XXL’s 2024 Freshman Class Includes Lay Bankz, Maiya The Don, And More

The most anticipated preview of hip-hop to come has arrived. The XXL Freshman Class is an annual tradition that lets hip-hop fans get a look at the year’s fastest-rising stars.

This year’s list includes Dallas rapper BigXThaPlug, Tallahasee, Florida rapper Bossman Dlow, New York rapper Cash Cobain, Atlanta rapper Hunxho, Philadelphia rapper Lay Bankz, New York rapper Maiya The Don, Boston rapper Rich Amiri, New York rapper ScarLip, Texas rapper That Mexican OT, and the mysterious crooner 4Batz.

Prior lists have included Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Latto, Megan Thee Stallion, and more, so it’s usually a pretty good indicator of how artists’ careers are playing out — and at least one name on the cover is almost guaranteed to become a superstar. See below for a breakdown of each rapper’s breakout moment.


BigXThaPlug hails from Dallas and his big hits so far are “Mmhmm” and “Texas.”

Bossman Dlow

His breakout single “Get In With Me” went viral on TikTok earlier this year, precipitating a No. 20 debut for his new tape, Mr Beat The Road.

Cash Cobain

Known for his “Slizzy” approach to the traditional New York sound, Cash’s biggest looks came from “Fisherrr” and his J. Cole collab, “Grippy.”


Hunxho’s rise has been steady since 2021, with “Let’s Get It”; he’s since released a string of solid mixtapes including 2023’s For Her, which peaked at No. 83 on the Billboard 200.

Lay Bankz

A string of viral TikTok hits culminated this year with “Tell Ur Girlfriend” and After 7 her major-label debut project.

Maiya The Don

In October 2022, Maiya dropped “Telfy” garnering about as much popularity as the titular bag. She’s since supported Flo Milli on tour after appearing on the Montgomery rapper’s “Conceited” remix, and even teamed up with the New York Liberty.

Rich Amiri

“One Call,” was just the latest song to jump from TikTok to the Hot 100 in February.


You’ve likely heard “Glizzy Gobbler,” Scar’s 2022 hit viral hit; if not, you may have seen her featured alongside some of the biggest names in hardcore hip-hop, including Swizz Beatz, Jadakiss, and Benny the Butcher, Snoop Dogg, and more.

Skilla Baby

Detroit rapper Skilla Baby put out Controversy with Tee Grizzley last year, following up with The Coldest this year.

That Mexican OT

Best known for his 2023 single “Johnny Dang,” That Mexican OT is probably the breakout star of this year’s Freshman class. His albums, Lonestar Luchador and Texas Technician, have both been critical and commercial successes, and he’s bringing back the Houston sound.


“Act II: Date @ 8” became an out-of-nowhere hit early this year, garnering the timely co-sign of Drake just before he took a shot at Kendrick Lamar and had the whole rap world turn against him. It doesn’t look like the blowback has landed on 4Batz, though; he seems to be doing great in comparison.