The music industry in Atlanta is one impenetrable dynasty. While the execution is ice skate sharp, the city also thrives from having a rich pool of talent to embrace at all times. In 2018, an artist by the name of Lil Keed floated to the surface. Like his mentor Young Thug, Keed’s aberrant sound was immediately celebrated rather than evaded. The Atlanta rapper took advantage of the warm reception and dropped seven projects in two years, keeping a hulking foot on the gas. Pedal on the floor, he’s been able to swerve through checkpoints in the rap game. The latest is being named as a 2020 XXL Freshman.
With abnormally cutting voice inflections and sing-song flows, Lil Keed brings listeners into his own planet. On his first few mixtapes, Trapped on Cleveland 1 and 2, Slime Avenue and Keed Talk to 'Em, he blasts off on each beat with flair, attracting fans to his unconventional delivery. His own rising star power turned him into a regional phenomenon, and he eventually landed on the Thugger-led YSL roster alongside artists like Gunna in 2018.
Since inking the Young Stoner Life deal, in partnership with 300 Entertainment, Keed has learned tons of game from his coach and used it to his advantage. “Young Thug has influenced me as far as like, how to conduct business and how to be a businessman and how to move and be militant-minded and just take care of business,” Lil Keed says.
At the end of 2018, Keed secured his first Billboard top 50 hit on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop and R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charts with “Nameless” and went on an exciting run of collaborations with former XXL Freshmen Trippie Redd, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty and Future. Tapping into album mode, he then strapped Long Live Mexico and the most recently released Trapped on Cleveland 3 under his belt, giving fans plenty of hidden gems to sift through. Songs like “Wavy,” in which Travis Scott appears on the remix, and the Wunna-assisted “Fox 5” are high-standard examples of those pressurized heat rocks.
Keed's been bubbling and when it comes to consistency, the 22-year-old artist born Raqhid Render doesn’t plan on switching gears and slowing down anytime soon. “My goal and my intentions for my future? I wanna be a megastar," he shares. "I don’t wanna be no superstar. I wanna be a megastar.”
As heard in his 2020 XXL Freshman Freestyle, which uses the chorus from his standout Trapped on Cleveland 3 album cut “Grandparents,” Keed’s bigger dreams have made him ruthless, whether he’s on the block or in the booth. “I ain't sparin' none of these people/I'll leave it up to my wrist/Glock got a drum, rockin' out like The Beatles/You ain't takin' losses, I ain't takin' none either,” he raps before cutting himself off.
Once Lil Keed lifts his head, he begins again and takes time to reflect on his newfound status that comes with swollen pockets, customized whips and master plans that stay folded in the pockets of his Chanel pants. “And I'm stuffin' all these bands in my pants, man/Money growin' old like grandparents/Outside white, but the inside cranberry/I make it rain on Harriet Tubman,” he spits, ending the rhyme.
After seeing the freestyle a few weeks trailer, rap fans have been waiting for Lil Keed’s freestyle to drop. Fittingly, roping your attention is what he does here and frankly, what he does best.
Watch Lil Keed's 2020 XXL Freshman freestyle, powered by Rap Caviar, below.
See the 2020 XXL Freshman Class