24kGoldn – 2020 XXL Freshman
- GOV'T NAME: Golden Landis Von Jones
- AGE: 19
- REPPIN': San Francisco
- TWITTER: @24kGoldn
- INSTAGRAM: @24kgoldn
- NOTABLE RELEASES: Singles: “Valentino,” “City of Angels,” "Mood" featuring Iann Dior; Project: Dropped Outta College
- LABEL: Records/Columbia
- WHO ELSE SHOULD BE PART OF THIS YEAR'S CLASS: “Lil Tecca. I just thought he had a really, really good year. I think Lil Tecca shoulda made it for sure. Someone else I thought that coulda been here like, Iann Dior. He had a good year.”
- INFLUENCED BY: “I think the primary influence is life. But sonically, the stuff that I grew up listening to, Michael Jackson, OutKast, the Black Eyed Peas, mixed with stuff I discovered later on, which was hip-hop. Future, Young Thug, Drake, all that. It’s like the combination of old music, early 2000s mixed with straight rap from my middle school years. And then, [at the] end of high school and in college, that’s when I started listening to more music that wasn’t just rap or hip-hop. So, like Tame Impala, pop music and stuff like that. So, rock music and Weezer, Blink-182. Just pulling inspiration from as many things as possible.”
- AS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL: “I was always really outgoing. Growing up, most of the time, I had a really big afro. So, people knew who I was all the time. I was popular because you couldn’t miss me from a mile away. With that, and having the real name Golden, like, personality just develops. Always entertaining people because people know who I am. So, I was just always goofing around in class, but I was a really hard worker.”
TRUTH ON BEING AN XXL FRESHMAN: “I vividly remember being in homeroom in 2016, when that legendary [XXL Freshman] Class came out and the freestyles came out, and watching that shit with my boys, and me being like, ‘I’m gonna get this. I’m gonna get this one day.’ And now to be here. This whole experience is so surreal because this is what I’ve been looking forward to. This is what I’ve been working at for years in the making.
This is especially important to me because coming up the way that I did, you know, it’s not traditional at all. I wasn’t signed by a bigger artist. I didn’t get a cosign. I don’t have crazy features off the rip, you know? This has been something that I’ve been working on since I was 14 years old, a sophomore in high school with the people around me, Paypa Boy, Stretch. We really built this from the ground up and we still are. All the attention that I’ve gotten thus far has been a result of my team’s hard work, my hard work and forcing this intention on us, you know?
It’s an incredible honor to be the fan choice. I feel like I have yet to get that real mainstream attention, but if you know who I am and if you fuck with me and you fuck with my music, you really fuck with me. And I think that’s why we saw the fans come out the way they did right now.”—Georgette Cline
24KGOLDN'S 2020 XXL FRESHMAN FREESTYLE
When an artist finds their calling, the time is now to act on it. In 2018, San Francisco native 24kGoldn was en route to a future in finance, which began at the renowned University of Southern California. He took a break from college and decided to commit to rap, prepared to go back to school if things didn't work out. While that was a choice that would make most people tense up, 24kGoldn's gamble worked to his benefit in a matter of months. That same year, he dropped "Ballin Like Shareef," a reference to pro basketball prospect Shareef O'Neal, and started to build up some buzz for himself.
What sets 24kGoldn apart is his pop sensibility; he can fully commit to making songs that would fit just fine in a top 40 mix, and then flip that into crafting a rap song. Pair that with his likable persona makes it easy to root for him, and his run of success illustrates that. His true big break came after he released the BlackMayo-produced track "Valentino," on Jan 25, 2019. The song, centered on living the fast life and dodging love, blew up on TikTok, climbing to No. 92 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single is now platinum and has been streamed over 205 million times on Spotify.
The 19-year-old rising artist also earned a gold plaque for his rock-tinged banger "City of Angels" and landed his highest-charting Billboard Hot 100 song to date with "Mood" featuring Iann Dior at No. 12. With two years in the game, his body of work is still growing. He released his debut project, the aptly-titled Dropped Outta College, in November of 2019. The effort features his follow-up hit, "City of Angels."
24kGoldn believed in himself so much that he left behind USC and a future as a hedge fund manager for music. His big risk paid off. This kind of upward trajectory earned him a place as a 2020 XXL Freshman, and the voters fully got behind him, voting 24k into the 10th Spot. Given a chance to shine, 24KGoldn makes his 2020 XXL Freshman freestyle count.
The former commercial actor starts his freestyle with a melodic delivery. "Let me introduce myself/Nice guy turned to a player/Hey, what's up with you, over there?/Come enjoy the view, over here," he raps.
He then starts to flex: "Passionate for fashion that I like/Real impatient, need it overnight/Six Louis bags on the flight/Two nights to get into fights/Six racks we're spendin' at the store/Overstated elegance for sure."
More thoughtful rhymes commence and he faces the realities of his rising popularity; "I got imperfections they don't know, but I can't think of anyone who don't/Lotta niggas want what I have, but I ain't really satisfied with that," 24k rhymes.
Towards the end of the freestyle, he starts to all-out croon, showing off his singing chops. "Take my hand and we can fly to the stars/It won't take too long, baby/So let's go, to El Dorado," he sings. El Dorado is a reference to his upcoming album, to be released via Records/Columbia.
Check out 24KGoldn's 2020 XXL Freshman freestyle, powered by Rap Caviar, below.—Robby Seabrook III
Some people just naturally have the "it" factor, and 24kGoldn is a strong example of that. In addition to the feel-good music like "Valentino" and "City of Angels" that has earned him fans across multiple genres and a place in the 2020 XXL Freshman Class (with enough 10th Spot votes to win), the 19-year-old San Francisco rapper has a great sense of humor. His charisma shines through in his music, but especially so on camera, where he can freely think on his feet and say whatever comes to mind. Funny enough, XXL's ABCs is all about how well an artist comes up with word associations on the spot; 24k's spin on each letter of the alphabet is a good time.
24kGoldn starts off his ABCs by shouting out Atlanta, the location of this year's XXL Freshman shoot, which went down in June. Later on, he shares more about the activities he enjoys. For D, he chooses the word defense. His reasoning? "Because when I play basketball, that's the only thing I'm good at," he says.
He then does some quick promo, and shares a cool story about his childhood once he gets to E. "E is for El Dorado, my debut album," explains 24kGoldn, born Golden Landis Von Jones. "Growing up, my mom's coworkers used to call me El Dorado, like the golden one, and now I've grown into that name." What a fire origin story.
There's even a moment he uses to get the attention of a famous celebrity. "K is for Kendall Jenner," he starts with a smile. "Just checkin' in on you, wondering how you're doing. You know, we ain't spoke in a while. But, yeah, you know, I'll see you when I see you."
The former University of Southern California student also shows respect to 2017 XXL Freshman XXXTentacion for the letter X. The late rapper, who was shot and killed in 2018, is an artist 24k appreciates for creating music without limitations. "That was a artist that I admired in the sense of him being able to defy genres and defy norms and defy standards, you know?," he expresses. "He could make a sad song and then make a Spanish song and then make some screamo shit. And that's the same type of vibes I'm on. There's no rule. This is 2020. You can do whatever the fuck you want as long as somebody likes it."
Check out the rest of 24kGoldn's ABCs below.—R.S. III
24KGOLDN, MULATTO, CALBOY AND FIVIO FOREIGN'S 2020 XXL FRESHMAN CYPHER
When you’re putting on for the rap game, it’s imperative that you have representation from the most popular regions. In this year’s 2020 XXL Freshman cypher, the talent in all four musical goldmines is illustrated. Mulatto holds it down for Atlanta, 24kGoldn reps for the West Coast, Fivio Foreign walks with New York City’s drip by his side like a pocket and Calboy is grounded by his roots in Chicago.
Over a riveting string-led beat crafted by Grammy Award-nominated, South Carolina-bred producer Jetsonmade, who’s been racking up plaques like a set of molars that sat overnight, the group feeds off each other’s energy in each bar and showcases their unique rap styles that landed them on this year’s Freshman cover.
Following “baow” and “viral” ad-libs ringing from Fivio in the background, ATL's Mulatto is the ace who sets the pace. She kisses the beat and proceeds by putting it in a body bag, spitting about her ability to rap on the mic and to guys like her co-freshman Fivio.
“I don’t gotta rap about sex/But this shit way too good not to brag on/I ain’t even fuck a rap nigga yet, but if Fivio want to then I ain’t gon’ pass on ’em/Yeah, bitch, I get my mack on/He ain’t trickin’, I skip ’em like bad songs/I just dropped a hundred on jewelry during a pandemic, yeah, my money that long," she rhymes.
Next, the pivot is to the West for 24kGoldn’s turn. The San Francisco rapper and XXL Freshman 10th spot winner energetically drops in with the same sing-song flow that turned “Valentino” and the Iann Dior-featured “Mood” into Billboard chart-climbing songs and viral hits. In his vibrant-colored outfit and bell bottom jeans, he proclaims that he’s undeniable right now and makes note that everyone else in the cypher is, too.
“Got your girl TikTokin' to my shit/I see Fivi in the cut, Woo walkin' in this bitch/I see Cal gettin’ wild, see the style too legit/And Mulatto she a queen, put a crown on that head,” he delivers.
Brooklyn's own Fivio Foreign taps in after, hitting a slight side to side jig in his silk designer drip as he steadily finds his pocket. With the innate ability to make everything catchy, he looks over and acknowledges Mulatto’s earlier name-drop before vowing to keep his haters on high alert.
“I sit in the seat and I catch it if she throw it to me/They fallin' asleep, but I never let ’em fumble the dream/Yeah, and I’ll never let ’em humble the king/Look, that’s coming from me, I call up movers and they coming at three, glttt, baow,” he raps.
Lastly, we slide to Calboy, who with Polo G, joins the rich lineage of Chicago rappers that have made the XXL Freshman list. The platinum-selling rapper puts his head down and gets right to business, addressing the insomnia that comes with stacking money the long way. Even sleep-deprived, he reminds people that he’s awake enough to make that Nina sing if it must.
“I ain’t been getting no sleep ’cause nigga I’m trappin' a lot, aye/No, I’m not talkin’ ’bout Polo, but niggas be cappin’ a lot, aye/I gotta ride with that Nina ’cause niggas be yappin’ a lot, aye/I got some aim with that glizzy I’ll blow his lil cap off his top, for real” he serves.
As the entrancing beat rides out, Fivio Foreign confidently declares that no one is touching this class: “2020 Freshman, this the best one.”
Watch Mulatto, 24kGoldn, Fivio Foreign and Calboy’s 2020 XXL Freshman cypher below.—Kemet High
See the 2020 XXL Freshman Class