Nipsey Hussle, J. Cole, More Call XXL Freshmen 10 'A Good Look'

Mixtape Daily takes you behind the scenes of this year's Freshmen 10 photo shoot.

Don't Sleep: Necessary Notables

Headliners: Nipsey Hussle, Jay Rock, Freddie Gibbs, Fashawn, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, OJ Da Juiceman, Pill, Donnis and J. Cole

Co-Starring: DJ Whoo Kid

Songs We Can't Stop Playing: Pill's "Angels" freestyle, Nipsey Hussle's "When They Talk About Me" and OJ Da Juiceman's "Bread in the Kitchen"

Essential Info:. Now that the cat is out of the bag and XXL magazine has announced this year's Freshmen 10 issue, the publication is all the way turnt up with promotion. There's a concert in NYC next week with a lot of the gang, and last week, the mag dropped a tape featuring all the Freshmen 10 picks. DJ Whoo Kid hosts, and the fellas tagged as being the leaders of the new school all contributed songs.

"I feel like we've been working real hard — not just in 2009, but for the years before it," Nipsey told us at the cover shoot for the issue about him and his homie Jay Rock. "But to see XXL recognize what we're doing, especially being from the [West] Coast. ... I'm not saying I expected us to be here, but at the same time, I feel like we deserve it."

"This is a real good look," Rock added about the photo shoot. "We've been vibing with each other, and we all getting to know each other too. We're all getting with this music thing. And the music is what brought us together, straight up. We're all young, we're all fresh. We got a story to tell, and it means a lot to me to be around all these talented cats."

"For those people who haven't heard my name, I guess they are going to be on the lookout," J. Cole said of the XXL honor. "I've always felt the responsibility to push the craft forward. ... Cover or no cover. I always felt some type of responsibility to make a difference in the music somehow."

All 10 artists had a different journey to make it to the Freshmen 10. Indiana native Freddie Gibbs definitely has had one of the biggest leaps in the past year.

"I mean, it's a blessing, man," Gibbs said. "This time last year, I was on my way to the jailhouse. To be here is a blessing. I've been looking at these covers, XXL period, since it's been in existence. For me to make it on the cover, you know, is a blessing. To be here and not be locked down or dead is a blessing. Man, I still can't believe it. I'm speechless."

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