sleep at night, it makes me feel better, you know? I feel reassured. I don’t feel reassured in our government, but I feel reassured in our people because we’ve seen, as a group, it was a problem. And regardless of how close [President Trump] came to winning or whatever the fuck he keeps talking about, we came together as a people to make a difference.

Do you have any specific goals for 2021?

We got to get rid of this corona bitch ’cause this bitch needs to go. I don’t know if I might have to jump her or what’s about to happen, but we need to all go outside one day and beat her ass. I need to go on a vacation that’s what I want to do next year. I wanna take a vacation and I want to go scuba diving.

What’s your ultimate goal in life, in general?

I want to be able to be heard not seen. I want to be one of those people that my song is on a game. You get off the game, watching a commercial, I’m on a fucking commercial. You get in the bed, my brand of sheets are on the bed and I got slippers. I just want to become, not only a household name, but a household item. Off some Martha Stewart shit. I love interior design. I love vases and desks and chairs and bed frames and shit like that. Sheets, shower curtains, rugs.

I feel like everybody idolizes the rapper’s house anyway. Everybody wants the rapper’s house. So, why not actually have a place that you could buy shit that rapper’s have had in their house or things that make your house look hella rich without being rich. A lot of people not rich and home decor is expensive. So, I need that Target collab A.S.A.P.

Jimmy Fontaine

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2020 issue including our DaBaby cover story, an introduction to DaBaby's Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment label roster, an interview with South Coast Music Group founder Arnold Taylor, who discovered and signed DaBaby, one of King Von's last interviews, The Kid Laroi's move from rookie rapper to streaming success, how the coronavirus changed hip-hop, our interview with actress, writer and producer Issa Rae about her label Raedio, Marshmello talks about rappers he wants to work with and more.

See Photos of XXL Magazine's Winter 2020 Cover Shoot With DaBaby

Filed Under: Feature, Rico Nasty, XXL MagazineCategories: News, XXL Magazine


href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/biancatorres/” rel=”author” title=”Bianca Torres”>Bianca TorresPublished: January 13, 2021Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Hip-Hop Junkie
Making hits with rappers comes easy when you’re a true fan of hip-hop like Marshmello.
Words: Bianca Torres
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

The worldwide famous EDM producer/DJ Marshmello has been an avid hip-hop fan since as far back as he can remember. When the Philadelphia native wasn’t playing music with his rock band growing up, he was enjoying the records of rap group Three 6 Mafia. Eventually, he became a heavy hip-hop collaborator working with artists such as Lil Peep, Logic, Roddy Ricch, Tyga and 42 Dugg. This year, the 28-year-old music star produced Juice Wrld’s “Hate The Other Side” featuring Polo G and The Kid Laroi, which peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Here, XXL chops it up with Marshmello about who he listens to, which rappers he’d like to work with and what new artists he’s up on.

XXL: Did you listen to hip-hop growing up?

Marshmello: Yes, I’ve always loved hip-hop from a young age.

Did you have any favorite rappers?

I played in a rock band growing up and I found that Three 6 Mafia always gave me the same feeling that I had with my own music. So, I gravitated towards them, heavily.

What was it about Three 6 Mafia that pulled you towards them?

The energy that they delivered on every record was crazy and the production was always next level. The samples and beats they made were ahead of their time.

In your opinion, what’s the best thing about hip-hop?

I may be biased, because I’m a producer myself, but I really love the production side of hip-hop. The contrast that is created between the beat, lyrics and melodies can contrast in special ways. That’s what I love most about it.

Who's your favorite rapper?

I’d have to say Polo G is one of my favorite rappers right now. Spending a lot of time with him in the studio, his melodies and lyrics always impress me.

Who do you listen to now?

I always listen for melodies and substance. Roddy Ricch, Juice Wrld, Polo G and this new Future and [Lil] Uzi [Vert] album is really dope.

Do you like any of the newer crop of rappers?

Definitely. I really like this new artist Morray a lot. I’ve been working with him in the studio and he’s impressive. 42 Dugg, Rylo Rodriguez, Flo Milli, 2kBaby are all some of my favorites as well.

Is there a rapper you haven’t worked with yet that you’d like to?

There are too many artists I want to work with to put them all down. But, I definitely would love to work with Uzi, Future, 21 Savage, for sure.

What hip-hop songs are you feeling at moment?

Right now, some of my favorite songs are “Stripes Like Burberry” off the Uzi and Future album. “Quicksand” by Morray, “Whoopty” by CJ, “Martin & Gina” by Polo G, just to name a few.

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2020 issue including our DaBaby cover story, an introduction to DaBaby's Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment label roster, an interview with South Coast Music Group founder Arnold Taylor, who discovered and signed DaBaby, one of King Von's last interviews, The Kid Laroi's move from rookie rapper to streaming success, how the coronavirus changed hip-hop, our interview with actress, writer and producer Issa Rae about her label Raedio and more.

See Photos of XXL Magazine's Winter 2020 Cover Shoot With DaBaby

Filed Under: Feature, Future, juice wrld, Lil Uzi Vert, marshmello, Polo G, promo, Roddy Ricch, The Kid Laroi, XXL Magazine, ‪21 SavageCategories: News, XXL Magazine


href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/trentfitzgerald/” rel=”author” title=”Trent Fitzgerald”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: January 11, 2021Erik Voake / Amy Sussman / Arnold Turner, Getty Images (3)

A great hip-hop song isn't complete without a memorable hook that works its way into your brain.

Many of these songs have hooks and choruses so catchy that you have it seems like you have no choice but to sing along no matter where you're at. Then there are other songs that can be annoying because they are so memorable that they linger in your head for days.

For example, who can forget Lil Nas X's Grammy Award-winning hit "Old Town Road"? Hate it or love it, the banjo playing and the chorus, "Yeah, I'm gonna take my horse to the Old Town Road/I'm gonna ride ’til I can't no more," made it one of the most ubiquitous songs in rap history. Now, it's also the most certified song in RIAA history at 14-times diamond.

Then there's Megan Thee Stallion's latest single "Body." The 2019 XXL Freshman's song, from her Good News album. The "Body-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody/Ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody" hook will be remembered by her dedicated fans for many years to come.

Another track like DaBaby's 2019 hit single, "Suge," had everyone singing along with the North Carolina rap superstar when it arrived two years ago. The song's bouncy groove makes anyone nod their head, but it's the chorus that gets stuck there after a first listen. "I go where I want, I'm good (Good)/Play if you want, let's do it (Ha!)/I'm a young CEO, Suge (Yeah)/Yeah, yeah," DaBaby raps on the song.

And then there's Tupac Shakur's classic 1995 track "California Love," which had everyone throwing their W's up when it arrived over two decades ago. The song's repetitive piano groove, Roger Troutman's talkbox vocals and ’Pac's boastful rhymes make it a song destined to never be forgotten.

So with that, XXL wanted to highlight some of the catchiest hip-hop songs that you're annoyed that you can't get out of your head. Check them out below.

  • “Body”Megan Thee Stallion

    The hook of Megan Thee Stallion's "Body-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody/Ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody" on her track "Body" gets stuck like glue.

  • “Old Town Road”Lil Nas X

    Hate it or love it, when you hear Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus sing the chorus, “Yeah, I'm gonna take my horse to the Old Town Road/I'm gonna ride ’til I can't no more" on "Old Town Road," you can’t help but hum along and do a two-step as much as you try to keep your feet still.

  • “Suge (Yea Yea)”DaBaby

    DaBaby's track "Suge" has a bouncy groove that will make you nod your head, but it's the popular chorus that will have it stuck there.

  • “Gucci Gang”Lil Pump

    Lil Pump’s song might be annoying to some rap fans, but it’s hard to resist repeating his “Gucci gang, Gucci gang” chorus over and over again.

  • “Slim Shady”Eminem

    You can't help but sing-along right with Eminem when the lyrics “’Cause I'm Slim Shady, yes, I'm the real Shady/All you other Slim Shadys are just imitating/So won't the real Slim Shady please stand up/Please stand up, please stand up?” sound off.

  • “Miami”Will Smith

    Will Smith’s anthem for the M-I-A is a party rock anthem, but that hook won't stop playing in your brain after a first listen.

  • “Lucid Dreams”Juice Wrld

    The late Juice Wrld's song "Lucid Dreams," about a relationship that is no more, features a tranquil guitar groove and lyrics "I still see your shadows in my room" that keeps the track on repeat.

  • “My Humps”Black Eyed Peas

    Black Eyed Peas delivered a memorable jam with "My Humps" and Fergie’s sing-song raps about her lady lumps won't go away once this song plays.

  • “Get Ur Freak On”Missy Elliott

    Missy Elliott's 2001 song "Get Ur Freak On" has two things we can't resist: the repetitive bhangra elements and the infectious hook. “Go, get your freak on/Go, getcha getcha getcha getcha getcha freak on,” Missy encourages on the hook.

  • “Welcome to the Party”Pop Smoke

    Pop Smoke’s drill banger "Welcome to the Party" is an automatic party-starter. As much as rhyming, "Baby, welcome to the party/I'm off the molly, the Xan, the lean/That's why I'm movin' retarded," can be excessive for any occasion, it's the right time when you're in a lit mood.

  • “Baby Got Back”Sir Mix-A-Lot

    Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 1992 booty anthem is still great over two decades later, no matter how much it gets stuck in your head. And you can't forget his proclamation: “I like big butts and I can not lie/You other brothers can't deny/That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist/And a round thing in your face/You get sprung.” Where’s the lie?

  • “My Type”Saweetie

    Saweetie’s hit song "My Type" was one of the biggest summertime anthems of 2020. While most guys aren't looking for a "rich nigga, eight-figure," it's hard to deny how memorable that hook is no matter what gender you identify as.

  • “The Box”Roddy Ricch

    The repetitive "Ehh Errr" throughout Roddy Ricch's "The Box" is still ringing in our ears two years later.

  • “Hustlin'”Rick Ross

    This is an oldie but goodie. Rick Ross' get-money anthem features the memorable hook, "Every day I'm hustlin'," so it's impossible for hustlers on the grind to ever get this out of their psyche.

  • “Starships”Nicki Minaj

    Nicki Minaj has made dozens of bangers in her career, and when it comes to catchy hooks, she's the queen. Guarantee you'll still be spitting the lyrics of "Starships were meant to fly/Hands up and touch the sky," on her hit track "Starships" on Saturday after bumping it on Monday.

  • “Many Men”50 Cent

    50 Cent has plenty of memorable songs. For "Many Men," we're sticking with the melodic piano groove and the cautionary "Many, many, many, many men/Wish death ’pon me/" chorus that has taken up residence in our brains for decades.

  • “California Love”Tupac Shakur featuring Dr. Dre

    It's Tupac Shakur's boastful raps, the repetitive piano groove and Roger Troutman's talk box vocals for us on "California Love." California sure knows how to party and even if you don't live on the West, you're still singing this track like you do.

  • “Bodak Yellow”Cardi B

    Cardi B's 2017 hit "Bodak Yellow" is bold, and her braggadocios lyrics are destined to never be forgotten. Four years later, and everyone is still rapping with their whole chest, "Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me/If you wanted to/These expensive, these is red bottoms/These is bloody shoes."

  • “In My Feelings”Drake

    Drake's 2018 song “In My Feelings” stuck around well after it's No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 achievement due to the viral dance it spawned, but the sing-song chorus of “Kiki, do you love me? Are you riding?” has kept it on the tip of everybody's lips for well over three years.

  • “Jesus Walks”Kanye West

    The charging drums and inspirational chorus of "Jesus walk/God show me the way because the devil tryna’ break me down” makes Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” one song that is equal parts amazing and annoying that it won't leave your brain.

  • “Ooouuu”Young M.A

    "These haters on my body, shake ’em off" and the repetitive "Ooouuu" of Young M.A's smash song make this an unforgettable anthem.

  • “Move BitchLudacris

    Ludacris' club hit "Move Bitch" will make you throw them ’bows, but it’s the aggressive chant, “Move, bitch! Get out the way/Get out the way, bitch, get out the way” that will forever be stuck in your head.

See 20 Surprising Facts About Hip-Hop Songs That Went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Over Last 20 Years

Filed Under: 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas, Cardi B, DaBaby, Drake, Eminem, Feature, juice wrld, Kanye West, Lil Nas X, Lil Pump, List, Ludacris, Megan Thee Stallion, Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj, Pop Smoke, Rick Ross, Roddy Ricch, saweetie, sir mix-a-lot, The List, Tupac Shakur, Will Smith, Young M.ACategories: News


href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/xxlstaff/” rel=”author” title=”XXL Staff”>XXL StaffPublished: January 8, 2021Cam Kirk

Remember My Name
King Von speaks on his come up two weeks before his tragic death.
Words: Eric Ducker
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

On Nov. 6, 2020, hip-hop lost one of its most promising talents when Chicago rapper King Von, 26, was shot and killed outside the Monaco Hookah Lounge in Atlanta, just one week after the release of his debut album, Welcome to O’Block. Around 3 a.m., an altercation between two crews turned into a shootout that also involved two officers from the Atlanta Police Department—one working as off-duty security for the club. In addition to Von, Chi-Town native Mark Blakely was killed during the incident and four people were injured including Savannah, Ga.’s Timothy Leeks. Leeks, 22, was arrested a day later while at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital and charged with Von’s murder. The APD now says the case is closed.

Three days after the incident, King Von’s manager, Jameson Francois, who was with Von at the hookah lounge and was shot in the leg that night, appeared on DJ Akademiks’ YouTube channel to tell the story of what happened. Francois explained that the shooting resulted from a physical altercation between Von and an individual Francois hesitated to name at first but eventually identified as “Quando” or “Quan”—Savannah, Ga. rapper Quando Rondo. The internet had been buzzing before Francois’ interview with rumors that Von was fighting Quando before he was shot. Two security camera tapes of the incident, recorded from different angles, show Von fighting with someone before a gun went off, but everyone else was hard to recognize. Websleuths also believed they identified Leeks on camera by matching the grainy image of the shooter with photos from Leeks’ Instagram. Leeks posted the day before showing him and Quando wearing the same outfits they allegedly had on in the security footage.

Exactly two weeks after Von’s murder, on Nov. 20, Quando, who had been completely quiet since the shooting, dropped the song “End of Story,” addressing the incident and ultimately confirming his involvement. “Lul Timmy riding right or wrong” and “Damn right we screaming self-defense, he shouldn’t’ve never put his hands on me/Look at the footage, that’s all the evidence, see them pussy niggas shouldn’t’ve ran up on me,” Quando raps. His lyrics lead to speculation that Leeks will be claiming self-defense in his case, but none of that was known at press time. Whatever happens next with the case remains to be seen. Unfortunately, Von’s death has been added to a list of hip-hop tragedies that have plagued the culture, particularly over the past three years. And Von’s career was just getting started.

King Von, born Dayvon Bennett, entered the game in 2018, and was signed to OTF (Only The Family), the label of childhood friend, Lil Durk, and also Empire Distribution, Records and Publishing Inc. That same year, Von released his breakout single, “Crazy Story.” Vibrating with vivid details and sly asides, the record established Von as the rare modern rapper who excelled in the lost art of storytelling. Before his death, XXL planned to feature King Von in this issue’s Show & Prove section, a showcase for emerging artists. What follows is one of King Von’s final interviews, conducted on Oct. 22. The Q&A offers a quick glimpse of where he came from and where his life may have gone.

R.I.P. King Von.

XXL: Where are you?

King Von: Shit, I’m in my new house.

Where is that?

It’s like 50 minutes out of Atlanta.

Is it quiet?

Quiet as hell.

You like that or does it get boring?

It’s good. It’s great.

Why have you been staying in Atlanta?

Because this was where Durk was at. Durk picked it. It’s the only place I had to go other than Chicago, so I came out here with him.

Do you miss Chicago?

Nah, I see Chicago often. I go out there, so nah, I don’t miss it. It’s right there.

Did you always live on O’Block? Did you grow up there?

Have to ask my mama. I was 9 or 10, but it wasn’t O’Block at the time, it was Parkway Gardens. Before that, we were living on 78th and Wolcott. Before that we were living in low income places, but my grandma lived on 78th and Walcott. She lived right there. We was still living over there, but my mama moved to Parkway when I was 9 or 10, so my grandma still lived there. So, you know how that go. You got to your grandma’s house to go to school. I was going to school by my grandma’s house, but I was living with my mama over there, so around 7, 8 o’clock I’d go over there, then in the morning go back to granny’s house to go to school-type shit.

When you moved to Parkway, did you know any of the kids who lived there?

I ain’t know nobody. I was too young. They was shooting a lot, so we’d be on the floor a lot. My mama [would] say, “Don’t go outside. It’s too bad out there.” But I’d be bored in the house and shit. I’d beg her to go outside and I’d go outside and get into fights and shit. That’s when I’d get to knowing people. I’d go out there and get into a fight. There were some bad kids out there. You get to fighting each other and next thing you know, you’re cool. They see me again, we back fighting, then we cool. I got to hang with people and shit.

That’s how you get to know people.

Yeah, you got to fight first.

When did you start rapping? When did that become something you were interested in doing?

Like three years. It’s been three years since the first song been out, “Beat Dat Body.” Me and [THF Bay] Zoo. He beat his murder too, so we made a song called “Beat Dat Body.” I started rapping [at] that time.

Is that when you started taking it seriously?

That was when I first started getting on the mic and shit.

You weren’t even thinking about it?

People would talk to me about it in jail. A lot of niggas was getting at me, like, “Durk fucks with you. You need to go rap and shit. You can do it.” But I was like, “Nah, I’m going to let him rap and I’m going to figure out something else.”

So why did you start?

Because the other shit I was figuring out ain’t work. I was going down a list of shit I could do. There’s only so many options if a nigga like you has felonies and shit. This one wasn’t working for me. This one wasn’t going right. I ain’t good at this. This is gonna get you a lot of time, so I’ma try rapping.

Was it easy?

Shit, nah, it ain’t easy. I’m good at shit though. The first time I do something, I’ll probably be good at it. Say there’s a garbage can over there or whatever and see who hits it first. I’ll probably hit it first. You know what I’m saying? I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but I’m good at shit, so I figured it out early.

Cam Kirk

Was anyone giving you advice or pointers when you first began to rap?

It’s crazy. If I look back, I saw like, you know how movies be and shit, like you watch the beginning of movies to the end, and shit’s giving you hints all the way to the end. Then at the end you’re like, “I should have saw that comin’.” It was hints all through my life. People would tell me, “You got the image so you should do it.” I had a nigga in jail, my homie in jail, he got like 72 years or some shit. When I told him when I was in jail I was going to try [rapping], he was like, “A song and shit, you can get it. I ain’t gettin’ out in no time. My dream is to rap. You’ve got the energy, you know Durk, you could do it.” I didn’t listen to him, but he used to be in the back of my head. That’s my homie. That’s a nigga I met in jail.

Did you start when you were in jail?

Nah, I ain’t start. I kept that in mind, though. The plan wasn’t to rap. So, I got out for a year. I got back in the streets, back out here. Then, it wasn’t workin’, like, I kept going broke. I kept finding myself back at zero. I kept finding myself in trouble, so I told Durk, “I’m ready to rap now. I’m ready.” And that’s when I started.

What did Durk say?

He said, “C’mon, but you really gotta want to do it. Ain’t no holding no hands or nothing like that. You want to do it, you got to do it.”
How did you meet Durk in the first place?

We from the hood. Parkway. Just growing up in the neighborhood.

You got out of prison in 2017, after serving three years, for murder and attempted murder, before the charges were officially dropped. On “Armed & Dangerous,” the first track of your new album, you talk about how when you got out of prison, you saw that all the tensions and conflicts in Chicago neighborhoods were now familiar to people around the world because of the popularity of the music and Chicago artists. Was that strange? That this local situation was now a global concern? That people outside of Chicago were paying attention?

It’s been goin’ on for a minute. It’s been going on for 10 years plus, you feel me? How long [Chief] Keef been rapping and shit? And Durk been rapping? It’s normal now. They been doing that since 2010, ’11. You see what I’m sayin’? I’m gettin’ bigger, you just got to know how to handle that shit. People goin’ to be up in your business now. You’ve got money and the shit that comes with the fame. They in your business, you’ve got to walk lightly. Give positive vibes out even though what we rappin’ about is really just entertainment right now. It’s just music. The people, they watchin’, they know what it is, so what the fuck you gonna do? Ain’t nothin’ to do.

How was making this new album different than your other projects? Has it all been done during these last months during the pandemic?

It’s really just working. It’s me back at it, steady workin’. New material, just getting better. It’s just me upgrading, me developing, getting older. I just started. This is really my first real project coming out.

Was there any style or type of songs that you hadn’t done before that you were interested in trying?

Nah, I be trying really everything. This time around I got some melodies in now. I got some shit called “Demon.” That shit different. I be comin’ at that bitch in Auto-Tune. I be singin’ on the bitch. I put some feelings into that one. What else I got? I got slow shit for the hoes. I got some shit I came with, I don’t want to say, “Fuck that nigga,” but it ain’t straight drill, straight kill. It’s talking about some female shit. It’s some different type, it’s some real street shit. Everybody’s going to relate to it. We on the same pattern, we just going up. It’s developing, it’s getting better, everything getting better, the sound and shit. The wordplay, the storytelling, I got big stories. Ooh, the stories. I’ve got another story for ya. It’s bigger. It’s more dramatic, too. It’s more slow tempo. It’s more movie-like. How “Crazy Story” give you that… This one give you that sit-down-and-look-it-type story.

Talk about the storytelling songs. Do you think about the whole plot before you start writing, or does the story develop as you’re writing?

It depends. I did it different ways. I’ve got a few stories on this one, but the one I’m talking about, the big dramatic one, that’s crazy. I ain’t really overthink it. I didn’t think it from the back to the front at first. With “Crazy Story,” I thought it from the back to the front. I thought about the ending first, then what’s going to happen. I’m gonna try to rob a nigga and I’m going to end up not robbing him. I end up getting into it with some other niggas. So, I had that in mind comin’ in with that. This one, I have that. I just went in and I felt it. I’m just goin’ to talk about this young nigga. I’m going to talk about my little homie, whatever comes to my head. My little homie doing the story, he’s doing all types of shit, robbin’ muthafuckas, he got to shooting muthafuckas, he got to tweakin’ in that bitch.

What’s that song called?

“Wayne’s Story.” You gonna say we went crazy on that. I’m going to make it like a trilogy. It’s gonna be another shit you can look forward to. They been killing me about the “Crazy Story.” They want four or five, so I’m going to throw this one out there. They going to want two or three after this. It’s a good story. It’s really dramatic, suspense, all that. It’s nice. Good characters in there.

You have said before that some of your stories are inspired by the books you were reading in prison.

Yeah, real life and then the books is what helped me. Art designers paint that picture so well. The books paint the best picture. They gonna give you everything. That shit helped me. I get to reading that. When I read, my mind be sometimes, I read, I don’t know if everybody do it, but you’ll be into it so good you’ll be reading a book you don’t even know what you readin’ no more. You’re in your thoughts. I be getting into my thoughts. I be thinking about some whole other shit, but I’m reading, looking at the pages, but I’m somewhere else thinking about some real shit. I get caught in that zone.

Were there any writers that you particularly liked to read?

Sister Souljah, I fucks with her. The nigga JaQuavis and Ashley, I fucks with them. They made The Cartel. Some Muslim guy, man, he made [The] Ultimate Sacrifice, 1, 2, 3. They some Muslim brothers, I think one of them is locked up. I fuck with they shit. They go crazy. I fucks with the Twilight books, that shit was decent.

I read a lot of books.

Would you ever write a book?

I wrote a book. I got a book I wrote when I was a kid. When I was 9. It was just a school project so they made it a hardcover. It’s at my mama’s house. I wrote a book about going to the store.

I was 8 or 9. That shit’s crazy. I’m going to show you all one day. I want to write a book for sure. I just don’t know what it’s about, though. I think I got to write a tell-all book and just release it when I die.

You could write fiction.

I can do that, but this book would be better. That shit would be crazy. So, I gotta do some shit like that, but make sure someone release it as soon as I die. That shit would be crazy.

Chicago producer Chopsquad has been doing a lot of work with you lately. How did the two of you link up?

I met Chopsquad through Durk. On the road when Durk was doing his shows, before I was even rapping. I’d just be on the road with Durk, that’s my muthafuckin’ boy. We was in the hotel room and shit and [Chopsquad] came in, talking that shit. I was like, “Who the fuck is this nigga?” You know what I’m sayin’? But he was making songs with Durk and shit. I didn’t care about it. I don’t make songs, I’m just lookin’ at his little chain and he got some money on him. I’m just steady lookin’ at him. That’s how I met him and shit, but then I started rapping and he got to fuckin’ with me and shit. So, I’m with Durk, I’m going through beats. I was like, “You give me beats. I can go crazy on this shit.”

Some of your tracks you wrote without a beat at all. Are you still doing that?

Sometimes when I go back in my bed, I just brought my notes here. I got a lot of papers I wrote in jail, so I go back. If there’s a song that I fuck with so hard, like I did most of them that I fuck with the hardest. All the shit hard, but I still got some that I can do. So, I’ll go back and read them, get the flow, rap ’em how rap ’em, how I think it’s supposed to sound, because it’s been a minute so I probably forget the flow or something. I’ll try to get it back, put it together and I record it in a voice memo then I’ll send it to the nigga DJ Chopsquad and he make the beat and sent that shit right back and then I get [it] and I do it. That’s how I do it with the shit I was writing. I wrote “Took Her to the O” [and] “How It Go” in jail. I wrote “Crazy Story” on the bus. I wrote [“The Code”] with Polo G. I wrote a lot of shit. I wrote some decent amount of shit.

Are you writing less now?

Ain’t no time to write. I’m just going in there and play the music, play the beat and I’ll see what I come up with. Let me bob my head. Let me sit there and catch the beat real quick. Let me see what sounds decent.

Do you think you can do that because you’ve been rapping for longer now?

Yeah, of course. You do something enough, you get better at it if you keep doing it. It’s only a matter of time. I’m getting the gist of it. If I had time, I could sit down and write. I could write a book for you, but I ain’t got time. I got shit to do. I got studio time here, so I ain’t trying to listen to no beats. I used to listen to beats all day. I had time. I would sit on my couch and play a beat and I could sit there and write to it. Or I could just sit and come up with something with a pen, but I ain’t got no time.

If you’ve got no time anymore, what are you busy with? With everything going on in the country now, what’s keeping you busy?

We still got shows. I’m booked up every weekend for the next few weeks. The studio. Taking care of regular shit. Shit be going on, family shit, everything. Still got cases. Still gotta do this, do that. Gotta stay afloat. Still got to shoot videos. Still gotta record. Still got to execute. Ain’t enough [time] to really go sit down. I’m trying to work, I got to be healthy.

You’ve said before that when you first started rapping that this felt like the right option for you.

It ain’t feel like the right option, it was the last option. I did everything else. What else could I do that I’m good at? That I could excel at? This is one of the choices, one of the options I had.

Have more options opened up for you?

Of course, because there’s money involved now. Money opens up more, for real. Now there’s all type of avenues, all type.

Cam Kirk

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2020 issue including our DaBaby cover story, an introduction to DaBaby's Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment label roster, an interview with South Coast Music Group founder Arnold Taylor, who discovered and signed DaBaby, and more.

See Photos of XXL Magazine's Winter 2020 Cover Shoot With DaBaby

Filed Under: Feature, King Von, XXL MagazineCategories: News, XXL Magazine


href=”//www.xxlmag.com/author/zoejohnson/” rel=”author” title=”Zoe Johnson”>Zoe JohnsonPublished: January 4, 2021Al Drago / Paras Griffin / Theo Wargo, Getty Images (3)

Lil Yachty is calling on the current President of the U.S. to get his friend out of jail.

On Monday (Jan. 4), less than three weeks before President Donald Trump's one-term presidency comes to an end on Jan. 20, Lil Yachty called on him to commute Kodak Black's 46-month federal prison sentence. The rapper advocated for his fellow 2016 XXL Freshman to be released, sharing the thoughts with his over 5.2 million Twitter followers.

"Hey @realDonaldTrump my friend @KodakBlack1k deserves to be commuted," he began. "The system punished him way to hard for a paperwork crime #freekodak."

Lil Yachty is referring to the indictment that came down on Kodak for two counts of making a false statement on governmental paperwork when trying to purchase a registered firearm in 2019.

Three months prior to this request from Yachty, Kodak made a similar plea to Donald Trump, one of Kodak's attorney's, Bradford Cohen, confirmed to XXL that "commutation has been filed" in the hopes of cutting his sentence short. To everyone's knowledge, Trump never responded to the commutation request.

Much like before, Trump has yet to respond to the request made by Lil Yachty earlier this morning.

The "Zeze" rapper is currently serving 12 months in prison for a 2019 arrest for attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, which is to be run concurrently with his existing 46-month federal sentence for illegally purchasing a firearm in his home state of Florida. Kodak has been heavily petitioning for his release since filing a lawsuit alleging brutal treatment from prison employees.

While Kodak Black remains behind bars, he hasn't let his legal situation keep him from the music. Back in November, Project Baby released the Bill Israel album from a federal facility in Illinois.

See 50 Facts About the 2016 XXL Freshman Class

Filed Under: Donald Trump, Kodak Black, Lil YachtyCategories: News


[Sample: iCarly Theme]
In 5, 4, 3-
I know you see somehow the world will change for me
And be so wonderful

[Intro]
Rico, Rico, Rico
Yuhh
Rico, Rico, Rico, Rico, Rico
Set ’em up like a dummy
Set ’em up like a dummy
Set ’em up like a dummy

[Verse 1]
Set him up like a dummy
Wrap up the coke like a mummy
Rub it on her gums she said its so lovely
Molly music, molly woppin a Barbie
Said she had the drugs and her name was Carly
I said I’m the plug and my name is Marley
Formed a partnership and fucked up the party
Couple weeks and we had us a posse
Mobbing, robbing and fucking up the commas
Scam, trap, plus we sold marijuana
She was my hitta, I was her robber
When the plug fronted us we was goners
None of my bitches is boring, k ?
All of my bitches is scoring, aye
All of my bitches is foreign, aye
All of my bitches ride foreign, yay
Now we are runnin this shit like a rally
Flow hot like I’m livin in Cali
Two different hoes got em callin me daddy
I’m juggin on the road just like a taxi
Shooters like animals this ain’t Jumaji
Ain’t talkin if it ain’t bout the money
You broke as a joke boy that shit is not funny
Wrist shining man you thought it was sunny
Kick yo ass out just like I was a punter
My niggas keep weapons like they some damn hunters
Say that money talk but yours only mumble
I flip the mattress like its pissy or something
Map it out like I’m Jigga or something
Niggas be geeked like I fucked em or something
Stay in the streets gotta get that free money
These bitches on me like I’m giving em money
In the trap with my white bitch
Cause she gone get me rich, that bitch so gnarly
They ask if I’m sober and I’m like hardly
Bitch! I am not a Barbie
I am a Bratz bitch
I got them big lips, yeah
Watch it drip drip, yeah
I’m so lit bitch, yeah
Tell a hoe get a grip quick
Niggas fake but I’m doing big shit

[Hook]
With my bitch iCarly
With my bitch iCarly
With my bitch iCarly
Swear that she so gnarly
With my bitch iCarly, iCarly, iCarly
With my bitch iCarly
Swear that she so gnarly

[Verse 2]
First time we hit a lick
Knew that she was the shit
She told me point and aim
I told her duck and dip
She told me run it up
I told her never slip
I told her if they hate it’s cause they see it
You can be the best you gotta believe it
Now we got bitches who aim if they see it
Enemies envy us because we eating
Now we get money it’s sunny all season
If they get too close just give me a reason
She don’t talk too much, talk shit and she squeezing
I love my bitch
She only wanna be rich
She only wanna see digits
Killing the opposition ain’t no competition
XXL bitch it’s new edition
We just gotta get it
We just gotta flex on bitches who said that we couldn’t win it
They missing it, I’m on some other shit
At the top man I’m loving it
He say that he love me I’ll never put trust in him
Because I got iCarly
We ballin hard just like Barkley
Baby boy I am so sorry
Bouji bitch she is so carefree
My bestfriend iCarly

[Hook]
ICarly, iCarly
With my bitch iCarly
With my bitch iCarly
Swear that she so gnarly
Gnarly, yuh

[Bridge]
With my bitch iCarly, iCarly, iCarly
She’ll never snitch, iCarly
ICarly, iCarly, yuh
That’s my bitch iCarly
That’s my bitch, she’ll never snitch
Yeah, that’s my bitch iCarly
Swear that bitch so gnarly
That’s my bitch iCarly
She’s so rad, iCarly, yuh
Catch me wit her, iCarly, yuh

[Outro]
Stupid ass bitch
Who the fuck you think you fucking talking to?
My bitches will fucking kill you my nigga
Hahahaha
Stupid ass bitch
Fuck y’all talking bout out here?
Hahahahahahaha
Bitch



Nicki Minaj announced that she is going on tour next year and she has a couple big surprises coming.

Some fans are already thinking that she may announced her new album soon or perhaps announce that she is dating Nas, which we already know that last one. On Tuesday, Nicki Minaj went on Instagram to get some things off her chest about some recent reports over an interview that she did with XXL where she said that she brought back female rap to the mainstream.

Nicki Minaj was complaining bitterly about the media twisting her words to spark controversy, which she thinks is unfair to her. She clarified what she said and at the end of her lengthy statement on Instagram, she revealed that she will be on tour next year and has some big surprises for her fans coming. “See u guys on tour next year. I got a cpl BIG surprises,” she wrote.

The Young Money rapper is currently working on her new album, a project that she says will be career-defining for her. Over the past few months she has been dropping some hints about the upcoming project but nothing concrete like the title and release date or who will be on the guest list. Nevertheless, her announcing this tour is a clear indication that she will be dropping the album soon.

Nicki Minaj covers T Magazine’s Great Issue where she spoke out about having to work much harder than her male counterparts to get the same recognition. “I had so much going against me in the beginning: being black, being a woman, being a female rapper,” she said. “No matter how many times I get on a track with everyone’s favorite M.C. and hold my own, the culture never seems to want to give me my props as an M.C., as a lyricist, as a writer. I got to prove myself a hundred times, whereas the guys that came in around the same time as I did, they were given the titles so much quicker without anybody second-guessing.”


Lyrics Kodak Black – Too many years

I done gave the jails too many years
Years that I won’t get back
And I swear I done shed too many tears
For niggas that I won’t get back
Yeah I got niggas in the graveyard
Niggas in the state yards
I swear not a day goes by
That I don’t think about the times
I wish that I could rewind.

‘Cause I done gave the jails too many years
Years that I won’t get back
And I swear I done shed too many tears
For niggas that I won’t get back
Yeah I got niggas in the graveyard
Niggas in the state yards
I swear not a day goes by
That I don’t think about the times
I wish that I could rewind.

I told my mama we gon’ be fine
So I’m up all night way after sleep time
I’m just thinkin’ ‘bout Lil Kuda
Gave my dog a dime versuri-lyrics.info
He put a buckshot in a nigga’s behind
No daddy so I grew up to the street life
But my son, I’ma keep him in the beehive
Scheming on a heist, I need to change my life
Been geekin’ all night, I’m going senile
With two niggas toting three 4-5’s
I seen a nigga play gangsta, then he broke down
Lost a lot, lost his mind in the courthouse
I’m on XXL, I’m in New York now.

‘Cause I done gave the jails too many years
Years that I won’t get back
And I swear I done shed too many tears
For niggas that I won’t get back
Yeah I got niggas in the graveyard
Niggas in the state yards
I swear not a day goes by
That I don’t think about the times
I wish that I could rewind.

I keep thinkin’ ‘bout my niggas
I think I need a jigga
I would keep on falling victim
Lost up in the system
Miss my brothers and my sisters
Damn I miss my lil one
I know sometimes I be tripping
But I just miss my niggas
I got codeine in my liver
I gave the judge a piece of me
I’m too street for the industry
But I think that’s where I need to be
‘Cause verbally, mentally, and physically I keep that heat
Me and my brother fit in
We smoking one with PnB
Niggas say they f*ck with me
But lowkey they be easin’ me
b*tches don’t mean shit to me
People tryna sentence me
How a youngin’ posted on the street, gon’ call it Sesame
1K ‘til the death of me, don’t put your life in jeopardy.

I done gave the jails too many years
Years that I won’t get back
And I swear I done shed too many tears
For niggas that I won’t get back
Yeah I got niggas in the graveyard
Niggas in the state yards
I swear not a day goes by
That I don’t think about the times
I wish that I could rewinddd.
Kodak Black lyrics
Video years


I done gave the jails too many years
Years that I won’t get back
And I swear I done shed too many tears
For niggas that I won’t get back
Yeah I got niggas in the graveyard
Niggas in the state yards
I swear not a day goes by
That I don’t think about the times
I wish that I could rewind
‘Cause I done gave the jails too many years
Years that I won’t get back
And I swear I done shed too many tears
For niggas that I won’t get back
Yeah I got niggas in the graveyard
Niggas in the state yards
I swear not a day goes by
That I don’t think about the times
I wish that I could rewind
I told my mama we gon’ be fine
So I’m up all night way after sleep time
I’m just thinkin’ ‘bout Lil Kuda
Gave my dog a dime
He put a buckshot in a nigga’s behind
No daddy so I grew up to the street life
But my son, I’mma keep him the beehive
Scheming on a heist, I need to change my life
Been geekin’ all night, I’m going senile
With two niggas toting three .45’s
I seen a nigga play gangsta, then he broke down
Lost a lot, lost his mind in the courthouse
I’m on XXL, I’m in New York now
I done gave the jails too many years
Years that I won’t get back
And I swear I done shed too many tears
For niggas that I won’t get back
Yeah I got niggas in the graveyard
Niggas in the state yards
I swear not a day goes by
That I don’t think about the times
I wish that I could rewind
I keep thinkin’ ‘bout my niggas
I think I need a jigga
Why we keep on falling victim
Lost up in the system
Miss my brothers and my sisters
Damn I miss my lil one
I know sometimes I be tripping
But I just miss my niggas
I got codeine in my liver
I gave the judge a piece of me
I’m too street for the industry
But I think that’s where I need to be
‘Cause verbally, mentally, and physically I keep that heat
Me and my brother fit in
We smoking one with PnB
Niggas say they fuck with me
But lowkey they be easin’ me
You bitches don’t mean shit to me
People tryna sentence me
How a youngin’ posted on the street, gon’ call it Sesame
One K ‘til the death of me, don’t put your life in jeopardy
I done gave the jails too many years
Years that I won’t get back
And I swear I done shed too many tears
For niggas that I won’t get back
Yeah I got niggas in the graveyard
Niggas in the state yards
I swear not a day goes by
That I don’t think about the times
I wish that I could rewind