How to Become a XXL Magazine Freshman

By 08/28/2014 Music

The XXL magazine freshmen class of 2014 is made up of 12 freshmen, including 2 RnB artists.  If you don’t know, the XXL magazine freshmen edition is  a list of new and upcoming hip-hop artists that are featured on the XXL Magazine cover in early March and the carefully chosen artists are introduced to the world in the April issue.  This has become a big thing among upcoming musicians because being featured in the magazine as a freshman, even when you don’t appear on the cover, is kind of a big thing that many newcomers in the music industry believe can be the shortcut to stardom and success.

If you are looking to make it to be a freshman in the magazine, or make it to the cover, there are quite a number of things you have to know about the magazine and the XXL freshmen class which I will  go over in the first part of this post.  I will also provide you with 3 essential tips that you will find useful to getting into the magazine.  I hope the points covered in this post will help you realize your dream.

What is the XXL Magazine Freshman honor?

The XXL magazine over the years has created a badge of honor that the hip-hop community has come to recognize as valuable.  The magazine’s motto, “Hip Hop on a Higher Level” tells all you need to know about what their focus is on.  Although XXL is a print magazine, it is still very relevant in this age of social media and iTunes and the honor they accord upcoming musicians every year has kept it relevant and very influential.  This is the reason many artists see making it to the magazine cover as the ultimate milestone on the path to global dominance.  Is it?

The truth is that the XXL Magazine, being a physical magazine, is really trying to stay relevant and compete with the online world and social media platforms for the news reel.  A paper magazine that makes news available at the end of the month is no match for online news platforms that break the news by the second, and they are all free.  Even the XXL Magazine, despite its popularity, reaches the stands several months after publication, which is done several weeks after an event is being reported.  In essence, the XXL magazine is no match for the cyberspace.

This brings us to the next point – relevance.  Is the magazine using the Freshmen honors to keep the magazine relevant or does it use the honors to bring relevance to talented musicians?  There’s debate and controversy surrounding this, but I will leave it to you to decide.  Most people today believe that the magazine searches for the hottest, most promising budding artists, with an established fan base, to get their fans to support the magazine.  This could be true, it could be false.

If you are thinking of making it to the XXL Magazine cover, the criteria the magazine uses to select its freshmen goes beyond talent.  The magazine often chooses upcoming musicians who already have a following on social media, YouTube and other areas of life.  These musicians are required to have established themselves and gotten noticed.  This means that if you want to make it to the XXL Magazine freshman class, you have to work hard to win the hearts of the people and get them to like your music.

How to get to the XXL Magazine’s Freshmen Class

Tip 1: Consistency: Just as with any goal you set, if you want to ever appear in the XXL Magazine Freshman class, you must have a plan and stick to it.  Each freshman who has appeared on the magazine cover has demonstrated consistency in their efforts from the time they release their first mixtapes.  This means that if you want to be recognized, you will need to work at producing the best quality mixtapes, having the best mixtape cover, and  demonstrate a positive outlook by working hard even when times are hard and strive to be unique.

 Tip 2: Create a Buzz: As I mentioned in the post above, the XXL magazine works just like any other component of the music industry – they find you, but only if you make yourself found.  You must learn to promote your music and yourself as an artist first, and invest in getting as many followers on Twitter, the largest fan base on Facebook, the highest number of subscribers on YouTube and get people to share your music than everyone else.  It is going to be hard, but the magazine may just be the FIRST to notice your talent.  In most cases, you will be happy with your success such that when you get noticed it will just be a boost and not a lifeline.

 Tip 3: Timing: Finally, timing is very important.  The list of the year’s annual freshman class is often revealed around March.  Yelawolf made it to the freshman class in 2011 with little effort, but it is clear that it was because he had just been signed by Eminem’s Shady Records back in January.  This is a good example of how making the headlines at the right time could land you in a place on the magazine.

Do you believe you have what it takes to be the XXL Magazine’s next featured freshman?  Do you have the heart to chase this dream?I think you can do start branding yourself and promoting your music.


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