Predicting the 2018 XXL Freshman List

The XXL Freshman List isn’t too far away now as we prepare to see who the supposed new faces of rap are. In recent years we have seen success stories like Kendrick Lamar and Chance The Rapper come out of this system, as well as some truly unsuccessful cases such as Iggy Azalea and Desiigner; but who will be on the list this year? Viberant have predicted the names here:

Jaden Smith

Desperate to be seen as something more than just Will and Jada Smith’s son, Jaden has made moves in his music career over the past couple of years, surfacing into his 2017 album ‘SYRE’. It sold well and has spawned a few huge hits, gaining the seal of approval from the likes of A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar. The future can only get brighter for Jaden Smith and potential links with BROCKHAMPTON can give him another platform to move higher. He could be a marquee name on this year’s list.

Lil Pump

Lil Pump went from 16 year old school dropout to the next big thing in hip-hop in the space of 12 months. His debut mixtape boasts some of the biggest trap anthems of 2017, including the colossal hits Flex Like Ouu and Gucci Gang. Surely he is an obvious selection for the Freshman if he were to accept the invitation because he is the kind of artist who will get numbers, with that being said could he maybe be too big for the list already? Only time will tell but I think he will be in it this year.

Lil Skies

At the young age of 19, Lil Skies brings something fresh to a rap genre which has evidently changed dramatically over the last few years with the introduction of Soundcloud Rappers into mainstream rap. Lil Skies has been on the Billboard 100 several times with his debut album Life Of A Dark Rose entering the Billboard 200 at number 10, XXL will only push him further.

Famous Dex

Famous Dex is a name that has buzzed around the Soundcloud rap industry for quite some time now, but has only recently started to see his stock grow widely. A contender for last year’s list, Dex has gone away and grew in popularity since then, releasing the huge gold selling hit Pick It Up with A$AP Rocky and following that up with his debut album ‘Dex Meets Dexter’ which almost reached the Billboard top 10 in it’s first week. It is surely only a matter of time before Dex gets the recognition he deserves.

Ski Mask The Slump God

Arguably the most talented artist in this list, Ski Mask The Slump God has a flow that could go head-to-head with some of the very best the business has to offer. His debut mixtape ‘You Will Regret’ boasted two of the best rap songs of the year last year, with BabyWipe and Catch Me Outside only getting bigger and bigger. Look out for this guy in the freestyles and the cyphers, he will tear the house down.

Trippie Redd

Trippie Redd has been on the receiving end of quite a few memes since he broke out on Soundcloud, particularly for his passionate tones in his vocal delivery as well as his quite obscure appearance. Despite the memes, Trippie Redd is actually an artist worth giving a try, he is causing a stir in the genre and has made some straight fire anthems, including the fantastic Dark Night Dummo with Travis Scott. He is another who I believe has to be on the list and if he isn’t then XXL have done it all wrong.

Princess Nokia

What a 2017 Princess Nokia had. Her debut album 1992 flew in the charts and exceeded expectations. She’s a quality rapper who excels in clever wordplay and having seamlessly flawless flow.  XXL will be keen to get a female on their XXL list and with Cardi B seemingly not on the shortlist for whatever reason, it looks like it could fall to Princess Nokia.

Rich Brian

The curious case of Rich Brian is an interesting one. Formerly named Rich Chigga but dropping it for his birth name to be more professional and serious about his rap career; he is the dictionary definition of not judging a book by it’s cover. His shy persona and cheeky smile is hiding an assassin of a rapper with ice cold flow and hard bars, he is a very talented guy and I feel like a place on this list would only be the beginning of his long career.


A man I don’t really condone given his accused behaviour, but I cannot deny the heat that Tekashi 6ix9ine is gathering right now. His aggressive style of bordering punk-rap is terrifying on the ears but it has gained the Hispanic rapper a cult following of which is rarely contested by those on this list. His rise to fame seems to be so short and despite some poor reviews of his debut mixtape, I think he will have more than enough momentum to make an impression on this list.


A member of Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack record label, Smokepurpp has all the links and attributes necessary to become a megastar. At just 20 years old it is exciting times for the Florida based rapper and he has even confirmed himself as a feature on J Cole’s upcoming album, high praise indeed to feature on that. With two mixtapes confirmed to be on the way this year, 2018 could be the time Smokepurpp lives his dream and announces himself as an emerging trap star.

Published by elliskarran

Journalism Graduate who loves to voice opinions on music. Viberant.

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