XXL Freshman Class 2018 is revealed!


   The 2018 XXL Freshman Class has finally arrived. Now in its 11th year, the Freshman franchise has exploded into popularity over the past decade thanks to the internet, social media and, more importantly, the hip-hop fans. Every year, the XXL Freshman Class comes together the same way as when it first started. We talk to everyone we possibly can—industry tastemakers, rappers, our friends, fellow hip-hop heads, the guy working at the corner store, whoever—to get their input on who they think should be picked for the class. Then we argue it out as a staff and narrow down the list.


   This year’s Freshman Class includes Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s Ski Mask The Slump God, Miami’s Lil Pump, Miami’s Smokepurpp, Atlanta’s J.I.D, London’s Stefflon Don, Memphis’ BlocBoy JB, Birmingham, Ala.’s YBN Nahmir, West Palm Beach, Fla.’s Wifisfuneral and Canton, Ohio’s Trippie Redd. The 10th Spot winner was Waynesboro, Pa.’s Lil Skies who unfortunately refused to attend the shoot after originally accepting the offer.


    Over the next month, XXL will be releasing content from the members of the 11th annual Freshman Class including freestyles, cyphers, solo interviews and roundtable discussions so that fans can get to know each artist and what they represent.


    The actual Freshman issue of XXL magazine will hit stands everywhere on July 3. After that, fans can see all nine artists hit the stage to perform for the XXL Freshman show at New York City’s Terminal 5 on Wed., July 11. The Los Angeles XXL Freshman show will take place on Thurs., July 19 at The Novo.


    The XXL Summer 2018 issue also includes a look back at last year's freshmen, an introduction to the indie labels and management companies that are the driving forces behind this year’s Freshman class, a deep dive into the future of SoundCloud and where it stands as artists depart for more profitable pastures, interviews with Wiz KhalifaDenzel CurryShy Glizzy and more.


    Most importantly, congratulations to the 2018 XXL Freshman Class: Ski Mask The Slump God, Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, J.I.D, Stefflon Don, BlocBoy JB, YBN Nahmir, Wifisfuneral and Trippie Redd. The class with clout.

Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges


    Tekashi 6ix9ine, the colorful and controversial Brooklyn rapper who quickly rose to fame after the release of his song "Gummo" in October 2017, has pleaded guilty to nine criminal charges stemming from an indictment brought against him and four others — including his former manager, Kifano Jordan — last November.


     The charges the rapper, born Daniel Hernandez, pleaded guilty to include racketeering (in concert with a New York gang called the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, of which his co-defendants from the November indictment were also accused of being a part), assault, firearms offenses and one drug trafficking charge. His plea was entered on Jan. 23 but became public Friday after the relevant court documents were made available.


    Hernandez's lawyer, Lance Lazarro, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the pleas.


   Hernandez's precipitous rise as a performer has been inseparable from alleged instances of violence, grudges between him and other rappers and serious legal troubles.


    In October 2018, Hernandez was given four years' probation after pleading guilty to charges brought against him in 2015 of making and distributing a sexually explicit video of a 13-year-old girl. (An adult man who had sex with the same girl as part of the videos was jailed.) As The New York Times reported, just "hours after" his guilty plea in that case was entered, a "melee broke out" during a meeting with the head of his record label, during which a gun was fired by a bodyguard for Hernandez.


     Earlier that year, in August, a drive-by shooting occurred during the filming of a music video by Hernandez and the rapper 50 Cent. In July, Hernandez told authorities he had been kidnapped and robbed in Brooklyn. In February, footage emerged showing Hernandez being involved in a brawl just outside Los Angeles International Airport.


      The next hearing in the case for which Hernandez entered his most recent pleas is scheduled for Feb. 27 in Manhattan.

La La & Carmelo Anthony Back Together

New year, same love!

Carmelo and La La Anthony announced their split back in April of 2017 but for some reason, even back then, it didn't seem as if it was the end all. “We’re good. I mean, we’ve been together for a really long time so we’re figuring out how to make it work for what is best for Kiyan and what is best for us,” she said at the time, adding: “Marriages are tough, and you know that. We all know that. It’s filled with ups and downs. We are just going through a time right now.”


The couple were spotted having the best time on new years, smiling and dancing with their son in Los Cabos, Mexico and it seems like their loved up holiday is continuing into the new year. La La shared an image on Instagram that sees her and Carmelo from back in the day signifying that they could very well be back together. 


"Best friends who were trying to figure this thing called love out," she captioned the photo. 

"I've had a couple moments where I've been close to a breaking point. But I have my son to live for; I can't be a great mom if I'm in the corner breaking down. I have to move forward," La La previously stated. "I'm not the first and I definitely won't be the last to go through relationship issues and marriage problems."

The Most Anticipated Albums Of 2019


2019 should be a great year for music. 

2019 is here, which means we have a whole 363 new days to be blessed with fresh music. 2018 was amazing when it came to releases. We got albums from Nas, Kanye West, Wale, Drake, J. ColeBeyonce & Jay-Z, Eminem, Pusha T, Nipsey Hussle, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj-- and that barely scratches the surface of the mainstream. It felt like legends and rookies all came out the gate swinging, giving fans endless new music to stream.


  You would think that with so many releases dropping in 2018, 2019 would be a slower year for new tunes as the industry recoups. Nope, not in the streaming era! We dug through all the speculated and scheduled releases to bring you a list of the most anticipated albums of 2019, although surely it is not a complete list. 


Kendrick Lamar orchestrated the Black Panther soundtrack, but the King of the West Coast didn't deliver a solo project in 2018. His TDE crony ScHoolboy Q was expected to drop an album in 2018, but the death of Mac Miller caused him to delay the project. Childish Gambino is presumed to release his final album in 2019, while Rihanna is slated to touch down with her first album in three years. Even rappers who did dominate 2018, such as Post Malone and Kanye West, are predicted to come through with new heat in the new year. From up-and-comer Blueface to the independent sensation Chance the Rapper.


 Here is our list of the most anticipated albums of 2019:



Run the Jewels


Vince Staples


Post Malone

Lil Uzi Vert



Schoolboy Q


Joyner Lucas

Kanye West

Childish Gambino

Kendrick Lamar


Joyner Lucas Dragged For Showing R.Kelly Compassion On Twitter


This ain't the first time Joyner Lucas spoke his piece in a pre-emptive fashion, only to hit delete button as guilt set in. In a since-deleted Twitter post administered this morning, Lucas shared his unpopular opinion concerning R. Kelly lay in the face of adversity. "I know this has to be one of the hardest patches in your life right now @rkelly," Joyner Lucas opined.


"I'm literally watching the entire world condemn you and turn they back on you. I'm not saying you don't deserve it. All I'm saying is please don't hurt yourself or take yourself out. I'd still be sad," he added in closing.


Lucas was wise to distance himself from a subject with no bearing on his personal life; altogether different than his protective relationship with Chris Brown, with whom has a longstanding relationship lasting over 12 months. Nevertheless, Joyner's message to R. Kelly deserves an uncoding, for all its prevalence. It would be easy to assume that Joyner Lucas is actually siding with Kelly, when in reality, his position is relatively nuanced, to the point of ambivalence even.


The collective actions of a group preying on a single "evil-doer" become negative as a consequence of their near-sightedness. Joyner Lucas deleted his status updated because he could sense it was making things worse for all those concerned, specifically R. Kelly's alleged victims. Joyner would later administer a Tweet explaining his decision, in full-detail; 

"I took my tweet down because i felt like maybe I should of watched the documentary before commenting. I haven’t seen it yet. All I know is I wake up 1 day and everybody wishing dude go kill himself. Im the same dude who created A suicide awareness video. Imma watch the doc tho." 

Chris Brown Signs Historic New Deal With RCA Records

Chris Brown becomes one of the youngest artists ever to own their master recordings.

Somewhere in the world, Chris Brown is smiling right now. The artist may be one of the most controversial figures in music's modern history but he can also consider himself one of the most accomplished. There is no arguing that the man isn't talented. He's skilled in many facets of his work: singing, rapping, dancing, painting, directing... you get the point. After releasing his brand new single and music video for "Undecided" today, the recording artist has to be celebrating for several different reasons. For starters, he has successfully returned to the game after a quiet year. In addition to that, he's just signed a new record deal that will pencil his name down in history for years to come.


Breezy has spent over a decade in the industry and he's been around all sorts of crooked individuals. He knows to be careful and he knows never to let anybody take advantage of him. For that reason, he was able to negotiate a new deal with RCA Records that allows him to own all of his masters, making him one of the youngest artists ever to be signed to a major label and have that benefit. 


According to Rap-Up, RCA has issued a statement on the new partnership that reads, "This new deal structure between Brown and RCA Records, will undoubtedly enhance the release of new Chris Brown music, content, and much more throughout 2019 and beyond." Indigo will be the first album to release under the structure of his new deal. Congratulations, Chris!

Toni Braxton Is Having Major Money Problems


It's not an easy time for Toni Braxton.

First, she and Birdman signaled just after New Year's that they had called off their engagement and split. On Friday, it was reported that Braxton owes nearly half a million dollars in back taxes. Court records obtained by E! News show that last month, the Internal Revenue Service filed a lien against her, for more than $340,200 in back taxes for 2017, and that the State of California Franchise Tax Board also filed a tax lien against her for over $116,100. The total is more than $456,400.


Braxton has not commented.


In 2017, she completed her The Hits Tour and continued starring on the WE tv reality show Braxton Family Values.

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