Iann Dior – 2021 XXL Freshman
- GOV'T NAME: Michael Iann Olmo
- AGE: 22
- REPPIN': Arecibo, Puerto Rico and Corpus Christi, Texas
- TWITTER: @ianndior
- INSTAGRAM: @ianndior
- TIKTOK: @ianndior
- NOTABLE RELEASES: Singles: “Emotions,” “Gone Girl” featuring Trippie Redd, “Sick and Tired” featuring Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker, “Pretty Girls,” “Shots in the Dark” featuring Trippie Redd; Mixtape: Nothings Ever Good Enough; EP: I’m Gone; Album: Industry Plant; Guest Appearances: 24kGoldn’s “Mood,” 24kGoldn’s “Mood (Remix)” featuring Justin Bieber and J Balvin, Clean Bandit’s “Higher”
- LABEL: 10K Projects
- CURRENTLY WORKING ON: As-yet-untitled sophomore album due this summer
- WHO ELSE SHOULD BE PART OF THIS YEAR'S CLASS: “Definitely [The Kid] Laroi. Laroi should definitely be here.”
- INFLUENCED BY: “I really fuck with Kid Cudi. He takes it in directions that I love to take it in, so I’m a big fan of his work. And J. Cole, too. I love the storytelling. If you tell a story in a song, then I really fuck with it.”
- AS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL: “As a freshman in high school, I was the kid with the hoodie on and the headphones in. I wasn’t talking to nobody. I hated being at school, period. But there was one class that I fucked with and it was English. For some reason, I always liked to read and I liked writing. That was like the only class I was passing. Every other class, I was just not giving a fuck.”
[My mixtape] Nothings Ever Good Enough was the first one, so I think that put me in the right position [to be here]. And then, I came out with Industry Plant, which had ‘Gone Girl’ on it and that was another song that boosted me up. But I think the highlight of last year was ‘Mood.’ That’s definitely a big part of what’s going on right now.
We got our first No. 1 [with ‘Mood’]. I think this year, we’re in a whole different world, so it’s nice to be a part of XXL this year. I’m just unique in my own ways. I don’t really be paying attention to what everybody else is doing. But, I’m a fashion god. I like fashion. I just feel like I bring a different energy... I think just staying true to who you are will take you places that you’ve never even imagined.
Shout-out to my fans. I wouldn’t be here without you guys, so let’s keep pushing.”—Kemet High
IANN DIOR'S ABCs
Unless it’s heard in the impassioned storytelling of songs like “Emotions” and “Gone Girl” featuring Trippie Redd, Iann Dior doesn’t say too much. He often exists in his own world. However, when the Puerto Rico-born, Corpus Christi, Texas-bred artist does choose to flip his thoughts inside out, the relatability in his music is just as consistent on camera. Take a look at the 2021 XXL Freshman's ABCs to get familiar.
Without any hesitation, Iann Dior reveals off the cuff that he appropriately prefers to have cushion for the pushing. “I’m not going to be cliche and say bitches for B.” he starts before adding, “But I’ll say big booty bitches because that’s what I like.”
The 22-year-old gold-selling rhymer uses the next string of characters to identify his love for the cash flow for C and staying drippy. He even explains how that equates to a lot of commas on his price tags. For E, he punches in with the word expensive. “’Cause all my clothes be expensive," Iann shares. "I’m very bougie." Neighboring that, he matches F with the word fashion. “’Cause that’s a big part of my life.”
Midway through the pack, he shamelessly flexes the music that helped secure him a spot in the 2021 XXL Freshman Class. “M stands for ‘Mood’ and I ain’t even gotta say why,” he says of his Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 collaboration with 2020 XXL Freshman 10th Spot winner 24kGoldn. Then for N, Iann makes mention of his debut project, Nothings Ever Good Enough. “It was my first project that I put out and it was a statement piece for me,” he maintains.
Fully embedded into the second half of the stack, Iann mentions that he’s indeed quiet when coming up with a word for Q. He may not make a lot of noise outside of the booth, but the engines and wheels of Ferraris, Lamborghini Huracáns, McLarens and more sure do when he’s racing them in the streets, explained once he arrives at the letter R.
Before wrapping things up, the genre-defier uses the letter W to express being back outside. “Hopefully we’re back at the shows very soon and I get to see you guys,” Iann conveys It’s safe to say that fans are just as eager to reverse this elongated concert withdrawal. It’s been tough enough.
Watch Iann Dior talk about his love for cars, clothes and currency below in his version of the ABCs.
IANN DIOR'S TOP FIVE FAVORITE RAPPERS
Asking someone to name their favorite artists is a complicated task. Sometimes, the salute comes from the catalog quality. Perhaps it’s a stylistic component that makes them reign supreme. Possibly, the rationale could fall squarely in having an undeniable imprint on the culture. When Iann Dior offers his handful of favorite artists to XXL, he does so by doubling down on each of those notions.
The next person Iann mentions is one of a Cole’s direct peers. And honestly, a man who truly is on cruise control in a lane of his own, whether you like it or not. “Two has to be Drake," Iann shares. "He’s that guy. We all know that.”
Though rappers are the focus of this list, the genre-defying artist, who both sings and raps, does sneak in one of the game’s most favored R&B voices, too. “Three, Frank Ocean, I love him,” Iann says surely. “His aesthetic is different than everybody else's.”
The last two names to make the cut are the heads and tails of The Throne. First out of the duo comes Kanye West. Like many of ’Ye’s day one fans, his 808s & Heartbreak album is the effort that sealed the deal. “I feel like that was a very revolutionary album for everybody,” Iann says of Kanye's Auto-Tuned-laced game changer.
Jay-Z’s name follows, completing Iann's list on a high note. “Jay would be No. 5 because my dad introduced him to me,” Iann expresses. As the story goes, Iann's mother wasn’t big on profanity, so listening to Hov's The Blueprint album had to be made on the low. Iann's dad put him on to that LP. “He also signed J. Cole, so I appreciate him for that, too,” the “Mood” artist adds.
Watch Iann Dior plug in his top five favorite rappers and singers below.
IANN DIOR'S TOP FIVE FAVORITE HIP-HOP ALBUMS
Arresting narratives have always had an allure on Iann Dior. As someone who possesses a golden pen that flipped pages of his poetry into gold and platinum-selling songs, it comes as no surprise that projects containing plenty of lucid storytelling have earned the stamp of approval in this 2021 XXL Freshman's list of his top five favorite hip-hop albums.
For many J. Cole fans like Iann, the audio recollections of Cole’s adolescence power the reasoning behind 2014 Forest Hills Drive getting its due respect in this all-time discussion. “In high school, that had a big impact on me,” Iann rationalizes.
Immediately following with magnus opus-type quality on the table, the hip-hop and pop genre bender, who topped the Billboard Hot 100 as a feature on 24kGoldn's "Mood" last year, salutes Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 sophomore masterpiece, good kid, m.A.A.D. city second. “It was just so different,” he defends. “There was nothing like it whenever it came out."
For the third spot, Iann, a Puerto Rico-born, Texas-bred artist, discusses the muscle in Jay-Z’s top-charting effort The Blueprint, which left a nostalgic imprint on Iann's mind. His father would play the album for Iann as a kid. “That was the first rap album that I ever got into,” he says of the Billboard 200 No. 1-selling effort.
Drake’s Nothing Was The Same secures the fourth place in Iann's list. Supporters of Drizzy since his rookie days would agree with Iann, who believes that the 15-track fireball is Drake's “best album.”
Swapping genres to close out his top five, the 22-year-old entertainer concludes his choices with Frank Ocean’s watery-eyed classic Blond. “I loved it from top to bottom and that’s very hard for me to encounter when I’m listening to an album,” he explains.
Watch Iann Dior name his top five favorite hip-hop albums of all time below.