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19 Rappers’ Favorite Songs From A Member Of Their Generation

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Hip-hop has come a long way since its beginnings 40 years ago, and its influence has spread out on a global level. Now, another generation of rappers and producers is emerging to take hip-hop further into the next decade, and they've taken the influences of those that walked in the same shoes in the past 20 years and modernized it for what's coming next. But for each of these artists, there has been one song or album that changed their lives and made them want to have a career in hip-hop. With that in mind, XXL asked 23 rappers and producers to pinpoint the one song or album that changed their lives in a way that pushed them to think differently, to relate to their music or to enter hip-hop at all in the first place. —XXL Staff

23 Rappers And Producers On The Music That Changed Their Lives

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The XXL Freshmen photo shoot is done all in one long, exhausting, grueling day, where each of the Freshmen delivers their freestyles and cyphers, conducts multiple interviews, and does their individual photo shoots before everyone comes together for the final cover shot. And for our 62 former Freshmen—as well as our 12 new artists on the cover this year—it can be the longest, yet most rewarding, day of their career to that point. Last week XXL asked 22 former Freshmen for advice that they could give to the current XXL Freshmen, and today we've asked 27 of our former cover stars to share the best moments of their experience at the cover shoot and as a Freshman overall. —As Told To Eric Diep, Miranda Johnson, Emmanuel C.M. and Dan Rys

27 Former XXL Freshmen Name The Best Moments From Their Freshmen Experience

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2014 marks the seventh year in a row that XXL has rolled out its annual Freshman Class, acknowledging the top up-and-coming rappers in the game that particular year. With 62 Freshmen having graced the cover since 2008, there have been plenty of rappers who have gone on to superstardom, selling millions of records and grabbing Grammys and VMAs alongside the top names in the business, and others who haven't quite been able to capitalize on the momentum they'd built before becoming a Freshman.

This year, 12 more artists join the ranks of XXL's Freshmen alums, and they've got a big year ahead of themselves breaking into the mainstream and becoming household names in their own right. But the cover itself won't guarantee success; it's the hard work that goes into building on its momentum that can make or break a star. With that in mind, we asked 22 former XXL Freshmen to share any advice they have for this year's crop of talent. Keep it movin'. —Eric Diep, Miranda Johnson, Emmanuel C.M. and Dan Rys

22 Former XXL Freshmen Have Advice For The 2014 Class

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It's Thursday, which means it's practically already the 4th of July. Whatever plans you've got going on, the next three days officially mark the start of the best part of summer. That means backyard hangouts, weekend block parties and all other wild antics that crop up when the weather gets warm will feature some of your favorite dishes. On the flip side, if you are hosting any one of those public gatherings, let’s hope you have all the necessary tunes to create the perfect playlist. For some suggestions, we asked 14 rappers to give us their favorite songs to play at a BBQ. From known classics like "Summertime" to newer joints like "Move That Dope," here are 21 tracks from 14 rappers that are ideal for an outdoor party. Time to sit back and unwind. —XXL Staff

14 Rappers Name Their Favorite Summer BBQ Songs


Blu Misses The Mark On ‘Good To Be Home’

Jay Z’s stance on his only double album, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, is “too many songs,” and the same applies to Blu’s Good To Be Home.


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Category: Music, Reviews Tags: ,
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The 100 Best Selfies By XXL Freshmen


Stream DJ Revolution’s ‘Unearthed’ LP Featuring Pharoahe Monch, Kool G Rap, Large Professor & More

Brooklyn based indie imprint, Coalmine Records commemorates a decade in the game by dropping compilation Unearthed. Arranged by DJ Revolution of The World Famous Wake Up Show, the project boasts appearances from Pharoahe Monch, Kool G Rap, Large Professor, The Artifacts, Blu, Sean Price, Billy Danze (of M...

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The 52 Best Albums By XXL Freshmen

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There’s a great deal of preparation that goes into choosing XXL Freshman. Research. Attending shows. Debates over whom are the hottest. However, sometimes the deciding factor is over who has the streets talking with their mixtapes.

Tapes are the best way to gauge how your music is doing. It’s a melting pot of your talents to showcase your progress, as well as who you align yourself with in the rap industry. A lot of the times, tapes that have an MC rapping over other people’s instrumentals catapulted them into the conversation of who’s next. Few of our Freshman picks like Jon Connor and Fashawn have made undeniable classics in the underground by jumping on beats rapped on by Jay Z and Nas.

There are plenty of tapes to choose from when highlighting the best mixtapes by XXL Freshman. Some rappers have year’s worth of mixtape before their debut albums, while others have made a dent in the rap game by having one extremely well received release. The formula for what a mixtape is these days keeps changing rapidly. To be clear though, Isaiah Rashad doesn’t have tape out, so he is excluded from this list. We still fuck with Cilvia Demo heavy.

So, with that said, from Lil Boosie to J. Cole, these are The 73 Best XXL Freshmen Mixtapes.—Complied By Eric Diep, Dan Rys, Marvin Jules And Jeffrey Whaley


The 73 Best XXL Freshmen Mixtapes

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