Lay Bankz – 2024 XXL Freshman

  • GOV’T NAME: Layia Watkins
  • AGE: 20
  • REPPIN’: Philadelphia
  • X: @bankerrz
  • INSTAGRAM: @laybankz
  • TIKTOK: @thelaybankz
  • NOTABLE RELEASES: Songs: “Na Na Na,” “Ick,” “Sloppy Seconds (Ick Pt. 2),” “Tell Ur Girlfriend”; EP: Now You See Me ; Project: After 7 ; Guest Appearances: Ciara’s “Da Girls (Dance Mix),” Kyle’s “Woah,” Bandmanrill’s “Piano”
  • LABEL: Artist Partner Group
  • CURRENTLY WORKING ON: Untitled project dropping later this year.
  • WHO ELSE SHOULD BE PART OF THIS YEAR’S CLASS: “Karrahbooo. Anycia. I think both of them are really talented. They be on some cool sh*t, and I’ve really been on that chill music vibe, recently. The Detroit chill vibe. So, yeah, I think they should have made it. I think they would have killed sh*t.”
  • INFLUENCED BY: “Lauryn Hill, if we’re talking about hip-hop music. Lauryn Hill is just amazing. Like, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I’ve been listening to it for, like, two months straight now, back-to-back. Missy Elliott is just dope all across the board. Her music is very artsy, and I feel like I have an artsy style of music. And, yeah, just the crazy ad-libs and the crazy sounds when they come on, it’s just very captivating.

    Beyoncé ’cause she’s just an amazing performer. She’s an amazing artist. Just the development of her career. I’ve been a Beyoncé fan since the beginning of my life. Aaliyah. I think her style and just how sweet of a girl she was, just very inspirational.”

  • AS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL: “I was the cool kid. I was funny. I was quirky. I loved anime. I still do love anime. I skateboarded. I was in musical theater, and I’ve been a singer. The artsy, fun girl. I was just having fun, experimenting, trying sh*t and just being myself.”

TRUTH ON BEING AN XXL FRESHMAN: “I seen me on the fake list and I was like, No, no, no. If I made a fake list, I gotta be on a real list. I called my team and I’m like, ‘Yo, did y’all see this?’ I said to the group chat and like, ‘Is this real?’ And they’re like, ‘Well, no, the list is fake, but you did make it this year.’ I’m like, ‘Yo, that is f**king crazy.’

I started [paying attention to the Freshman Class] probably when I was like 12 or 13. Around that time, Lil Uzi Vert and PnB Rock came out. That class was what really opened me up. Five years ago, I started making music and I started wanting to be a Freshman. If you’re not a Freshman, what are you doing?

It’s time for me to be in people’s faces and show them who I am along with the music. I think that everybody has their own sense of individuality, but mine stands out in my own way because of what I do. I dance, I sing, I rap, I write. And I’m just original with doing it. I freestyle in the booth, I produce.

[When the cover is released, I’ll] probably turn up with my girls, my family. I gotta turn up with my team, too, because I wouldn’t be this far without them. I think [my fans are] gonna be hyped. You come with a look, you take the picture for the cover, then you do the freestyle. And the freestyle is really the build-up moment. But I think the cypher is like, this is how I’m coming. I feel like this is gonna open the door for the hip-hop world for me. I feel like the hip-hop world knows me, but after this, they’re gonna really know me.”

Watch the 2024 XXL Freshman Class Revealed

2024 XXL Freshman Cover (Click to Enlarge)
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See the 2024 XXL Freshman Class Artists and Producer