Listening to a stellar hip-hop album has inspired many rappers to try their hand at the craft, finding their own voice while embracing the influence of another. For 2021 XXL Freshman Blxst, one of those artists is ScHoolboy Q. When the rising West Coast rapper, who has built a name for himself over the last year for his singsong delivery, first got his start in music years ago, Q's 2011 album, Setbacks, inspired Blxst to "create something from scratch." The LP, which features tracks like the Kendrick Lamar-assisted "Birds & The Beez" and "iBETiGOTSUMWEED," is just one of Blxst's five favorite hip-hop albums.

While Blxst's No Love Lost EP, released last year, is heavy on the melody, the choices he makes for the projects that have impacted his life come from more rappers known for their bars and lyrical delivery. Sticking close to home, considering Blxst is a native of South Central, Los Angeles, first up on his list is Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d. city. Blxst, who produced the remix to Hitta J3’s 2014 track “Do Yo Gudda,” which K-Dot was featured on, appreciates GKMC for the way in which Kendrick gave a window into life in Compton. "That album he was really giving a different perspective on Compton," Blxst shares. "Like he was a good kid in a mad city and nobody really talked about that."

Another highly respected MC shows up on Blxst's top five. "I'ma say the next album is J. Cole, [2014] Forest Hills Drive," he adds. "That was one of my favorite albums because I was in a dark space when he dropped that and I feel like he was speaking to me personally. I know every word on that album." Cole's world helped Blxst see the light.

After naming ScHoolboy Q's Setbacks, a lauded rhymer from the streets of Queens gets some love. "Next album I'ma have to say is 50 Cent, Get Rich or Die Tryin'," Blxst explains. "That's a classic. No skips on there. When he dropped that album, it just changed the whole game." A West Coast native with appreciation for East Coast rhymes.

A special memory between mother and son is what helps cement the last selection on Blxst's list. "My last album I'ma say College Dropout, Kanye West," he says. "That album is special to me because that was like one of the albums that me and my mom used to listen to together, and she don't listen to too much hip-hop. So anytime we listened to that album it was like a little bond we had." Family first.

Connect with Blxst on his top five favorite hip-hop albums below.

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.