Asking someone to name their favorite artists is a complicated task. Sometimes, the salute comes from the catalog quality. Perhaps it’s a stylistic component that makes them reign supreme. Possibly, the rationale could fall squarely in having an undeniable imprint on the culture. When Iann Dior offers his handful of favorite artists to XXL, he does so by doubling down on each of those notions.

To introduce the set, Iann begins with his favorite artist, J. Cole. “He tells stories in his music and I feel like a lot of people don’t really do that,” the 2021 XXL Freshman explains.

The next person Iann mentions is one of a Cole’s direct peers. And honestly, a man who truly is on cruise control in a lane of his own, whether you like it or not. “Two has to be Drake," Iann shares. "He’s that guy. We all know that.”

Though rappers are the focus of this list, the genre-defying artist, who both sings and raps, does sneak in one of the game’s most favored R&B voices, too. “Three, Frank Ocean, I love him,” Iann says surely. “His aesthetic is different than everybody else's.”

The last two names to make the cut are the heads and tails of The Throne. First out of the duo comes Kanye West. Like many of ’Ye’s day one fans, his 808s & Heartbreak album is the effort that sealed the deal. “I feel like that was a very revolutionary album for everybody,” Iann says of Kanye's Auto-Tuned-laced game changer.

Jay-Z’s name follows, completing Iann's list on a high note. “Jay would be No. 5 because my dad introduced him to me,” Iann expresses. As the story goes, Iann's mother wasn’t big on profanity, so listening to Hov's The Blueprint album had to be made on the low. Iann's dad put him on to that LP. “He also signed J. Cole, so I appreciate him for that, too,” the “Mood” artist adds.

Watch Iann Dior plug in his top five favorite rappers and singers below.

2021 XXL Freshman Class
Travis Shinn for XXL

See the 2021 XXL Freshman Class

Welcome 42 DuggIann DiorCoi LerayPooh ShiestyFlo MilliMorrayRubi RoseBlxstToosiiLakeyah and DDG to the 2021 XXL Freshman Class.

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