One of our staffers was recently afforded access to one of the hottest young rappers in the game – but only on the condition that he stays anonymous, and we do what we can to hide his identity. We did just that and followed him and his crew for a number of days. Here’s the first entry:

The tone of the room quickly changed. Just minutes ago, the rapper and his friends were excitedly joking about his newest “beef” target. Voices emerged from all corners of the dank, smoke-filled room, mocking his musical output, and criticizing his romantic life (“this n*gga got a redhead farmgirl. That ain’t no real snowbunny!”)

But now, after a solemn, “it’s time,” here was the rapper and his friends in a prayer circle. For what?

“Lord, we pray this video I’m about to make gets to Shaderoom, Complex, and Akademiks’ fat ass. My B, sorry God. But we pray that [name redacted] responds, our numbers get lit, and there isn’t too much damage done. Hopefully, no harm comes of this, and he doesn’t know about that 16-year-old in Tampa. Once again, I apologize for her too. Amen.”

The burgeoning artist, set to perform for over 5,000 people in the next hour, paces in a circle with a phone in his hand. He counts to three, then he begins:

“Fuck n*gga I seen that s**t you said boy we gonna see ya’ ass boy! You not even allowed in LA, New York, nowhere real n*ggas be! Now you banned from [city redacted] too boy! When I see ya ass I’mma spank ya! Your music fire but–”

He stops and almost throws the phone at the dressing room’s cold white walls, as if he was tossing it into a void.

“Damn, I was doing good too,” he says. His friends continue to smoke, give him encouragement, pleading for him to “get that n*gga.” One offers to stand behind him menacingly during the video, but the rapper refuses.

He repeats the routine 3 times before finding a satisfactory explosion that he wants to publish. Impressively, he maintains the same unhinged, spur-of-the-moment energy for each retake of the “diss clip,” as he called it.

After posting the video, he stares at his phone. “If I get like 20 likes in the first 30 seconds, I feel good about a post,” he said.

With over a million Instagram followers, it shouldn’t be hard for him to get the amount of likes he’s seeking – especially with such a fiery post about a fellow rapper that his legion of fans have long said is subliminally dissing him in a recent song.

“I don’t even think it’s about me, but after a while you gotta give the people what they want,” he said with little contemplation. He shrugged his shoulders and slowly rubbed his locs while leaning forward in his chair, decompressing after what amounted to a performance for the social media theater.

The early 20s rapper has served the public a heap of similar outbursts, and has gained a core of supporters who see their inner-manic in him – though he repeatedly contends he has no mental illnesses.

He first gained their attention with an undeniable catchy banger that went viral, which led to him being signed. “I wanted to stay independent, and I got some solid offers which let me keep my masters, but I signed a 360 with a n*gga that has so much money it makes me look rich by association,” he states while sipping a purple, double-cupped concoction that he says isn’t lean.

“We mixed it up ourselves. We take Henny, Patron, then some grape juice and blueberry syrup. Boom. Most of the thotties who come around us never even had real lean, so how would they know the difference?”

That kind of ingenuity is what’s led the artist to log multiple Billboard-charting records. “I started rapping like 3 days before [his first hit song] dropped,” he recalls. “I didn’t know nothin’ I just went to my man’s bedroom, starting snappin’ and he put my s**t onbeat and made it sound good.”

While many signed recording artists improve their craft by advancing their musical knowledge into theory and composition, the rapper is still learning fundamentals of rhyming.

“I need to learn how to count bars. And I need to learn how to stay onbeat. My engineer usually puts me onbeat after I finish recording,” he admits while stretching for the coming performance.

He’s trying to get into a zone, but it’s clear that something is annoying him.

“My b***h got mad at me. She saw I had a kiss emoji in my recent emojis, and she’s like, ‘who are you sending that to you don’t send that to me.’ So I had to show her the comments I left under [name redacted’s] post. I added a kiss emoji like, I’ll see you soon sweetheart. To f**k you up. But she still doesn’t believe me so she keeps blowing my phone up. Being a rockstar is hard,” he jokes.

In the next section, we cover what happens after the performance.