11 Fun Facts About the 2011 Freshmen Cover Shoot

Check out the Freshmen Class Here

Putting together the 2011 Freshmen issue was a labor of love, especially when it came time to shoot our cover. The 12-hour work day was filled with hectic schedules, a lot of running around, and coordination. Not only was the entire XXL staff in the house, we also had 11 different rappers on hand. Add on to them, their respective entourages, and additional camera crews, and you might be able to understand how crazy things can get on shoot day.

What our faithful readers are left with is a memorable cover image (plus the pics that appear on the inside of the issue), what the XXL staff is left with are lasting memories that the camera didn’t capture. Rather than keep it all to ourselves, we’d figure we’d share.

Here are 11 fun facts from behind the scenes at the 2011 XXL Freshmen Cover Shoot.

1. Akon— who along with Kanye signed CyHi The Prynce, attended the photo shoot, kicked it with the staff and even ate lunch with us.

2. Mac Miller was the first rapper to arrive at the photoshoot, Rostrum Records team in tow.

3. Yelawolf was the last artist to arrive, having just gotten off a plane from Aspen where he performed at the Winter X Games the night before. Now that’s dedication.

4. Lil Twist was the last artist to leave the shoot at around 7pm.

5. The slingshot that Yelawolf is holding on the cover, ended up going home with him. Though we’re sure he isn’t the only one who left with a souvenir.

6. After the shoot was over, Kendrick Lamar and YG went to NYC club SOBs and performed that night.

7. The $500 custom-made jacket that Big K.R.I.T. is rocking on the cover, was delivered to him just minutes before the cover shoot. It almost didn’t get worn.

8. Lil B and Kendrick Lamar tied for the smallest entourages— they each only showed up with one person in tow.

9. Lil B walked around the whole day with his shirt off, but he did ask permission first. What a nice guy.

10. Meek Mill brought his own barber to the shoot with him.

11. Lil B refused to take off his worn-out Vans. despite our wide-selection of fresh kicks and the urging of XXL‘s fashion team.

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  • teddy

    you put lil twist over XV yal are dumb asses

    • T

      Even worse, they put Lil Twist AND Lil B over XV, Chip tha Ripper, and Dom Kennedy.

    • T

      AND Hopsin. Wtf was XXL thinking.

      • ellalaqa12

        I am mixed race english/jamaican…A white male on -Bla’ckw’hi’teCu’pid. ℃○M- who viewed my profile (at least 8 times!!), had on his profile in capitals ‘NO BLACKS’, and in the part where it asks ‘what makes you sad?’ he’d put…’when black women contact me’!….lol…..I just thought ‘why do you keep looking at my profile?’ He must have thought the more he looked at me, the paler i might become!!! HaHaHa :)

  • Antek

    Lil B deserved to be on this cover.. dude made a noise for himself and created his own buzz


    • T

      So did a bunch of BETTER artists who XXL left out.

      • kidnoting1

        Lil B may otbe that sic, bu tat nigga is playing Cachella. COCHELA! The only Hip-hop acts there are Laurn Hill, Distant Relatives, Kanye, and Wiz. No one can deny that niggas buzz

        • Chyllmatic


    • Ken

      XV just put out 1 of the best mixtapes I’ve ever heard. To tell me that Lil B “deserves” and “worked hard” is the most ignorant thing to say ever. People need to stop and ask themselves “Can I relate to Lil B’s lyrics?” If the answer is yes then The Future of Hip Hop is Fucked and there really something fuckin Wrong with your Mental State (Your a Retard and Out of your Damn Mind). Call me a hater… I won’t let real Hip Hop die though.

  • http://www.youtube.com/youngchristhacaptin Capo Capone

    Congrats to all the 11 freshman on the list. They gone keep grinding no matter what the bloggers say so show hip hop respect! Be on the look out for Tha Captin “True Freshman” mixtape paying homage to all those before him! Its goin down 2011!

  • http://www.opalellysemusic.com Opal Ellyse

    Diggy, Yellawolf, and Big Kirt. . .. The rest, hell to the know, I got 8 better than that in my city alone!!!! However, I am happy niggas finally care about who’s next right now, that does say a lot for hip hop. . which is on its way back for real ’96 ill shit, that’s the future, like it or now we back ( : I’ll be up there next year, or maybe I’ll just skip a grade and have my own damn cover ( :
    Always a Pleasure,
    -Opal Ellyse

    • http://www.opalellysemusic.com Opal Ellyse

      Damn proof read much lmyao. . . correction: Big KRIT, and hell to the “no”, not know. . .like it or “not” we back. . . Guess ya’ll know I’m not a big blogger . . .I usually talk my shit in person but you know: )

  • Listy

    Shut the fuck up, dumb bitch.

  • http://twitter.com/iamAntBarnes Quis

    Big ups to meek mill he deserve it philly all day he doing his thing and so is lil twist ymcmb

  • Prudential

    Number 5 is fucked up and lmao at lil b

  • Teddy

    I can’t belive they didnt have Panther on there, eventhough he aint all that big he is amazing though

  • bry

    i think Lil B deserved 2 be on there cuz he worked hard to get put on! And Teddy I just checked out Panther myself a few days ago and yu right he is dope he just has to get alil more buzz and then he’ll be on the cover

    • http://theconnecthiphop.blogspot.com created

      lil b does deserve to be there. he’s buzzing like crazy. mac miller, lil twist and yg don’t. they’re all VERY BASIC. meek mill is overrated, but he’s buzzin. yela and lamar should have been there last year. fred the god, cyhi an k.r.i.t. just started poppin in 2010 so this is def the right year for them.

  • tezz

    Panther is a real gud rapper, he doesnt have tht much material but the songs he has he is a problem…. he’s underground forreal…. but then again all these guys were before they blew up. Krit is my fav out of em all tho

  • Fiya


  • CandyL

    Yelawolf is my nigga, Im not surprised at #5 lol….. Oh and that dude panther aint as good as yall saying…..

  • bussa

    WTF is all this talk bout Panther i mean damn lets talk bout the cover and why Vado aint on there cuz he got looked over this year

    P.S. Panther do got sum good shit but let’s stay on topic

  • jamesboy

    i <3 Panther, even the fact tht he's N this discussion iz sayin summ rite?? He reminds me of Big Sean so tht he'll prolly b on the cover soon… by hisself tho…

  • lesbiankoala

    I really fell Lil Twist got on there cuz of his Twitter buzz and tht he be on Ustream wit Wayne all the damn time. That don’t mean he should be on the fxkkin cova tho…. hell they shoulda found Panther and put him on here cuz i think i jus crozzed ova from all these damn commentz & i looked him up

  • britt britt

    I <3 Panther 2! All his songs are gud from the funny and wild to the serious and thought out AN if XXl really looks at these like they say they do then they need 2 check up on him cuz they found Fred Fatass and he aint really dun shit

  • mutada mullatari

    Only one ones i know are Fred the god son because he got his chain took and sounds like a washed up 90′s NY crack rapper, and lil b because his fucking buzz is bigger than all of these clowns put together, and I know yela wolf know, he’s pretty dope. But I could not pick any of the rest out of a line up if you paid me…. oh yea runs kid, the next man purse gay rapper up. Smdh

  • ezzzze


  • http://xxlmag.com tmac

    probably the worst freshman class thus far. Only a few of them rappers r actually hot. Its a shame wat rap is coming to. I still love the mag. As for the freshman class smh.

  • Chyllmatic

    I think this is a great cover. Lil’ B deserves to be there because, how you gonna create a buzz for yourself ALL ON YOUR OWN .? Lil’ Twist … eh. It’s true that CyHi just started buzzing in 2010, but he’s getting known now and he does deserve to be there. Diggy deserves to be there for the fact that he’s been creating a buzz for himself since November 09′ with The First Flight and since then has released 2 mixtapes, Airborne and Past Presents Future WITH DJ PREMIER. I thought Yelawolf was there last year .? Mac Miller is beast. As for everybody else … I don’t even know them.

  • asiyouet

    Hello everyone….OMG ,My friend Rachal, a 33 yrs lady, has ann’ounced her w’edding with a man. It’s amazing, she said she just posted her prof ile on an inte’rr’cial d’ating s’ite called~ Bl ac’kw hiteC u’pid / Co m ~ – and received his chat invitations a few days later. Then, everything went so well that I can’t believe it’s true! Every lo’ve st’ory will unfold on it’s own—Third of all why are all of you people hating and bashing her so much? She has does nothing wrong to you so GET OVER IT!

  • Dat Ninja

    Congrats to the homie YG, Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeest! We in the MF building. Who else got 3 songs on the radio right now on da cover, hgh! Yeaaaaaaaah we got dat!!!

  • Westala

    Shout outs to my babe YG, you better put me in the patty cake video like you promised me too.

  • john dow

    YG is definitely putting on for the Youth of the Westcoast… way to recognize who got LA back poppin 2010 #tootitnbootit

  • joel g

    RESPECT TO XXL MAGAZINE For shining light on the Youth of the West thats making the most noise, YG400