Every year XXL magazine releases its “freshman class” cover, which features a new group of hip-hop talent for fans to watch out for. This year’s cover saw August Alsina serving as the only singer among a slew of rappers like Chance the Rapper, Ty Dolla $ign, Rich Homie Quan and Troy Ave. However, Alsina reveals that landing the cover was a difficult process.
“I remember going to the XXL office and they was basically trying to tell me that I’m not worthy of being on XXL cover because I’m not a rapper and because I’m not ‘hip-hop,'” August tells ABC News Radio. “And I remember just all the way spazzing in there like yall got me f**ked up, because it’s a bit disrespectful to say that a rapper is more deserving of something because he raps than me, just because I sing. And then in all actuality, I’ve seen some of the people that was on this cover before, who you can’t even name a song by them.”
He adds, “Just because of their affiliation with someone else they might have made the cover. I was like, ‘That’s backwards.'”
The singer says whether he sings or raps he still fits what he feels is true definition of hip-hop. “What hip-hop to me is, it’s your story. It’s your background. It’s your upbringing. It’s lifestyle music and that’s what I’m talking about in my music, so who are you to tell me that I don’t deserve it?”
After making his case, the publication ultimately decided to include him in the spread, marking the first time any singer has been featured on the freshman list.
August says, “I mean, it feels good to, setting new standards, because of course it’s a hip-hop dominated magazine for rappers. So for me to be one of the first singers to make that happen it shows me that what I’m doing, I’m doing it right and I just gotta keep doing it times ten.”
However, Iggy Azalea and other female rappers are noticeably absent from the cover, and August points that its hard to gain exposure with Nicki Minaj dominating the airwaves.
“I haven’t seen any rap chicks lately. I would love to see it, but man, I just gotta be honest, I think that Nicki just got it so on lock. She came in and did exactly what she was supposed to do, and I think she got it so on lock right now that it’s going to be real hard for somebody to come through.”
The cover also includes rap newcomers like Kevin Gates, Lil Bibby, Jon Connor, Lil Durk, Isaiah Rashad, and Vic Mensa. Head to XXLMag.com for the cover story.
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