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While music magazines have been on the decline popularity-wise, the XXL Freshmen Class continues to be an important touchstone both for hip-hop fans and artists. The annual title of “next rapper up” is such a force that even opting out of the come-up cover (as Drake and Nicki Minaj both did) can be an important part of someone’s climb. While fighting over the yearly selections and snubs is definitely the most popular way to interact with the list, the second is to look back and see which artists the prognosticators got wrong and which ones they got right.
XXL knows that people love to look back on their Freshmen classes to see if they ever graduated to actual stardom. This year, the magazine put in the legwork and caught up with their previous honorees, asking them how the cover affected their career.
Check out some of their explanations below.
“It was really overwhelming and it didn’t sink in until after the fact. Even when it came out on the stands and everything I didn’t believe it…Being on the cover helped me a great deal.”
“Ever since a kid being on XXL was the No. 1 goal. So, even being on two is beyond my beliefs.”
“I think it solidified that I’m actually doing this. That I’m actually talented and good at what I do.
XXL gives you the opportunity to not only find these artists but be able to walk that journey with these guys.”