A Jacksonville native and Tyler Legacy grad gets the chance to follow in the footsteps of some of hip-hop’s biggest names.

Christopher Simms Jr., who raps as Cico P. was chosen to compete for 10th place in XXL Magazine’s “Freshman” class, and the public can vote online to decide who will get the accolade, which has in the past led to stardom.

This year is the 15th XXL freshman class, according to its website. The contest gives fans a way to give their opinion on new talent in the industry.

Simms, a 2016 Tyler Legacy graduate, said he hopes to put East Texas on the map with his music.

“XXL reached out to me about a month ago and interviewed me about being a candidate for the freshman roster this year,” Simms said. “I wouldn’t be me without Tyler, Jacksonville, East Texas. It’s always love with me. I grew up around music and even recorded a few songs when I was 12-15, but I really got attached in late 2018, early 2019.”

Simms, 24, said he grew up listening to rappers like 50 Cent and Nelly and Gucci Mane and Future were some of his favorite artists. The Texas rap and hip-hop scene, however, had a big influence on him.

He likes to call his music “Boogie Ave”. Boogie is his nickname, and it includes Ave, short for avenue, because he said he stayed in his own lane.

Simms said it would be an honor to be part of the former XXL freshmen, which includes Iggy Azalea, 24k Goldn, J. Cole, Kodak Black, Da Baby, 21 Savage, Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill and Lil ‘Uzi Green.

“XXL is a major platform in the industry for upcoming artists, so to come up against some of the biggest newcomers to the game right now for this spot is truly an honor. (It) lets me know that I am on the right track for sure,” Simms said.

He said he hopes East Texas gets to the polls and plans to make his hometown proud.

Simms will perform live at the Rolling Loud Miami Festival this summer.

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