XXL revealed its 2015 Freshman Cover Wednesday, highlighting the 10 up-and-coming rappers who the staff believes are poised for a breakout year.
The 2015 class includes Dej Loaf, Fetty Wap, Tink, K Camp, Vince Staples, OG Maco, Raury, Shy Glizzy, GoldLink and Kidd Kidd, the winner of the fan-voted 10th spot.
In addition to gracing the cover of this month’s XXL issue, each member of the class will be featured in exclusive profiles and interviews, drop an individual freestyle and participate in the highly-anticipated cyphers hosted by DJ Drama. The group of newcomers will also perform live in New York City at the Best Buy Theater on June 30 and in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theater on July 13.
XXL originally started the annual tradition of recognizing a group of newer artists on its cover in 2007. Since then, artists like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Wale, Big K.R.I.T., Future, Big Sean and many more have earned their spot on the front of the publication after generating a significant buzz themselves.
According to XXL, the selection process takes about eight months, with the staff listening to thousands of hours of new music, meeting potential candidates and interviewing people inside and outside the industry in order to accurately identify who’s up next.
But each year, the unveiling of the list causes quite a stir, as hip-hop fans passionately debate the surprising inclusions and notable omissions. This year will be no different.
Take a look at the 2015 XXL cover and the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot below. And let us know your thoughts on this year’s class in the comment section.