In a recent feature detailing his Maybach Music Group debut for XXL, Fat Trel explained wanting to show an alternative portrait of his hometown area than that provided by rapper Wale.

“It’s a perfect story from a young nigga who ain’t never have shit to come up,” Fat Trel said of his mixtape Gleesh. “I think that’s what my story is. I just want to express the lifestyle of a young Black teenager coming from Washington D.C., who is coming from the opposite train tracks of Wale.

“A lot of people look at Wale and they think that’s the vision and that’s how they are,” he continued. “You know, he’s not from my side. He didn’t grow up doing the things that I did. I didn’t graduate high school. I wasn’t thinking about college. I didn’t think about the Jordan IIIs or the Sabado bucket hats. Balenciaga jackets. That wasn’t my lifestyle. I just want people to see the truth coming out of Washington D.C…..The truth is I am a young savage who comes from the worst streets of Washington D.C. But, I also have a heart. I’m a family man. I’m a cancer so I love a lot. I’m sensitive about my music. I care about what people think about me. I just want people to know that this is a genuine rapper. I’m not a nigga looking for a check.”

Referencing his controversy-stirring cover art depicting Glee actress Lea Michelle, Trel credited his graphic designer with the inspiration. “I’ma be honest, it wasn’t my idea,” he said. “My graphic designer, I’ve known him for years. He’s like my bro, so we play around with a lot of shit. I guess through my career of rap, I don’t know how I did it. I’m kind of looked at as a sex idol. When you look at me, people think of sex like girls. The Slutty Boyz lifestyle. It’s real. When the cover came through, I just thought it was a genius idea because the show Glee is doing so well. I have a specific nickname. You don’t hear gleesh nowhere except for my city or when you hear gleesh, they talking about me. I think to go with it is genius besides the controversy that we knew was going to come. The backlash and the hate, we needed all that, so we gonna rock out with the streets and the bad energy and make it all work. That’s why we went with it.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Fat Trel broke down wanting to spend time with the artists he collaborates with and getting to know his fellow MMG labelmates. “I spent time with [MMG] before working with them,” he said. “I spent time with Rockie [Fresh] in New York, when Ross released Mastermind. We did the show Wild ‘n Out and a few other things. When I had my show in Texas at SXSW, I spent that time alone with Stalley. I got to see what kind of person he was. We spent two, three days together talking about sports, basketball, fashion. I really wanted our relationships to be genuine. That’s why there’s not a song with Meek [Mill] because I didn’t spend time with him. I didn’t spend one on one time with Meek. I wanted to be that genuine. I could have sent him ten records to put a verse on. I could have sent 20 records for Gunplay to put a verse on. I could have sent five records for Omarion to put a hook on. I didn’t want it that way. I wanted to spend time with them. Get to know them as an artist, so when the songs come out its that real. It’s not put together.

“Me and Stalley, we did ‘Thot Street,'” he said. “We rode down Texas and saw a lot of thots on one street so that’s why we went with ‘Thot Street.’ Me and Rockie, we talked a lot about fashion. That’s why we rode with the song ‘Fresh.’ It was a great feeling, you know what I am saying? More music to come.”

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