The 2022 XXL Freshman Class is here. You’ve seen their ABCs, listened to them respond to trolls for the Mean Comments segment and heard them spit in their individual freestyles. Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the 2022 XXL Freshman cyphers. Jacksonville, Fla. native Nardo Wick, Memphis' Big Scarr and Big30, and KenTheMan, who hails from Houston, grab the mic to showcase the skills that got them inducted into the class in the first place.
This year, Mississippi native Wheezy Outta Here provides the soundtrack that all four Freshman slide on. Wheezy has been on the fast track to production superstardom lately as the man behind the boards on trap-style anthems like Lil Baby and Drake’s "Yes Indeed," Young Thug and Gunna’s "Hot," YSL’s "Ski" and more. The Freshman quartet deliver Southern-fried bars over the "Pushin P" producer’s bass-heavy, hi-hat-laced score.
This year’s youngest Freshman Nardo Wick bombs first, igniting his freestyle with the explosive bars, "Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang/Big brother always tryna touch a nigga brain," the soft-spoken 20-year-old artist raps. "Leave him neckless, he try reachin' for my chain/Izzy always tryna hit a fuckin' stain/Brush my teeth with Scope, but promise I got Aim." From there, Nardo speeds things up a bit, showing impressive versatility.
Sliding in behind Nardo, Big30 brings big energy to the cypher. He doesn’t let off the gas in his lengthy rap, which stays true to character in pushing the rapper’s gangsta persona. "50 racks on me right now and this Dior is made of silk/Nigga spin my block incorrect than somebody gettin' killed," 30 spits. "My young nigga 15 with four bodies, can’t even buy a fifth/He ain't even old enough to vote, that lil boy bangin' Crip," he adds, later shouting out incarcerated fellow Memphis rhymer and 2021 XXL Freshman Pooh Shiesty.
1017's Big Scarr delivers what might be the shortest cypher verse in Freshman history, with his mic drop moment in the cypher clocking in at less than 10 bars. "I'm in the eggshell coupe, this bitch here a hatchback/I don’t do the basic bitches, Hemi here a Scat Pack/I don’t do no talkin', roll a nigga in the outback/I’m with your main bitch, we eatin' steak, chillin' at Outback," Scarr rhymes. In and out.
KenTheMan is the show closer. Putting on for H-Town, TheMan is small in stature, but big on bars. She slips in and out of flows over the menacing track with ease. "ATL, hopped off a plane and hit the stage with Kali/I'ma P, I got some hoes that's ducked off in the valley/Ask about me, I been 100, my card super valid/I drop a ho, I get another one like DJ Khaled."
Man, oh, man. It's up.
Watch Nardo Wick, Big Scarr, Big30 and KenTheMan's 2022 XXL Freshman Cypher
Read the 2022 XXL Freshman cover story featuring BabyTron, Cochise, Saucy Santana, Babyface Ray, KenTheMan, SoFaygo, Big Scarr, Big30, KayCyy, Doechii, Kali and Nardo Wick when the issue hits newsstands everywhere on July 13. The issue includes additional interviews with Wheezy Outta Here, Lupe Fiasco, Kevin Gates, Pi’erre Bourne, NLE Choppa, Yvngxchris, producer DJ Dahi, engineer Teezio and singer Chlöe, plus a breakdown of every Freshman Class from a numbers standpoint, a look back at what the 2021 XXL Freshman Class is doing, the story of why the 2016 XXL Freshman Class gets so much respect now, a deep dive into the world of NFTs through hip-hop’s lens and exploring rappers’ most valuable collections. You can also buy the 2022 XXL Freshman Class issue here.