XXL, as it does every year, has revealed its 2020 Freshman Class, and being named to this exclusive list is one of the highest honors a young rapper can receive. Fans usually take issue with some artists who were included or excluded from the list, and one big-time figure who didn’t make this year’s issue was Pop Smoke. However, XXL revealed that their original plan actually was to put the late rapper on the list, but they couldn’t due to “circumstances out of our control.”
When announcing the list, the publication wrote:
“One of the bittersweet memories of the 2020 Freshman process was meeting with Pop Smoke a month before his tragic death. Pop was chosen as the first Freshman in the class, to which he happily accepted. Circumstances out of our control prevented us from including Pop as part of the cover posthumously, but to us, he is still part of the class. The issue features an unreleased interview from Pop’s January visit with us where he discussed his career and the Brooklyn drill scene. R.I.P. Pop Smoke.”
The artists who are an official part of this year’s list are happy to be included, as artists like Chika, Jack Harlow, and more shared excited reactions.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.