It's finally here.
After months of speculation and debate, the annual XXL Freshman Cover has dropped and as expected controversy has ensued.
This year's XXL Freshmen are: Kamaiyah, PnB Rock, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Aminé, Kap G, Kyle, Madeintyo, Playboi Carti, Ugly God and XXXTenatacion, who was this year's 10th Spot winner (meaning the fans chose him).
As there is no set in stone criteria for the cover, many may be confused as to why some people are on it rather than others. We can only speculate as to why these particular rappers have been chosen but today the modern rapper is not judged solely on how the music sounds.
Social media is a new form of distribution, a way for an artist to stay in constant touch with their fans. As such, the size of an artist's social following can well determine their success in the streaming era.
With that said, let's take a look at how all of this year's XXL Freshmen stack up against each other in terms of social following:
XXXTentacion is the clear winner across the board with 458k Facebook Likes, 559k Twitter Followers, 454k Spotify Followers and 2.2m Instagram Followers. As the winner of the 10th spot his success on social media makes sense as according to Vanessa Satten's interview with The Breakfast Club, XXXTentacion received ~300,000 out of the ~1.7m votes on XXL's website.
See below for a full breakdown of each of their social platforms: