Truth on Being a 2017 XXL Freshman: “A lotta niggas get offended when they say Freshman but in all honesty, I feel like a Freshman. I’m an underdog. I’m a new nigga. I’m not an OG, so I’m cool with being called a Freshman. I’m using this as a platform. I’m all about building stable relationships, because if you don’t do that, who do you really have behind you? I grew up on this shit, so to know I’m really here, it won’t set in until I know I’m A-list.

As an artist or as a person, I feel I’ve molded a lot of people the most as far as my inside views, and I feel as if obviously, I’m one of the greatest of this upcoming generation as far as artistry. I remember three, four, five years ago, I was watching this shit, like when Mac Miller and them was on it. I respect the culture. That’s why I did this, because I wanted to be a part of the culture. I want people to be able to look back and be like, ‘Alright, he followed through.’ This has become a strong thing for myself and my predecessors. This is a part of the culture now. XXL is part of the culture and if you don’t participate in XXL, you think you’re larger than life. It’s all for the culture.

Being on the front of a magazine doesn’t mean a fucking thing to me, to be honest. I mean it’s gonna be cool for my mom, my mom likes that type of shit but I’m about it for the culture. I want to show everybody I’m the best artist or rapper there is. That’s the whole goal. Once they hear what I say on my cypher and my freestyle and they see I go against the grain, they [don’t] have any choice but to respect it.

[I want to be remembered] as a patriot, a revolutionary. Going against the grain. I don’t know anybody that comes in here and says some shit bashing people or going against what the obvious system is. I don’t know anybody else here that obviously tries to pave their own way or is strong enough to distribute their own mind. I came here and I was still able to do what the fuck I wanted. I was still able to show my work and my lyrics. I was still able to go against the grain.

I fuck with [Playboi] Carti, I fuck with Madeintyo, I fuck with Ugly God, and I fuck with PnB [Rock]. Anybody else that I don’t know that was here, fuck you. Make sure you up your music. Make sure you do better than me. If you don’t, your career gon’ die real quick.”—Max Weinstein

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