href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: July 3, 2022No Jumper via YouTube / Jarritt Clark, Getty Images

After months of impersonating Drake, it appears that fake Drake got removed from Instagram, and people are thrilled.

On Saturday (July 2), news broke that fake Drake has been banned from Instagram for impersonating Drake. A cursory look on IG reveals that fake Drake’s IG account, @izzyydrake, has been deactivated.

XXL has reached out to Meta (formerly Facebook), which owns Instagram, for comment.

Fake Drake, who calls himself Izzy, caught the attention of fans on social media in November of 2021 when he revealed that he gets paid $5,000 for event walk-throughs. "People DM me like, 'Hey, you wanna come to my event because I can’t pay Drake—he’s too expensive,” he explained on the No Jumper podcast. “I’ll pay you $5,000.' $5,000 just to show up. They pay my Airbnb, they pay the flight, they hook it all up."

Last May, the Drizzy doppelgänger upped his fee to $10,000 for club appearances. However, he might have gone too far with his impersonation of Drake.

Last month, a video surfaced of fake Drake getting kicked out of a Houston club. However, he claimed the video was staged and a promo for the real Drake. Apparently, the clip was to help promote Drake’s new album, Honestly, Nevermind.

Recently, fake Drake announced that he signed with Celebrity Boxing and challenged the real Drake to a $1 million boxing event set for Aug. 27. The Drake imposter agreed to stop impersonating the 6 God if he loses the fight. Watch the clip below.

Well, it looks like fake Drake has already lost with his removal from Instagram. Upon reading the news of fake Drake getting kicked off from IG, people have been flooding social media with their enthusiasm.

"Drake saw Fake Drake begging in the streets for a celeb fight like Tiny Tim begging for scraps and put the call in to Zuckerberg," tweeted one person on Twitter.

"Drake got the fake ass Drake banned off the gram? Thank god," wrote another fan.

Check Out More Fan Reactions of Fake Drake Being Banned From Instagram Below.These Are the Best Alter Egos in Modern RapWho’s your favorite?Filed Under: DrakeCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: July 3, 2022@backstreetboys via Twitter

Drake lived out his childhood dream as a sixth member of The Backstreet Boys. Drizzy joined the ‘90s boy band to perform "I Want It That Way" at their Toronto show.

On Saturday night (July 2), Drake, rocking a C-Murder T-shirt and denim jeans, joined the Backstreet Boys as a temporary sixth member during their concert at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto.

The OVO Sound leader’s appearance was a big surprise for the sold-out crowd as he and the Boys performed a special rendition of their chart-topping hit “I Want It That Way,” according to

Drake also posted a 10-second clip of his performance on his Instagram page which showed him crooning along to the infectious line, “'Cause I want it that way.”

“When she says she’s over men in this generation and asks why I live alone…,” the 6 God joked in the caption.

The Backstreet Boys also shared a clip of the performance on their Twitter page, tweeting, "What’s better than I Want It That Way? I Want It That Way….f/ @Drake."

Meanwhile, a much longer video of the performance was shared on BoyBandBreak’s YouTube channel, which features Drake delivering a jokey monologue about him being the sixth member of the Backstreet Boys. The Honestly, Nevermind creator also told a childhood story about himself dancing with a girl that he had a crush on during his bar mitzvah. Drizzy added that playing in the background was The Backstreet Boys’ tune, "I Want It That Way."

"It’s one of the greatest songs in music history," Drake told the audience.

From there, The Backstreet Boys segued into singing their classic pop ballad much to the crowd’s delight as Drake causally harmonize in the background. Watch the full video below.

Watch Drake Perform "I Want It That Way" With the Backstreet Boys at Toronto ShowLife Lessons From Drake That Young Rappers Can Learn FromSee Life Lessons From Drake That Young Rappers Can Learn FromFiled Under: Backstreet Boys, DrakeCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: July 3, 2022Neilson Barnard, Getty Images

Congrats are in order for Big Sean and Jhené Aiko. The hip-hop couple are reportedly expecting their first child together.

On Sunday (July 3), TMZ Hip Hop posted photos of Big Sean and Jhené Aiko enjoying a lovely walk in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Saturday (July 2). The R&B singer is visibly pregnant in her gray-colored jersey dress and white sandals. In another photo, Sean Don appears to be listening intently to Jhené as they casually walk together on a beautifully gorgeous day. You can check out the photo below.

It’s unclear how far along Jhené is in her pregnancy. This will be the 34-year-old artist's second go-around as a mother. She is currently a mom to her 13-year-old daughter, Namiko Love Browner, with ex-boyfriend O’Ryan.

Sean Don and Jhené's relationship has blossomed well over a decade now. Initially, they started out as friends in 2012 and started dating seriously in 2016. Their love was so strong and vibrant they even parlay it into a collaborative project called Twenty88.

Although they are coy about their relationship, they often displayed their affection for each other on social media. Back in 2018, Big Sean posted a headshot of himself on his Instagram page and Jhené slid in the comment section and wrote some sexually explicit remarks to the Detroit rhymer. "I wanna hump that face," she typed, adding, "How you look up at me right before I sit on ur face…Like a pure baby angel."

Then in April of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sean and Jhené were flirting with each other on IG Live as viewers watched on. "You look good fo’ sure," Sean said to Jhené, to which she questioned, "Oh yeah, why don’t chu marry me?"

"Shit, it’s in the works, don’t even trip," Sean responded.

Now it appears the couple are making their relationship official as they are now soon-to-be parents.

XXL has reached out to Big Sean and Jhené Aiko’s rep for a statement.

See 20 Ways in Which Rappers Schooled Us About LifeTravis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Juice Wrld, Pop Smoke and more have taught us quite a few things along the way.Filed Under: Big Sean, Jhene AikoCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: July 2, 2022VladimirFLoyd/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Kanye West has been relatively quiet on social media, but recently, he randomly revealed his favorite garden hose setting on Instagram.

On Friday (July 1), Instagram user @anthonyasfour posted a collage image of a garden hose sprayer and its seven different settings: Center, Flat, Jet, Shower, Mist, Soaker and Cone. The caption reads, “Nobody cares about your zodiac sign. What’s your favorite garden hose setting.”

Randomly, Ye commented on the post with “Mist.”

Kanye West randomly revealed his favorite garden hose setting on Instagram.@anthonyasfour via Instagramloading…

But the real question here is why did Kanye comment on the post in the first place?

So far, the post has garnered over 750 comments and 1,726 likes. Interestingly, it appears that everyone is commenting on the post with "Mist" as being their favorite garden hose setting as well. We are not sure if it’s the flock following the sheep (in this case, it’s Kanye) or if it is legitimately everyone’s favorite hose setting.

It’s also unclear if Kanye West is doing any gardening during the July 4th weekend.

Although Kanye hasn’t been posting much on Instagram, he’s been lurking around on the photo-and-video sharing platform. So much so, he caught wind of a restaurant in Australian infringing on his 2004 debut album, The College Dropout.

According to Australian news outlet West Australia Today, Yeezy slapped a local burger joint with a cease-and-desist letter demanding they change the name of their restaurant College Dropout Burgers.

Aside from the title, which is a reference to Kanye’s Grammy Award-winning album, the eatery has menu items inspired by the Chicago rapper-producer’s songs and LPs, such as the Good Morning breakfast burger, the Golddigger (a fried chicken burger) and a Cheezus burger.

The co-owner, Mark Elkhouri, thought Kanye was a fan of his restaurant because he spotted him viewing his Instagram Stories last week. It turns out, the Donda 2 creator might have been collecting evidence.

“It’s pretty hard being a Kanye West fan with this situation, we have to respect his wishes and move forward,” Elkhouri told the paper.

The co-owner is now asking fans to suggest a new name for his restaurant. Check it out their tongue-in-cheek Kanye-esque posts below.

See Controversial Hip-Hop ShirtsWhich rapper has the most controversial shirt?Filed Under: Kanye WestCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: July 2, 2022Prince Williams/Getty Images

Blueface and Chrisean Rock’s relationship has hit another stumbling block. The California rapper said Chrisean Rock is “not reliable enough” to be with him during a chat session.

On Friday (July 1), Blueface jumped on his Instagram Live to address the status of his relationship with Rock. Rumors on social media claim the couple have broken up, but the “Thotiana” rapper insists they have not separated but are "vibing."

“Me and Rock, we vibe,” Blueface explained in a video capturing his IG Live. “She’s not reliable enough—I mean we had an agreement and she didn’t hold up her end of the agreement, simple as that. That’s all that is. It’s not a breakup.”

“We still vibing. We still connecting. We still ahh-ahh-ahh,” he continued. “She’s just not reliable enough for me. That’s it. That’s all it is. It’s important to have a person that you can depend on.”

In another clip, Blue further explained that Rock hasn’t been taking care of her responsibilities at their house and is constantly breaking curfew.

“Since y’all want to be so fucking nosey, I told Rock, ‘You can’t be coming in and out of my house anytime of day and anytime of night,” he said. “I got an HOA [Homeowners Association], I got neighbors. I got real responsibilities that I’m not always there to take care of.”

“So if I got someone staying with me I need them to pick up the slack,” he continued. “I told her she can’t be out til 8 a.m. and get back to my house 9 a.m., 10 a.m. She gotta be there before 3. You can stay out until 3 a.m., do whatever you got to do. But I need you to bring my dogs inside and feed them and cage them up, 'cause my neighbors complain. They be like, “Oh, your dogs were barking, I didn’t get no sleep and I have work.’”

“So I told her that she’s not meeting these requirements. That’s all it is, bro,” he added.

Eventually, Rock responded to

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: July 2, 2022Antonio Perez/Pool/Getty Images

R. Kelly claims he’s not suicidal after being handed down a 30-year prison sentence for racketeering and sex trafficking charges this week.

According to a report from TMZ, published on Friday (July 1), R. Kelly reportedly filed a lawsuit against The Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn (MDC Brooklyn) allegedly the facility is punishing him by placing him on suicide watch despite his denials that he has no intentions of hurting himself.

In his suit, the embattled singer alleges that MDC Brooklyn is subjecting him to “cruel and unusual punishment” under harsh conditions because he is a celebrity. Kels claims that his 8th amendment rights are being violated after he told MDC officials that he was not suicidal and had no thoughts of harming himself or others.

Kelly alleges the detention center placed him in a single cell without bed rails, no shower or shave, no toilet paper, being forced to eat meals with his hands, and receiving no contact from loved ones. Kelly added that inmates on suicide watch don’t even receive psychiatric care.

R. Kelly is reportedly suing for damages and emotional distress.

In response to Kelly’s allegations, the Bureau of Prisons told TMZ in a statement, "The BOP is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all inmates in our population, our staff, and the public. Humane treatment of the men and women in our custody is a top priority."

XXL has reached out to R. Kelly’s attorney and a rep for MDC Brooklyn for a statement.

See 44 of the Longest Prison Bids in Hip-Hop HistoryC-Murder, Max B, B.G. and more.Filed Under: R. KellyCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Trent FitzgeraldPublished: July 2, 2022Bob Levey/Frazer Harrison/Getty Images (2)

50 Cent is back trolling former Power producer Randall Emmett.

Early Saturday morning (July 2), 50 Cent hopped on his Instagram page and called Randall Emmett “Little Harvey” following a Los Angeles Times report on Thursday (June 30) which accused Emmett of offering acting roles in exchange for sexual favors.

In his post, Fif posted an image of a New York Post article about his initial reaction on Friday (July 1) to Emmett’s sexual misconduct scandal. “I bet there will be more women saying he treated them inappropriately by the end of this week,” he captioned the post. “Little Harvey is in big trouble this time.”

The name “Harvey” 50 is referring to is former Hollywood movie executive Harvey Weinstein, who was found guilty in February of 2020 of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree for his sexual misconduct involving two separate women. He was eventually sentenced to 23 years in prison for his crime.

On Friday, 50 initially slammed Emmett in the wake of the LA Times bombshell report. In an IG post, the New York rhymer wrote, “See, this is why [I] made him give me my Money by Monday, Then after he had to stay a 100 feet away from me.” Read his post below.

50 Cent is talking about his beef with Emmett in April of 2019 where he claimed that the executive owed him $1 million. In a series of IG posts, Fif showed off text messages from Emmett begging the rapper to leave him alone about the IOU. Two days later, 50 informed his followers that Emmett paid off his debt. "I got my money, so I have no problem with @randallemmettfilms," 50 wrote on IG. "In fact I’m wishing him and his family a very blessed day. positive vibes now guys. LOL"

For the record, Emmett’s team insists he has no issue with 50 despite his incessant trolling of him. “Randall will always be grateful for his decade-long friendship with 50 and has great respect for the man,” Emmett’s representative told Us magazine.

Somewhere, 50 Cent is giving Randall Emmett the side-eye.

See 50 Facts About 50 CentDo you know everything about 50 Cent?Filed Under: 50 CentCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: July 1, 2022

A photo of Nipsey Hussle's alleged killer sporting matching black eyes has surfaced on the internet.

The murder trial for Eric Holder Jr., the man accused of murdering Nipsey Hussle back in 2019 has ended, with the jury now deliberating on the outcome. On Friday (July 1), a photo of Holder in court looking badly beaten surfaced. In the picture, both of Holder's eyes appear swollen as well as his jaw. He also looks to have bruises on his face. XXL has reached out to Eric Holder's attorney and confirmed the picture is accurate.

On Wednesday (June 29), XXL confirmed that the alleged killer was attacked while in a holding cell awaiting to be transported to court on Tuesday (June 28).

"Mr. Holder, Jr. was assaulted by multiple individuals while he was in the holding cell at the jail while waiting to be brought to court yesterday morning," the statement from Holder's attorney reads. "The attack included a razor and the back of his head was cut. He was taken to the hospital and received an MRI and staples in the back of his head. He arrived in court yesterday afternoon and the case was scheduled to resume with witnesses today."

Holder is awaiting his fate on murder and attempted murder charges in the shooting death of Nipsey Hussle back on March 31, 2019. After several delays, the trial started earlier this month. Holder is accused of killing the Los Angeles rapper in the parking lot of Nipsey's The Marathon Clothing store. Holder was captured on camera shooting Hussle after apparently falling into a rage over snitching allegations made by the rapper. He also shot two bystanders who survived.

Jansen has conceded Holder is guilty of killing Nipsey Hussle, a beloved rapper from South Los Angeles' Crenshaw neighborhood. Jansen is fighting to get the murder charges dropped to involuntary manslaughter, citing that he believes the crime happened in a fit of passion and was not premediated.

See the Photo of Eric Holder Jr.'s Bruised Face BelowSee 44 of the Longest Prison Bids in Hip-Hop HistoryC-Murder, Max B, B.G. and more.Filed Under: Nipsey HussleCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: July 1, 2022Halley_BuzzesIn/Twitter/Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

A recent Jeopardy! contestant has gone viral after confusing legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy with the short-lived 1990s group fronted by rapper-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg, The Funky Bunch.

On Wednesday (June 28), attorney Halley Ryherd appeared as a contestant on the long-running trivia show. Under, the category "Chuck D," the players were given the answer, "In the 1980s, Chuck D began fighting the power in this hip-hop group with Flavor Flav, a man who always knew what time it was."

Ryherd was the first to buzz in and responded, "Who is The Funky Bunch."

Despite the wrong answer, Ryherd reportedly went on to win the episode.

Her answer has since gone viral, with Ryherd even commenting publicly on her blunder on Twitter.

"I’ve talk to my therapist about it and I think I’m ready to forever be the person who mixed up Public Enemy and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch on @Jeopardy. #mylegacy," she posted.

Even Public Enemy frontman Chuck D caught wind of the viral error. He responded jokingly.

"Actually @Halley_BuzzesIn you weren’t totally far off," he tweeted on Thursday (June 30). "In 1984 I Actually wrote this local Long Island for my fellow mc at the time hence as a RAP historian I trip up many folks with the facts Butch Cassidy Butch Cassidy's Funk Bunch – On A DJ's Birthday (1984, Vinyl) – Discogs."

Ryherd responded to Chuck's reaction.

"You know honestly @MrChuckD was nicer about this than my in-laws are going to be at our family reunion next week," she posted. "I promise I tried to buzz in for other Chuck D questions, Chuck! I really did!"

Hip-hop-related questions on Jeopardy! have often resulted in some funny moments. One time back in 2015, a contestant confused Iggy Azalea for Azealia Banks. Another infamous Jeopardy! moment happened when a contestant failed to get a question right for mispronouncing Tupac's name.

See Rappers Name Their Top Five Favorite Rappers of All TimeDrake, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne and more.Filed Under: Chuck D, Public EnemyCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: July 1, 2022James Devaney/Robert Kamau/Getty Images (2)

Donald Trump allegedly threatened Sweden with trade sanctions due to A$AP Rocky's 2019 arrest.

On Friday (July 1), TMZ published a report about Sweden's Justice Minister Morgan Johansson commenting on his alleged interactions with then President Donald Trump. According to the report, Trump threatened the European country with trade sanctions if the Harlem, N.Y. rapper was not let out of jail.

"If you can try and do something like this against Sweden, what will you then try and do to slightly weaker countries that don't have the European Union behind them?" Johansson reportedly said of Trump's alleged strongarm tactics.

As previously reported, A$AP Rocky was arrested on suspicion of assault in July of 2019, after video surfaced of the rapper and his entourage getting into a fight with a man while in Sweden on tour.  The incident became an international issue after Rocky was held without bail, causing Trump to step in and throw his weight around.

"A$AP Rocky is a situation in Sweden, a great country, and friends of mine and the leadership," Trump said in a statement a week after Rocky's arrest. "And we’re going to be talking to them, we’ve already started. Many members of the African-American community have called me, friends of mine, and said can you help? I personally don’t know A$AP Rocky, but I can tell you he has tremendous support from the African American community in this country. When I say African American, I think I can really say from everybody in this country because we’re all one. I have been called by so many people asking me to help A$AP Rocky."

Sweden's Prime Minister shot back at Trump, saying the POTUS would not influence the outcome of Rocky's case. Two weeks after his arrest, A$AP Rocky was charged with assault and held without bond, prompting Trump to again demand Rocky's freedom. A month after his arrest, Rocky was released.

Two weeks later, he was found guilty of assault. Instead of an additional sentence, he was given time served. Though A$AP Rocky later claimed he thanked Trump for any assistance the controversial Commander in Chief had in getting the rapper freed, Trump's allies labeled the rapper as ungrateful.

See 10 of the Shortest Beefs in Hip-HopBeefs within rap that ended quickly.Filed Under: A$AP Rocky, Donald TrumpCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: July 1, 2022Jamie McCarthy/Rodin Eckenroth/Rich Fury/Getty Images (3)

Week in and week out, there are plenty of brand-new rap songs, no matter the time of year. It can be really difficult to stay aware of what's out and also what's hot, so XXL decided to make things much easier for you. Instead of sorting out nearly everything that released this week, we've narrowed it down to strictly the best of the week, saving you plenty of time.

Expect to see selections from the established stars, the next wave of new talent, the up-and-comers and everyone else in between. If your song is fire enough to beat the competition, it'll take one of the weekly spots. You can trust us on this one; follow our lead and you'll never get laughed off the aux cord again. Your friends will finally trust you with playlists; it'll be wonderful. In addition to that, you can check back every week for the latest and greatest tracks. You'll always have somewhere to turn to each week, being sure to find some songs you'll dig.

Enjoy this week's list, featuring new songs from Cardi B ("Hot Shit" featuring Kanye West and Lil Durk), Joey Bada$$ ("Where I Belong"), Gucci Mane ("All Dz Chainz" featuring Lil Baby) and more. See you next week.

  • “Hot Shit”Cardi B featuring Kanye West and Lil Durk
  • “Where I Belong”Joey Bada$$
  • “All DZ Chainz”Gucci Mane featuring Lil Baby
  • “Comfortable”THEY.
  • “Good Love”City Girls featuring Usher
  • “Menace”Lloyd Banks featuring Conway The Machine
  • “Forever”DJ Drama featuring Fabolous, Benny The Butcher, Jim Jones and Capella Grey
  • “How We Livin”Dave East
  • “Rich Minion”Yeat
  • “Heartless”Bino Rideaux featuring Drakeo the Ruler
  • “Exit 5 Flow”Blacc Zacc
  • “Worthy”Money Man
  • “Getcha”SSGKobe

See Rappers Name Their Top Five Favorite Rappers of All TimeDrake, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne and more.Filed Under: Bangers, Benny The Butcher, Bino Rideaux, Blacc Zacc, Cardi B, City Girls, Conway The Machine, Dave East, DJ Drama, Fabolous, Gucci Mane, Jim Jones, Joey Bada$$, Kanye West, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Lloyd Banks, Money Man, SSGKobe, They., Usher, YeatCategories: Music, New Music, News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Georgette ClinePublished: July 1, 2022XXL

KenTheMan is a self-proclaimed "rap best friend." She makes the kind of confidence-boosting music that puts bad days on ice. Reclaiming the superpower within seems a lot more attainable with her assured rhymes as the soundtrack. The Houston rapper, who earned a rightful place on the 2022 XXL Freshman cover this year, brings those emboldened bars to her Freshman freestyle.

The 28-year-old hip-hop maven assesses what’s out there and clearly sees no competition when delivering her brief onslaught. Plus, packing in an amusing punchline with clever wordplay is typical for KenTheMan. "OK, I'm back in this bitch, and bitches actin' like they ain't hearin' me/Every time I'm out I gotta walk with my security/I’m a walkin' million, I ain't gotta wear no jewelry/And yeah, they been droppin', but I'm bored like a charcuterie," she rhymes.

Her hands talk just as much as the words she's spitting. It's all part of Ken's cocktail: a mix of attitude, allure and ardor. In this freestyle, she's feeling the heat on her rise to the top. "Man, my work been sellin', heard you hoes still in the trap," Ken delivers. "And I’m next to blow, like fire at a Texaco/Bitches say it smoke, but when they see me, it's that Reginald/Haters don't hate until you get put on a pedestal/And stop hangin' with my opps, bitch/Go be more original/Fuck they talkin' ’bout."

KenTheMan obviously.

Nearly 10 years ago, people had just begun talking about the playful MC, born Kentavia Miller. In 2013, she started dropping freestyles over buzzworthy beats via social media. Rhyming on popular tracks from respected rappers earned her enough of a solid reception to give her the energy to move forward. By 2015, she released Kenny’s Back, her first mixtape full of freestyles on Drake and Future’s "Jumpman," and G Herbo’s "Chiraq," among others. Sharp songwriting, racy lyrics and a southern-dipped delivery permeated her bars. Living up to her moniker, she was known for going harder than dudes.

"I have very, very confident music and I feel like what makes me different is not only my sound, but my journey and how I got here," she tells XXL during the Freshman shoot this past May. "I feel like that is what sets me apart. I'm very diverse. There's so many sides to me that nobody's ever even seen and y'all be seeing it [soon]."

By 2017, her track "Deserve" introduced her to a larger audience. Then "He Be Like" took her to a new level. The 2019 breakthrough effort, which finds her boasting about being a man’s favorite recipe, started gaining further traction through social media two years later. "He Be Like" reached the top 15 of the Billboard Top Triller U.S. chart the summer of 2021.

Her projects 4 Da 304's in 2020, and What’s My Name last year further added to her acclaim. "Rose Gold Stripper Pole," from the latter EP, even cemented a 2 Chainz remix. Cosigns from Tity Boi and Snoop Dogg were also in her court. Asylum Records took notice of Ken's momentum on her own and inked a partnership deal with her in 2021. This first-half of 2022 has also been busy for the Down South lyricist. She unleashed the two-pack of tracks "Feelin’ Sexy" and "Join Em." In June, shortly before the Freshman cover reveal, she released her provocative new single, "No Panties On." Now, the rap game's new "it" girl is currently working on her debut album.

"I will be working on my album and I don't wanna do a traditional album," Ken shares. "That's what I've been battling with. Do I wanna make it not traditional in the sense of like, someone else, but you know, traditional is like, it's a certain vibe you feel when you hear somebody album, it's so serious. Oh, this is like, I didn't want the real seriousness in my album. I wanted it to still be fun and confident. So yeah, I'm working on that and I haven't solidified a title yet. I plan for it to drop not end of summer, but like right in the midst of summer. I got some singles coming out on that ass."

Prepare for the takeover.

Experience KenTheMan’s talent in her 2022 XXL Freshman freestyle, powered by Puma, below.

Read the 2022 XXL Freshman cover story featuring BabyTronCochiseSaucy SantanaBabyface RayKenTheManSoFaygoBig ScarrBig30KayCyyDoechiiKali and Nardo Wick when the Freshman issue hits newsstands everywhere on July 13. The issue includes additional interviews with Lupe FiascoKevin GatesPi’erre BourneNLE ChoppaYvngxchris, producer DJ Dahi, engineer Teezio and singer Chlöe, plus a breakdown of every Freshman Class from a numbers standpoint, a look back at what the 2021 XXL Freshman Class is doing, the story of why the 2016 XXL Freshman Class gets so much respect now, a deep dive into the world of NFTs through hip-hop’s lens and exploring rappers’ most valuable collections. You can also buy the 2022 XXL Freshman Class issue here.

See Every Artist in the 2022 XXL Freshman ClassWhich rapper is your favorite?Filed Under: 2022 XXL Freshman, Feature, KenTheMan, XXL MagazineCategories: News, XXL Freshmen, XXL Magazine

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: July 1, 2022Full Send Podcast/YouTube

The Game had a rough upbringing in Compton, Calif. During a recent podcast episode, he recounted a story of seeing his first dead body at 7 years old.

Game appeared on the Full Send Podcast in an episode that aired on Thursday (June 30). During the sit-down, the "Eazy" rapper discussed his harrowing childhood in grim details.

"In Compton, it's sort of like a gang-bang family tree," The Game explained at the 24:27-minute mark of the interview. "My parents were both gang members. It's only a matter of time before your child dives into that lifestyle, too."

"Even when you are a kindergartener, you see so much," he continued. "When I was 5 years old, bro, I was walking blocks to the school bus. As a 5-year-old. I wouldn't let my 5-year-old walk through the mall alone these days. I don't know, it's crazy, man. You grow up in the hood and you just become immune to all the shit that you see. I've seen dead bodies and thought nothing of it, just kept walking."

The Game revealed he was only 7 when he encountered death for the first time.

"It was just a drive-by shooting," he recounted. "Somebody got hit. They were just laid out and we were outside playing. Of course, people are always like…Some people run left, away. And other nosey ass people come towards the, you know, whatever happened. So, me and my homies was outside playing…We were throwing the football in the street…We just walked down there, and it was like so-and-so got shot."

"The craziest one I ever seen is probably, I seen two Spanish dudes get shot in a Buick Regal," The Game added. "Two bullet holes in the back window, both dead and one of them's eyeball was stuck…Remember how the old locks used to be, where you could pull them up? His eye was stuck in that. And I could just remember wanting to, like, lift his head up out of that. Because it was a fucked-up way for people to see you, you know. I remember feeling real bad about that. Yeah, I seen tons of murders and shit."

The Game is currently on a press run for his new album, Drillmatic, which is slated to drop sometime this month. Last week, he released the Hit-Boy produced single "Violence."

See The Game's interview on the Full Send Podcast below.

Watch The Game's Interview on Full Send PodcastSee 19 Rappers Who Were Shot While They Were in the SpotlightFiled Under: The GameCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Joey EchPublished: July 1, 2022Do What You Love Records/Def Jam/Perico’s Innerprize LLC/Cinematic Music Group/Geffen Records

The onset of July ushers in some new music ahead of the holiday weekend. This week, a Los Angeles rhymer drops a project true to the traditional West Coast gangsta rap sound, another California artist unleashes an album that his fans have been eagerly awaiting, a Staten Island, N.Y. multi-hyphenate drops off a smooth-sounding EP and more.

G Perico returns with the quickness with 111th East, a new EP fresh off the heels of his album, Tango, which came out in February of this year. With the South Central, L.A. native dedicating the project to the neighborhood from which he came up, the EP is laced with production and flows that fall directly in line with what left-coast rap fans have come to expect.

111th East follows the recent release of three singles, "Confessions," "Westside Connection" featuring J. Stone and "That's My Dawg," which was produced by Trunx. Just this week, G Perico dropped off a visual to accompany the "Confessions" track that sees the Perico's Innerprize boss roaming the streets of a Los Angeles neighborhood while reflecting on his rough-and-tumble lifestyle.

Bino Rideaux has finally blessed fans with his highly anticipated solo album, Sorry 4 Tha Wait II. The 13-track LP encapsulates heavy summer vibes and features guest appearances from Coot Corleone, Kalan.frfr and the late Drakeo The Ruler. The California rap-crooner's Sorry 4 Tha Wait II also includes previously released singles, "Lemme Find Out" featuring Roddy Ricch and "Outta Line" featuring Ty Dolla $ign.

Staten Island, N.Y. native Abby Jasmine has released her Oh Well EP to universal praise from her fans. All three tracks on the smooth, breezy offering were exclusively produced by the trio of Levygrey, Sonor and JayTheProducer.

After having dropped Oh Well via SoundCloud earlier this week, Abby Jasmine hit up Instagram to tell her loyal followers that with this project, she couldn't care less about an overhyped music industry rollout. The multi-talented artist let it be known that she wrote all of the records on the EP and even served as her own A&R.

"Got tired of waiting… oop," wrote Abby. "Three new songs: 'Paranoia,' 'Overtime,' 'Deserve It.' Written by me, A&R'd by me, executive produced by me, Levygrey and Sonor. Fuck a rollout. Fuck the politics. Enjoy."

Check out more projects from Page Kennedy, EarthGang and more below.

  • 111th EastG Perico Perico’s Innerprize LLCPerico’s Innerprize LLCloading…
  • Sorry 4 Tha Wait IIBino RideauxDo What You Love Records/Def JamDo What You Love Records/Def Jamloading…
  • Oh WellAbby JasmineCinematic Music Group/Geffen RecordsCinematic Music Group/Geffen Recordsloading…

    Abby Jasmine · OH WELL – EP

  • Front PagePage KennedyKennedy Ent. Kennedy Ent. loading…
  • The Machine, Vol. 3StrickYoung Stoner Life/300EntertainmentYoung Stoner Life/300Entertainmentloading…
  • Ghetto Gods (Deluxe)EarthGangDreamville/InterscopeDreamville/Interscopeloading…

See Best Comeback Albums in Hip-HopFiled Under: Abby Jasmine, Bangers, Bino Rideaux, EarthGang, G Perico, Page Kennedy, StrickCategories: Music, New Music, News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 30, 2022Prince Williams/Scott Olson/Getty Images (2)

Boosie BadAzz is caping for R. Kelly following the disgraced R&B singer being sentenced to 30 years in prison on sex trafficking and racketeering charges.

On Thursday (June 30), Boosie weighed in on yesterday's announcement that R. Kelly will be spending the next 30 years behind bars. The Baton Rouge, La. rapper doesn't seem to agree with how much time Kelly received.

"People getting 15/20 years for murder n he get 30!"  Boosie BadAzz posted on Twitter. "Yes he was wrong af for manipulating young girls n sexing them😞but he didn’t kill anyone, aggravated rape anyone. N no blame on the parents who knew everything. Resentence this man‼️ College professors get probation for this shit."

The Heartfelt rapper thinks there is some redeeming value in R. Kelly that the singer could share with the public.

"Get this man some help n some jail time but don’t give him a death sentence, 30 years ‼️" Boosie added in a follow-up post. "Maybe he can one get out one day n warn these young girls about older predators n make a difference? but 30 years like Come on world‼️"

This isn't the first time Boosie BadAzz has commented on R. Kelly's crimes. Last December, Boosie said he believed the singer's victims were exaggerated their stories of being tormented by the 55-year-old singer.

"All that shit, seducing and kidnapping and all this shit in somebody house, if you leave a bitch at the house and you go on tour for two weeks and she don't go nowhere, that bitch ain't been kidnapped," Boosie opined. "She waiting on daddy to come home. You know, a bitch ain't been kidnapped. Bitch ain't been sexualized if she been in the bed with three, four women. You know, she hasn't been taken advantage of, because she is willing. She is willing. He just fucked up on the age part…if he did it. I'm not saying he's guilty or if he did do it, it's because of the age. The rest of that shit, they exaggerating, bro."

Yesterday, Judge Ann M. Donnelly revealed R. Kelly's fate, announcing in court that he would be spending the next three decades in prison after he was found guilty of sexual trafficking across state lines and racketeering involving six victims.

“The public has to be protected from behaviors like this,” judge Donnelly reportedly told Kelly during the sentencing. “These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,” she added. “You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.”

R. Kelly did not speak during the hearing. His attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, instead spoke for the singer.

“He’s not a predator,” Bonjean reportedly told reporters outside the courtroom following the verdict. “He has regrets, and he is sad,” she added. “He disagrees with the characterizations that have been made about him.”

R. Kelly still has two open sexual abuse cases in Illinois and Minnesota.

See 44 of the Longest Prison Bids in Hip-Hop HistoryC-Murder, Max B, B.G. and more.Filed Under: Boosie Badazz, R. KellyCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 30, 2022Shareif Ziyadat, Getty Images

Lil Tjay appears to be making progress in a positive direction in his recovery after getting shot earlier this month.

According to a report from TMZ, published on Thursday (June 30), sources tell the celebrity news outlet that Tjay is now awake and speaking. Additionally, after doctor's removed a breathing tube, the rapper's voice reportedly sounds the same as it was before he was shot.

TMZ added, now that Tjay can speak, police want to talk with him on the shooting as they are continually looking for additional information on what took place.

As previously reported, Lil Tjay was shot on June 22, in what police are calling a robbery attempt in Edgewater, N.J. According to police, Tjay and two friends, Jeffery Valdez and Antoine Boyd, were sitting in a car near an upscale shopping center called The Promenade when a gunmen approached them and demanded money and jewels. Gunfire was exchanged and Lil Tjay was shot multiple times. Boyd was also hit.

Police have arrested the shooter, who has been identified as 27-year-old Mohamed Konate. He has been charged with three counts of attempted murder, three counts of armed robbery and various other unlawful weapons charges. Konate was also struck by gunfire. He was helped to a BMW following the shooting by an unidentified individual, who dropped Konate off at the Lennox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side in New York City where he was arrested. Valdez and Boyd were also arrested for firearms violations.

Positive news about Tjay's health status comes a week after things were appearing to look bleak. Lasts week, it was reported that Tjay was still unconscious following emergency surgery and was having very little body movement.

See a Calculated Look at 15 Years of XXL Freshman By The NumbersFiled Under: Lil TjayCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 30, 2022Orange County Jail/Itshotboi438/Instagram

Florida rapper Hotboii has turned himself in to jail today after his bond was revoked in his RICO case.

This morning (June 30), the Orlando, Fla. native was booked into the Orange County Jail, according to information obtained by XXL. The rapper recently had his bond revoked by a judge who ordered him back to jail. A video shared via the Orlando, Fla. native's Instagram account shows him and several other people holding hands and in deep prayer.

"We thank you, God, right now for grace and mercy," the person says in the clip while praying. "Have your way, God. Turn the system upside down defending your people tonight. Move by your spirit, God. No longer going to jail, Father. They throwing them in there and throwing away the key, Father. But, God, let them come out. Open the doors for Black. Open the doors for Red. Open the doors back for Hot, in the name of Jesus."

The video, which is at the bottom of this post, appears to have been taken in front of the jail, as there are large, barbed-wire fences in the background.

"Last day out #TurningMyselfInRN," Hotboii wrote as the caption of the video.

Hotboii, born Javarri Walker, also commented about his incarceration on his Instagram Story, simply posting, "FREE ME."

Hotboii was originally wanted by police back in July of 2021, following a sting operation dubbed Operation "X-Force" by the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Thirty-four individuals including fellow Orlando rapper 9lokknine were arrested.

"Operation 'X-FORCE' was conducted by the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, a multi-agency task force that includes the Orange County Sheriff’s Office," a statement released by the OCSO read at the time. "These are the nearly three dozen suspects arrested or wanted on racketeering or drug trafficking charges after a nine-month investigation into criminal gangs in Orange County by the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI)."

After being on the lam, Hotboii was arrested less than two weeks later and charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, with authorities labeling him as a member of the local 438 street gang. He later bonded out and has been a free man up until today. Last December, 9lokknine was sentenced to seven years in prison on an unrelated gun charge.

It is unclear what caused the judge to revoke Hotboii's bond. XXL has reached out to Hotboii's attorney and the Orange County Sheriff's Office for comment.

Watch Hotboii participate in a prayer circle before turning himself in below.

Hotboii Free Me message on InstagramItshotboi438/Instagramloading…See 44 of the Longest Prison Bids in Hip-Hop HistoryC-Murder, Max B, B.G. and more.Filed Under: HotboiiCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Robby Seabrook IIIPublished: June 30, 2022via publicist

Influences can dictate someone's trajectory and the company one keeps can be what changes everything. Back in New York City, the Bronx-born future rapper CEO Trayle was just a 12-year-old kid who hung out with adults nearly double his age, as they hit the studio. The crew—who had members that rapped, produced and engineered—let the little kid hop on the mic, creating a hunger within him that would change his life. Now 27 and continuing to shine since his 2020 song "OK Cool," which has over 30 million combined streams on Spotify, CEO Trayle has only continued to grow, while changing his style at a moment's notice.

CEO Trayle's chance moment in the studio at the age of 12 made him fall in love with his own voice. From there, his on again, off again relationship with music began, following him from New York City to Alabama to Atlanta, where he settled around the age of 15. What has set Trayle apart so far is his raspy, almost region-less drawl, along with how clever his wordplay is. Funny enough, Trayle's biggest song, 2020's "OK Cool," is one of his most straightforward ones, where he rhymes about a woman leaving him, veering between dismissive anger, plus honest sadness and disappointment. It took off through a mix of it's unique subject matter and approach, TikTok and the fact that nothing else sounds like it.

As an act who has always released a lot of songs and projects (starting with 200,000 in 2017), the success of "OK Cool" got him on the radar of some big time acts, most specifically Young Thug, Gunna and the rest of the YSL camp who embraced him. Thug even asked Trayle to sign to him in 2021. Plus, Trayle dressed up as a character from the heist film Dead Presidents with Gunna last Halloween, along with getting a verse from him for the "OK Cool" remix. With that said, their relationship is much more than proposed deals and parties. Trayle credits YSL with building his confidence as an artist. Their lessons showed him that he does belong in rap and can take it as far as he wishes. Things only solidified further when Trayle signed to 10K Projects, the label popularized by Trippie Redd, just last month. He released his project The Collection at the same time, proof that he was still hard at work and not easing off the gas because of his new agreement.

Now with new music lined up and a surging career, CEO Trayle joined XXL for the latest episode of The Break to take a trip through his past and up to his promising present.

Follow CEO Trayle on SoundCloud and Instagram.


"OK Cool"


"The Thanks I Get"


"Percocet Pain" featuring Babyface Ray

The Collection

See 52 of the Most Controversial Hip-Hop Album Covers Since 2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna BeWhich rapper has the most controversial album cover?Filed Under: CEO TrayleCategories: News, The Break

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 30, 2022MEGA/Getty Images

An Australian burger joint is reportedly being forced to rebrand after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Kanye West.

On Thursday (June 30), Australian news outlet West Australia Today reported that local burger joint owner Mark Elkhouri, founder of College Dropout Burgers, has gotten backlash from his idol Kanye West in the form of threatened legal action if he does not rebrand his restaurant. Aside from the title, which is a reference to Ye's debut album, The College Dropout, the restaurant has menu items that allude to Ye songs and LP, such as the Golddigger, a fried chicken burger, the Good Morning breakfast burger and a Cheezus burger.

“It’s pretty hard being a Kanye West fan with this situation, we have to respect his wishes and move forward,” Elkhouri told the paper.

Elkhouri initially thought Kanye West was a fan of his restaurant when the rapper began viewing his Instagram Stories last week. It turns out, Ye might have been gathering evidence.

“The fact he was viewing our [Instagram] Stories and was there had me believe he was a fan of us,” Elkhouri added.

As a result of the threat of legal action, Elkhouri is rebranding and changing the names of his previously Kanye-themed offerings. He is also changing the logo, which was a variation of Kanye's Graduation bear.

“Moving forward, I feel like it is a bit of a blessing in disguise,” Elkhouri said. “Because let’s face it, not everyone is a Kanye West fan.”

He hasn't let the legal situation impact his Kanye West fandom, however.

“I am extremely disappointed. There’s no doubt about that, but it doesn’t even come close to the impact that he’s had on my life,” Elkhouri added.

XXL has reached out to Kanye West's lawyer and his team for comment.

This isn't the first time recently that Kanye West has called out a brand. Earlier this month, he blasted Adidas for allegedly stealing the model of his Yeezy Slide.

See the Wildest Moments of Rappers Losing Their Most Valuable BelongingsYoung Thug, Eminem, Kanye West and more.Filed Under: Kanye WestCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Robby Seabrook IIIPublished: June 30, 2022XXL

Pursuing a dream takes guts, especially when life's obstacles emerge. Pushing through those tough moments can change an artist's career trajectory, and 22-year-old Memphis rapper Big30 is a perfect example of doing just that. The 2022 XXL Freshman's success in hip-hop has grown stronger with every release. As he makes his next move, 30 is prepared for whatever comes his way. Watch his Freshman freestyle to see what he's got in store.

Big30 has always made it clear that he knows how to navigate the street. "I know niggas kill muthafuckas and still snitchin'/So my nigga you can keep yo' killa, them niggas' bitches," he rhymes.

Backing down has never been part of the plan either: "Nigga know what's up with me, ain't never tuck my tail/Every day I'm steady sinnin' like we already in Hell."

And he plans to win the battle: "Runnin' up on Big30 gon' be an epic fail/Got the AR with the coolant and the neck to catch the shell."


Big30's authenticity, coupled with his talent and commitment to music has taken him far in a few short years. His approach to the freestyle showcases one of many reasons why he deserved the opportunity to be a 2022 XXL Freshman.

Four years ago, 30, whose rap name is inspired by a Glock 30, started rapping for fun alongside his close friend Pooh Shiesty, a 2021 XXL Freshman and 1017 Records artist. At the time, 30 knew he was talented, but wasn't sure he could "make it." With some urging from Pooh, and the local success of 30's early songs "Breaking News" in 2018, and "No Vouch" the next year, 30 opened his eyes to the reality that he could take music and run up a career with it.

When it comes to his music, Big30's first song, "Breaking News" featuring Pooh Shiesty racked up 100,000 YouTube views in its first week of release. Then "No Vouch" scored 2 million views in a month. 30's name was really ringing off. His flows and delivery, unrelenting but crystal clear, helped him round out his style. Few new street rappers are as vivid and authentic as Big30 and have his ability to get in and out of flows at will.

After signing to Moneybagg Yo's Bread Gang Entertainment and Marcus “Head” Howell's N-Less Entertainment in 2019, Big30 never looked back. Moving into 2020, the rhymer released tracks "Neighborhood Heroes" and "Allegations," two Pooh Shiesty-assisted songs that have over 23 million and 43 million YouTube views, respectively. 30's work led to a scene-stealing verse on Shiesty's 2021 single, "Neighbors," which went gold. Then 30's first project, King of Killbranch, dropped in September of last year. The effort is a solid showing of his skills and growth over the years. Now, he's preparing to release his debut album.

Watch Big30's 2022 XXL Freshman freestyle, powered by Puma, below.

Read the 2022 XXL Freshman cover story featuring BabyTronCochiseSaucy SantanaBabyface RayKenTheManSoFaygoBig ScarrBig30KayCyyDoechiiKali and Nardo Wick when the Freshman issue hits newsstands everywhere on July 13. The issue includes additional interviews with Lupe FiascoKevin GatesPi’erre BourneNLE ChoppaYvngxchris, producer DJ Dahi, engineer Teezio and singer Chlöe, plus a breakdown of every Freshman Class from a numbers standpoint, a look back at what the 2021 XXL Freshman Class is doing, the story of why the 2016 XXL Freshman Class gets so much respect now, a deep dive into the world of NFTs through hip-hop’s lens and exploring rappers’ most valuable collections. You can also buy the 2022 XXL Freshman Class issue here.

See Every Artist in the 2022 XXL Freshman ClassWhich rapper is your favorite?Filed Under: 2022 XXL Freshman, Big30, Feature, XXL MagazineCategories: News, XXL Freshmen, XXL Magazine

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 30, 2022Amy Sussman, Getty Images

Drake has sold the massive Hidden Hills, Calif. mansion he's rapped about on several songs, getting $12 million for the swank abode.

Drake sold his digs in the 91302 area code on June 24, according to real estate lister Redfin. Nicknamed on real estate sites as The Yolo Estate, the jaw-dropping resort-style home sits on three acres of property and features 12,500 square-feet of living space. The master suite is 2,000 square-feet by itself.

The estate also has a, "private oasis boasting massive swimming pool with spa grotto, swim-up bar, cascading waterfalls, an 80 foot-long rock waterslide and surrounded by TVs to watch the big game or enjoy a float-in movie."

Also included on the property are a tennis court, basketball court (where Drake and Kanye West presumably had their epic hoops battle), sand volleyball court, horse stable and a 25-seat theater. There are seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms in total.

According to TMZ, Drake put the compound on the market back in March. There are two smaller homes on the property that were reportedly scooped up by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Mathew Stafford. Whoever bought the main mansion got a steal. The home is estimated to be worth around $15 million.

Drake has boasted about the home several times on wax. Most famously, on the 2016 track "Summer Sixteen" where he raps, "Now I got a house in LA, now I got a bigger pool than Ye/And look man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine's just bigger's what I’m saying."

In 2018, Kanye West admitted during a Twitter rant the line was one of the catalysts in their beef. "[Drake] dodged me for months when I extended olive branches to talk and then called to threaten me," Ye vented on Twitter. "This man tried to used my family’s song to get at me. He been trying to pick a fight since the pool line."

While his old digs are impressive, Drake's Toronto crib puts the Cali casa to shame. Though he only reportedly paid $6.7 million for the Canadian abode, it's way bigger, coming in at 50,000 square feet.

See Photos of Drake's Former The Yolo Estate BelowSee Photos of Drake’s Massive California Mansion

Filed Under: DrakeCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 29, 2022Prince Williams/Getty Images

There's no shame in producer Southside's game when it comes to coming out of his pocket to purchase a woman a Brazilian butt lift.

On Tuesday (June 28), Sizzle appeared on Real 92.3's The Cruz Show for an interview in preparation for his new album. During the sit-down, the beat maker discussed his familiarity with paying to get women's cheeks augmented when the topic randomly came up. The "Hold That Heat" producer revealed he is no authority on the topic, but he is frequently a financier of fraudulent cakes.

"Expert, no. Funder, yes," Southside admitted to hosts J. Cruz and Jeff Garcia at the 11:37-mark of the interview.

When asked how many butt enhancements he's paid for, Southside responded, "I got a list. Shit is crazy," before adding, "Ten, for sure. I done got some girls titties did twice. I done got a girl's titties did, got ’em big. They was too big for her. Redid ’em again, got ’em smaller."

Sizzle has even come up with a clever nickname for himself for all his charity work.

"I call myself Bob The Builder," he added.

Southside is currently working on his new album. After putting out the single "Hold That Heat" with Future and Travis Scott back in April, the producer-rapper is prepping the release of his new single "Yellow Tape" with Future. Aside from being one of the hottest producers in the game, he has released over 10 solo and collab projects, with the most recent being Demons R Us with Atlanta rapper Doe Boy in 2020.

Watch Southside's Full Interview on The Cruz Show Below

See 52 of the Most Controversial Hip-Hop Album Covers Since 2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna BeWhich rapper has the most controversial album cover?Filed Under: SouthsideCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 29, 2022machinegunkelly/Instagram

Machine Gun Kelly might be returning to rap shortly but he's still in punk rock mode.

On Tuesday (June 28), MGK performed in Madison Square Garden in New York City as a part of his Mainstream Sellout Tour. Following the show, things got wild during an apparent afterparty. On Wednesday (June 29), the Ohio-bred rapper-rocker shared video on his Instagram Story from the soiree, which shows him onstage with a mic and champaign glass in hand. During one clip, Kelly yells, "Bro, I don't give a shit," before smashing the glass over his face. In the next clip, the rapper is performing his 2020 song "My Ex's Best Friend" with blood dripping down his face onto his shirt, seemingly unfazed.

In the next video, posted nine hours later, Machine Gun Kelly shows off the aftermath of his misguided antic. Sharing an up-close selfie video, he marvels at his facial wounds.

"Oh shit," he remarks into the camera. "Gross."

Machine Gun Kelly still has 27 dates left on his tour, which also features Trippie Redd, Iann Dior, Willow and more.

On Monday (June 27), Hulu debuted the new Machine Gun Kelly documentary Life in Pink. In it, Kelly discusses a near suicide attempt he had back in 2020, when he was in a dark place following the passing of his father.

"I called [girlfriend Megan Fox], I was like, 'You aren't here for me,'" he said in the doc. "I'm in my room and I'm like freaking out on her and dude, I put the shotgun in my mouth and I'm yelling on the phone and like the barrel's in my mouth. I go to cock the shotgun and the bullet as it comes back up, the shell just gets jammed. Megan's like dead silent."

Luckily, Kelly did not go through with his deadly intentions and was able to get help through therapy.

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide or contemplating self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit for additional resources.

See video of Machine Gun Kelly smashing a glass on his face during a recent show below. 

Read 10 Wild Stories That Took Place During Hip-Hop ToursFiled Under: Machine Gun KellyCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 29, 2022Jose M. Osorio/Getty Images

R. Kelly has reportedly been sentenced to 30 years in prison after being found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges last year.

On Wednesday (June 29), R. Kelly appeared in court to be sentenced, 10 months after he was found guilty in Brooklyn, N.Y. federal court in September of 2021. Judge Ann M. Donnelly sentenced Kelly to serve 30 years in prison, according to the New York Times.

“The public has to be protected from behaviors like this,” judge Donnelly reportedly told Kelly during the sentencing. “These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,” she added. “You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.”

The musician reportedly declined to comment during the hearing. R. Kelly's lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, spoke on the outcome of the sentencing to the press afterward.

“He’s not a predator,” she reportedly said. “He has regrets and he is sad,” she added. “He disagrees with the characterizations that have been made about him.”

Bonjean filed a last-minute motion on Tuesday (June 28) to try and get the crooner a new trial on the grounds that the racketeering charges were misused, and Kelly's trial defense team was inadequate. His attorney also requested a lighter sentence based on factors that included the singer being molested as a child. The attempt was shot down by Judge Donnelly.

The judge heard multiple victim impact statements before ultimately making her ruling. One woman, who was identified as Jane Doe 2, spoke about Kelly forcing her to complete sex acts.

“I felt special, because someone who was special to the world was interested in me,” she said, adding, “I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life.”

The sentencing announcement was a satisfying one for victims of the Chicago singer.

"No one can undo the harm that has been done to these victims," said attorney Gloria Allred, who represented three victims who testified, told reporters Wednesday, according to CNN. "But at least it's time for Mr. Kelly to be accountable."

The disgraced 55-year-old singer was arrested back in 2019 and accused of heading an organization where he recruited underage girls and women and subjected them to sex crimes. He was charged with bribery, kidnapping, forced labor, sexual exploitation of a child, sexual trafficking across state lines and racketeering involving six victims. The jury was even show evidence that Kelly married then 15-year-old Aaliyah.

The sentencing comes 14 years after Kelly was acquitted of 14 counts in a child pornography case in Illinois. Kelly also faces sex-related charges in his home state of Illinois and Minnesota.

R. Kelly has been having issues in prison already. In 2020, he was assaulted by a fellow inmate who reportedly said the government made him do it. Last year, he was reportedly placed on suicide watch following the verdict of his case. In February, he reportedly contracted COVID-19.

XXL has reached out to R. Kelly's attorney for comment on the sentencing.

See 44 of the Longest Prison Bids in Hip-Hop HistoryC-Murder, Max B, B.G. and more.Filed Under: R. KellyCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>Joey EchPublished: June 29, 2022Scott Olson/Getty Images

R. Kelly's legal team is urging a federal judge to only sentence the singer to 10 years or less in prison due to their claim that he was sexually abused as a child.

According to court documents that were obtained by XXL on Wednesday (June 29), R. Kelly's defense attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, asked Judge Ann Donnelly for leniency on Kelly's behalf. The request suggests that the once-revered Chicago musician's traumatic past should be considered before the federal judge hands down Kelly's prison term stemming from his 2021 conviction on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.

The defense's primary argument for a lesser prison sentence is that R. Kelly's "hypersexual behavior" is a direct result of the "Bump & Grind" singer being the victim of repeated sexual abuse and other damaging events that they say happened throughout his childhood.

R. Kelly's defense explained in the sentencing memo that Kelly was the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of multiple people in his formative years, including his sister and a family friend. Kelly's legal representation also cited the fact that Kelly was shot in the arm at the age of 14 as another incident that had a strong negative impact on the songwriter's mental state.

Dr. Renee Sorrentino, a professor at Harvard Medical School, explained in a letter to the federal judge that scientific records show trauma, such as what R. Kelly has suffered, often results in hypersexual activity by the time victims reach adulthood.

"It is my opinion with reasonable medical certainty that Mr. Kelly’s history of childhood sexual abuse is consistent with the definition of mitigating factors as any fact or circumstance that lessen the severity or culpability of the criminal act," wrote Dr. Sorrentino. "Mr. Kelly’s history of childhood sexual abuse represents a hardship or circumstance that was out of his control. This history has been described in scientific literature as contributing to adult hypersexual behaviors."

With the official sentencing expected to be handed down on Wednesday (June 29), The request for leniency follows the prosecuting team's suggestion that the Chocolate Factory artist should be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison. Kelly's defense believes that a 25-year prison term would mean that he would spend the rest of his life behind bars, a sentence that they say is unjustifiable due to the nature of his conviction.

R. Kelly was found guilty on charges of racketeering and eight counts of sex trafficking back in September of 2021, after being arrested in July of 2019. Accusations of recruiting and abusing underage girls and women over the course of nearly 30 years are what ultimately led to Kelly's conviction.

XXL has reached out to R. Kelly's attorney for comment.

See 22 Hip-Hop-Related Police RaidsThese rappers had some serious run-ins with the police.Filed Under: R. KellyCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 29, 2022XXL

Don’t let the baby voice fool you. Only a few years into his burgeoning rap career and Cochise is making big boy moves: gold and platinum plaques, millions of streams and a major label record deal. The 24-year-old rapper from sunny Palm Bay, Fla. has found his niche in the rap game via boisterous, tone-setting bangers. However, ’Chise, whose usually known for his trademark high-pitched vocals, flips the script and drops straight bars for his 2022 XXL Freshman freestyle.

The 2022 XXL Freshman Class boasts a variety of rappers from all over the map. Like his music, which is filled with high jinks, the "Tell Em" rapper’s personality shines through on the solo rap segment of the Freshmen proceedings. Cochise seamlessly transitions from detailed anime bars to money flips, spirituality and video games in a succinct 16 bars. All while sitting on a throne fit for a king.

"To be honest, my life got better when I was 5/I been in the rain feelin' pain and I ain’t talkin’ ’bout Jiraiya," he raps, referencing the character from the popular anime Naruto. "Went to the jeweler, now the earpiece heavy/Pole hit his back, now he look like Neji/See me, I throw the work to my mans like a Manning/If I ever take a L, it’s in silence like salmon/Keep God on my mind, you would think I’m Fred Hammond/Heard you niggas gettin' hungry, that’s the point of being famine."

He continues with a little braggadocio. "Stop it, I’m takin' off just like a Houston Rocket/She said the gap look big, I told her you should see the pockets/She like, 'Boy, you need to watch it,'" Cochise spits.

He closes by delivering bars dictating his dogma for life. "Seem God on my side, I could never change," he raps. "If it’s God or some money, you can keep the change/If it’s God or popularity, you can keep the fame/I’d rather be at home with my brothers playing soccer games/We not the same."

Cochise is a different type of character, seemingly undriven by accolades and hype, though he’s receiving both, as well as a growing swarm of fans. He jumped into the game with his 2018 debut album, Pulp, which along with his 2020 single "Hatchback," earned him a deal with Columbia Records. His 2021 album, Benbow Crescent, features lively tracks like "Knicks" and the gold-selling “Hatchback," with plugg rap production aesthetics and a pitch change from ’Chise that established him as one of rap’s most recognizable voices. The 2021 platinum single "Tell Em" featuring $not further cemented the Florida artist as a budding hitmaker. It also marked the first time he entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart last year. His brand new album, The Inspection, is his next chance to level up. Cochise isn't taking anything too seriously.

"I just like to have fun," he tells XXL. "That’s my main thing, having fun. Life is short as shit. It’s like, do you want to live life just getting money or do you want to live life having fun and then potentially getting money? That sounds funner to me."

Watch Cochise’s 2022 XXL Freshman freestyle, powered by Puma, below.

Read the 2022 XXL Freshman cover story featuring BabyTronCochiseSaucy SantanaBabyface RayKenTheManSoFaygoBig ScarrBig30KayCyyDoechiiKali and Nardo Wick when the Freshman issue hits newsstands everywhere on July 13. The issue includes additional interviews with Lupe FiascoKevin GatesPi’erre BourneNLE ChoppaYvngxchris, producer DJ Dahi, engineer Teezio and singer Chlöe, plus a breakdown of every Freshman Class from a numbers standpoint, a look back at what the 2021 XXL Freshman Class is doing, the story of why the 2016 XXL Freshman Class gets so much respect now, a deep dive into the world of NFTs through hip-hop’s lens and exploring rappers’ most valuable collections. You can also buy the 2022 XXL Freshman Class issue here.

See Every Artist in the 2022 XXL Freshman ClassWhich rapper is your favorite?Filed Under: 2022 XXL Freshman, Cochise, Feature, XXL MagazineCategories: News, Videos, XXL Freshmen, XXL Magazine

href=”//” rel=”author”>XXL StaffPublished: June 29, 2022Contributing Authors: XXL

There's a few experiences in a rising hip-hop artist's career that likely appears on their bucket list of goals, with XXL Freshman being one of them. The celebration of the game's next promising superstars to take the genre to new levels has always been a coveted position since the annual cover launched in 2007. Becoming a XXL Freshman has put a fresh set of eyes on countless artists over the last 15 years. Whether it's a rapper who rose to fame quickly or an artist who had a slower start to discovery, there's been plenty of talent across the 159 XXL Freshmen inducted into 15 different classes.

Once the class selections are made, the artists take part in the cover shoot, which has typically lasted for an entire day, but for the last three years has spanned across three days. Interviews, freestyles, cyphers and everything in between are part of the process. These hip-hop aces showcase their talents, plus captivating personalities to support why they earned a spot on the cover in the first place. And while bringing their A-game to the freestyles and cyphers may bring on nerves for some, one of the lighter highlights that leads to memorable moments is the Freshmen meeting one another for the first time.

2009 XXL Freshman Blu recalls being "starstruck by Curren$y" because Spitta was on a Lil Wayne song Blu would play religiously. 2010 XXL Freshman Fashawn's fondest memory of his Freshman experience is "bumping into a future Pulitzer Prize winner." Rap fans know that was Kendrick Lamar.

Asher Roth, CyHiKid Ink, Charles Hamilton, Jack Harlow, Kamaiyah, Blxst, Cordae, Lil Pump and many more take a trip down memory lane to share their experience of being a XXL Freshman. Check out which moments from that special day still stick with each of them below.

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"It was definitely memorable being a part of the 2009 XXL Freshman list. I even remember the face I made, it was inspired by The Rock. I used to watch him a lot as a kid. I remember Wale, Asher Roth, Kid Cudi and I walked to the gas station and talked about doing a reality show, similar to MTV’s Real World, but XXL edition. It was really the beginning of The ‘All City Chess Club,’ a project that never came to life. Being a part of the Freshman list definitely helped the early stages of my career; it was the first time we had all met, and from that cover stemmed The Great Hang Over Tour, with me, Asher Roth and Cudi."

Asher Roth

"I remember going to the corner store to grab beer for our ‘class.’ Ended up with Coronas. A lot of our class was considered the ‘blog era’ so it was fun hearing how we had more in common than not.

XXL Freshmen classes provide a unique opportunity for rap artists to spend time and introduce themselves to their contemporaries. A collaborative experiment in what’s typically a competitive world. The cover shoot provided the prelude to how ‘Change Gon’ Come’ with B.o.B and Charles Hamilton came about.

I’ll forever be tied to artist friends like Cudi, Curren$y and Blu because of our XXL cover."

Charles Hamilton

"I was just thinking about how grossly unprepared I was for that shoot. Regardless, I feel I’ve stood the test of time and deserve more acclaim than shame. Shouts to Factz, Roth, Curren$y, Gunz and those I’ve been in touch with over the years. Love is love."


"I remember I would cop every issue of XXL. So, when they reached out for me to be a part of their Freshman Class, I was honored beyond belief. I did not know what to expect, but I was down. When I got there, I thought it was epic that all the Freshman of the class were in attendance. I didn't know everyone there and everyone didn't know me. Asher Roth was the coolest. I was most starstruck by Curren$y because he was on a Lil Wayne song I would play religiously. It was such a competitive yet chill environment XXL put together. My favorite part was the photography. It came out dope as hell. After the issue came out, I got so much love and would always look forward to the day I would be featured in that magazine again."

Mickey Factz 

"The XXL Freshman cover is a mainstay in Hip Hop. Highlighting new talent is always essential for the growth of the culture. It's what my legacy was built on. I am proud to have been apart of one of the greatest Freshman covers ever assembled. They say it's a curse, I say its a blessing. Being a part of that first cohort will always be attached to my brand as I move into the hip-hop education space with my school Pendulum Ink, a school for lyricism. Keep up the great work XXL, you make stars shine bright even still."

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"It was an absolutely phenomenal experience that I won’t ever forget! Instant gratification to the hard work me and my manager at the time, White Boy D, had put in. It was almost surreal during the actual day of the shoot. I remember being in New York and kicking it with everybody, smoking and drinking and being like, ‘We them ones.’ All of us were performing at the same shows and just grinding and killing the festivals and the blogs.

R.I.P Nipsey [Hussle]. That was my dog. We linked in Los Angeles and he took me through Crenshaw and shi. He was a real nigga. I want to say thank you to everybody at XXL, Vanessa Satten and everybody involved. That Freshman cover elevated me to the next level. I signed with Warner Bros. Records after that. It was just an all around great experience and I'm thankful for it. We made history! The Greatest Freshman cover of ALL TIME!! I said what I said."


"One of my fondest memories of Freshman year was bumping into a future Pulitzer Prize winner before the world recognized him. That man was Kendrick Lamar."

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"I’m grateful for the experience. To be recognized among guys that went on to become some of the biggest artists in the world—YG, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, the list goes on—the major. We even lost a couple. R.I.P. to Mac Miller and Fred The Godson. 2011 was a good year."

Lil B

"Really, it’s been a honor to be a Freshman, to be on the same cover and cypher with Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, YG, Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T., Yelawolf, Fred The Godson, CyHi The Prynce, Diggy Simmons and Lil Twist. It’s definitely been a honor! We all deserve it and as I look back, I ask myself did I deserve to be on that cover? Yes! XXL made history in being the first hip-hop magazine to champion unsigned indie artist! I will forever be XXL."

Lil Twist

​​"Being featured on the XXL Freshman cover was a pivotal moment in my career as a musician. I’d already signed with Young Money, one of the most successful labels in entertainment, and making the cover of XXL was confirmation that I was solidifying my place amongst hip-hop royalty and putting on for my city, and I’ve been making headlines ever since."

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Kid Ink

"The experience was exciting overall just because of the fact it was my first magazine cover. Being a part of the XXL Freshman was definitely at the time one of the biggest goals for an independent artist. Getting that stamp gave that extra boost of confidence and motivation. It felt like everybody had never linked up before. Only person I was really cool with at the time was MGK from doing early shows together, but everybody else was the first time running into them for the most part. So, it was still some competitive energy in the room, but overall a great vibe."

Don Trip

"Being a part of the XXL Freshman class was definitely a milestone in my career. I met a lot of cool people in the industry. I formed a few lasting relationships during the Freshman campaign. For me, it was the perfect opportunity for me to start my independence."


"The XXL cover validated me. I looked at it like a badge of honor. It showed me and the rest of the world that I was not just another one of these regular rappers you find on the internet. It was like my bachelors degree, but for rap music. It let people know that I had real potential. My favorite memory was the XXL cypher. I rehearsed every day for one week straight to make sure I had my verse memorized perfectly. I was so nervous, but so joyful to have been there amongst all the other up-and-coming MCs."

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Trinidad Jame$

"Many moons ago, but it feels like just the other day, I was in that locker room with the squad. Getting ready to start the game of our lives. That cover will always mean a lot to me because it gives me a standard to live by. Every artist on that cover is important to the culture, whether mainstream or independent to this day. My cover outfit will always be ‘One of Them Ones.’ Thank you, Vanessa. Thank you, XXL."

Dizzy Wright

"Getting on the cover showed me that you can do things your way and cool shit can still happen. I’m definitely thankful to be a part of the XXL family. Back in 2013, you couldn’t convince me that there was a better look for an independent artist. This was where you wanted to be in my eyes to be considered one of the best of your class. Although my fans voted for me to be the 10th Freshman on the cover, it really helped me solidify my career. One of my favorite memories from back then is linking up with the other artists that inspired me at that time. I was able to build a real brotherhood with a lot of different people and I appreciate XXL for shining a light on my talent. I’m forever grateful. #StillMovin."

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Jon Connor

"At that time, the XXL Freshman cover was a goal of mine. You know, to be on that Freshman cover was like hip-hop giving you your just due for all the work that you had put in. And when I finally got on the Freshman cover, it was an amazing feeling. It felt like hip-hop was recognizing me for the work I had put in up until that point. I think that the Freshman cover is a great launching pad for new artists. And I also think it’s a great way for them to take the ball and run with it. It’s all on the artist to take that and run with it.

I loved everything about that day. I remember we went to the 40/40 club to celebrate the cover and it made you feel like you had truly arrived. I love XXL for that opportunity. It was one of the most memorable days that I’ve ever had in the music business. It was the first time I felt like, Oh shit, this is really happening."

Jarren Benton

"First and foremost, I wanna say it’s an honor to be a part of the XXL Freshman class. The experience is surreal and exhausting at the same time. I honestly didn’t think I was gonna get picked so when my manager called me with the news, I was excited and shocked at the same time. I think I was on tour with Tech N9ne and Freddie Gibbs. So, I left after my show to fly to New York for the shoot.

I’m not gonna lie, that whole day I was nervous as fuck. I think I wrote my raps for the cypher the day before the shoot. I was concentrating so hard on not fucking up my lyrics that I honestly forgot to just enjoy the moment. If anything I wish I would’ve done more networking. But overall, it’s an experience that I’ll never forget and will always be appreciative of.

It definitely can bring some great opportunities that can help propel your career. But like anything, if you don’t have your shit together when those opportunities come you’re only shooting yourself in the foot. My advice to all future XXL Freshmen is to take full advantage of this opportunity, hit the ground running and don’t take your foot off of the gas."

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Rich Homie Quan

"I think that was the first time I had ever been around that many artists at that time. When me and [Lil] Durk did the cypher, I think that was one of the craziest things, just to see where Durk is today. Because I’m really not a freestyle rapper on the spot, I hate doing that. And that was a real freestyle. Niggas be up there doing written.

To be honest, ever since the 11th grade that was a dream of mine [to be a XXL Freshman]. That’s when I started taking rap seriously. So, for me to have made that, that shit was better than winning a Grammy. Straight up. And for me to be in the middle of the picture? I got that shit all in my house. It was a good day.

All of the photographers were there. We were smoking good. They had stylists and everything there. It was set up the right way. And at that time in my life, I had never experienced anything in that way. And after that, look at me now. That cover was in 2014. So that was eight years ago. I’m still on a roll, baby. I thank Vanessa and the whole XXL. That helped my career tremendously. It made the world notice me. It took me from just being a down South rapper to worldwide."

K Camp

"The XXL cover helped my career out fa sho. It put a lot of people on my motion, but I study all the covers and I plan to be the biggest off the 2015 cover. Respectfully."

Kidd Kidd

"My favorite memory and experience of that day was just being in the same room with all the artists and networking. XXL was and still is one of the biggest inspiration in hip-hop to me the fact I made the cover was feeling like a dream. Shout-out to all the other artists that was there and doing their thing. It was a pleasure and honor being up there with them."

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"The 2017 XXL Freshman cover helped my career out by giving me an opportunity to expand nationally and by being the first female rapper from Oakland to be put on that scale. My favorite memory of that day was Playboi [Carti] trying to be on the cover eating Hot Cheetos and Vanessa being [like], ‘Give me those fucking [chips]. You’re trying to have us in a branding lawsuit.’ Lol. Being on that cover meant everything to me and it’s helped my career in many ways, and I’ve made some life-long playa partners from that cover.

Vanessa is amazing and I just want to thank her for believing in me because we all know V don’t play that shit. So, if she fuck with you, she really fucks with you. When I left my deal, I came to see Vanessa right before the pandemic and she told me, ‘Don’t feel like you have to figure it all out right now because there’s still a place for you. Everyone says they want to see female rappers win, but they’re not supporting them because they’d be selling,’ and that has stuck with me for these past few years while we’ve been confined to our homes. Tell V I said I figured it out now and I’m on my way. Lol."


"I loved it, and they loved me. I came into contact with some of the strongest energies I’ve ever felt. It was a beautiful 10 hours of living in a dream, something I’d been manifesting my entire life. I’ll never forget it, and I had the best freestyle."

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Lil Pump

"We had the best Freshman class. It was a great experience. Life-changing moment!"

YBN Nahmir

"It made me really feel like a G.O.A.T., especially being so young. It affected my career in a spectacular way. Only a few artists get to feel how it feels to be on XXL. I still look back at it like, Damn this is really me."

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"My 2019 Freshman experience was fire. Being on the Freshman cover is on every artists’ ‘You made it moment.’ My favorite memory of the day would probably be the freestyle. Looking back, our class has some real superstars on it!"


"The XXL experience definitely gave a stamp. They let the world know who was next to blow. That’s something nobody’s gonna forget. The whole round table and cypher situation showed me I was in the right class. The whole class was supportive and genuine."

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Jack Harlow

"Making the XXL Freshman cover remains one of my proudest achievements. The cover is hanging in my living room. I wanted it my entire life. I used to buy copies of XXL and fantasize about making it when I was in middle school. To me, it’s the ultimate rite of passage that no one can ever take from me."


"My highlight of that whole experience was the cypher with me, Fivio [Foreign], Latto, and Calboy. I don’t care what anybody says, I still think we had the best one of our year."

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"When I found out I was gonna be in the 2021 XXL Freshman Class, I was hype as hell. The whole experience was dope. I remember everybody’s energy and just being hella cool, like we already knew each other. It was cool to meet other rappers starting off like me and it’s even better seeing all us still thrive and go crazy till this day. I ain’t gonna lie, Freshmen Class really helped me spread my voice and get the attention I didn’t know I needed and wanted. The platform they provided helped me grow as an artist, not to mention that was my first live freestyle. So, I'll always remember that."


"Being a Freshman for XXL was monumental for me. First woman from my label and my city, Milwaukee, to be on the cover. And it helped me reach a broader audience! My favorite part of the day was definitely the cypher. I got to showcase my skill among other dope artists and it helped me gain a lot of opportunity afterwards!"


"Being a 2021 XXL Freshman was a career-defining milestone for me. It’s pretty obvious that the artists that have made the list over the 15-year history have had lots of success and are the top people in the game to this day. XXL Freshman is a rite of passage, and I’m happy to be a part of the fraternity."


"From Nipsey [Hussle], Jay Rock, Kendrick [Lamar], YG, ScHoolBoy Q, Ab-Soul, Ty Dolla $ign, Los Angeles has been making a mark on the Freshman class covers. To be acknowledged by a platform that had acknowledged the legends before they even became legends is a compliment in itself. I pride myself on representing my city with integrity, so this was reassurance that I'm setting that example."

Rubi Rose

"I thought the 2021 XXL Freshman experience was really exciting. When I arrived and saw the level of production and all the other artists who made the list, I was kind of nervous, but everyone was super cool, professional and supportive, so, it was definitely a good experience.

There's always so much anticipation around these covers and who's going to make it. So, when I found out I was on the list, it really affirmed that all my hard work was being noticed. I feel like it was also validating in a way because there've been so many greats who've blessed the cover in the past and who have gone on to find major success. So, it really inspired me to strive for that same level of greatness in my own career.”


"My favorite memory of the XXL Freshman Cover was being able to do it with Blxst. He is a very talented artist. It means a lot to be a XXL Freshman. It is a major milestone and achievement."

See a Calculated Look at 15 Years of XXL Freshman By The NumbersFiled Under: 24KGoldn, Asher Roth, B.o.B, Blu, Blxst, Calboy, Charles Hamilton, CyHi the Prynce, DDG, Dizzy Wright, Don Trip, Fashawn, Feature, Hopsin, Jack Harlow, Jarren Benton, Jon Connor, K Camp, Kamaiyah, Kid Ink, Kidd Kidd, Kyle, Lakeyah, lil b, Lil Pump, Lil Twist, Mickey Factz, Morray, pill, promo, rich homie quan, Rubi Rose, Toosii, Trinidad Jame$, XXL Magazine, YBN Cordae, YBN NahmirCategories: News, XXL Freshmen, XXL Magazine

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 29, 2022Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Daz Dillinger is calling it quits on the rap game.

On June 25, The Dogg Pound rapper announced he will be retiring. Daz made the revelation via Instagram, sharing the news with his over 633,000 followers.

“The legend has officially retired. Not my problem anymore,” the post reads.

The Dogg Food rapper gave his reason for hanging up his mic as a lack of love for the sport he once thrived in. He captioned the post, “IM DONE RAPPIN CUZ ITS OVER FOR ME. IT WAS NICE WHEN IT WAS. BUT ITS NOT FUN NO MORE. SO IMA CALL IT QUITS. THIS MY LAST POST.”

Several rappers gave Daz his flowers in the comment section of the post.

“Icon forever with a rap or not,” Mistah F.A.B. reacted to the news.

“I’m proud to have done a record with you Legend. Your work speaks for itself and for generations!” M1 of dead prez added.

“Daz & Dogg Pound Legendary Status!” West Coast rap veteran Celly Cel commented. “You created the Death Row sound & helped 2pac make one of the dopest albums ever! Icons for life! Salute homie. We appreciate you & everything you did for the West Coast & the Music industry!”

It appears Daz Dillinger is looking to play more of a CEO role. In a follow-up post, he revealed plans to make a studio in Atlanta, where he has been living for the past several years.

“I [love] THE RETIREMENT LIFE. CUZ WHEN U SELF MADE YOU CAN DO ANYTHING,” he captioned the video of his newly acquired studio space. “SHOUT TO MY BIGG CUZZN @biggg_jeff THE COLONEL STAY TUNE MORE TO COME FROM DAT NIGGA DAZ.”

If this is the end of the Daz Dillinger’s rap career, he had a notable run. Along with Kurupt, as the duo Tha Dogg Pound, the two released their double platinum debut album Dogg Food in 1995 on Death Row Records and were featured frequently on albums from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and 2Pac. As a producer, Daz crafted hits like ’Pac’s "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted," "Ambitionz az a Ridah" and "I Ain't Mad at Cha." Daz has released nearly 20 solo projects and almost 10 Dogg Pound LPs, including last year’s DPG 4 Life.

See the Biggest Discographies in Hip-HopFiled Under: Daz DillingerCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 29, 2022TheStallion/Instagram

Megan Thee Stallion recently had the internet abuzz after posting some impressive twerk videos on Instagram that went viral.

Megan is currently touring overseas in Europe. Last night (June 28), she posted video of herself turning up and twerking for the camera in some awe-inspiring clips. In the videos, Megan is in a room with several people, one of whom appears to be her boyfriend Pardison Fontaine. She's wearing a pair of very short red shorts. She bends over in front of an arm of a chair and makes her considerable cakes wobble acapella while being egged on by the camera operator and the other people in the room.  As her cheeks undulate quickly, Meg even gives her rapidly wiggling wagon some two-handed slaps. In another video she gives a female friend a lap dance.

"All home grown from da mf soufffff," Meg captioned the video.

The video had Megan Thee Stallion trending on Twitter, with many people impressed with the rapper's ability to make her backside give a standing ovation.

"I don’t even feel comfortable uploading my twerk videos when Megan Thee Stallion exists…. I’m not going out sad ✌," one Twitter user posted.

"Call Me What You Want But I Watched @theestallionTwerk Video At Least 10 Times," an unabashed fan added.

"If God allows me to find a girl that can twerk half as good as Megan Thee Stallion, I will go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life," someone else posted.

This isn't the first time recently that Megan Thee Stallion has gone viral for video of her having a good time. Back in May, video of her dancing wildly with Pardison had the internet going nuts.

See the videos of Megan Thee Stallion twerking that almost broke the internet and the responses on social media below.See 52 of the Most Controversial Hip-Hop Album Covers Since 2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna BeWhich rapper has the most controversial album cover?Filed Under: Megan Thee StallionCategories: News

href=”//” rel=”author”>C. Vernon Coleman IIPublished: June 28, 2022Noel Vasquez, Getty Images/LAPD

UPDATE (June 29):

Eric Holder's defense attorney, Aaron Jansen, has supplied a statement XXL regarding the accused killer of Nipsey Hussle being assaulted in jail.

"Mr. Holder, Jr. was assaulted by multiple individuals while he was in the holding cell at the jail while waiting to be brought to court yesterday morning," the statement reads  "The attack included a razor and the back of his head was cut.  He was taken to the hospital and received an MRI and staples in the back of his head.  He arrived in court yesterday afternoon and the case was scheduled to resume with witnesses today."


Nipsey Hussle's accused killer was reportedly assaulted in jail sometime within the last 24 hours.

Eric Holder, the man charged with killing the beloved Los Angeles rapper in March of 2019, was attacked by another inmate on Monday (June 27), according to a Rolling Stone report published on Tuesday (June 28). The assault reportedly occurred after 4 p.m. yesterday as Holder was moving from the courtroom back to his cell. The incident allegedly left Holder with "more than a black eye" and unable to attend his Tuesday court hearing.

"Based on some unforeseen circumstances that are no fault of parties here, we won’t be in session today,” the judge said to the jurors today. Jurors were informed to return to court tomorrow.

XXL has reached out to Eric Holder's defense attorney for comment.

Holder is facing one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in relation to the killing of Nipsey Hussle on March 31, 2019. A full three years after the killing, the trial started earlier this month. Holder is accused of shooting Nipsey 10 times in the parking lot of the rapper's Marathon Clothing store in South Los Angeles, allegedly due to Nipsey calling out Holder for snitching. Two other people standing near the rapper were also shot during the encounter but survived.

Last week, the woman who drove Holder to and from the shopping center testified that she was an unknowing getaway driver in the incident. According to the witness, Bryannita Nicholson, 35, she drove Holder to the shopping center to get something to eat when they noticed Nipsey in the parking lot. Nicholson later testified she heard Holder ask Nipsey, "Did you tell somebody I snitched?"

When he returned to the car and began eating food he bought, Holder directed Nicholson to pull behind the shopping center before telling her he would be back, according to Nicholson's testimony. After hearing gunshots, Nicholson said Holder came powerwalking back to the car and told her to drive off. It wasn't until later, Nicholson testified, that she realized what happened after seeing news of Nipsey Hussle's death. Holder was arrested three days later. He was officially charged on April 4, 2019.

Holder's defense attorney, Aaron Jansen, has labeled the incident as a crime of passion and not worthy of a premeditated murder charge. Closing arguments for the case are expected to start on Wednesday (June 29).

See 44 of the Longest Prison Bids in Hip-Hop HistoryC-Murder, Max B, B.G. and more.Filed Under: Nipsey HussleCategories: News