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XXL Freshmen

XXL Freshmen

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Twitter Reacts to the 2015 XXL Freshman Cover

The roster of XXL Freshman for 2015 has been revealed!

As always, XXL has rounded up who we think are stars-in-the-making and who are not only hot right now, but also have a future in the rap game...

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Check Out The Video From The XXL Freshmen 2013 Concert In NYC

Go behind-the-scenes at the Monster Energy's Outbreak Tour Presents: XXL 2013 Freshman Live in NYC.

Featuring interviews and outtakes from Riff Raff, Action Bronson, Trinidad Jame$, Travi$ Scott, Logic, Dizzy Wright, Kirko Bangz, ScHoolboy Q, DJ Drama, B...

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Lil Durk

Durk Banks




Singles: “Dis Ain’t What U Want,” “Bang Bros,” “L’s Anthem”; Mixtapes: Life Ain’t No Joke, Signed To The Streets; Guest Appearances: Lil Reese’s “Beef,” Fredo Santana’s “Wild Niggas”

Coke Boys/Def Jam

As-yet-untitled mixtape

Nuski and Rondo ’cause they started with us and they put in a lot of work too.”

“Meek Mill and French Montana ’cause I’ve been listening to them since I started rapping, like when I used to battle and come out with the DVDs.”

“[I was] smooth, laid-back.”

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Jarren Benton

Jarren Benton


“I’m too old for this shit.”

Decatur, Ga.

Singles: “Razor Blades And Steak Knives,” “Go Off,” “Gimme The Loot”; Mixtapes: Freebasing With Kevin Bacon; Albums: My Grandma’s Basement; Guest Appearances: Dizzy Wright’s “Step Yo Game Up”

Funk Volume

As-yet-untitled EP, scheduled for this summer

Chris Webby, Rittz, Iamsu!, Young Thug, Vince Staples. He might be a little too big because of the acting shit, but I’m surprised Childish Gambino ain’t on here.”

“Eminem. Redman. OutKast, OutKast, man. They’re a real big inspiration. Ras Kass. Wu-Tang Clan. Shit, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre. Nas. So many people. These are people that, when I heard their shit, I was obsessed, and they changed the way I looked at hip-hop. They were such dope spitters that they made me feel inadequate.”

“I put my mom and my grandma through a lot of fuckin’ hell. Consistently kicked out of school all the time, just runnin’ with the wrong crowd, man, being a dick. Just doing a lot of crazy shit, man. I never put this out there, but I slung dope in school, man. Just did a lot of mischievous, dumb shit, man. I had no respect for authority. I didn’t give a fuck. Horrible, man.”

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Jon Connor

Jon Freeman Jr.



Flint, Mich.

Singles: “Michigan Shit”; Mixtapes: The Blue Album, The People’s Rapper LP, Season 2; Albums: Unconscious State


As-yet-untitled major label debut album

“I think everyone here deserves to be here. I just think that it’s all about timing, so whoever didn’t make it shouldn’t look at it as a setback. I know when I didn’t make it, I let it fuel me.”

“I’m not saying this because I’m signed to Aftermath, but just like most of America, I grew up idolizing Dr. Dre. And I’m from Michigan, so I grew up idolizing Eminem. So to be on the same label as the two of them is a dream come true.”

“I probably thought I was cooler than I was. I think I’m pretty much the same dude—quiet, reserved. I only want attention when I feel like I deserve it, when I’m on that stage. Other than that, I’m chillin’. I’m cool. Just like in high school, I didn’t get caught up in varsity jackets and cheerleaders. If it came to me, it came to me. If it didn’t, it didn’t. But I was too busy doing me to be concerned about what everybody else was doing.”

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Lil Bibby

Brandon Dickenson




Singles: “Water,” “For The Low,” “Kill Shit”; Mixtapes: Free Crack; Guest Appearances: Tink’s “Kilo”

Grade A Productions

The Book EP, due out this summer

“Young Thug. It seems he was making a little noise.”

“Jay Z, Drake, Jadakiss, a little Cam’ron. I like Wayne. Gucci. Those guys. I really like the street rappers, but I fuck with Drake hard too.”

“I didn’t talk to nobody. Everybody at school, they talked so proper. I ain’t know how to talk to them type of people. ’Cause I’m used to everybody like me, all street niggas.”

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Kevin Gates

Marcellus Kevin Gates



Baton Rouge, La.

Singles: “Satellites,” “4:30AM,” “Paper Chasers,” “Don’t Know”; Mixtapes: The Luca Brasi Story, Stranger Than Fiction, By Any Means; Guest Appearances: Pusha T’s “Trust You”

Bread Winners Association/Atlantic

As-yet-untitled major label debut album

“When you ask who am I surprised that’s not here, that’s not really a question for me because I believe I feel all things that are meant to be will be. So everyone that was meant to be here, they are here.”

“I always liked Down South beats like Master P and Cash Money and things of that nature. As far as lyricism I always gravitated as far as Biggie Smalls, Nas, Jay Z, Big L. I love Eminem. Eminem would be in my Top 5.”

“As a freshman in high school, I wasn’t as nasty as I am right now, but as a Freshman in XXL, I’m the sickest in the district.”

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Troy Ave

Roland Collins




Singles: “New York City,” “Hot Out”; Mixtapes: Bricks In My Backpack 2: Powder To The People, Bricks In My Backpack 3: The Harry Powder Trilogy; Guest Appearances: Fabolous’ “Only Life,” Pusha T’s “Road Runner”

Brick Star Boyz Records (BSB.)

Bricks In My Backpack 4: Major Without A Deal mixtape, dropping in June

“You never know with XXL. They mostly pick the hottest people along with a wild card here and there.”

“50 Cent made me want to rap and Jay Z, so you can say those two. But as far as influences, I don’t have no influences like that. I just do my own thing.”

“I was good. I was on some fly shit. I was just trying to get mad pussy, and I ain’t really get the hang of getting mad pussy. You know what I am saying?”

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August Alsina

August Alsina



New Orleans

Singles: “I Luv This Shit,” “Downtown,” “Ghetto”; Mixtapes: The Product 2; EPs: Downtown: Life Under The Gun; Albums: Testimony



Promoting his major label debut album, Testimony

“I feel like if you grinding and you made people see then you’re here.”

“Musically I think you get inspired from everywhere. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to come from an artist. Just like this moment, walking up to XXL and the environment.”

“I didn’t have a lot of shit that a lot of other kids had. My freshman year I think I was in Houston at the time and kind of just changing schools a few times. I guess that’s when I started to realize that all these niggas got Jays on and my wardrobe wasn’t up to par. I was just going to school and dealing with family issues. Overall, throughout the wack ass clothes and bullshit, it was still cool.”

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Vic Mensa

Victor Kwesi Mensah




Singles: “Orange Soda,” “Hollywood LA”; Mixtapes:
INNANETAPE; Guest Appearances: Chance The Rapper’s “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” Asher Roth’s “Fast Life”


As-yet-untitled EP, scheduled for this year, and an as-yet-untitled album, scheduled for 2015

“I thought Vince Staples was going to be here. I think he should be here. I honestly haven’t given too much thought. I’m surprised with Chano [Chance The Rapper] here ’cause he’s really big. He doesn’t really need to do it. But it’s dope. It’s a great opportunity for everybody.”

“I’ve been listening to Missy Elliott and Timbaland, Dizzee Rascal this past week. I have a lot of different phases. I immersed myself in mad music. I’m huge on Nas, Biggie, 2Pac, Jay Z, UGK, Pimp C, J Dilla—not just a producer but as a rapper—Stone Village, Souls Of Mischief, A Tribe Called Quest, Hieroglyphics, The Pharcyde, Gorillaz, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana—the list don’t stop.”

“I was reckless as fuck. I was unnecessarily reckless. I was ill, I can rap, but I was unnecessarily like wearing fuzzy slippers and dancing on tables and shit. Always trying to like fight somebody. I was too much.”

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