Dreamville Records is done watching the throne. With an undeniable momentum, J. Cole's clan is staking its claim as hip-hop's No. 1 collective. Sleep at your own peril.

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of XXL magazine, on stands now.

J.I.D
Age: 28
Reppin’: Atlanta
Signed to Dreamville: 2017

XXL: What do you think is your specific role as an artist is on Dreamville?

J.I.D: I’m ratchet, bro. I’m like the Firestarter. Light the spark right quick.

The Revenge of the Dreamers III's famed recording sessions took place in your hometown of Atlanta. How was the experience for you?

That’s the most creative shit I ever did. I want to do this for the rest of my life—just collab and record, be around creatives and shit. It’s all respect, all love, no egos. It’s like losing your virginity every night for the first time. It’s that dope. You making relationships with people outside of if you get a song done. Y’all probably exchange numbers. And that’s cool ’cause I like to have a conversation before I jump into creating.

J. Cole’s KOD album and your DiCaprio 2 song “Off da Zoinkys” both address rampant prescription drug use in hip-hop. Coincidence?

Yeah, I made it in 2016. It wasn’t even rap culture that I was thinking of. I was talking about life. That shit is everywhere. I wasn’t involved in rap a few years ago. I wasn’t in the game; I was trying to get involved. [Now] niggas know who I am. But now that I’m part of it, I’m like, It’s really a real serious drug problem. It just feels like [it was] something that was necessary to be tapped in on.

When did you begin to feel like you were truly part of the rap game?

My XXL freshman cover. Facts! That was my first time on a major platform. The Never Story did great and it got me there. But when I was around all of the rappers, that’s when I was like, Oh, I’m in high school again. I just gotta be the most popular kid. That’s not hard. I was hungover. I was a shit person that day. I did all that rapping and shit on the zoinkys.

What should fans look forward to from you during the rest of the year?

Revenge of the Dreamers III, then I’m doing this project with No I.D.—it’s fire. Then I’ma be on the road, make more music. Trying to step to the next level. Get Grammys or some shit.

Styling by Raeana Anaïs.

XXL

See All Photos From Dreamville's Spring 2019 XXL Magazine Cover Story