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Since 2008, XXL’s Freshmen list has sparked serious conversation amongst the Hip-Hop community, as well as being a springboard for some of today’s hottest rappers.

Past alumni include Macklemore, Meek Mill and Kendrick Lamar. However, there have also been regrettable co-signs for struggle rappers such as Fred the Godson, Charles Hamilton and OJ Da Juiceman.

The 2014 class was recently unveiled and of course, there were several artists and fans alike who found fault in it. There were even some rappers who had qualms with the storied rap publication as if being omitted (repeatedly) had hindered their career in some form or fashion. Yet, we over at Hip-Hop Wired know for a fact that you don’t have to be enrolled in that particular school to elevate your status. Namely, signing to a record label.

To be clear, being a XXL Freshmen doesn’t give you automatic fame, nor does signing a record deal. It’s what you do with it afterwards that counts. We’re just here to state the facts.

Scroll through the gallery to see 25 notable rappers who signed record deals without being XXL Freshmen.

Photo: XXL

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