Truth on Being a 2017 XXL Freshman: “I don’t make lists of goals, you feel me? But the Freshman Class was definitely something I wanted to do when I first started doing music, you feel me? For a lot of new artists, the cover is like, their first big cosign in the industry. So, XXL was definitely one of those things I targeted and one of the things I wanted to do for sure.

I remember I was in L.A. and I got a call from [Director of A&R for Atlantic Records] Orlando [Whartonberg]. He called me and said, 'I’m happy! My guys made it!' From there I just knew what he was talking about because I was always talking about making the Freshman cover with A Boogie [Wit Da Hoodie]. After finding out that I was gonna be on the cover, I was just feeling great and really motivated. I was in the studio at the time and that just gave me the sauce to go extra hard in everything that I’ve been working on. It really showed me that hard work pays off.

I feel like XXL chose me as a Freshman this year because I built a good fan base. I have a good support team. I got good records, you feel me? I feel like the music speaks for itself and you know my social media game got up since I last talked to XXL. You can just see the wave and the growth.

Last year I felt like the fans thought I should’ve made it, but personally I felt like I was still up-and-coming and I still felt in my head like the world don’t know me. Like, people out in L.A. still didn’t know of me. People in New York were just starting to get to know me, so I just felt like last year I didn’t have the right foundation. I had the music. I didn’t have the buzz that I have now, you feel me? I didn’t have all the features that I’ve built up since the last freshman visit. Now, I have a lot of big features and big looks and that’s probably why I got picked this year.

Everybody look at XXL to see who’s the new artists to look for. It’s like a thing for the youth, you feel me? The youth pay attention to XXL and that’s what I want. Once you get the youth, then they grow with you and that’s just gonna take me to that next step. They never stop fucking with you, so it’s a huge help for an artist like myself.

I want my Freshman year to be remembered as the start of my litness, you feel me? Like, once people see me on this cover, they will never stop seeing me. You feel me? When people look back at this cover, I want them to be motivated by my success.”—Roger Krastz

See Behind-the-Scenes Photos of PnB Rock at 2017 XXL Freshman Shoot