From the very first freshman class in 2007 to this year’s 15th anniversary, all artists inducted over the past decade and a half share one thing in common: this defining moment in their career helped serve as a catalyst for their stardom. .
Over the past 15 years, XXL proudly and confidently took on the responsibility of predicting the next rap stars to take over hip-hop. Every day new artists burst onto the scene with the stuff of the next J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar, two former XXL Freshmen of the 2010 and 2011 classes, respectively. Each year, a group of artists, whether they are 10, 11 or 12 (and one year old or even nine), grace the cover after having showcased the qualities of a hitmaker, becoming a long-time artist, possessing respectable rap skills and more. There are no two identical artists. Since 2007, XXL brought to light and offered a platform to these budding talents, who eventually become figures of hip-hop in their own right.
The question of what makes a freshman is often asked, but when evaluating the 159 artists who proudly hold the coveted title, each rhymer or rap-adjacent artist offers something different and unique to them. itself, as well as to the music community as a whole. And if you’ve picked one quality from a hat, whether it’s cerebral lyricism, drive, spunk, eclectic bars and more, there’s an individual in the Freshman family who delivers just that. , and more.
For Freshman’s 15th anniversary, XXL looks back at what each class of artists has offered from their year of induction until today.
See what each XXL Freshman class brought hip-hop
What is your favorite freshman class?