While the app features six functions like news, trivia and lifestyle trends, the most unique is a feature called "Ready or Not," which allows rappers to record and upload their own 30-second freestyles and get judged by celebrity guests from the music industry.
"It's very hard for a new artist to get discovered even with the Internet as prevalent as it is these days," says XXL's editor-in-chief Vanessa Satten. "Singers have an advantage to be noticed in 'American Idol,' but aspiring rappers have limited outlets. 'Ready Or Not' helps aspiring rappers get heard by those who can actually help launch their career."
For a magazine looking to break the next big thing and gain leverage on an increasingly agile blogosphere, the app could be a huge move for XXL. Established artists, label A&Rs, magazine editors and "industry heavyweights" will routinely scan the feature for submissions and new talent discoveries.
"We believe this can be a very important tool for hip-hop," said Sha Money XL, senior VP of A&R at Island Def Jam Records. "This app will allow me direct access to artists really looking to be heard."
The app is currently available through the iPhone store.
Earlier this week, XXL magazine hosted their 2011 Freshmen concert, held at B.B. King's in New York City, which honored those rappers who graced the April issue of the publication. Fred the Godson, CyHi da Prynce, Diggy Simmons, Meek Mill, Yelawolf, Mac Miller, Kendrick Lamar, YG and Lil Twist all took turns commanding the stage.