As another XXL Freshman list is released, we wanted to take a look at some of the rappers who DIDN’T appear on the list simple because they turned it down. The artist who felt for many different reasons that they didn’t want or need an XXL magazine co-sign. Some because they felt too big, some because they felt it was overdue, and some for other reasons and reasons unknown.
In 2016 it was confirmed that Tory Lanez had turned down the cover, and Bryson Tiller did the same. Despite a few heads at XXL saying Bryson wasn’t nominated, it quickly came to light that Bryson was asked not once but TWICE to be on the cover. Bryson Tiller should have been on in 2015, and XXL just flat out missed it.
Let’s take a look at some of the others to diss the magazine over the years.
The first class in 2007 had some major stars, but the first snub might have come as early as this class. The Bay’s own, Mistah Fab and former staff writers at XXL have confirmed that it was a missed connection that led the Fab not making the cover. This was never officially said by the magazine, but Fab looked like more than a shoe back in 2007.
There was no Freshman cover in 2008.
Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator was one of the first artist to turn down the cover. Tyler was quoted as saying he didn’t want to be on the cover with a ‘bunch of other dudes.’ It might have been 2009.
Drake and Nicki Minaj both turned down the cover in 2010.
“We just shot for XXL. With all due respect, we felt like we kinda had graduated from the freshman class. We felt that XXL missed the mark when they didn’t put us on the cover prior to that. They have to pay for that. They can’t say, ‘Hey, get on the next one.’ But we love XXL. That’s like a Hip Hop classic. So we said, ‘Can we have something just a little bit more catered to us, so that we feel like we have still grown as artists, so we’re not at all disrespecting the magazine?’ They were cool with that.”
Minaj insists that she and Drake were cordial about the request, and that the magazine took no issue with it. The both of them would later cover the magazine together.
When Drizzy and Nicki Lewinsky both said ‘no’ to the cover, the magazine needed to fill some spots and they asked Michael Barber to be a fill in. Michael Barber’s single, Shotguns and Canned Goods with UMG was released, but he turned down the cover too. Barber had a different response though stating to hip hop publicist Justin Melo that the magazine was apart of the ‘Illuminati’ and he also said, “I don’t mess with the candy and pop bullsh*t, and I won’t do a photoshop with a bunch of clowns.”
It appears now looking back that Barber should have got on the cover as his career hasn’t been that successful since 2011.
2010 was also the year that Jay Electronica claims to have turned down the magazine, but XXL never confirmed this.
In 2011 Cam’ron snubbed XXLmag the very next year when he said his artist, Vado, wouldn’t appear on the cover with the other artists. Vado was a very worthy of the cover, and Cam’ron proved that by getting him on the cover of the Source in the same month that the list came out on XXL. Cam’ron spoke with Shade 45 about what went down:
“I’m not trying to be an a**hole or be like, it’s us or nothing. I’m just trying to say, my man put a lot of work in the last year. So I’m not trying to say the other people that’s coming up shouldn’t be on the cover either. I’m not saying that, I’m saying just give him a little focus on the cover, and she said she didn’t know if she could do that, this that and the third — But what happened is, we got an album out — so the dude at Koch, Allan Grunblatt, he went to The Source and [got us] the cover — it doesn’t make sense for him to be behind seven people on the [XXL] cover and he’s gonna be front face on The Source cover with me and Jim. So, I told her that I couldn’t do it because she couldn’t give any guarantees on how his look was going to be. I still love the XXL and appreciate all the support they’ve given us.” Cam’ron
In 2012 ASAP Rocky was on the list but said he was too busy “touring and stuff” according to an interview. He also went on to say that he thought most of the people on the cover were “corny” anyway. He would later end up with his own cover the next year alongside French Montana.
Schoolboy Q didn’t make the cut, and rumors went both ways. Some said he was left off, and others said he declined. Schoolboy Q took the high road saying he was too experienced for the cover.
In 2013 Earl Sweatshirt followed his Odd Future partner when he dissed the magazine by not even responding to their calls or emails. It should be noted that 2013 was also the year that the magazine put 35 artists on their website, and let people vote for who they wanted.
In 2014 Young Thug was expected to appear on the 2014 XXL Freshman cover alongside Chance The Rapper, Rich Homie Quan, Kevin Gates, Troy Ave, Vic Mensa and others. Even though XXL Editor-In-Chief Vanessa Satten didn’t think he qualified to be on the cover yet since he only had two hit songs out at the time, he was still invited. Thugger agreed to be on the cover but he flaked the night before and never gave a reason why.
2015 didn’t feature any disses.
In 2016 Post Malone turned down the magazine telling them that he was headed in another direction musically with his career. Even though Post declines that that was the issue, XXL stands by it.