Mississippi’s own Wheezy Outta Here checks in with his perspective as the producer for the 2022 XXL Freshman Class cyphers.
As told to Kemet High
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.
I wanted to take part in [the Freshman Class this year] because I knew that people wanted to see what I look like or who I really am. So, that was important. Producers need that spotlight these days because we’re just so behind the scenes. I feel like [the fans] wanna see me because I really don’t do a lot of interviews. I wouldn’t say I’m shy, but I just like to let my work speak for itself. But I do feel like the fans deserve to see who I am and actually know who I am. And who’s really putting together the new wave.
I’m the right producer for this because it’s 2022 Freshman. It’s a new style. I’m just finding new artists and finding a new sound. I probably made five to seven new beats [for the cyphers]. And I watched some old cyphers. When I got the list, I just researched some of the artists. Some of the artists I already knew the style of. So, it kinda was easy for me to incorporate it in the pack. I was just like, maybe I can give them some Grammy shit to pick from. Maybe it’s some stylish shit to flow on. But I know the cyphers, they get a little grimy. So, I kinda kept it bouncy, up-tempo, club-ready. So, that’s what they’ll hear.
Nardo Wick, he’s dope. He reminds me of that old-school Plies era. I feel like he’s a good fit because he’s just fresh to the fans’ ear. SoFaygo reminds me of Lil Uzi Vert. I feel like he’s a good choice because he’s working hard. He’s doing his own thing. I feel like he’s picking up where Juice Wrld left off, in terms of his melodies. Kali’s dope. She got a Khia type of vibe. KayCyy’s becoming his own artist. He’s fire. I like his hooks. I like his choice of beats. He’s just creative. Babyface Ray is a dope street artist. I feel like he’s taking over. He’s putting Detroit on the map and putting on for his city. That’s really what stands out about him. He’s perfect for the Freshman class and he definitely deserves it. He’s been putting in the work. Big30 has his own swag. His own style. Big Scarr is dope. I actually like his music. He’s been putting in a lot of work throughout the South. I like how he’s putting on for Memphis.
I liked Nardo’s cypher verse a lot. Babyface. They’re the highlights right now, for me. And KenTheMan. Ken snapped. Especially to see that she went first. [I’m most excited for my fans to see] the cypher with Kali, Cochise, Babyface Ray and BabyTron. [When I got presented with the opportunity], I was excited about it because they get to get a new vibe of what the streets really want or what the fans really want to hear. I would describe my sound as trap romantic, a bouncy type of feeling, a wavy type of style. I feel like my beats work best because it’s a new sound and a unique type of style that we bring. It’s fresh. It’s 2022, so I just feel like it falls into place perfectly.
The first time I heard about XXL Freshman was the year that Future was on the cover. I was a senior in high school. Another highlight was the one with Uzi with 21 Savage and Kodak. The cypher was fire. And the one that Gunna was in. Just because he’s my brother. It was like a personal experience. I actually know him and we celebrated it together. I felt like I was on there.
My biggest motivation is to see my peers doing the same thing that I love to do. My fellow peers are really my biggest inspiration. All my homies make music and that inspires me to make music. I want to bring up the people that’s under me. Like my little brother BabyWave. He makes beats. He made “Ski” with me with Young Thug and Gunna.
[I got into producing when] my brother showed me this program called FruityLoops. His name is Terrence aka Flyguy Tana. I just thought it was interesting and I just tried fucking with it. I just fell in love with that shit. I started doing it every day. I proved myself when I started working with [Young] Thug and I started doing half of his whole album. From that point on, I just knew that I could actually structure a whole project. First project was Rich Gang: Tha Tour Pt. 1. My influences are Shawty Redd, Pharrell and Kanye [West]. It was dope [working with Ye on Donda]. But I felt like I already knew him because I studied him for so long. So, I’m glad that we connected.
[Outside of Freshman], I’m working on Lil Baby’s album. I’m about to do some pictures for Frank Ocean’s clothing line Homer. I’m about to do that for his jewelry line. [I’m working on] Thug’s album. He’s coming out with an album. No name yet. I been working with Lil Durk and Travis Scott, too. And my album that I’m trying to put out before the year is over. All the artists, all my beats and my label Tsunami Boyz. It’s my first album.
Overall, I think [the 2022 XXL Freshman Class is] diverse and they actually deserve to be the Freshmen. I feel like they’re the hardest-working ones of the year. I feel like this class represents style, hard work and determination to be great. They’re the next people at the top of the charts. I’m looking forward to seeing what they got going on in the future.
Read Wheezy Outta Here's interview when the 2022 XXL Freshman issue hits newsstands everywhere on July 13. The issue includes additional interviews with the Freshmen featuring BabyTron, Cochise, Saucy Santana, Babyface Ray, KenTheMan, SoFaygo, Big Scarr, Big30, KayCyy, Doechii, Kali and Nardo Wick; 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.