Lay Bankz’s 2024 XXL Freshman Freestyle

Lay Bankz is a playful amalgam of what hip-hop looks like in 2024. A confident rapper who sings, dances and has the kind of zeal that leads to superstardom. She’s a bit spicy, too; don’t sleep on her clap-back game. And she does it all with that Cheshire Cat-like smile that lights up a room. While TikTok can get a bad rap for making artists popular that don’t necessarily deserve the acclaim, the 20-year-old Philadelphia native has used the platform to her advantage by showcasing her personality in myriad ways. The songs that got her noticed—”Left Cheek (Doo Doo Blick),” “Na Na Na” and “Tell Ur Girlfriend”—are full of the lively lyrics and upbeat energy that complement her spirit. But she does things a little differently for her 2024 XXL Freshman freestyle by bringing her serious side to light.

“Lately, it’s been a lot on my mind,” Lay expresses in the video below. “Fighting battles internal inside/There be some days I can’t talk to my mom/’Cause I’m dealing with so many feelings and really I’m feeling like I should unwind/And just speak on the thoughts that I bury, like if I don’t make it at least I was trying.”

The rising rhymer, whose signed to Artist Partner Group, puts her struggles out in the open. From burying loved ones to pulling back on unfilled dreams, Lay keeps it real on what she’s going through. “I can’t give in, I can’t give out/And when the pressure caving in, I make some diamonds out of dirt/Ghetto angels protecting me from sin, but I buried some bodies and it hurt/Have you ever been f**ked up, that’s the worst/All the sh*t I’m accomplishin’ my first/I was doin’ the most to get close to my dreams and abandonin’ hope ’cause it don’t work.”

She even switches the flow up: “Bad grades now they on to me, city hated me now they all proud of me/And the music kept a smile on me/But the industry fake, they lied to me.”

Lay Bankz took a page from one of her inspirations with these rhymes. “Lauryn Hill, if we’re talking about hip-hop music,” she shares of artists she’s influenced by. “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.”

Singers also play a part in Lay’s artistry. “Beyoncé ’cause she’s just an amazing performer,” Lay says. “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.”

But don’t get it twisted; she’s doing it all in her own way. “It’s time for me to be in people’s faces and show them who I am along with the music,” she maintains. “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.”

See Lay Bankz make diamonds out of dirt in her 2024 XXL Freshman freestyle.

The Freshman issue is on newsstands everywhere. In addition to interviews with the 2024 Freshman Class and producer Southside, there are also conversations with Sexyy Red, Ski Mask The Slump God, Mustard, Rubi Rose, Ken Carson, Ghostface Killah, Lola Brooke and more, plus, a look back at what the 2023 XXL Freshman Class has been doing. Also, there are stories on the ongoing scamming and fraud plaguing hip-hop, and how podcasters and streamers are playing a major role in rap beef. The issue is on sale here, along with some exclusive Freshmen merch.

Watch Lay Bankz’s 2024 XXL Freshman Freestyle

See the 2024 XXL Freshman Class Artists and Producer