It's the most wonderful time of the year for rising hip-hop artists. XXL magazine is gearing up for their annual Freshman class cover, which the outlet uses to shine light on burgeoning rappers -- and occasionally R&B artists -- whom they feel have the buzz and skills to continue making an impact. You could debate whether the most deserving artists are selected or even highlight the ones that have failed to live up to expectations (remember Donnis?), but one thing you can't deny is that the Freshman list creates plenty of dialogue and that it is an invaluable notch to put on a new artist's belt.

For the past three years, XXL has implemented a voting process that allows us -- the fans -- to have a say in who should have the final slot of the list, No. 10. After the XXL staff decides on the first nine artists that will appear on the cover, the artist with the highest total votes (that wasn't selected in the staff's Freshmen lineup) will be featured in the issue as well. This effectively gives the people a chance to decide who is worthy of the Freshmen 10 Spot. Past winners of this contest include Jarren Benton, Dizzy Wright and Iggy Azalea.

As for this years contestants -- aside from probable shoo-ins such as Dej Loaf, Bobby Shmurda, Fetty Wap PARTYNEXTDOOR, Raury and Tink -- a few names to look out for are Alex Wiley, Bas, Lil Herb, Your Old Droog, Vince Staples and Young Dolph, among others.

The voting process begins today (March 16) and ends March 22, which gives fans ample time to get their picks in. Who will your pick be? Vote for your favorite rapper or singer below.

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