• Gov't Name: Raury Tullis
  • Twitter: @Raury
  • Instagram: @raury
  • Age: 19
  • Reppin: Atlanta
  • Notable Releases: Singles: “God’s Whisper,” “Cigarette Song,” “Seven Suns”; Albums: Indigo Child; Guest Appearances: Gucci Mane’s “Dead People”
  • Label: LoveRenaissance/Columbia
  • Currently Working On: As-yet-titled debut album
  • Surprised About Who Is Missing: “I'm surprised my bro Makonnen ain't here. I'm surprised Mick Jenkins isn't here. CJ Fly. I'm surprised they aren't here. But who knows. I'd like to get to hang out with them, I haven't seen them in a while.”
  • Influenced By: “I have a strong grounding in folk music; I love folk music, it’s my favorite type. You know, Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty, people who are really dope. But then I have a hip-hop heart, so I love Kid Cudi, I love André 3000, great inspirations. I’d say I have a folk head, a hip-hop heart and a rock soul. Down to my soul I love rock and roll, you know, I love Queen, I love soul music, too, Marvin Gaye is a giant inspiration. It’s a lot of people.”
  • As A Freshman In High School: “I was pretty depressed, dark and somewhat of a nerd. I didn't talk to that many people. I was new to that high school. My middle school didn't feed into that high school so it was a bunch of strangers around me. I was in a dark place; my Aunt had passed away that year. It was a very pivotal year in my life though, because that year is when I listened to [Kid Cudi’s] Man On The Moon album and really really fell in love with music and the power of it and what it could do.”

TRUTH: On Being A 2015 XXL Freshman: “I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be at this moment. Yeah, that sums it up, you know what I mean? Like, literally, you go places and sometimes something feels off or something feels weird, but nothing feels off, nothing feels weird, this is exactly where I'm supposed to be right now. So that's how I feel.

It's a complete honor, man. It's another one of those things where I was like wishful thinking about, like, it happened. I know how obscure of an artist I am, people are unaware of the fact that I can rap or I do rap or that I started as a rapper, you know. For me, it's an opportunity for me to bring everything that I do full circle. It means a lot. It's very important.
All the way back to the 2011 cover; especially like 2013, the people that are on there and where they are now, it's pretty accurate as far as the people that have been picked by XXL. I went and looked at the past cyphers, the freestyles, man, it's an amazing thing. I'm glad you guys do this.

The goal, all the time, is to create one of the most important and impactful albums I can. I know I'm not the biggest artist or anything like that, but what makes you resonate with music, or anybody resonate with sound or any song that they've heard, is that it was missing from their life. Regardless of the fact that it sounds good, what really resonates with you is that you haven't had this in a while. It's what's missing. So putting together this album I'm figuring out, not what do I need, but what do we need, what is missing from the whole spirit of hip-hop, what is missing from the whole spirit of the Atlanta music scene, what is missing in general. So that's what I plan to deliver: exactly what we need.

It's a heavy burden and it's also very—not a heavy burden—but a very dangerous burden. Who knows, I might not have what we need, for all I know. I'm just an 18-year-old boy from Georgia. It is a heavy burden, but it's one that I'm aware that I have and that I accept without expecting anything back. I accept it out of love for the culture and love for the music, love for the fans, period. Love for the world.

I definitely know that [the cover] will expose me to a large group of people who have never heard of me before. A lot of my music lives in so many different worlds that at times I feel like I am spread well across some scenes but I can be spread somewhat thin across other scenes. You know, and this will kind of even things out as far as the crowds and the people I want to reach, too. It'll also show the world that I love plants.”—Dan Rys

Behind-The-Scenes: Raury