Sometimes, a rapper’s music doesn’t always match their personality. This could be because their music is a cathartic release or they’ve adopted an alter ego. Rod Wave fits under the umbrella of using his music as therapy because unlike his emotion-evoking music, he’s pretty coy and not very outspoken. However, in the 2020 XXL Freshman‘s version of XXL‘s ABCs, he offers a middle ground. Get ready to witness Rod joke and laugh his way through the 26 letters of the alphabet.
For the most part, the St. Petersburg, Fla. native keeps his alphabet word association short and sweet. He kicks things off with “I’m all in” for A. Rod goes the sound effect route for B. “BDDDD,” he says. If you’ve ever watched him freestyle for XXL in 2018, you’re already familiar with his ad-lib. Rod explains that it’s a hometown thing for him. “It’s just something we do in Florida,” he shares. “It’s just something I took it and ran with it.”
By the time Rod Wave gets halfway through, he gets personal with the letter I. “Insane,” the 20-year-old rapper says before explaining why he chose this particular word. “My lady, my mama, my grandma, everybody think I’m crazy,” he reveals. “’Cause, you know, insanity, they say the definition of it you keep doing the same thing expecting different results, you gotta be insane.”
Towards the end of the alphabet, Rod tells an endearing story about how he became Rod Wave. “R, Rod Wave, that comes from one of my homeboys gave me that name ’cause I used to be scared to upload my music,” he admits. “I just used to make music and just to listen to it myself. So one day, he just uploaded it and gave me my name. I came back to school, everybody was like, ‘Rod Wave!’ I ain’t know what the hell they was talkin’ ’bout.”
In April, Rod Wave’s signature melodic crooning about his life in the streets of Florida, his triumphs and everything in between landed him at the No. 2 spot on the Billboard 200 chart with this album Pray 4 Love. His rigor and consistency—(his singles, “Heart On Ice,” “Cuban Links” featuring Kevin Gates, “Pray 4 Love,” mixtapes, Rookie of the Year, Hunger Games, Hunger Games 2, Hunger Games 3, PTSD and albums, Ghetto Gospel, Pray 4 Love)—are what got him to this point. It’s only up from here.
Check out Rod Wave’s ABCs below.
See the 2020 XXL Freshman Class