XXL freshman cypher 2021
XXL/ Travis shinn

XXL FRESHMAN CYPHER 2021: WHICH WAS THE BEST CYPHER???

Last week, XXL released the 3 cyphers for the freshman list. This year in particular was different from the previous years. First, the XXL Freshman usually has a pitch that they give for people to vote for them. There were no pitches this year. Secondly, they released all of the cyphers within days of each other. Hopefully, this doesn’t become a trend because I think they help people become more involved in who becomes chosen for the list and keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Nevertheless, I thought that the cyphers were good, but it felt rushed. I will be discussing the three cyphers in deeper detail. This is an in-depth review of the XXL freshman cypher for 2021.

XXL FRESHMAN CYPHER 2021: SETTING

The setting for the XXL freshman was weird. It was very dark, with only a couple of lights where the artist stand. Each person patiently waits their turn under the light. One person performs in front of the other three, then steps back for the next person. I didn’t like the venue for this year. It felt corny to me. Last year was slightly different, as each artist was 6 feet apart in what looked like a warehouse, but I would prefer a well-lit area over spotlights. They also didn’t have to step in front of each other due to being in a pandemic. I also liked that the 2020 cypher was almost in a circular fashion instead of each artist in a horizontal like. Hopefully, in the near future, they will be more creative about their venues.

XXL FRESHMAN CYPHER 1: MORRAY, COI LERAY, DDG, LAKEYAH

To begin, I really liked DDG’s verse. He really brought his skills to the table, especially the fact that he did come from YouTube. I really like Morray’s verse, especially because I think he freestyled it while he also did a mix of rap and singing. Lakeyah was someone who gave a solid cypher by herself, but she also brought the heat in her group cypher. I enjoyed the flow she gave. I feel like she flawlessly switched her flow, along with heavy bars. The only person who didn’t perform well is Coi Leray. Her freestyle was poor and made her the centre of attention in the media. Then, when she ran out of things to say, she started twerking as if that made anything better. I was disappointed in her because it seemed as if she has been taking the spotlight in media for the wrong reasons. Maybe they are the right reasons, but many would consider this a loss (L) for her. To sum it up, I think they could have possibly chosen a better instrumental that would fit the whole group, but that shouldn’t have to be the case because of one person’s mistake. In my opinion, Coi Leray was just having fun because she had the opportunity.

XXL FRESHMAN CYPHER 2: BLXST, TOOSII

I really liked the way that Blxst flowed on the instrumental. I think it worked in his favour more than Toosii. That doesn’t mean that Toosii performed poorly, but Blxst performed over the instrumental better. Toosii also gave a great verse. This lineup reminds me of the performances from G Herbo and Dave East in a 2016 cypher. Overall, the two performed better than both of the other two cyphers, which includes 4 people.

XXL FRESHMAN CYPHER 3: RUBI ROSE, FLO MILLI, POOH SHIESTY, 42 DUGG

While I wasn’t a fan of Rubi Rose (I’m still not a fan), I think she did well on her verse. Actually, Rubi Rose did better than Coi Leray. Flo Milli had the best verse out of the four. I like how she had a different flow. She starts slow, then she speeds up. I think her outfit was a bit insane, but that didn’t take away from her lyricism. With his southern accent, Pooh Shiesty gave a verse discussing his come-up story. His verse was good, but the flow might be his only shortcoming, as it was consistent. Finally, 42 Dugg’s verse was good. Like Shiesty, his flow was also consistent but a little better. I wish that he gave a longer verse. Overall, this was not a bad group.

IANN DIOR???

Each year, there seems to be one freshman who doesn’t do the cypher at all and solely does the photoshoot. Since the previous freshman Baby Keem did it, I thought that all freshmen would have to do cyphers, not just photoshoots. This was very disappointing that Iann didn’t do a cypher because he has a solidified fanbase. I would assume that as a freshman, doing a cypher would only help an artist.

NICK MIRA

Each year, the producers bring the most terrible and basic instrumentals. While this year wasn’t any different, it was slightly better than last year, which featured JetsonMade. It seems as if every instrumental that XXL chooses they are simple and lacklustre. I know Nick Mira, as well as other producers, are more creative and produced more technical instrumentals. While they weren’t bad, they weren’t any good. I would say the best instrumental was the one that Blxst and Toosii rapped over.

BEST TO WORST

If I had to rank each freshman from worst to best, I would rank them in this order:

  1. Lakeyah
  2. Flo Milli
  3. Blxst
  4. DDG
  5. Morray
  6. Toosii
  7. Rubi Rose
  8. Pooh Shiesty
  9. 42 Dugg
  10. Coi Leray
  11. Iann Dior

CONCLUSION

To conclude, Blxst and Toosii had the best cypher. Coi Leray gave the worst performance, but I was happy that she performed. I wish Iann Dior performed, even if it was written verses. Everyone else performed very well, but hopefully next year, they will choose a better group of people.

Did you hear the XXL Freshman cyphers??? Click here to listen!!!

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