There is power in an artist visualizing their dream and seeing success before it happens. Self-belief is first, then action and commitment. For 20-year-old Atlanta artist SoFaygo, he checks all three boxes. The newly minted 2022 XXL Freshman believed he would be a famous artist before he even started creating. Now, he showcases his ability to deliver rhymes off the top in his Freshman freestyle.

Rising up from SoundCloud's underground scene, SoFaygo's popularity has only increased with his songs like "Knock Knock," racking up 183 million Spotify streams. But life isn't always sweet these days. "I just got a lot on my mind, I been thinkin'/I just pray a nigga don't drown in the deep end/’Cause I know a lotta niggas drowning and sinking," he raps in his freestyle.

Fame and success can be taxing, too, but SoFaygo is prepared for what comes next. Later on in his rhymes, he sums up his approach to his career: "I wanna be legendary, they wanna be poppin'."

Those thoughts of being legendary started early. Once his time came to start recording, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-born, Atlanta rep made his first song under his cousin's watchful eye in the fourth grade. SoFaygo embraced the moment and went full steam ahead with his family's support in tow. Thanks to a computer he got from his grandma in seventh grade and further stability by the time he reached 10th grade, SoFaygo's sound started to come together. He began blending trap and melody into his own unique sound.

In that same year of high school, he took his music to Triller and began to gain traction on the video app. The savvy move would pay dividends, considering how much of music's reach exists in the social media ecosystem. Then he graduated high school, and by 2019, SoFaygo decided to forego college. His decision to focus on a music career was starting to pay off. He initially gave himself a deadline and told his parents that if rap didn't work out for him in a year, he'd give it up.

Fortunately, 2019 was tremendous for SoFaygo since that's when he released his Lil Tecca-produced project War. In 2020, the rhymer dropped the Angelic 7 EP featuring "Knock Knock," with its catchy hook and out-there production (once again produced by Tecca). SoFaygo's social media momentum carried the song into 2021 and 2022, explaining it's incredible streaming numbers so far. 2020 is also the year he signed to Travis Scott's Cactus Jack Records, the label he released both his projects, Angelic 7 and After Me, on.

A mostly quiet 2021, where his only solo song release was the sweeping "Let's Lose Our Minds," sets the stage for a big 2022. His debut album, Pink Heartz, is on the way. Sticking to music through life's ups and downs and multiple relocations as a teen got him to the cover of XXL's 2022 Freshman issue. Now that he's getting to bask in the glory of his accomplishments, SoFaygo sees his future for what it is: the beginning of something special.

Watch SoFaygo's Freshman freestyle, powered by Puma, below.

Read the 2022 XXL Freshman cover story featuring BabyTronCochiseSaucy SantanaBabyface RayKenTheManSoFaygoBig ScarrBig30KayCyyDoechiiKali and Nardo Wick when the Freshman issue hits newsstands everywhere on July 13. The issue includes additional interviews with Lupe FiascoKevin GatesPi’erre BourneNLE ChoppaYvngxchris, producer DJ Dahi, engineer Teezio and singer Chlöe, plus a breakdown of every Freshman Class from a numbers standpoint, a look back at what the 2021 XXL Freshman Class is doing, the story of why the 2016 XXL Freshman Class gets so much respect now, a deep dive into the world of NFTs through hip-hop’s lens and exploring rappers’ most valuable collections. You can also buy the 2022 XXL Freshman Class issue here.

See Every Artist in the 2022 XXL Freshman Class

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