• Gov't Name: Deja Trimble
  • Twitter: @DeJLoaf
  • Instagram: @dejloaf
  • Age: 24
  • Reppin: Detroit
  • Notable Releases: Singles: “Try Me,” “On My Own,” “Me U & Hennessy,” “We Be On It”; Mixtapes: Just Do It, Sell $ole; Guest Appearances: Eminem’s “Detroit vs. Everybody,” Kid Ink’s “Be Real,” The Game’s “Ryda”
  • Label: IBGM/Columbia
  • Currently Working On: As-yet-titled debut EP due out this summer and as-yet-titled debut album due out this fall
  • Surprised About Who Is Missing: “Probably Bobby Shmurda. Unfortunately, he can’t make it. But I think his music was turnt up before he went away.”
  • Influenced By: “I listened to all type of stuff growing up. Missy Elliott, Jay Z, I was a big Kanye West fan. I remember Nas was my favorite rapper. I just had my moments. Ja Rule, I listened to everything.”
  • As A Freshman In High School: “Freshman year of high school I was much thicker. I had a little weight on me. Nah, I was definitely not who I am today. I was shy, I was scared.”

TRUTH: On Being A 2015 XXL Freshman: “Last year I was looking at the XXL cover and I was like, ‘Man, I want to be on it’ and it’s like you say it every year, like a goal, and then you finally get that chance to really be on there and it’s really like a dream come true.

That was definitely one of my goals, to make it on the cover this year. So, it’s like, ‘Wow, we did it. I’m really here.’ And the moment doesn’t hit you until you’re standing here, posing for the pictures for the cover.

I don’t come in expecting people to just love me. I get that everybody isn’t going to like what you do. I have to make music for me first instead of trying to please everybody. You can’t please everybody. I can only be so much. Like, I put this out and hopefully you’ll like it. It’s like I did with “Try Me” and that blew up. I just did that for me, it was just how I felt and the world loved it so I’m still just going by that. I’m not chasing hits and like I said, that song just came about.

I’ve heard some people will be like, ‘I need this beat’ so they can go in the studio and make a hit. I just write and record how I feel. I didn’t know “Try Me” was going to be a hit but it was, obviously. So that’s how I feel. I just don’t chase anything like that. I just like to make music. I really like the art of it. I don’t do it for no other reason.

Being on [the cover] can either make or break you from that point. You make it to that point, you can either go up or you just go down, you know what I’m saying? So it’s like, it’s pressure to make you have something to prove and work harder. Work, work, work. That’s what it is for me. It’s not just about you made it here. Many people flop after they get on the cover and you don’t hear from them for years. So, like I say, I know what I got to do to get where I want to be and this is one step, a big step.

After the Freshman cover, you just really go up. You’re working and your music is getting heard and people are recognizing you. It’s about the recognition, really. I don’t think I’m underestimated. It’s too early in the game to be underestimated. I feel like I got a lot of work to do. I’m finally being heard. People are finally hearing me. I’ve been doing music for quite some time and to see me on the cover is going to be like, ‘Wow, DeJ made it.’ Especially for my city, it’s going to be real important to them. They watched me do this for some time and I know they’re going to be proud of me and I’m happy to carry that for my city and for every up-and-coming artist, like, ‘You can do it, too,’ basically.” —Sidney Madden

Behind-The-Scenes: DeJ Loaf