• GOV'T NAME: Bryson Lashun Potts
  • AGE: 17
  • REPPIN': Memphis
  • TWITTER: @nlechoppa1
  • INSTAGRAM: @nlechoppamusic
  • NOTABLE RELEASES: Singles: “Shotta Flow,” “Shotta Flow (Remix)” featuring Blueface, “Camelot,” “Shotta Flow 5,” “Walk Em Down” featuring Roddy Ricch; EP: Cottonwood; Album: Top Shotta; Guest Appearances: Polo G’s “Go Stupid,” Birdman and Juvenile’s “Dreams,” Smokepurpp’s “Double
  • LABEL: No Love/Warner Music
  • WHO ELSE SHOULD BE PART OF THIS YEAR'S CLASS: “I be listening to all my music. I’m not even gonna lie to you. Pooh Shiesty. He’s a Memphis artist.”
  • INFLUENCED BY: “Lil Wayne [and] Bob Marley. Lil Wayne, he's always been different. Like, he don’t care what it is, he just gon’ go out and rock out. I love anyone who just be theyself.”
  • AS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL: “I was bad as hell. I was getting in trouble.”
TRUTH ON BEING AN XXL FRESHMAN: “I feel real good. I feel like I earned it. I love when I feel like I earned something because I know, like, I don’t feel that way for nothing. I really been working hard. I know if something were given to me, I wouldn’t appreciate it too much. Just for me going in that magazine, all that stuff, honestly, it just means a lot because it’s like an accolade. Every accolade I just been smashing a lot of ’em lately. I just be real thankful, fo sho, even being on the list. This is huge. I feel like I was chosen ’cause I just been working real hard. I know last year I wanted to make it. I wanted to be on that so bad. I think I had a few songs out, ‘Shotta Flow’ and I wanted to be on that. So, I made sure I worked hard this year and hey, I’m here now.I really feel like I’m here [in hip-hop] for a reason. You know, so like, to help others. I look at my success as like, blessings, to bless other people. This is how I look at it: Money, jewelry and shit, that shit be cool but it’s nothing like blessing somebody or helping somebody. This what this shit for. To be in the position to do this shit. This is what you getting in position to do shit for.”—Bianca Torres



Every artist is on their own journey. For 17-year-old Memphis rapper NLE Choppa, things are picking up quickly. He started out freestyling with his friends when he was 14 and then found fame due to his verse on the Shotta Fam 2018 posse cut "No Chorus Pt. 3." After he dropped his breakout song "Shotta Flow" (which landed at No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100, has been certified multiplatinum and now has five parts) in 2019, delivered his first EP, Cottonwood, that same year, and has been releasing music consistently since, he became a rap sensation by the time he was 16.

All of the momentum NLE Choppa built for himself garnered him plenty of attention, as there was no one rapping with the mix of energy and humor quite like he was. He faced comparisons to other rappers, especially 2018 XXL Freshman BlocBoy JB early on, but quickly gained respect as his own man for the unique qualities he brings to his music. His visuals brought his personality to life, too. All Choppa's videos are gripping, either featuring him and his friends doing whatever they want ("Shotta Flow"), his endless dance moves or a walk through a day in his life, like in "Camelot."

NLE Choppa's talent and work ethic got him a record deal with Warner Records, partnering his own No Love Entertainment imprint with the label as his momentum continued to roll in the summer of 2019. Since then, he dropped a successful single, "Walk Em Down," featuring 2019 XXL Freshman Roddy Ricch (which peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100), and dropped his debut album, Top Shotta, last month. Now, he is a 2020 XXL Freshman, an honor he does not take lightly, and he rose to the occasion for his Freshman freestyle.

Starting his freestyle quickly as he comes into focus, NLE Choppa raps about his character in the street and the name he's built up for himself. "One thing fo sho, I ain't never been a runner/Hangin' out the window, I was always gunnin'/Got a little feet work, then I started huntin'," he rhymes. "Take ’em out the game, I'ma kill all opponents/Even in the rain, I'll go drill, homie."

Soon after, he switches flows and really goes to work. "Rock ’em to sleep, we ain't doin' no peaces and treaties/We want that lil bitch underneath/Draco in reach, if he reachin' I'm teachin'." He then manages to slip in a slick shout-out to Chief Keef, a former XXL Freshman himself. "Playin for keeps, I'm runnin' with thiefs/Still do a drill while I'm bumpin' Keef/Tell him come C but he know what it B/Whole lotta Crips when he pull in the street."

He bounces into a few other flows later in the freestyle and finishes strong.

Check out NLE Choppa's 2020 XXL Freshman freestyle below.—Robby Seabrook III



No matter what your discipline is, just being talented is rarely enough. Personality is also a major key to success. NLE Choppa, a newly minted 2020 XXL Freshman, is a skilled rapper and has multiple big songs to his name, including his multiplatinum-selling song "Shotta Flow" and it's Blueface-assisted, platinum-certified remix, the track "Camelot" and "Walk Em Down" featuring Roddy Ricch. But one of the most entertaining things about him is his sense of humor and youthful zest for life; he can enjoy himself anywhere and can find the funny side in most situations, in addition to thinking quickly. That makes him perfect for this year's Freshman ABCs, where he says the first thing that comes to mind when presented with a letter of the alphabet.

After introducing himself, NLE Choppa starts with A, which leads him to hilariously choose "ass" while saying that he had to do it. You can take a guess at what he chose for B, but things take a much more relaxed turn when he gets to C. "Clover," the Memphis rapper says with a smile. "My beautiful daughter. I just had a daughter."

For D, he goes with one of his favorite activities, "dance," and then shows off his moves. Choppa gets "gangsta" for G while breaking down his definition of it, which may come as a surprise in how he looks at the word. "Hustle" for H finds him rapping along Ace Hood's classic track "Hustle Hard." Later on, when he gets to O, the rhymer excitedly shouts out "Double Stuf Oreos." He also uses R to share his goals of owning a special pricey car by the end of the year, and making sure it has a car seat for his daughter. Dad mode activated.

Watch NLE Choppa introduce his new dog, name his favorite superhero and more in his version of the ABCs below.—R.B. III



The time has finally come. XXL's coveted Freshman cyphers have arrived, and with this particular group from the 2020 XXL Freshman Class, it's a meeting of the bars from the South (Memphis, St. Petersburg, Fla. and Montgomery, Ala.) all the way up North to the Bronx, N.Y. And while gimmicks and stunts have managed to keep vise grip on the rap game in recent years, rapping off the top of the dome is still an essential aspect in hip-hop. NLE Choppa, Rod Wave, Chika and Lil Tjay are a foursome that have proven this to be a pure fact—no cap.

This year, the coronavirus pandemic forced a number of unforeseeable adjustments onto the rap game, but the lyrical content delivered by these four rappers during the cypher was unaffected. Grammy Award-nominated, South Carolina producer Jetsonmade produced the piano-driven beat that each of these Freshmen slide over.

Seventeen-year-old Memphis native NLE Choppa is first up to bat on the beat. Holding the mic close to his mouth, Choppa leaves no room for his words to be misconstrued.

"Grew up around the killing and all the dealing and all the drilling/I just be putting my heart in all of my songs," he spits while taking minimal breaths in between his bars. "I make sure y'all niggas feel it/The nigga, he ratted, we cutting his tongue/Look like paintballs when we hit ’em/Lord forgive me, I'm a sinner and a winner/Rockin’ chinchilla eating at dinner/Know where we lay and we know where we stay/Wet the whole house up, if you play/Fuck that ho shit/Talk what I said/I don't need no mouse hole in my face."

Next, Rod Wave switches up the flow. It's soothing, yet captivating as he casually offers a melodic spin on his rhymes. He uses his smooth delivery to tell how he's risen above his childhood hardships.

"’Member I was broke, I ain't have nothin’/Kicked out of the house, livin' with my cousin/Bank account, car stop runnin'/Problems kept comin', mama kept prayin'/Prayin' God got her baby, it's crazy/One apartment, fo’ niggas/Air mattress got a hole in it," he recounts. "I remember, nigga/All them cold Decembers, nigga/I can't believe that I'm finally winning, nigga," Rod adds.

Chika is accompanied by a special guest, her dog Vision, throughout the cypher. Spitting in a softer, more tranquil tone than her counterparts, the Alabama native raps about her come up and advises listeners not to count her out—all while her dog rests on her chest the entire time. It's endearing, to say the least.

"Do I have a story to tell about glory?/A nigga defeatin’ the odds/Got used to a budget, but now I say, 'Fuck it' in stores," she spits. "I don't care what it costs/I gotta admit it, I never envisioned a life where I wasn't the boss/I think of my ex and the level of stress/He be feeling a hell of a loss/I'm in no position to floss/I'm in no position to plead/I knew I was runnin’ the course, but dammit I'm taking the lead/I'm comin’ from sweeping the floors/To rollin’ a blunt with a lease/When they put my name on the board/Make sure its in permanent ink."

And lastly, Lil Tjay hones in on his mid-tempo cadence while dripped out in a black-and-red Louis Vuitton matching two-piece set to close out the cypher. He, too, tells his story of overcoming adversity in the Bronx hood where he's from.

"Yeah, a nigga really made it out the hood/I got through them rainy days/I still got some real niggas in the cell/They sent the whole gang away/Guess I'm a real nigga from the start/I guess I was trained this way, trained this way/The Audemars, I got a Rolls/Finna cop out on a Rolls/I done seen so much, so, so much shit, should pay a toll/So I be smokin’ all the dope/It kinda help my demons show," he croons.

Watch NLE Choppa, Rod Wave, Chika and Lil Tjay's 2020 XXL Freshman cypher below.—Aleia Woods

See the 2020 XXL Freshman Class

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