XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten Explains Rapsody's Exclusion From 2014 Freshman Class

Exclusive: Vanessa Satten says that XXL is not "trying to fill any quotas" when compiling it's signature cover and that those not selected should hopefully feel inspired to prove its staff wrong.

XXL Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa Satten explained why North Carolina emcee, Rapsody was selected as one of the publication’s “20 Best Female Rappers Of All Time” but was excluded from the 2014 Freshman Class. In an exclusive conversation with HipHopDX (May 6), Satten says that she wasn’t happy with the best female rappers list. 

“You know you are 100% right on that in a sense that, you know as an editor, you don't look at every piece of content that goes up,” she says. “So you know, they put together a female list with some staff members. I wasn't so happy with the female list. I think that something with our female list is that there was a generational thing. There were slots that could have been filled there that just as young guys covering Hip Hop might’ve missed.”

Satten also says that Rapsody and Jamla label head, 9th Wonder were aware that she would not be selected to XXL’s 2014 Freshman Class, and that the publication’s signature cover is not about filling quotas.

“Rapsody knew that she wasn't going to be a Freshman,” she says. “9th Wonder sent us a very nice thank you for even supporting her and giving her the opportunity. She was up here. She knew it. It wasn't a surprise to her. She already knew what was going on. Her getting in the studio last night is a response to something but it's also a press move and it's also a smart move. You should do that. Hopefully we’re inspiring you to go out there and make better music and prove us wrong. That'd be great, you know. I think it's kind of interesting that we are putting her on that list and leaving some other people off and she's not on our Freshman [list] because I would’ve probably approached that a little differently.

“At the same time, do we have respect for what Rapsody's doing? Definitely,” Satten continues. “Was she in our top ten for rappers? No. Do we have to do females? Do we have to do White rappers? Do we have to do Asian rappers? Do we have to do Latino rappers? No. We aren't trying to fill any quotas. We are trying to pick who we believe in that’s gonna blow up in the next couple of years that are hot right now. And women have a harder hill to climb definitely, but they can still do it. It's not fair for us to say, ‘Hey this spot is going to a woman no matter what,’ and not give it to someone else who maybe should have it if we believe in them because we had to fill a lane. And if we went and filled the lane for the Bay Area dude and we filled the lane for the New York dude and we filled the lane for the [Los Angeles] dude, and we fill the lane with the White rapper or fill the lane for the Asian rapper then we wouldn't have the cover that we have. We have a cover that comes from a different perspective.”

XXL 2014 Freshmen class includes Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Lil Bibby, Lil Durk, Troy Ave, Ty Dolla $ign, August Alsina, Kevin Gates, Isaiah Rashad, Rich Homie Quan, Jarren Benton, and Jon Connor. Next week, XXL plans to release exclusive cyphers from this year’s class.

RELATED: Freshmen Adjustment: Reactions To The 2014 XXL Freshman Class



  • Heheheeeee

    haha, for real? "We are trying to pick who's hot right now", that's so stupid. The XXL Freshman cover is a great idea, but why are you not exposing the people to rappers who can BE the next hot thing? The 2014 freshman cover are rappers who had hype in 2012 and 2013.

  • crypt()

    Who cares what XXL thinks anyways, the people have spoken. JAMLA was sick, Rhapsody killed it. Satten is obviously a dinosaur, and she is back-pedalling in this interview.

  • Gravaton

    In Response to One Of the Anonymous Users JAMLA Is both QUALITY & QUANTITY I mean Damn if you Listen to all her work she has done up to this point ALL Her Stuff Is BANGIN Especially That Top Five Joint Witn King Mez And Laws Out Tha Trunk And Win With Rah Digga....and the Best thing about Rapsody she's only put out one Album The Idea Of Beautiful but her mixtape & EP work Unfuckwitable the Soul Council Got them beats.....Amp Dj Premier's Top Student of the boom bap Format...Takers and Loyalty CRAZY!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Only niggas on that list worth hearing are Jon Conner and Kevin Gates, maybe Jarren Benton too, but other than that, buncha dumb fuck downsyndrome soundin non rappin ass clowns.

  • Eno Eternal

    No doubt, one of the best emcee's out.. Why she wasn't included?? Is it that she is natural? (i.e. Gifted in all aspects.). Is it that she has a talent without gimmick?? (i.e. No Firemarshall bill accent, flamboyant dress code or disrespect to gender.). What ever it is... I don't care.. I appreciate the music.. I have a deep love and connection with the art form.. It feels good to feel this banging through the Bx5's or in the truck... Could it be that they want to change her style so that she will fit into the destructive mold that our beloved art form has become?? Probably, but she has shown her true self... Positive... balanced... with negative... yin and yang.. Just keep doing that which you do at the level you feel is best for you!!! and that goes for all...

  • Anonymous

    She doesn't have to blow up. The Jamla camp is quality over quantity anyway, I saw them perform live and you see they have a good chemistry with one another.

  • anonymous

    Most female rappers get on to go Hollywood, find a husband, or go pop. She don't seem like that type of female rapper.

  • Anonymus

    But Riff Raff and Cheese Kweef are ok.

  • D.G

    Not only is she the Best female emcee right now (IMO) but one of the best emcees out period!!. It's all about who is "hot" right now which really holds no weight because it's about longevity. I can guarantee you that most of the "hot" rappers that they list will only be around for a couple of years.... if that!

  • drake runs rap

    no ymcmb no relevence. Nicki is the face of female rap. Nicki made female rap popular and all these wanna be's that try to be like nicki will have more sucess having a carreer as ymcmb maids. These hasbin female rappers are all irrelevent and will only get noticed if they get a ymcmb feature. Ymcmb got the rap game by the clit

  • Wheat

    Life of Pi. That is all.

  • Anonymous

    Vanessa Satten is a nobody. She is just another industry slave. Her position at XXL is a puppet. Do you even know who owns XXL??? Google it. She calls NO shots! I know this as fact. The fact that she went out her way to talk about RAPSODY not making it, clearly says that they (XXL) made a huge mistake. If you read this carefully, you can CLEARLY see this. Rapsody needs no validation. She has already blown up. XXL mag is for Kids age 12-18. I am actually glad that she was not on that cover with those novice artists. She is clearly a star and will have a LONG SUCCESSFUL CAREER. Hats off to 9th Wonder and the entire Jamla Roster. You guys are incredible.

  • Eric

    All them niggas on this cover sound the same! Ain't saying shit! Same OL shit! No substance! Rapsody is better than ALL THESE WEAK NIGS!

  • Anony

    Vanessa Satten and her coworkers at XXL don't know shit about Hip Hop. They say they are the ones who decide what's hot or not. Damn lie! They have no idea about the life of black people or their culture. All they are doing is magnifying the negative stereotype that plagues OUR black people. It really saddens me to read some of these dumb ass comments up here. You must enjoy listening day in day out about, WEED, HOES, KILLING, PUSSY, DRUNK IN THE CLUB, DICKS, WEED, PUSSY, FUCKIN, SHOOTING NIGGAS, Then repeat the same weak shit over and over and over again. You call Rapsody boring??? You are brainwashed.

    • Anonymous

      Well, she is boring. She is boring to all of the little white boys who can't relate to what she talking about because all they wanna hear is turn up and black people being gangstas and shit. If you don't say the magic words like turn up and weed and bitches then thats boring to you. Then she aint from New York. If this was Joey Badass or somebody from Brooklyn or any man saying the same shit she was saying it would be the greatest shit and these little white boys would be all on it. And the name is Farrakhan dumbass white boy.

    • Anonymous

      Calm down, Malcolm Farrakah. They're saying her delivery is boring, not her rhymes.

  • Anonymous

    Vanessa Satten is ugly

  • Anonymous

    I dont think a car packed wit sweaty girls is gon be checkin 4 her either u dumb fck! Lol

  • Anonymous

    I'm not in the music business so I'm not looking 2 get signed by anybody u dumbass! But like I said, the bitch is boring! If u like her so much then buy her shit

  • Anonymous

    Vanessa Satten? Who the fuck is the bitch to say that anybody should make any cover on any magazine. How many of them freshmen fucks actually made it over the years anyway like 10 of them? I dont know who dis Rhapsody bitch is but she is proably better than all of them dudes. And now yall on Chance nuts and just last year you didnt like chance. LOL

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  • myers myers myers

    hey ashanti look mikes out side ,ohh lol wait mike who ohhhhh

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Yeah haven't heard this rhapsody before but it doesn't take anything at all to be better than rich homie quan and Ty and I can't stand Chance this is the worst freshmen class ever, Isaiah rashad is dope tho

  • Ladyblogga

    This "explanation" says a lot. I don't even think that many people read XXL anymore. I know I don't. I'm just annoyed that they are trying to promote this garbage cover with reasoning behind it. Shame. This right here is what's wrong with Hip Hop.

  • Anonymous

    i stopped fucking with xxl after they fired my nigga byron crawford, author of the new york times best seller 'Nas Lost: A Tribute to the Little Homey'.

    • Jamal7Mile

      Yeah, that was a sad year when XXL shrunk to a Medium. In 2008 that comment section was bananas! Then it all went to hell exactly like the first two commenters above me described. Damn shame!

    • Anonymous

      "author of the new york times best seller" That shit flopped harder than Rick Ross' titties.

    • Anonymous

      whiteboys corroded xxlmag.com like they did sohh, I remember specifically how they tore it up after one of bol's posts, the supremacists and joos went ballistic and trojan-ed the site, ran off the readers remember Shakur and that "Not A Hoe" XXL fiasco? Shakur was the broad in Drake's basketball video, who was a "practicing" brain surgeon who "wanted to rap". lol she gave Carl herpes for that xxl promo, that's when they bought Vanessa in Mexx left, Dallas was already gone, Killer Mike stopped writing, they ran Karen Civil off, Meka was wack but he left, no more guest blogs and Vanessa went with lists and polls as content when they cleaned out the trojan because it's easy reader interaction even a 12 year old can do

  • Anonymous

    The whole Jamla crew is wack! Jamla should jus be a production team because that's the only good thing abt them. They really are boring! I tried 2 rep for Jamla because I'm from NC & was happy that somebody from NC is actually doin something. But after Little Brother broke up then it was all downhill after that. Rapsody really need 2 give up. Nobody's gonna be checkin 4 her. I can't see any nigga riding around listening 2 her except 4 deprived loaners. Weird geeks lol

    • Anonymous

      ^^ sweaty dudes?? Only suspect dl niggaz talk like that

    • Anonymous

      You just mad that 9th Wonder ain't sign you that is usually the case. If Rhapsody was so wack why is everybody posting about her? I ain't never heard of her, but the way people talking she must be either bad or good.

    • Anonymous

      "Nobody's gonna be checkin 4 her. I can't see any nigga riding around listening 2 her except 4 deprived loaners. Weird geeks lol" ^ wow I would think she would be trying to sell to WOMEN, not sweaty dudes packed in a car

  • thetruthhurts

    Let's be real. Rapsody doesn't suck but she's not going to blow up the same way some of the people on the XXL cover will. She just doesn't have that much range in her style. She's going to fill her lane and keep it held down, but she isn't at the level of what would get the XXL cover (big sean, kendrick, drake, etc.). If you follow Jamla, you will realize that most of the artists aren't going anywhere and they're getting hooked up off 9th's name. That's the honest truth. Nobody would even be talking about Rapsody if she wasn't affiliated with 9th, and that's probably why she isn't blowing up anytime soon. Where is her hit single? Her hit EP? Her hit album? You can't make it in this industry with good anymore. You have to knock shit out the park or you're just relegated to "another artist" status. Chance the Rapper is the only person on that cover who really has the potential to blow up big, and that's if he can control the way he uses his voice and who he links up with. Once Kanye co-signs him, or he's on a hit single with Drake or someone above his level, he's on his way. Rapsody on the other hand, she has a LONG way to go. I could like 20 rappers who are better than her who don't even get mentioned, so the editor is right. She's not on the list because they know she's not going to blow up unless she makes some drastic changes to her style and image.

    • d mac

      an article today about non freshmen tears holes in your theory and the another about those on the list who didn't make it will obliterate your thesis lil brother ain't got sh*t to do with a bunch of confused mf's like y'all trying to pigeon hole ol' girl because her ass & titties ain't flying enough for you to pay attention and the stupidest sh*t in rap y'all perpetuate is to expect a female rapper to rock out like a man you listening to her talk about pregnancy? or to talk about how she knocking out chicks and too pretty to be nothing but a gold digger ready to empty the glock cut it out and let them women push up who they wanna hear represent them

    • thetruthhurts

      You guys are delusional and don't really follow the game. Plenty of XXL freshman have went on to be famous as hell. Obviously not all of them, but you really think Rapsody is at the level of other Freshman in the past? Big Sean? Drake (Who would have got it but turned it down)? Kendrick? Please, let's get real. She's decent, but she doesn't even have a single hit song or a hit project. You can be her fan but don't be in denial about her lane. She isn't blowing up as long as she's on Jamla. They just don't promote the type of image and sound that has the capability of actually blowing up. As another commenter said, after Little Brother it was all down hill. Anyone who says different doesn't really know this shit.

    • Anonymous

      Who would be talking about travis scott if he wasnt with kanye. He sucks and people are on his nuts. We can name a bunch of suck rappers that made it off of somebody name. This rapsody girl is straight. She will get better but shit she aint boring like Earl Sweatpants or whatever his name is his shit puts me to sleep

    • Anonymous

      That's real

    • Anonymous

      beautifully written armchair executive see, you'll say Chance has a "chance" with a Kanye or somebody but Rapsody can't do that? You biased kid you here acting like XXL freshmen cover is a respect for the grind when it's a pay-in promo tool, you lost credibility armchair ceo especially when it was stated she didn't make the final cut (aka they ain't wanna pay XXL to promote her) and you seem to have grossly overlooked that MANY XXL freshmen have done NOTHING in the game in summary, go take that goofy starstruck sh*t somewhere else

  • Brower

    Well 1/2 the artist on that cover won't be around in a year. Also half of them, a lot of ppl hvn't even heard of or care to follow their careers. To me shes a great artist thats really been grinding hard and doing a lot more than these artist on the cover. So as far as a quota hell you filled the quota with those wack arist on the cover. Plus you put and rnb wanna be on the cover. I guess she needs ass shots and a lack of skills to make ya cover.

  • Anonymous

    She deserves the cover fo sho. Fuck August Alpenis, Rich Homo Quan and Ty Dolla Whine

  • anonymous

    LOL! You dumbasses are crazy! She can spit. You just don't understand her rhymes because she is over your head. You prolly aint even heard all her shit!!!!! Vanessa is trash!!!!! They fucked up and they know it!!!

    • Anonymous

      ^^^ totally agree! She is boring. She jus need 2 switch up her flow & stop trying 2 rhyme & sound like Lauryn Hill. Get cha own style Rapsody!!

    • Anonymous

      Don't understand her rhymes?? Lmao!! She ain't talkin bout nothing! Recite 1 line/verse/bar without looking it up! She's only relevant because 9th is fckin her. If she was on any other label then that bitch wouldn't get no play. She barely gets play @ all. Only thing make this chic bearable is Jamla's production. It damn sure ain't her sorry ass!

  • DRES tha BEATnik

    You put an R&B Singer(August Alsina) on that Cover but not a MC who happens to be Female. WHAT THE FUCK WERE Y'ALL THINKING!!! Some people have to be Political about it... I don't.

  • Donald S

    Hip Hop is beautiful.

  • black canseco

    Rapsody is aiight. She's nice, but she hasn't had that OMG moment where you hear personality, craft and a really dope joint all rolled up. She hasn't given me that one song where I go "she's gonna be a star." right now, Rapsody has a bunch songs where you go, "yeah she can rap" and you know you'll see her doing shows and whatnot... She's a roleplayer. No shame in that, but she ain't an all-star in waiting... With that said, Vanessa Satten's opinion is trash. Not cuz she's white, but because she has a track record of trash opinions and defending trash opinions. If XXL was still worth something to the culture, Satten wouldn't even be on staff much less running the ship.

    • Anonymous

      you keep waiting for that epic moment and many events will pass you by....see, while you saying all of that, they giving Kreayshawn, V-Nasty and Lil' Debbie more press than Rapsody y'all cosigning Macklemore and looking for gay rappers when a click like Jean Grae, Rapssody, and Rah Digga get no love y'all just do not realize how programmed y'all are and Vanessa is a part of that programming

  • victhegenius

    But you have an R&B act on the cover??? That's pretty suspect Miss Editor Lady


    Yup I got everything I needed from this. So the XXL has always been mainstream bullshit. got it.

  • Anonymous

    It's simply because she's wack! She's boring! Nothing abt her excites me. She tries 2 spit that spoken word/poetry crap over 9th's production & the shit don't mix. I don't appreciate 9th always trying 2 force feed this bitch down his fans throat (pause). She raps off beat. She raps the same in every song. I literally fall asleep if I hear her rap

    • Anonymous

      Well, she is boring. She is boring to all of the little white boys who can't relate to what she talking about because all they wanna hear is turn up and black people being gangstas and shit. If you don't say the magic words like turn up and weed and bitches then thats boring to you. Then she aint from New York. If this was Joey Badass or somebody from Brooklyn or any man saying the same shit she was saying it would be the greatest shit and these little white boys would be all on it. Dudes just dont wanna hear a girl rap. Thats the truth.

    • Anonymous

      nah son i'm bumpin that new j live album actually

    • Anonymous

      But you the dumb fuck posting about her. You must like that boring odd future shock value shit.

    • Anonymous

      ^^^^^ I don't listen 2 trap music u dumb fck! The bitch is boring! That simple!

    • Anonymous

      ^^^^^ Fuck ass prolly only listen to trap shit. FOH

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  • Be Realistic

    Rapsody is good and all but the Freshman list is about who is going to "blow up" not necessarily who is the best, obviously. Rapsody is talented but she isn't WASHING dudes and she's not a sex icon, those are two things that are necessary for women to become something. Like it or not but Nicki Minaj was outrapping Wayne in his prime and is a sex icon, MC Lyte was better than a lot of guys during her time, Missy Elliot was making more hits than a lot of guys during her time, Rapsody is not sexy, a hitmaker, or a superior lyricist.

  • my cock

    white devils run shit

  • Justin Hunte

    You happy now DX vermin? We do interview real people, we do our homework around here. Still the nerve to criticize us, just die. This white XXL white girl knows what time it is, why you think she took time out her busy schedule to mess with us? We titans in this hip hop gig. All DX staff stay driving 100k whips. And we really bring it to you if you feeling froggy. I don't know about any other hip hop site, but over here at DX, we're really about that. We the best journalists, we get the hottest scoops, best news, we been the best. -Justin Hunt- Executive Editor

  • Anonymous


    • Trixx

      And she's a big part of the reason why XXL is worse than it's ever been. The only reason why XXL is still around now is because of their freshmen list. It's a shame that the magazine is so awful now. Just by reading her quotes I get an inkling that this shouldn't be the person running what may have been the best hip hop publication at one point.

  • JRich

    They were right in leaving her off. Her lullaby rhymes aint gonna blow up any time soon. Just because you can spit a few bars doesn't mean people wanna hear it if it puts them to sleep

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree! BORING!!!! Where's Lady Luck? That chic could spit & she was a dime! What abt Sonja Blade? They ain't freshmans, but these girls can rap they ass off & they got sex appeal

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