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2020 XXL Freshman Class
2020 XXL Freshman Class issue cover


The 2020 XXL Freshman Class has been revealed

XXL released their annual “Freshman Class” yesterday, a group of “new” artists that the magazine thinks are destined to find success. The segment, running since 2007, brings the selected artists together for a group photo and video shoot, and each artist is given some shine in mag itself.

A few of the people that made the cut on this year’s list are arguably past the freshman stages of their career at this point, but they’ve also started to really pop in the past 12-15 months. It’s also worth noting that this year’s class has been revealed a lot later than usual due to pandemic.

“Sure, the magazine might be coming out two months later than usual. That’s because we had to figure out the best way to put the whole thing together,” XXL’s Georgette Cline explained in a recent editorial about the latest class.

The 2020 XXL Freshman Class is packed with some incredible talent including NLE Choppa, Polo G, Chika, Baby Keem, Mulatto, Jack Harlow, Rod Wave, Lil Tjay, Calboy, Fivio Foreign, Lil Keed, and 24kGoldn.

Also, while he’s missing from the cover for obvious reasons, XXL has revealed that Pop Smoke is considered part of this year’s class.

“One of the bittersweet memories of the 2020 Freshman process was meeting with Pop Smoke a month before his tragic death. Pop was chosen as the first Freshman in the class, to which he happily accepted. Circumstances out of our control prevented us from including Pop as part of the cover posthumously, but to us, he is still part of the class.”

Pop’s NY cohorts Lil Tjay and Fivio Foreign are holding it down for the Woo rapper, but that obviously doesn’t come close to making up for his loss. The 2020 XXL Freshman Class issue features an unreleased interview the publication did with Pop when he visited their office in January, just weeks before his tragic death.

2020 XXL Freshman Class

Polo G’s second studio album The Goat dropped in May

XXL pointed out the regional representation of this year’s list:

“Hip-hop from many regions is highlighted this year. NLE Choppa calls home to Memphis while Polo G and Calboy represent Chicago. Lil Tjay and Fivio Foreign hold it down for New York. Baby Keem rests his head in Las Vegas. Jack Harlow is a proud Louisville, Ky. native. Rod Wave hails from the bottom of the map in St. Petersburg, Fla. Down South gets love from Chika in Montgomery, Ala., and both Mulatto and Lil Keed are hot in the streets of Atlanta. San Francisco rapper 24kGoldn earned the most fan votes to land the title of the Freshman 10th spot winner.”

The 2020 XXL Freshman Class photos were shot by Travis Shinn. The cover collage and lettering was created by Rich Tu and video direction was handled by Travis Satten. You can read more about XXL Freshman and this year’s class on

2020 XXL Freshman Class cover

You can follow @XXL on Instagram.

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