Hip-hop is coming back out this summer, slowly but surely. As masks, social distancing, and vaccines are the norm these days, most people seem to be going back to their regular programming. the 2021 XXL First year class is featured in our annual summer issue after COVID-19 set us back a few months in 2020.
This year, staff recorded a number of Zoom meetings from January through March to meet and greet artists, listen to new music, and hear the rollout plans of around 100 first-year applicants, which eventually became the 10th selection. After lengthy debates, conversations with industry peers, and discussions with anyone who felt compelled to share a Freshman list they had created, 12 artists made the final cut, but one withdrew from the class the day before the shoot.
The decision is never easy. Record companies have stepped up signings, making it harder to pick rappers. But real talent rises to the top, and the 2021 XXL Freshman Class has a lot of them.
Hip-hop is represented in many regions this year. 42 Dugg serves his raps in Detroit, Flo milli calls home in Mobile, Ala., Morraymelodies are made in Fayetteville, NC, Winnie the Pooh is from Memphis, Lakeyah came to Milwaukee, Coi Leray puts both for North Jersey and Boston, Toosii maintains it for both Raleigh, NC and Syracuse, NY, Blxst is a proud native of South Central, LA, Pink Ruby show love to Lexington, Ky., Iann Diorthe roots of are in Arecibo, Puerto Rico and Corpus Christi, Texas, and DDG, who is the 10th winner of the first year, voted by fans this year, representatives of Pontiac, Mich.
Over the next month, we’ll be posting freestyles, cyphers, interviews and more. Multiplatinum producer Nick mira is the music curator who creates rhythms alongside some of the Internet money team. Look for their production in the highly anticipated numbers and all video content.
The Freshman issue hits everywhere on July 7 and includes additional interviews with Money bag Yo, Cordae, The Slump God ski goggles, Lil tecca, music videos director Cole bennett, Kash doll, Jack harlow, Conway the machine, 10 of the industry’s most requested hip-hop jewelers, singer Mahalia, Latin trap-pop singer Karol G, producer Jake One, engineer Todd Hurtt and musical director Shawn “Tubby” Holiday.
Now it’s time to celebrate 2021 XXL Freshman Class, who aims for the moon and aims for the stars. Congratulations 42 Dugg, Iann Dior, Coi Leray, Pooh Shiesty, Flo Milli, Morray, Rubi Rose, Blxst, Toosii, Lakeyah and DDG.
A look at each XXL First year coverage since 2007.