[Exclusive] XXL Magazine Chief Vanessa Satten Breaks Down the Process of Their Freshman Cover Selection

| May 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

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XXL magazine recently unveiled their 2014 Freshman Cover and as usual it captured a giant piece of today’s up & coming hip hop talent. However, the 2014 Freshman Cover caught some criticism this year for adding an R&B element to the freshman lineup and also for its lack of female emcees.

Nonetheless, with any type of opinion based list or groupings you are going to find a debate. The debate is what is great about these lists, because they spark discussion. Recently XXL magazine editor-in-chief Vanessa Satten spoke with our own Editor-in-Chief Dennis Byron and Entertainment Reporter Krysta Wilkins.

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People tend to criticize what they don’t understand and this interview with Satten definitely clears up a few things about the 2014 Freshman Cover. The very first question asked by Hip Hop Enquirer was “What is the initial process when coming up with these names?” Satten replied by saying that the process actually starts in October and that they go around talking to everyone about possible artists for the cover. ‘We spend about 6 months of doing research before we finally pick the list”, says Satten.

The official XXL staff makes the final call on who makes the cover and Satten shares with Hip Hop Enquirer that it takes a lot of meetings to determine the freshman cover. “We have a lot of meetings meeting, then we have meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting and we narrow it down through voting.”

The XXL editor-in-chief certainly breaks down what it not only takes to make the coveted Freshman Cover during this interview, but also what hurts a young artist’s chance to make the cut. A key example is R&B sensation Mack Wilds not making the 2014 Freshman Cover. Satten stated that because Wilds had already released an album it made him ineligible for the 2014 Freshman Cover. Unfortunately for Mack Wilds, the cover is meant for those who are up to bat next, not for those already on base.

Now that we know how to better your odds at making the cover and how to destroy your odds for making the cover, HHE reporter Krysta Wilkins questioned Satten about artists turning down the cover.   Satten didn’t really give a clear answer on this as she spoke about a situation where an artist canceled the night before the shoot and was ultimately cut from the 2014 Freshman Cover. Hmmm…I wonder who that artist was. I did my homework and found another recent interview that Satten did and it was discovered that the artist was Atlanta rapper and Brick Squad Records soldier Young Thug. I guess he was “too” busy, but you live and you learn.  Young Thug actually called XXL the next morning to see if he could still participate in the shoot, but at that time his spot was already filled and the answer was a stern “No”.  Maybe Young Thug can delay any album he has on deck and make the cover next year.  Just kidding…or am I?

When asked about the newly added R&B element to the 2014 Freshman Cover, Satten responded, “Rappers are singing, singers are rapping. As the culture kind of expands — we want to expand with it.” This I haveto agree with Satten on. The line between rap and R&B has become somewhat blurred and the definition of hip hop has been stretched.

The entire interview is a must watch. Vanessa Satten gives it to us straight up, with no chaser. Take some time out of your busy day and check out the interview with Hip Hop Enquirer and XXL editor-in-chief Vanessa Satten and be sure to stay tuned to Your One Stop For Everything Hip Hop.

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Category: Feature, Interviews, Latest Hip Hop News, Media Gallery, One on One

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