Do you think that aspect of your performances will ever change as you get larger crowds?
I thought about it one time. I always go in the crowd when I perform, even at festivals. At festivals, some of the people won’t even know who I am because it’s a big festival show. If you’re in the front, you’re trying to get close to the artist. If you’re in the middle, you’re trying to go crazy. If you’re in the back, you’re just trying to chill and not get into that shit. And they’ll do mosh pits to songs where I’m like, “Damn, you want to mosh to this song? Y’all are lit, let me get in this.” The people that aren’t moving are the ones who aren’t fucking with the music for real. I’m not trying to entertain that. I want to entertain the people in the middle. Whenever I go into the crowd, they go crazy. 

Has everything that’s happened these last few months regarding people’s safety at festivals changed your approach to performing?
Of course. When I go in the crowd, I won’t lie, it’s kind of a liability. Especially at a festival, when I go in there, people are going crazy, pulling me and shit. I’m cool with it, but there could be a kid near me that’s not really fucking with it, because I’m bringing a whole different energy to the people who are now really in the crowd with me. Even if they’re just chilling, now they’re getting pulled and tugged, too. So I try to make sure that everyone’s straight before I keep performing. I’ll be performing, and someone will point at somebody, and I’ll stop the music to make sure everyone is okay. It’s an awareness type of thing. Not that many artists were on that shit before. Now, they see that people actually get fucked up in crowds, so they want to make sure that everyone is okay.

Aside from the hype songs, there are also some real sobering moments on the album. How therapeutic was it for you to make tracks like “Blue Moon”?
I just felt like I needed to talk my shit. First come with the hype shit, now let’s settle down a little and let me speak my shit for the kids, so they can relate, because they aren’t the only ones dealing with some kind of shit. I make sure to tell them I’m around, and I have the same type of mindset, and we have the same life but different struggles. I want to make sure people can hear that and be like, “Wow, he’s just like me.”

You said Ethereal doesn’t have one overarching concept, but it still sounds like there’s an underlying theme of battling your demons in the intro and outro. Who won in the end: you or your demons? 
I’m not going to lie, my demons won. I’m playing, I’m still winning. I’m still alive, I’m still doing my shit. I want to let people know that I’m dealing with the same struggles. You just can’t let it take over your whole life. I want to advocate and talk about mental health and all that, so the music is a good way to push it out there.

In what ways have you grown the most as an artist and person between Beautiful Havoc and this album?
From the artist’s perspective, I just do what I want to do. With Beautiful Havoc, I was making shit like, “Man, the fans are going to love this.” With Ethereal, I was doing what I wanted to do, even though there are fan-favorite songs that I stuck on the album. Each song is very different. It’s just me having fun. I’m not the most lyrical nigga anyways, so this album just made me be more me. That was the biggest thing going from the last album to now. As a person, it’s the same kind of thing—me being me.

Looking ahead, what do you think your next evolution will look like after Ethereal?
After this album, now I have to make sure everything is sharp. From the lyrics to the beat, I have to get really crazy. It will be more ignorant shit, but niggas will feel it. It’s one of those things where I’ll actually have to write down shit. Because for Ethereal, I didn’t really write shit. Everything is a freestyle, and punching in words. But for the next one, I want to get back to the basics and pull out a notebook and start writing shit for real. I want to figure out different flows. A nigga can have a billion words, but if you don’t have a flow, it doesn’t even matter what you’re saying. I want to make sure I’m on point.

What can fans look forward to in the coming weeks?
I have a music video for “5AM.” That’s my favorite song on the album. There’s just something about it. The song just gives me freedom. You can tell that I’m free in this song. And the video is crazy. I’m on top of a roof, and there’s a camera peeking through the moshpit while I’m on the roof. I really fuck with it. When you see it, you’ll see. I think it might be even better than the video for “Doja,” because after that video, you have to step up. There’s no more generic shit like posting up in front of a mansion with a Lambo. No generic rap shit. Now it’s time for actual movies and documentaries. I got some festivals and shows coming up, too, and I’ll definitely be performing these songs there. And I got more music and collabs coming. 

What have you been listening to lately?
I listen to a lot of shit. Shit that doesn’t even make sense, like country music and rock. I’ll listen to new shit from Yeat, Three 6 Mafia, all that shit. Or I’ll listen to old SoundCloud music from years ago that I had in my likes. I just listen to a lot of shit. I’m waiting for that Kendrick album, and Donda 2.