Truth on Being a 2018 XXL Freshman: “I knew I could be a Freshman when I dropped ‘Rubbin Off the Paint.’ When it started blowing up, I was like, ‘Yeah, I could do that.’ I always thought I could be a XXL Freshman. On my Facebook, I made a post where I took a XXL Freshman cover and I cropped everybody’s picture out. I think it was the one from like, two years ago, where everybody was wearing all white. Lil Yachty and all them. I cropped out everybody picture, put my face [on the cover] then, boom, I’m here now. I found out I was a Freshman when they told me I had to come to New York. I came up to New York, pulled up in here. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m already knowing what it is.’

It feel good to be a Freshman. Just knowing I accomplished this shit, like, I did it, bruh. It’s a lotta people out here that been rapping for so long that couldn’t say they’ve been a Freshman. Niggas is in their 30s, rapping for so long [and] they wasn’t a Freshman. I really did this and I only blew up six months ago. I did this shit, for real. You gotta play everything smooth like how you did back in the day. That’s how I get on in life. Like, I don’t over-exaggerate about shit or be too excited about shit. I just play it off cool, you feel me? XXL is a big achievement, but I gotta play it off cool ’cause it’s cool, you feel me? I’m happy about it but I’m cool.

I feel like I deserve to be a Freshman because I’m really out here doing this shit. I’m really out here grinding. My whole team is grinding. I put in so much work for this shit in a quick amount of time. It’s so much history and politics behind this shit. And my fans, I love my fans so much. I had to grind for this shit. It wasn’t no overnight shit.

Getting to this point [is] stressful. All the shows I been doing, going crazy for this shit. I haven’t had no time off. Ever since October I’ve been on the road. I just bought my little loft the other day. So, I’m finally just getting somewhere to settle and rest my head in my place where I can call home. It’s been a crazy ride and I’ve been going crazy and it’s been a bunch of shit that’s been going on. I’ve been grinding for this shit through all that shit that’s [been] going on. It’s been so much shit that tried to knock me down. The devil tried to stop me but I’ve been going crazy.

I’m only gonna turn up from here. I’ve been turning up, I’ma turn up more and more—I’ma go crazy. You finna see. I’ma just show you. I can show you better than I can tell you. Game on.”—As told to Peter A. Berry

See Behind the Scenes Photos of YBN Nahmir at the 2018 XXL Freshman Cover Shoot