Ski Mask The Slump God's Stokeley continues to rack up streams, marking a notable step in the young rapper's evolution. Yet fans have come to understand that Ski has dealt with no shortage of trauma over the past year. Now, Billboard has sat down with The Slump God for an extensive conversation, in which he discusses the profound impact XXXTentacion had on him - both in life, and in death. 

“It’s gonna sound weird, but I’m gonna say that after Jah died, it woke me up to a lot of things,” says Ski Mask. “And one of those things was that I need to take my music seriously, and that I need to wake up." He proceeds to reflect on that last brotherly argument he and XXXTentacion ever had, which took place during their reunion performance at Rolling Loud Miami on May 13th. 

“He told me that my vision was blurred,” admits Ski. “I don’t remember exactly the word he used, but he said basically that my vision was blurred, that my decision-making wasn’t what it used to be. And I was basically like -- I argued with him. But he was trying to tell me about myself, and how I could do better for myself. And I wasn’t trying to take it like that, I was taking it as, ‘You’re just trying to show me that you’re better than me. I already know you’re better than me!’ That’s how I felt at the time. It wasn’t jealousy, it was just me wanting to be my own man, seeing how much Jahseh was his own man."

Though it must be difficult to think, it's great to see that Ski Mask has taken X's words to heart. Stokeley is a welcome return to form for The Slump God, a notion expressed through the impressive first week sales. “I seen that my decision-making was blurred,” he says, having allowed X's words space to resonate. “I thought what I was doing at the time was cool and was working. But then after he died, I seen what he was saying. I was like, ‘Bruh…’ I was going down a bad path, my career was going down a path that, if I didn’t change it soon, it was gonna be seen in a certain way forever. I see that now."

For more from Ski Mask The Slump God, be sure to check out the entire cover story over at Billboard