In a way, Lil Mabu is living a double life, and it’s making his music better. The viral sensation has been juggling a burgeoning rap career that has him on everyone’s Instagram explore page with keeping up his GPA in college. That hasn’t stopped Mabu, as he’s turned bunk beds in his dorm into a studio and flew around the country to record with the biggest rappers, as long as it fits his school schedule.

“I had to go out to Utah to make the record with NBA YoungBoy. When he called me, he said, ‘I'll see you tomorrow.’ I thought he was joking. But he was serious. I still had class,” Lil Mabu told REVOLT.

In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” he explains how he snuck Fivio Foreign into his dorm to record their song “TEACH ME HOW TO DRILL,” getting advice from Lil Baby, and how his friend fighting cancer started his rap career. Read the exclusive chat below.

Let’s go all the way back. What was your first studio session?

I'll give you a little history about what happened before the session. I was always into Hip Hop. I would do rap battles with my friends. I’d roast them and everything. It really all came together for me when I was in middle school. I made a song for my friend Charles, who was fighting cancer at the time. When he recovered, he had a surprise birthday party at a studio because his mom's best friend from college knew Jerry Wonda . My first time in the studio was at Jerry Wonda’s studio for Charles' birthday party, which his family threw for him. I recorded over [Rich The Kid’s “Plug Walk”] beat.

When I walked out of the soundproof booth, my friends looked at me like I said something I shouldn't have. They were just shocked. They asked, “You wrote that?” They liked what I was saying, and I cherished that feeling. I knew that was where I belonged. It wasn't until I graduated middle school that I walked back to my house from graduation with Charles and made the first song I put out called “glue.” I was just on my mom's computer using the mic I used for a Hispanic project on which I had to do voiceovers for school. That was in 2019.

Fast-forward to your “Dorm Sessions,” where you record in your college dorm with people like Fivio Foreign and DD Osama. How does that work? Do you get noise complaints?

Yeah, there were some noise complaints, but I’m still here (laughs). Summer break is near, and it looks like I'll still be here next year. The “Dorm Sessions” really came about as a series because I've always made music in my bedroom. My first song was made in my bedroom. My biggest songs, like “Mathematical Disrespect,” were made in my bedroom. So, when I got out to college, it was like two worlds colliding because it’s still school by day [and] the streets by night. But, at the same time, I live in school now. I didn't live in school in high school. I really live on campus. By any means, I'm going to make music. I had to figure it out. So, I built the studio in my dorm. It was how I was recording.

When Fivio Foreign was going to perform at my homecoming for college, he pulled up after the show. We disguised him to bring him into the dorm. We piled all the people he was with into this little room that’s like the size of a jail cell. He didn't complain. The studio is under the bunk bed, so you can’t fully stand under the bed. You can't fully stand. I'm used to cutting songs under the bed. But artists like Fivio, who go to real studios, were shocked that I could make records of that quality from under my bunk bed.

How did you and Fivio first connect?

We connected back in New York. We came up with the concept of the song “TEACH ME HOW TO DRILL” in New York. It wasn't until I settled into college in Atlanta that we got the chance to actually lay it down. He’s a real genuine dude. He had to leave at about 6 a.m. to get back on a flight to New York. At the end of the outro of the song, you can hear his security be like, “We gotta go.”

Have you ever had to skip school to record music?

I haven't skipped academic things for music. For example, during the second semester, I had to go out to Utah to make the record with NBA YoungBoy. When he called me, he said, “I'll see you tomorrow.” I thought he was joking. But he was serious. I still had class (laughs). He told me that on Tuesday, so I had to plan the trip to leave Thursday night to get there Friday. He’s an early bird, so he texted me at 9 a.m., and I had to do my online Italian Zoom class. That’s why I was able to leave on Thursday. So, I did that. Then, I pulled up, and we made that masterpiece.

You also locked in with Lil Baby for “UNDERDOG SONG.” How did you two connect?

He reached out to me when I was in New York. When I linked with him, he had a studio session in New York, and he just showed mad love. I told him I was about to go out to Atlanta for college. He's been a good guy to know out here, and I've been grateful to spend a lot of time with him in Atlanta and my hometown. He has a business mind, so I ask him a lot of questions.

Is there an unreleased collaboration you’ve recorded that you hope comes out?

Juice WRLD, God rest his soul, gave NLE Choppa a verse, and NLE let me hop on the song when I was in LA earlier this year. That's a really good record.

You seem to have the best creative chemistry with DD Osama, another rising star in this new generation of Hip Hop.

That's like my brother. We really came up together. We’re similar in age. He’s my real friend. When I think of DD, I don't think of him as somebody I knew from the rap world. I just think of him as a friend. When we make music, it’s fun. It took a while to get that second collaboration from us because when we hang out, it isn’t even on some music s**t. But that’s what makes songs better. I don't work with people or artists I don't have a relationship with. That box needs to be checked before we get on a song together. I have to connect with other artists in some personal way.

What do you have coming for the rest of 2024?

You’ll have to stay tuned. I’m experimenting with different sounds from my early catalog with that melodic flow. I've been in Atlanta for a while. So, I understand the culture and sound out here. Even on a subconscious level, that’s going to be heard in my music now.