Kali – 2022 XXL Freshman
- GOV'T NAME: Kaliya Ross
- AGE: 21
- REPPIN': Atlanta
- TWITTER: @kaliii
- INSTAGRAM: @kaliii
- TIKTOK: @kaliyaashley
- NOTABLE RELEASES: Songs: “MMM MMM” featuring ATL Jacob, “Do a Bitch,” “Eat It Up” featuring BIA; EP: Toxic Chocolate; Mixtape: This Why They Mad Now; Guest Appearances: Saucy Santana’s “Ill Nana,” DJ Chose’s “Where She At” featuring KenTheMan, Enchanting’s “Track & Field”
- LABEL: Atlantic Records
- CURRENTLY WORKING ON: Toxic Chocolate deluxe, date to be determined.
- WHO ELSE SHOULD BE PART OF THIS YEAR'S CLASS: “Definitely KenTheMan. Monaleo definitely deserves it. I feel like she’s been doing her thing this year just like me. So has Tay Money. I always pay attention to other rap girls because I’m a rap girl and I want to support. I definitely feel like there should be more rap females this year.”
- INFLUENCED BY: “I’m definitely influenced by Nicki [Minaj]. I love how she’s always unapologetically herself. She’s a fire sign like me and I love that. Missy Elliott. I’m always inspired by creativity and creating your own trends. Missy stood out for me. Those were the two for me: her visuals and her delivery. Also, Aaliyah. I love how she was very chill, her outfits and stuff. I really appreciate how she was herself.”
- AS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL:“I was overlooked. Bullied. I ain’t have no friends. In high school, girls is mean. If you’re not the cutest, they don’t want to be your friend. I also had strict parents, so I wasn’t the girl that could go to parties and have sleepovers. I used to play soccer. I thought I was going to go to the World Cup and those were my goals during that time.
I was awkward. I wanted to be like Nicki Minaj, rapping all extra fast and I had the different gloves on my hands. My hair was super short and looked like a mushroom. People used to call me Chief Keef and Waka Flocka. Walk down the hallway and it was like, ‘Waka Flocka, shake your head. Chief Keef, shake your head.’ They was mean to your girl.”
TRUTH ON BEING AN XXL FRESHMAN: “Being an XXL Freshman, this is like a stamp, you know? It’s like history. It’s like on my passport. This is a stop I need to make so people will be like, ‘Oh yeah, she was working.’ So, to be considered somebody that’s going up, I feel like you have to get in XXL. I’ve been watching since I was little. This is like a dream and a goal for me to be like, ‘OK, you really doing your thing.’
I feel like I bring a different look. My tone is different and I’m really chill and laid-back, but I just go so hard. You don’t expect it. I look like a singer. I look like a model. [For the cypher], I’m finna rap like a gangsta. It’s three guys with me right now. I know they looking at me like, ‘This girl, she finna sing some R&B,’ but I’m finna talk about totin’ that shit. OK?
I have progressed in, first of all, the way that I rap and how I’ve found myself. This is that perfect moment for me. I’m fully myself. I know who I am as an artist. I know how I want to show the world who Kali is. So, this is most definitely the perfect year for me to be a Freshman.”
KALI'S 2022 XXL FRESHMAN FREESTYLE
Never judge a rhyme book by its cover and never underestimate the power of a strong woman with a inimitable work ethic on her way to getting the bag. Twenty-one-year-old Atlanta rhymer Kali is the personification of both of those sentiments, and she drives that point all the way home in her 2022 XXL Freshman freestyle.
2022 XXL Freshman Kali’s blend of feminine-yet-hard raps and witty wordplay is evident in her Freshman freestyle. She packs it all into a calculated, even-keeled cadence. The Toxic Chocolate rhymer wants all the smoke while looking glamorous with natural dreads she’s been growing since age 14, and rocking her iced-out, signature "Kali" chain.
"Double X-L my body, they want me to slide in this bitch/Don’t bring your hoe around me ’cause I might slide in your bitch," Kali spits, acknowledging her 2022 XXL Freshman status. "Shit, if she lucky, he want to fuck, too, so she better not trust me/500K and it’s stuffed in a duffy/It’s been five days and he sayin’ he love me/That nigga ain’t fuck, he barely hugged me."
From there, the California-born, Atlanta-bred spitter switches up the flow completely. She continues, "Running shit from Cali to the A/Real estate, I put bitches in they place/Why brag when it’s all in they face?/I need a scammer, B-O-A to Chase/Real shooter, when he spray, it ain’t mace/Bitch say I’m ugly, she must be laced, no Arrogant Tae/No bitch better, I’m arrogant, bae/That’s why he just shut up and do what I say."
In a world where things like social media influence and physical appearance often take precedent over talent, Kali is clear that it starts with the bars for her. The rap game isn’t just a vehicle for other avenues of success. That mentality, mixed with a flow that has been refined throughout most of her life is the exact recipe Kali cooked up in order to land a spot in the 2022 XXL Freshman Class.
Kali's been rapping since she was 12 years old. When she was in the fifth grade, the then-tween wanted her own room, but the only other available spot in the house was the one in which her stepfather used to make beats. With her request, her pops hit her with a hip-hop proposition: write and record a bunch of songs and the room was hers. She completed the challenge within a month, no longer had to share a room with her sibling and the rest is hip-hop history.
Just about a decade later, Kali is signed to Atlantic Records and released her new Toxic Chocolate EP this year. Songs like "Eat It Up" featuring BIA and "UonU" with Yung Bleu showcase her elevation. Now, she's a member of the 2022 XXL Freshman Class and has officially begun cementing her legacy in the rap game.
Peep Kali’s Freshman freestyle, powered by Puma, in the video below.
KALI, COCHISE, BABYFACE RAY AND BABYTRON'S 2022 XXL FRESHMAN CYPHER
During the 2022 XXL Freshman shoot in Atlanta this past May, selected artists were tasked with stepping up to the plate and leaving no crumbs behind by the time everything was said and done. The quad of Kali, Cochise, Babyface Ray and BabyTron did just that in their cypher. Fusing for a track strong enough to go platinum, the layered artists prove here that the only time they fold is when it comes to the dead presidents in their pockets.
The beat is laced by multiplatinum-selling producer Wheezy Outta Here. Offering his usual brand of romantic trap, the Grammy award-winning talent utilizes a combination of chordophone and woodwind instruments for the melody, along with a turbulent drum kit to match. Additionally, the foundation, best described by the viral clip of Future saying "sensational," is, of course, equipped with his standout producer tag, which came from an old studio session with Pluto and Young Thug.
Thanks to Georgia's own Kali, things couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Talking greasy, she uses an array of flows to detail her player mentality when it comes to having prospects and authentic motion in the rap game. "Niggas only hard to they homeboys/Niggas only hard to that weak-ass bitch/Flashin' them guns in the videos, and don't even know how to load up a switch/I ain’t even havin' no sneaky link, ’cause a nigga gon' brag on the shit," she spits.
Next is Florida's own Cochise, who's typically known for his high-pitched delivery, zippy cadences and carefree bars that precede his lively ad-libs. He puts all of those on display here. Keeping things fun and truly going off the top, he raps about being in the presence of his day ones and recruiting people’s girlfriends to keep them company. "OK, excuse me, got your shawty she loosie/I slap on her booty/She show me the boobies/And all of my niggas we getting some cuties, OK," he rhymes.
Third up is the respected Detroit rhymer Babyface Ray. Prevailing with his signature conversational flow, ’Face flexes about staying true to himself from an infant. Despite always having special qualities, he expresses that, nowadays, he has juice on tap, flexing, "Face yo' baby, face her, baby, drive her crazy/New Mercedes, huggin' me good the new 580/Blue 500, done made 500, just call me the greatest/From nothin' to somethin', now I’m a stunna like Weezy and Baby."
Rounding things out is another Michigan native, BabyTron. He opts to go a cappella, emphasizing his caption-worthy bars about being a savage-hearted hustler who gets to the bag by any means while also being quick to put his enemies in one. "Play with us or one of mines, be done left y'all/Why you playin'? Once it's up, you can’t press pause/Sonic to the blues, get to runnin' like the hedgehog/Catch ’em in a Off-White tee, get ’em X'd off," he raps.
Talk about ending the Freshman rollout on a high note.
Watch Kali, Cochise, Babyface Ray and BabyTron’s 2022 XXL Freshman Cypher