Today (June 14), XXL has officially unveiled the 2022 XXL Freshman Class.
The 2022 XXL Freshman Class includes rappers from across the U.S. Big30 and Big Scarr both serve up their raps in Memphis, Doechii calls home to Tampa, Fla., SoFaygo’s melodies are crafted in Atlanta, KenTheMan hails from Houston, Nardo Wick came up in Jacksonville, Fla., KayCyy puts on for both Kenya and St. Paul, Minn., Babyface Ray holds it down for Detroit, Saucy Santana is a proud Perry, Fla. native, Kali shows love to Atlanta, Cochise’s roots are in Palm Bay, Fla. and BabyTron, who is this year’s fan-voted Freshman 10th spot winner, reps Yspilanti, Mich.
After launching with artists like Plies and Boosie BadAzz in 2007, XXL Freshman has kept the tradition going for more than a decade, ushering in some of hip-hop’s most dynamic and iconic artists over the course of 15 magazine covers.
Back in 2010, a bubbling J. Cole was named a 2010 XXL Freshman as he looked to parlay his rapidly growing fan base, the backing of Roc Nation and the success of his 2009 mixtape, The Warm Up, into superstar status. His accomplishments since then tell a story almost no one could have predicted, as he’s become arguably one of the biggest artists in the world, filled up concert seats on tour, and, as you may have heard, had multiple albums go platinum with no features.
In 2011, blossoming names like Kendrick Lamar and Mac Miller came to prominence after being inducted into the 2011 XXL Freshman Class. K-Dot has become a Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper who many consider to be the very best in the world. Before his tragic death at the age of 26, Mac had solidified himself as a respected craftsman who became a fan favorite while constantly evolving his sound and earning the respect of artists from all corners of the music world.
In the years since, the Freshman lists have helped introduce future stars like ScHoolboy Q (2013), Chance The Rapper (2014), Lil Uzi Vert (2016) and XXXTentacion (2017). The lists go on and on. There are 159 Freshman artists in total.
Today, XXL takes a look at every single one of the XXL Freshmen of the past and present. From underground favorites to era-defining lyricists to genre-fluid commercial dynamos, they’re all here. Peep every Freshman to date in the gallery below.