The members of the highly anticipated 2022 XXL Freshman class has been unveiled. The 2022 class is full of rising stars who have hits that have gone viral, been on repeat and received much radio play. This year’s class includes Nardo Wick, Kali, Saucy Santana, Doechii, BabyTron, Babyface Ray, Cochise, Big 30, SoFaygo, Big Scarr and KayCyy.
Saucy Santana and Doechii stand out from their classmates. Not because they are both repping Florida. These hip hop rookies are the two LGBTQ reps of this year’s class.
Besides Lil’ Nas X, Saucy Santana is the only gay rapper to get this much acclaim. He is rising to stardom thanks to hits like “Walk Em Like A Dog,” “Material Girl,” “Walk” and “Shisha.” He never expected to be a rapper but fell into this career after he rapped the intro for a Facebook podcast he was hosting with his friends. Around that same time, Santana had moved to Tallahassee and became the City Girls’ makeup artist. Then the Perry, Florida native decided to share a freestyle over Blueface’s “Thotiana” on YouTube and the rest was history.
“I want to leave behind a legacy where if another gay boy comes after me, they get the same acceptance and warm welcome that I had to work hard to get,” the 28-year-old told Billboard.
Doechii is the latest addition to the legendary Top Dawg Entertainment roster which also include Kendrick Lamar, SZA and Isaiah Rashad. The Tampa native began to turn heads when her single “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake” went viral on TikTok. Her single “Persuasive,” has almost three million streams and she had Twitter in a frenzy over her bare-naked video for “Crazy.” It even got banned from trending on YouTube.
The 22-year-old artist told NME that she started chasing her rap dreams when she was in the 6th grade after hearing Nicki Minaj.
“I knew this girl who was a huge Nicki Minaj fan, and at this time I was really Christian and I believed that Nicki Minaj was a part of the Illuminati [laughs],” she said. “I was really against her. But she put me onto Nicki Minaj and I was immediately hooked and wanted to start a group. I wanted to rap, so I wrote my first song and we did it at a talent show, and we won!”
Congratulations to this year’s class!