Fridayy – 2023 XXL Freshman
- GOV'T NAME: Francis LeBlanc
- AGE: 26
- REPPIN': Philadephia
- TWITTER: @fridayy
- INSTAGRAM: @fridayy
- TIKTOK: @fridayy
- NOTABLE RELEASES: Songs: DJ Khaled’s “God Did” featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and John Legend, Lil Baby’s “Forever,” “Don’t Give It Away” featuring Chris Brown; EP: Lost In Melody; Guest Appearances: Meek Mill’s “Don’t Give Up on Me,” Moneybagg Yo’s ‘Lies,” NLE Choppa’s “Will Not Lose”
- LABEL: Def Jam Recordings
- CURRENTLY WORKING ON: Untitled album dropping this summer.
- WHO ELSE SHOULD BE PART OF THIS YEAR'S CLASS: “I’m surprised Armani White not in the class. A Philly native. What he did this year was special, you know what I mean? He went Billboard by himself.”
- INFLUENCED BY: “Boyz II Men. Jamie Foxx. Brian McKnight. Meek Mill. Drake. Kanye West. The reason I say I started with the R&B guys, ’cause that’s what I grew up on. After coming from church, that’s what I listened to. So, that’s where you get Boyz II Men, Jamie Foxx. That’s where I got my singing abilities, my soulfulness.
And then I started living my life listening to Meek. Like hearing what he go through from Philly, like you just relate to a lot of everything he say. And then I started listening to Drake. Knowing how to talk my talk and mix it up with melodies without sounding corny. And then, of course, Kanye West. I been listening to Kanye West my whole life. So, like me and him got a lot in common, bringing that soulfulness to hip-hop, that godly sound.”
- AS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL: “When I was a freshman in school, I was a hooper. I was like one of the best hoopers in my school. So, that’s what I went into high school doing. Like anybody who knew me, they like, ‘He’s a hooper.’ I was getting buckets. I was playing shooting guard.
I was getting by with grades. Every year, it was like, ‘Damn, we don’t know bro.’ I failed ninth grade. I didn’t really like school. I used to skip class and go to gym class, and just play ball. I finished though and went on to college.
TRUTH ON BEING AN XXL FRESHMAN: “I’m grateful to be here. It is very important. Especially when you somebody like me that grew up watching hip-hop, you notice it’s important. A lot of my favorite artists came through here. Legends that’s legends today. Let’s just say I’m on a great track and this is a milestone for me, for sure.Like hearing about Freshman, Meek Mill, Kendrick Lamar. I’ve been seeing it from there. But it wasn’t until like Lil Uzi Vert [in 2016], I was in like the end of high school or college when Uzi and Lil Yachty did it. That was like the first time I was like, Oh s**t. This is legendary right here. That was a time where it shifted in a way.This is something everybody look forward to. It’s just like the Grammy Awards. I feel like this is definitely a statement to be like, ‘I’m here.’ That’s what I recognize as success. I’m here, and I’m about to be one of the biggest.
It was never a goal for me until this year, ’cause I used to make like a lot of R&B, when I was 18. And I recently found my sound like two years ago, three years ago. What I wanted to make and how I wanted it to be.
And a lot of people was just placing me with the rappers. So, once I seen people were placing me with the rappers, I was like, Alright, they calling me a rapper, this is something I could do. But it was least expected, though. But as I looked, y’all had Rod Wave. Y’all had Blxst. Y’all had Ty Dolla $ign. So, once I seen that, I feel like I definitely could fit in here.”
Watch Fridayy's 2023 XXL Freshman Freestyle
Fridayy has dedicated his life to music, and he's been handsomely rewarded for the time put in. Grammy-nominated, praised by Jay-Z and a few Billboard Hot 100 accolades to his name certainly prove the 26-year-old Philadelphia native made the right decision when he stopped attending a branch of Penn State University during his freshman year in 2016. Hip-hop's latest singing sensation first got on rap's radar when his resonant, mesmerizing vocals blessed DJ Khaled's Grammy-nominated hit "God Did" featuring Hov, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and John Legend last year. Ever since, he's been gifting his rap&B talents through singing, writing and producing for everyone from Lil Baby to Chris Brown. Now, the multi-hyphenate showcases why his mighty voice is in high demand by giving a nod to his church-raised roots in his 2023 XXL Freshman freestyle.
Despite what people may think, there are no rules to these freestyles besides the fact they have to be done a cappella, which means anything else goes. With that in mind, Fridayy welcomes a six-person choir for his Freshman freestyle session. The soulful sounds of "Oh, oh" by one choir singer signals the start of the melody put in place. It's not long before the other members jump in and Fridayy's powerful vocals begin.
"Tell me you love me, did you mean it?/Did you wanna stay ’cause you needed me?/Baby how you treated me/You never believed in me/All the nights that I gave up sleep just to be here now/They won't break me down," Fridayy sings.
Motivation and purpose are the resounding themes here. "They can't take my soul/They can't take my soul/Push through on my own/This the life I chose/They can't take my soul," Fridayy continues before he and the choir end on the impactful statement "This the life I chose."
Fridayy has done just that since growing up in the church, where he was a multi-instrumentalist playing piano, drums and bass. The voices of Boyz II Men, Jamie Foxx, Brian McKnight, Meek Mill, Kanye West and Drake influenced him on the come up. Making melodies and beats at home is where he got his start. A short-lived attempt at college showed him music was where his heart lies, and he continued to pursue his dreams of having a career as an artist in L.A. Ups and downs occurred, but he got his first beat placement with singer Elhae, then signed a publishing deal with Big Noise Music Group in 2020. By 2022, Fridayy was a Def Jam Recordings artist with a debut project, Lost in Melody. Now, he's a 2023 XXL Freshman.
"I'm grateful to be here," Fridayy tells XXL. "It is very important. Especially when you somebody like me that grew up watching hip-hop, you notice it’s important. A lot of my favorite artists came through here. Legends that’s legends today. Let’s just say I’m on a great track and this is a milestone for me, for sure."
Watch Fridayy bring the soul to his 2023 XXL Freshman freestyle below.
Watch Fridayy's 2023 XXL Freshman ABCs
Ball is life for Fridayy, who's been an avid hooper since he was a kid. The 26-year-old Philadelphia native even has an aptly titled song called "Shoot" featuring Ty Dolla $ign on the deluxe version of his Lost in Melody EP, released earlier this year. While the Grammy-nominated artist has become hip-hop's lauded vocalist as of late, there's many other sides to Fridayy, which he shares in his version of XXL's ABCs.
Knowing that basketball is his sport of choice, it's only right the Def Jam Recordings signee kicks things off with athlete for the letter A. "I was a athlete my whole life," he reveals. "I played ball my whole life. I was nice as s**t, too, as some will say. It slowed down, later high school, but I still hoop. I'll fry some people." Shooting guard is his prime position, and he's a Kobe Bryant fan.
Supporters of the guy with the godly sound know that he passed on a college education at Penn State University to pursue his gift of music. But that doesn't mean Fridayy doesn't know the importance of a solid education—the word he choose for the letter E. "I ain't gonna say college for everybody, but definitely finish high school," Fridayy insists. "You need to know how to read and count your numbers. College not for everybody, I will say that. It's a waste of time if you don't know what you want to do with your life." Wise words.
When it comes to the letter P, Fridayy praises 50 Cent's acclaimed TV show Power: "Shout-out 50 Cent, my favorite show, Power, nah mean. Been watching that s**t since it came out."
And though he has a booming presence on the mic, the "God Did" hook master is actually a really quiet person. "I'm a very quiet guy until you get to know me," Fridayy admits for the letter Q. "If you see me from afar, you like, 'Damn, bro not sayin' nothin. He a introvert?' No, I'm not a introvert. I just don't know you. That's it."
Get to know Fridayy a little better, what his favorite cartoon is and why he stresses the importance of playing your cards right in his ABCs below.