Our 2015 XXL Freshman Class is in the books, marking the eighth cover in our annual Freshman list. Over the years, we've experimented with different numbers of cover stars (11 for 2011; two R&B artists for 2014) and creative takes on the classroom theme, all the while watching the careers of each Freshman either take off into the stratosphere, bolster their resumes with consistent projects or fizzle out into obscurity after an initial buzz. But now we're here to document every side of the Freshman experience from all of the artists we've had on the annual cover in the past eight years, breaking it all down by the numbers.

How many Freshmen had No. 1 albums? Which city has produced the most Freshmen? How many Freshmen were signed to deals before the cover, and how many were quickly snapped up after? Check out our breakdown of the XXL Freshman Classes by the numbers and meet our 2015 Class—featuring  Fetty WapDeJ LoafVince StaplesTinkGoldLinkShy GlizzyK CampOG MacoRaury and fan-voted 10th spot winner Kidd Kiddright here.


Total Number Of Freshmen: 84

Photo Credit: Tom Medvedich


Teenagers: 7

B.o.B, Lil Twist, Diggy Simmons, Mac Miller, Lil Bibby, Joey Bada$$, Raury

Photo Credit: Travis Shinn


Under 21: 13

B.o.B, Lil Twist, Diggy Simmons, Mac Miller, Ace Hood, Joey Bada$$, Travi$ Scott, Chief Keef, YG, Lil Bibby, Vic Mensa, Raury, Tink


21 Years Old When Picked: 12

Cory Gunz, Charles Hamilton, Fashawn, Lil B, Iggy Azalea, Machine Gun Kelly, Roscoe Dash, Angel Haze, August Alsina, Chance The Rapper, Lil Durk, Vince Staples


Oldest: Jarren Benton, 32

Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine


Youngest: Diggy Simmons, 15

Photo Credit: Tom Medvedich


Average Age of 2015 XXL Freshmen: 22.6


Average Age of XXL Freshmen: 24.0


Appeared On More Than One XXL Cover: 15

Young Dro, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, Lupe Fiasco, Wale, OJ Da Juiceman, Yelawolf, Pill, Meek Mill, Kendrick Lamar, French Montana, Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Kidd Kidd


Appeared On The Most XXL Covers: Kendrick Lamar, 4


Related To Famous People: 3

Diggy Simmons (son of Rev Run)
Cory Gunz (son of Peter Gunz)
Future (cousin of Rico Wade from the Dungeon Family)


Born Outside The US: 5

J. Cole, Germany
Iggy Azalea, Australia
Trinidad Jame$, Trinidad & Tobago
French Montana, Morocco
ScHoolboy Q, Germany

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Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers

Rappers Who Turned Down Being A Freshman: 7

Jay Electronica, Drake, Nicki Minaj, A$AP Rocky, Earl Sweatshirt, Vado, Young Thug

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New York Mets v Atlanta Braves

City With The Most Freshmen: Atlanta, 13

Cities With The Second Most: New York and Los Angeles, 11 apiece


State With The Most Freshmen: California, 14


30 And Over When Picked: 6

Plies, Saigon, Crooked I, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Jarren Benton


Signed To Major Labels When Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 52


Signed To Independent Labels When Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 24

Photo Credit: Tom Medvedich


Signed To Deals After Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 15

Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, Curren$y, Blu, Kid Cudi, Mickey Factz, Cory Gunz, Wiz Khalifa, Freddie Gibbs, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Ink, Action Bronson, Logic, Iggy Azalea, Vic Mensa


Signed To Interscope Records When Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 13

Rich Boy, Charles Hamilton, Wale, Yelawolf, French Montana, Iggy Azalea, Don Trip, Roscoe Dash, Machine Gun Kelly, Chief Keef, ScHoolboy Q, Jon Connor, K Camp


Signed To Atlantic Records When Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 10

Lupe Fiasco, Plies, Young Dro, Saigon, B.o.B, Donnis, Diggy Simmons, Kirko Bangz, Ty Dolla $ign, Kevin Gates


Signed To Def Jam Recordings When Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 7

Big Sean, CyHi The Prynce, Big K.R.I.T., YG, August Alsina, Lil Durk, Vince Staples


Signed To Warner Bros. Records When Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 6

Lil Boosie, Jay Rock, OJ Da Juiceman, Pill, Meek Mill, Action Bronson


Signed To Epic Records When Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 4

Nipsey Hu$$le, Future, Travi$ Scott, Tink


Signed To Universal Republic Records When Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 3

Asher Roth, Lil Twist, Angel Haze


Signed To Columbia Records When Their Cover Hit Newsstands: 3

J. Cole, DeJ Loaf, Raury


Signed By A Major Artist Before Being A Freshman: 15

Diddy: Gorilla Zoe, French Montana and Machine Gun Kelly
Eminem: Yelawolf
Kanye West: Big Sean and CyHi The Prynce
Rick Ross: Meek Mill
Lil Wayne: Lil Twist
T.I.: Young Dro and B.o.B
Jay Z: J. Cole
Gucci Mane: OJ Da Juiceman
French Montana: Lil Durk
Dr. Dre: Jon Connor
G-Unit: Kidd Kidd

Photo Credit: Josh Madsen


Lost Major Deals Since Their Cover: 9

Blu, Pill, Wale, Charles Hamilton, Donnis, Rich Boy, Don Trip, Gorilla Zoe, Trinidad Jame$, Chief Keef


Re-Signed To Major After Losing Their Deal: 3

Wale, Pill, Charles Hamilton

Photo Credit: Travis Shinn


Asked To Be Let Go From Label: 4

Papoose, Saigon, Jay Rock, Nipsey Hu$$le


Independent Label With The Most Freshmen: Top Dawg Entertainment, 5

Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad

Photo Credit: Lauren Gesswein


Wearing Plaid On The Cover: 7

Kevin Gates, Blu, Mac Miller, Nipsey Hu$$le, J. Cole, Vince Staples, GoldLink

Photo Credit: Travis Shinn


Wearing Hats On The Cover: 33

Saigon, Plies, Rich Boy, Gorilla Zoe, Joell Ortiz, Papoose, Wale, Blu, Curren$y, J. Cole, Pill, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Donnis, Meek Mill, Mac Miller, Yelawolf, Hopsin Future, Kid Ink, French Montana, Machine Gun Kelly, Joey Bada$$, ScHoolboy Q, Angel Haze, Logic, Travi$ Scott, Rich Homie Quan, Chance The Rapper, Jarren Benton, Jon Connor, K Camp, Raury


Certified Gold Singles: 35

Kid Cudi's "Up Up & Away," "Erase Me" and "Marijuana"
Plies' "Hypnotized" and "Bust It Baby, Pt. 2"
Big Sean's “Beware” and "My Last"
Mac Miller's "Knock Knock," "Loud" and "Party On Fifth Ave"
J. Cole's "Can't Get Enough" and "Crooked Smile"
Kendrick Lamar's "Poetic Justice" and "Swimming Pools (Drank)"
Wale's "Lotus Flower Bomb"
B.o.B's "Don't Let Me Fall" and "We Still In This Bitch"
Wiz Khalifa's "Remember You," "Say Yeah" and "On My Level"
Machine Gun Kelly's "Wild Boy"
Future's "Magic (Remix)"
Kid Ink's "Main Chick," “Body Language” and “Hell & Back”
Hopsin’s “Sag My Pants” and “Ill Mind of Hopsin 5”
Iggy Azalea’s “Change Your Life”
August Alsina's "Ghetto" and “No Love”
Rich Homie Quan’s “Type Of Way”
Ty Dolla $ign’s “Or Nah” and “Paranoid”
DeJ Loaf’s “Try Me”
K Camp’s “Cut Her Off”


Certified Platinum Singles: 28

Lupe Fiasco's "Superstar" and "Battle Scars"
Rich Boy's "Throw Some D's"
Plies' "Shawty"
Kid Cudi's "Soundtrack To My Life"
Asher Roth's "I Love College"
Ace Hood’s “Bugatti”
J. Cole's "Power Trip"
Wale’s “Bad”
Wiz Khalifa's "When I'm Gone" and "Roll Up"
Big Sean’s "Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay," “Blessings” and “Guap”
B.o.B's "Strange Clouds," “Headband” and "So Good"
Mac Miller's "Donald Trump"
Future's "Turn On The Lights"
YG's "My Nigga" and “Who Do You Love”
French Montana's "Pop That"
Iggy Azalea’s “Work” and “Beg For It”
Kirko Bangz's "Drank In My Cup"
August Alsina's "I Luv This Shit"
Rich Homie Quan/Rich Gang’s “Lifestyle”
Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen”


Certified Multi-Platinum Singles: 21

B.o.B's "Nothin' On You," "Airplanes" and "Magic"
Wiz Khalifa's "Black And Yellow," "Work Hard, Play Hard," “See You Again,” "No Sleep" and "Young, Wild & Free"
Macklemore's "Thrift Shop," "Same Love" and "Can't Hold Us"
Lupe Fiasco's "The Show Goes On"
Young Dro's "Shoulder Lean"
Kid Cudi's "Day 'N' Nite" and "Pursuit Of Happiness (Nightmare)"
J. Cole's "Work Out"
Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$)” and “I Don’t Fuck With You”
Kid Ink's "Show Me"
Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and “Black Widow”


Most Albums: Curren$y, 6
Jet Files (2009) Pilot Talk (2010), Pilot Talk II (2010), Weekend At Burnie’s (2011), The Stoned Immaculate (2012), Pilot Talk III (2015)

Lupe Fiasco, 5 [Food & Liquor (2006), Lupe Fiasco's The Cool (2007), Lasers (2011), Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 (2012), Tetsuo & Youth (2015)]
Plies and Kid Cudi, 4 [Plies, The Real Testament (2007), Definition Of Real (2008), Da REAList (2008), Goon Affiliated (2010); Kid Cudi's Man On The Moon: The End Of Day (2009), Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager (2010), Indicud (2013), Satellite Flight: The Journey To Mother Moon (2014)]


Highest First-Week Sales By A Freshman: J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive (371,000)

Photo Credit: Travis Shinn


No. 1 Singles On Billboard Hot 100 Chart: 7

B.o.B's "Nothin' On You"
Wiz Khalifa's "Black And Yellow" and “See You Again”
Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us"
Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”
Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood (Remix)” featuring Kendrick Lamar

Photo Credit: Travis Shinn


No. 1 Singles On R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart: 10

Big Sean's "Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay" and “I Don’t Fuck With You”; Kanye West’s “Mercy” featuring Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz
Wale's "Lotus Flower Bomb"
Young Dro's "Shoulder Lean"
Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us"
Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again”
Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and “Beg For It”

Photo Credit: Lauren Gesswein


Top 10 Singles On Billboard Hot 100 Chart (That Didn’t Hit No. 1): 23

Kid Cudi's "Day 'N' Night"
Plies' "Shawty" and "Bust It Baby, Pt. 2"
Big Sean's "Dance (A$$)"
B.o.B's "Airplanes," "Magic" and "Strange Clouds"
Young Dro's "Shoulder Lean"
Rich Boy's "Throw Some D's"
Lupe Fiasco's "Superstar" and "The Show Goes On"
Wiz Khalifa's "Young, Wild And Free," "No Sleep," Maroon 5’s “Payphone” featuring Wiz Khalifa and T-Pain’s “5 O’Clock” featuring Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen
Ariana Grande’s “Problem” featuring Iggy Azalea
Jeremih’s “Don’t Tell ’Em” featuring YG
A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems” featuring Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar
Lil Wayne’s “Love Me” featuring Drake and Future
Ariana Grande’s “The Way” featuring Mac Miller
Lil Wayne’s “6 Foot 7 Foot” featuring Cory Gunz
Webbie’s “Independent” featuring Lil Boosie and Lil Phat
Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen”


Freshmen With The Most Top 10 Singles As Lead Artist: B.o.B and Wiz Khalifa, 4 apiece

B.o.B’s "Nothin' On You," "Airplanes," "Strange Clouds" and "Magic"
Wiz Khalifa’s “Black And Yellow,” “Young, Wild And Free,” “No Sleep” and “See You Again”


No. 1 Albums On Billboard 200 Chart: 13 (10 Freshmen)

J. Cole's Cole World: The Sideline Story (2011), Born Sinner (2013) and 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014)
B.o.B's The Adventures Of Bobby Ray (2011)
Lupe Fiasco's Lasers (2011)
Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park (2011)
Wale's The Gifted (2013) and The Album About Nothing (2015)
ScHoolboy Q's Oxymoron (2014)
Wiz Khalifa’s Blacc Hollywood (2014)
Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)
Big Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise (2015)
Meek Mill's Dreams Worth More Than Money (2015)

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Certified Gold Albums: 12 (7 Freshmen)

Plies' Tha Real Testament (2007) and Definition Of Real (2008)
Kid Cudi's Man On The Moon: The End Of Day (2009) and Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (2010)
Wiz Khalifa's Rolling Papers (2011)
J. Cole's Cole World: The Sideline Story (2011), Born Sinner (2013) and 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014)
B.o.B's The Adventures Of Bobby Ray (2011)
Lupe Fiasco's Lasers (2011) and The Cool (2007)
Iggy Azalea’s The New Classic (2014)


Freshmen With Certified Platinum Albums: 2

Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)
Macklemore's The Heist (2012)


Freshmen With Grammy Nominations: 12

Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B, Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, Plies, Macklemore, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, Big Sean, Iggy Azalea, ScHoolboy Q

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56th GRAMMY Awards - Press Room

Freshmen With Grammy Wins: 4

Macklemore (4)
Kendrick Lamar (2)
Kid Cudi (2)
Lupe Fiasco