Truth on Being a 2018 XXL Freshman: “[I found out I was going to be a Freshman when] Coach [K] called me. I was driving to the studio and he was like, ‘You’ve been chosen.’ I didn’t believe it. Even when I did the video pitch [at the XXL office], I didn’t want [them] to post my video. I swear to God. I thought, This is an American-based thing and not a lot of people know me. And even if they do know me, it’s more from ‘Hurtin’ Me,’ not that much from my rap stuff. So I just thought, There’s no point. This is pointless.

It means a lot [being an XXL Freshman]. To me, it means you definitely have to deliver now ’cause I feel like if someone puts you on that cover that means they believe in you and they see your potential. They feel like you’re going to be the next big thing. If you’re not, they’re just gonna look at you like, ‘Whatever happened to that person?’ I’m not gonna be a, ‘What happened to…?’ Not right now. Not until I’m like, 50 or something.

A lot of people don’t really know my story because I’m a closed person. I don’t really be talking about all my stuff. I just tell you what I wanna tell you. Like, I’ve been doing music since I was little. I grew up with seven brothers and sisters, then my dad got deported and left when I was 11. My mom had to raise seven kids on her own. My brothers been in and out of jail.

I feel like me having this platform musically has helped my family and my brothers. I moved my whole family out. They live somewhere with a better area. I think they’re looking at me and they can actually see it’s possible to do what they want in life, no matter where they came from. So I’m like a prime example. I’m the only person in my family who’s ever stepped out and done what I did.

[As far as becoming a Freshman,] I didn’t even celebrate yet! I never celebrate anything. I just get back in the studio and just go on with my day. That’s why sometimes when I do certain things, I don’t realize how big it is because you just get on with your day. No one makes a big deal about much, you know? Sometimes you might have people like, ‘Yo, that’s big’ and I just get on with my day. I know it’s big, but I think I’m gonna celebrate when the cover comes out.

I’ma keep posting [the cover] every day, rub it in bitches’ faces. Nah, I’m just gonna look at it every time I feel like I’m lacking. I’m just gonna be like, ‘Bro, these people believe in you. They put you on the cover. You better be bringing that hot stuff.’”—As told to Kairi Coe

See Photos of Stefflon Don's Behind the Scenes at the 2018 XXL Freshman Class Cover Shoot