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xxl freshmen best experiences
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
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27 Former XXL Freshmen Name The Best Moments From Their Freshmen Experience

Jamie McCarthy, Neilson Barnard, Getty Images (2)
Jamie McCarthy, Neilson Barnard, Getty Images (2)
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47 Rappers Who Have The Same Birthdays

One would be surprised by the number of rappers that actually share the same birthdays.

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xxl freshmen covers
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
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22 Former XXL Freshmen Have Advice For The 2014 Class

khloe kardashian solo shot
Khloe Kardashian recently separated from her husband, Lamar Odom, and seems to be single and ready to mingle…with a rapper. Over the past couple of months, the co-star of E!’s hit show Keeping Up With The Kardashians has been spotted several times hanging out with both Game and French Montana. XXL figured that since Khloe seems to have a thing for hip-hop artists, we could help her narrow down a list of some other rappers she might want to date. It’s real love and hip-hop, man.

[This article originally appeared in XXL Magazine, Issue 154, June/July 2014]
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Khloe Kardashian Might Want To Date These Rappers

freshmen selfies intro
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The 100 Best Selfies By XXL Freshmen

slaughterhouse house rules
slaughterhouse reveal artwork for house rules
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Stream Slaughterhouse’s New Mixtape, ‘House Rules’

Slaughterhouse drops off their first release since their sophomore album, Welcome to: Our House .

The 10-track mixtape features the likes of AraabMuzik on production, which is perfect for the four-headed lyrical monster to do their thing...

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XXL Freshmen 2014 featured image
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The 52 Best Albums By XXL Freshmen

xxl freshmen mixtapes

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

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The 73 Best XXL Freshmen Mixtapes

joell ortiz drop a jem

"Battle Cry"

Album: Free Agent (2011)
Joell Ortiz: "Battle Cry" was one of those special songs because my pen never stopped moving and that only happened a couple times in my career, where I put the first line down and I just can’t stop writing. "Battle Cry" was one of those moments. 'Til this day, even when I perform that, it does something to me. I watch the energy in the crowd escalate. I feel the chills and it just feels like something when the music comes on and you hear Just Blaze say, "J.B., Joell Ortiz."; something happens, and that’s just one of those records. It’s not my favorite track to perform, but it’s definitely one of my favorite moments in the show. That’s probably pound-for-pound one of my better displays of just wit, cadence, and aggression. There’s a lot of things happening in that 100 bars. "Battle Cry" is going to be one of my all time favorites.

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Joell Ortiz Shares The Stories Behind 11 Of His Best Verses

joell_skinny
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Joell Ortiz Is Releasing A New Album

Joell Ortiz is excited about releasing his new album House Slippers. The Brooklyn rapper says the LP reflects that he is in a comfortable place...

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