Each year, the XXL
Freshmen cover shoot is one of the longest, toughest work day of the year for both the artists and the XXL
staff. Trying to fit in everything that needs to be accomplished in that one day—freestyles, cyphers, interviews, photo shoots, more interviews, and finally the cover shoot—can be a headache of organization and time management. But every year we pull it off, and sometimes it takes that type of stress level to bring out some of the quirks and funny facts about the people with whom you're working side by side. And with more Freshmen to fit on the cover this year, 12, than we've ever had before, things got turned up just that little bit more.
staff was of course on hand the entire day, watching, working and generally attempting to keep a chaotic situation as under control as possible. But amidst all the craziness, there were plenty of light moments, cool interactions and hilarious experiences. The staff at XXL
sat down after the shoot to discuss some of the fun facts we found out from the 2014 Freshmen cover shoot. —XXL Staff
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kevin gates rich homie quan
Jon Connor was the first to arrive at the shoot and spent most of his down time practicing his Freshman Freestyle
. Kevin Gates was the last one to arrive and the last to leave, and kicked it with the exhausted XXL
Staff as the cleanup began.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts kevin gates quan
Isaiah Rashad was sick the day of the shoot, drank tea all day and walked around elbow bumping people rather than shaking hands so as to avoid spreading his cold.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts isaiah rashad
Lil Bibby was told by his team that he was a Freshman when he stepped off the plane in New York the morning of the shoot. He immediately went and bought the chain that he's wearing on the cover, but it was such a long day that he wound up falling asleep at one point during the afternoon.
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Vic Mensa was the only one to show up without an entourage in tow, arriving alone with a backpack on and a fantastic attitude, ready to get straight down to work.
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chance the rapper
Chance The Rapper and his manager Pat are big fans of Chipotle, and requested that someone from the XXL team supply them with some before things really started to get underway. The order? Three hard shell tacos with barbacoa, medium and mild salsa, lettuce, cheese and white rice; a chicken bowl with brown rice, two scoops of pico de gallo and guacamole; and a cheese quesadilla.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts chance chipotle
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The XXL Staff lost Lil Durk three times the day of the shoot, and had to scramble to find where he had gone and if he had left the building. Twice, the Staff found him sitting in his dressing room, wondering why everyone was so worried; the third time he was at the bar hanging with his team.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts lil durk
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It's no surprise that Ty Dolla $ign smokes a ton of weed—he doesn't shy away from it in his music or interviews—and he was consistently rolling up and smoking down all day.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts dolla sign smoke
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See what we mean?
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The cloud of smoke followed him just about everywhere.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts dolla sign weed
chance the rapper vic mensa
Chance and Vic dipped out at one point into the hallway, where they got into a heated-yet-friendly game of Foosball. They also had a secret handshake, which you can check out at the one minute mark in our Behind The Scenes video right here
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts vic mensa chance the rapper
troy ave Freshman freestyle
Troy Ave actually brought $5,000 in $100 bills to the shoot, which he used as a prop during his Freshman Freestyle
troy ave freshmen freestyle money fun facts
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August Alsina initially wasn't sure if he wanted to jump into any of the Freshmen Cyphers, but was convinced to join in by a member of the XXL Staff.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts august alsina
Mateen Cleaves, the former Michigan State point guard who won the NCAA National Title and was the tournament's Most Outstanding Player in 2000, hails from Jon Connor's hometown of Flint, Mich. and was at the shoot as part of Connor's management team, All Varsity Music, which he co-owns with Connor.
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Ty Dolla sign
A member of the XXL staff put on YG's "Bicken Back Bein Bool" at one point, which caused Ty to jump up and start doing the Crip Walk.
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Troy brought his own champagne to the shoot, and he sat down outside his dressing room drinking Bel Aire Rose during his periods of down time.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts troy ave champagne
Chance The Rapper's right hand man, Pat The Manager, has some long, blond, luscious locks of hair, which we got a first-hand look at, though we missed a good photo op that day.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts pat hair
Bibby brought his younger brother to the shoot, who looked exactly like a taller version of the Chi-town rapper.
Freshmen photoshoot fun facts lil bibby
ty dolla sign xxl staff
There was a lot of candy for the Freshmen to pick through at the shoot, and that's where we found out that Ty Dolla $ign has a sweet tooth with a particular fondness for Airheads and Gushers.
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