Go Behind the Scenes of the 2019 XXL Freshman Class Cover Shoot
After plenty of meetings and brainstorming, the 2019 XXL Freshman Class has arrived. This year, the 12th class in the Freshman franchise adds a new crop of names to a history that includes rap stars like J. Cole, Meek Mill, Future, Lil Uzi Vert and more.
This current class of Freshmen features artists from all over the U.S. DaBaby reps the city of Charlotte, N.C., which is a hop, skip and a jump from Largo, Md., Rico Nasty's stomping grounds. YBN Cordae isn't too far away either, spending his youth in Suitland, Md., making him the second DMV rapper on this year's cover. YSL's own Gunna, the College Park, Ga. hit-making product, and YK Osiris, the Jacksonville, Fla. singer with a few hits under his belt (and more in his future), hold it down on the Southwest side of the map.
Further North, Tierra Whack built her name up in Philadelphia while Megan Thee Stallion honed her craft in Houston. Comethazine, coming out of East St. Louis, Ill., is the only Midwestern rapper on this year's list. Rounding out the class are Blueface (the 10th spot winner), Roddy Ricch and Lil Mosey, all artists from the West Coast— Blueface and Roddy represent Los Angeles and Compton, respectively, while Mosey comes from Seattle.
This behind-the-scenes video shows the hustle and bustle that goes into a day of shooting the next set of hip-hop's stars for the XXL Freshman franchise. These are names that you'll hear everywhere, if you haven't already. In between shots of XXL staff, video crews and the artists' teams, you'll see your favorite Freshmen kicking it with each other and enjoying this once-in-a lifetime moment together.
The 11 artists all came together on April 22 in DSG Studios, in midtown Manhattan, right near the water on the West Side. In a jam-packed day that features cyphers, freestyles, on and off-camera interviews and more, the artists still found time to chill and really take in the moment. Rappers who were friends before this Freshman opportunity, like Gunna and Roddy Ricch, caught up with each other, while new friendships were formed amongst rap's newest names.
Handling the cyphers this year is Florida's own DJ Scheme, who held court behind the turntables while keeping everyone on track.
As we do each year, XXL teamed up the best and brightest in hip-hop to create a balanced view of how the genre sounds these days. Going forward, great things await these 11 artists.
Congrats to the 2019 XXL Freshman Class: Blueface, Comethazine, Roddy Ricch, Tierra Whack, Gunna, Rico Nasty, YK Osiris, Megan Thee Stallion, YBN Cordae, Lil Mosey and DaBaby.
See Photos of Every XXL Freshman Ever Inducted Into the Freshman Class Over the Years