After escaping death, drugs and poverty to become one of R&B's most promising new stars, August Alsina faces a new hurdle -- degenerative eye disease. "I'ma keep squinting until God takes my vision completely."

On paper, you would expect August Alsina to be happy, if not straight-up ecstatic. In 2014, the ­rising R&B star reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with debut album Testimony, toured with Usher and won best new artist at the BET Awards. One of his platinum-certified singles, the 2013 breakout hit "I Luv This Shit," topped Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Mainstream Airplay chart for two weeks. Another, 2014's "No Love," which featured Nicki Minaj, has more than 100 million YouTube views. His sophomore LP, This Thing Called Life, comes out Dec.

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