XXL Magazine Speaks on Its 2012 Freshmen Class

The Freshmen issue is always fun and exciting and enough to knock any editor on their ass. Because there is nothing normal about this issue. The buzz starts about three to four months before we’re ready to even deal with it. Our cover is so top secret and we have to get dozens and dozens of people to keep quiet, even though all they wanna do is burst our bubble and tweet about it. At the photo-shoot we watch folks with our cheetah vision and shut down anyone who dares hold their Blackberry or iPhone up. (The balls of some people!)

But seriously, the Freshmen issue is the best to work on because it gives us a chance to listen to a ton of music, meet a bunch of new people and just be reinvigorated by hip-hop while we try to do the same for you (as corny as that sounds). We thought long and hard about our choices this year. Some of them you saw coming, while others, we know, are somewhat of a surprise. And for the first time ever, our readers got to take part in a poll for the 10th spot. We are feelin’ Iggy Azalea, but we had no idea that she was gonna get as many votes as she did.

On the flip side, as most folks know by now, we did ask Iggy’s boo-boo A$AP Rocky to be part of the cover. We spoke to him personally and reached out to his management and publicity department for weeks to try and make the shoot work with his schedule. We even planned it on a day we saw he would be in New York City based on his tour schedule. Fortunately, the other nine rappers worked things out for themselves so that they could accommodate the date without much of a problem. But without any discussion of an alternative date or trying to make it work in his schedule somehow, and after weeks of trying to make it possible, Rocky and his team passed on Freshmen. We replaced him, and all I can say is that things work out the way they do. It would have been cool to have Rocky as part of 2012’s class, but looking at it now, one of this year’s Freshman MCs wouldn’t have made it. And after working getting to know this class, everyone deserves to be a part of it, so it’s all good.

Now, just because y’all know who made the list doesn’t mean Freshmen is a wrap. Not by any means. It just keeps going with the freestyles, ciphers and roundtable on XXLMag.com. There’s also our first-ever Freshmen tour in honor of the fifth anniversary of the Freshmen. That’s right, we’ve had five different covers with 51 Freshmen total, so it was about time for a tour, and Monster Energy got right behind us. Together we’ve made the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour Presents the XXL Freshman Live concert series, which features Freshmen from every class, kicks off at SXSW in Aus- tin, Texas, on March 13, continues on to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta (twice) and then ends in New York City. For more info or tickets, go to aeglive.com or outbreaktour.com.

I wanna thank everyone for their hard work pulling this off. Particularly the staff (see above), who busted their asses to make sure we got everything we needed and got this book to the printer during hectic times. Also thanks to the XXL ad department for joining in the production of the day, issue and tour. And while we’re talking ads, we gotta give love to this year’s sponsors, Monster Energy, Reebok, Soul Headphones and Luster Products, who are appreciated in their support of new hip-hop.

I’m glad the list and cover are finally public (bear head and all…). ’Cause we could barely keep it a secret any longer and we’re so tired of dodging questions about it. We hope y’all understood. It’s on to the next issue for us, but there will be lots of Freshmen mania on XXLMag.com for you. Get to know who you’re not familiar with. Listen to some new music and expand your iTunes library. And if you’re not satisfied with our picks, sorry.

Make sure to stay tuned into XXLMag.com for more Freshmen-related content throughout the month of March.

Vanessa Satten

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  • D.A.R.R.


    • IknowU

      First off I don’t see what the big hype is about ASAP Rocky. At his best, the dude is just okay. This day and time hip hop is so f’ed up that the fans don’t know what true hip hop even is. I would had love to see Dom, or Swagga Los. I think it would had been dope to include Marv & Cash (@MARVNCASH) who don’t have a million and one followers but still stick to the true meaning of hip hop and entertaining their fans. just my thoughts…

      • IknoUtoo

        Dza shoulda been in that too, matter fact alot of people got jipp’d out that the xxl fffreshman shit over the years. its all politics and who knows who. thats show bizz. but who gives a fuck about wat most ppl think wat “real hip hop” is. too each their own. music is music. fuck a genre. it all boils down to wats appealing musically.

  • The Great Spade

    So once again Smoke DZA doesn’t make the list… And Stalley didn’t make it even though he had one of the best mixtapes last year, and no Dom Kennedy?!?! This is why no one fucks with xxl anymore…

  • Hype

    Where the hell is XV.

    • Yealy

      XV was snubbed two years ago, if you just caught onto him, that’s why you wouldn’t know this, if you do, then there is no way he’s gonna get this now, nor would he probably accept it.

  • Deshawn

    no Chris Webby? fuck this class

    • Connor

      Thats what I’m saying where is Chris Webby. He deserved it way more than anyone on. This class is terrible.

  • Soulsmith

    Everybody who was apart of picking these clowns should get FIRED!!! This list is ASS!!!

  • ghj

    Yes, Hopsin made it!!!

  • jordan

    XXL has been bringing it on the freshman list the past 2 years, but this is a joke. All the rappers on this year suck!!!! Come on Xxl you could of gone for many other artist like Stalley, Dom kennedy, Schoolboy Q, Roach Gigz, XV, Earl, hoagy beats, Cassey Veggies, Emilio Rojas, Frank Ocean, Phil Ade, Red Cafe, Slim the Mobster, Smoke DZA…. Shit i know Asap rocky turn it down when he saw the people that were going to be on it. Xxl this is a joke. Step Your game up.

    • http://im-ovoxo.tumblr.com Harman

      Agreed WHERE THE FUCK is Earl, Frank Ocean or even Hodgy I don’t mind having MGK there but seriously this list is shit

  • frank

    freshman list is officially wack as fuk. This is the worst ever i think. Future, roscoe dash, french montana….WHAT?! These dudes blow hard. idk how danny brown got on there he isnt bad but isnt popular at all no wonder why rocky didnt wanna be with these weak ass rappers this list is no honor this year

  • ty

    i understand no A$AP but what about SchoolBoy Q, Kirko Bangz, Childish Gambino, and D-Pryde

    • sneakerfittedguy

      You understand no A$AP, yet you’d rather give it to some lyrically sub-par Asian kid with buzz only from his proud ethnic community (this coming from a Filipino)…? I don’t understand you, b/c that shit’s fuckin’ twisted – A$AP would have probably DISSED the list had D-Pryde made it instead of just plainly rejecting.

      • wat

        I agree. D-Pryde is terrible. He doesn’t care about lyrics or the genre. His favorite rapper is Drake of all people.

  • jg

    I usually never comment on this kind of shit but I was so outraged I had 2. This list is garbage i mean really I dont know but about 4ppl on this list I mean damn, rosco dash been out since 09. I feel asap rocky I wouldnt be affiliated with this garbage either

  • dtown

    Where my nigga fowl at? This list sucks

  • Rashad

    how the fuck does roscoe dash get on the list.
    xxl yall fuckin up already

  • Ian

    MGK, Macklemore and Hopsin are some of the hottest rapper in the game right now, but where the fuck is Chris Webby, Earl sweatshirt or Childish Gambino,? Montana and future make Gucci mane look like a lyrical genius.

    • Trev DaSaint

      post is tru bt MGK Suck like G Shit

  • cam

    Wow… other than a select few (Hopsin, MGK) this list sucks ass. How is Roscoe Dash a freshmen? He has been out for like 2 years… Montana and future are both ass. I can understand a couple shitty rappers but 93% of this list shouldn’t even be considered rappers… i guess hip hop really is dying, well mainstream at least.

  • wyatt

    shit list wheres Schoolboy q or Action Bronson glad a$ap didnt fuck with this

  • KB

    XV NOT ON HERE WHAT THE FUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Boycut

    Well that’s all fine and dandy, and what a great article….
    But NO, this mag’s quality has dropped so much. None of ya’ll listen to rap. This years pick of freshman’s clearly states that. I have been buying this mag for a while now, but not anymore. You guys don’t listen to the readers, and that is the most important thing.

    • Q

      Agreed! I’m not buying this mag anymore.

  • dezTMG

    no schoolboy q or ab-soul?? how are you gunna have jay rock & kendrick on past lists but not the other half of black hippy?? xxl has gone low af! stalley got left out, dom kennedy, cassie veggies, h.o.p.e., emilio rojas, etc etc. they shouldnt even publish this years freshmen. just skip this lame shit!

  • Trev DaSaint

    dis is bullshit all dat skillz and they made dis list smh

  • true

    XXL should do a article on all the people who weren’t cool with this list lmao

  • IknowU

    First off I don’t see what the big hype is about ASAP Rocky. At his best, the dude is just okay. This day and time hip hop is so f’ed up that the fans don’t know what true hip hop even is. I would had love to see Dom, or Swagga Los. I think it would had been dope to include Marv & Cash (@MARVNCASH) who don’t have a million and one followers but still stick to the true meaning of hip hop and entertaining their fans. just my thoughts…

  • http://im-ovoxo.tumblr.com Harman

    Why isn’t Earl Sweatshirt there are you kidding me

  • XD

    lol after 6 years of rapping hopsin is in xxl
    long time commin

  • mr. tm

    i was so fucking disappointed when i saw roscoe future nd french on this shit. hopsin don trip nd danny brown go hard, dnt kno much about macklemore or iggy, mgk nd kid ink r ok i guess. i thought action bronson, stalley, kirko bangz nd STS shouldve been on there

  • RealDee

    The Real List

    Asap Rocky
    The Kid Daytona
    Childish Gambino
    Kid Ink
    Jeury San
    Chevy Woods
    The Weeknd
    Smoke Dza
    Chip tha Ripper

    In No Order.

    • wtf

      whats with people putting singer/songwriters on theses lists. The Weeknd is in no way shape or form a rapper

  • “X”

    I still wanna know who told XXL Mag that Roscoe Dash is a freshmen?!?!?!?!

  • Cdriz

    Wtffff how did Schoolboy Q not make it!!!!!!!

  • ZeusGod

    This class has a lot of talent. Let me start with Iggy, I mean damn, she’s a female rapper I actually enjoy listening to. I dont even think I have to explain Hopsin. Frnech Montan has been bringing heat all year son. MGK, hype as fuck. Future, not too big a fan of his, but his shit that I’ve heard has impressed me. Fuck Roscoe Dash, Danny Brown’s XXX was dope. The other three I haven’t heard of.

  • chazer

    I’m glad to see Macklemore. He deserves it far more than a lot of artists out. But XV, Los, Childish, Schoolboy, and a lot of other artists heavy on blogs deserve it way more than most of these guys. Like I’ve heard of most of these artists and am an avid listener… They are nowhere on these guys levels.

  • daniel

    hahaha wack ass freshmen lest ever, the only god rapper on there is Kid Ink. The people who should be on there is SchoolBoy Q, Slim the Mobster, Dom Kennedy, Kiko Bangz, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt. I base these on there because all these guys lyrics are legit and not bs like the faggets on that got chosen on the list like Hospin, Machine Gun Kelly and Future. hahaha just my opinion, This generation is full of people with no taste for good musical talent.

    • unknown

      frank ocean isnt a rapper. Earl has put out like 2 songs in the past three years. Macklemores good, but for the most part this class is fuckin trash

  • NYNY

    I don’t know what ya’ll hearin! Sure theres a lot of shit on here. MGK sucks hard. But I was surprised by Macklemore. That cat is bringing something real unique to the game I think. Hope he keeps bringin his best!

  • JackJohnson

    No disrespect towards anyone who made the list this year, but the fans comments on here speak volumes. Personally the list has been better the last two years and the fact that some of the dopest dudes were excluded makes me seriously question the this mags cred once again. I mean I’ve only heard of like 4 or 5 on here, and Im a pretty avid hip hop fan. I could go on and rant, but to be honest its not worth my time, step your game up and make a better list next time, there are dudes that are making moves in hiphop, not saying that these dudes arent, but if youre making moves Im sure I would have heard of you by now.

  • buck

    no D-Pryde, SchoolBoy Q, or Childish Gambino WTH MEN!!!!
    That SH%T KRAY!!!

  • Charlie

    Scrubbiest fuckin class

  • Damn

    Out of all these rappers who the fuck is Iggy azealea? Ive never heard of her before this, she sounds like ke$ha rapping

  • Preston

    Uhmm no webby? were you guys high while deciding who got in?

  • asdf

    Funny that tha nearly sucked rocky’s dick to get him on there and he stilld deaded them. just goes to show how dumb this list is. not to say there isnt some talen on there


    CAN anyone give me ASAP rocky best line because really this dude is not nice at all to me. the only song i remotely like is purple swag just because im from TEXAS !!!!