Truth on Being a 2018 XXL Freshman: “[Being a Freshman] means that I’m doing something right. It means the message that I’m giving out, or what I’m pushing for, is worth it and somebody is listening. My fans gon’ lose they mind.

It’s 100 percent an honor [to be a Freshman]. You’re a part of an elite group. That’s an honor in itself. Being chosen, that’s something that makes people feel a certain type of way…getting picked out of thousands of people doing this shit.

I’m like, the valedictorian. I’m really the OG. I’m an old-ass young nigga. I started music late. I wasn’t really tryna do this shit all my life. It just came to me, organically as hell. I blew up but I ain’t blew up at like, 26, [the same as] Jay-Z and Kanye [West] and Eminem. And they were kicking shit! That’s the same feeling I’m tryna give. I’m tryna be the best artist in the world: Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen level, dead-ass serious. So, I’m just putting my best foot forward. I told Logic [I was a Freshman]. He was so fuckin’ happy about it. Mac Miller, I talked to him about it. I told [J.] Cole and Madeintyo, too. They were just really happy for me. I ain’t even tell my family. They not even gonna really know until it’s time.

I’m glad XXL has this platform to say, 'These are the people we believe in.' They put people on the platform, whether they the biggest artist in the world, dropping hella crazy shit or whether they are somebody who’s tryna push their message. They fuck with my message and that’s amazing to me. This may be what I’m destined for because I got here. I’m working on one of the best projects I ever worked on in my life. So, this is gonna add gas to the fire.

Last year, I thought I would make it. This year, it makes sense because of the work I put forth. I’m just fire. I can like, really spit, bruh. It’s a line drawn in the sand. I feel like everybody notice a change or a shift going on right now. I feel like hip-hop changes every four years, it’s like high school. That’s why it’s a Freshman list, it’s like high school. Everything changes in four years. I’m tryna push toward something different. I’m from East Atlanta. Niggas fuck with hood shit, trap shit, but they know I just aspire to make the best music I can make. I didn’t even know I was gonna be an artist. I’m not tryna be on the corner, doing no crazy shit, I ain’t tryna shoot niggas all day. I’m tryna literally be a great person. That shit comes with trials and tribulations."—As told to Robby Seabrook III

See Photos of J.I.D Behind the Scenes at the 2018 XXL Freshman Class Cover Shoot