2015’s XXL Freshman Class
Every year XXL has the same challenge: to pick the new artists that we believe are the stars of tomorrow’s hip-hop. It’s difficult to predict the future but we do our homework. We listen to countless hours of music, meet with aspiring Freshmen every day—multiple times a day—for almost six months, attend a plethora of live performances, visit with artists at different studios and even travel out of town to catch up with them. And we ask everyone we come across who they would pick for the class and why. Then we battle it out in many long closed-door sessions, taking turns writing feverishly on a whiteboard, erasing names, adding them back in then crossing them out until we’ve narrowed it down to the final list.
This year was tough as there is such a large pool of talented new artists to pick from, but many are at very similar levels, churning out all different kinds of hip-hop at a bit of a slower pace than many artists of the past. This made the selection process take a little longer than usual. The (nine) Freshmen we pick aren’t just chosen for their skills on the mic, but because we believe they have what it takes to be a star—maybe even a superstar.
The 10th spot is chosen by the public and goes to the nominee with the most votes, who wasn’t already picked for the list at the time of voting. (This year’s winner received the most votes of any of the artists nominated.) The 2015 10th Spot poll received almost 240,000 votes from 139 different countries proving that the power and popularity of the annual XXL Freshman Class reaches far and wide.
So get your pens, pencils, smart phones, tablets, laptops or whatever ready. Once again, class is in session.