That time of year is coming again. Every summer XXL drop a new list of freshmen rappers who are considered the future stars of the industry. Sometimes they hit it out of the park and other times they’ve flopped miserably (Check the 2015 list for reference). Here’s an early prediction of this years list, and for the record, YNW Melly and Sheck Wes have been left off of this list with their current troubles with the law. If they were to be cleared for whatever reason, they would’ve both made this list.
One of the hottest names on the lips of rap fans this year. Known for being an off beat rapper, Blueface placed himself at the forefront of the rap game in 2018 with a couple viral tracks off his mixtape ‘Famous Cryp’. Towards the end of his breakthrough year Blueface signed to Cash Money Records and released his biggest hit to date, Thotiana, which has since been remixed by both YG and Cardi B. He’s a shoo-in, maybe even as the fans vote.
Gunna is on the rise. His album ‘Drip or Drown 2’ peaked at number 3 in the US charts earlier this year and XXL will strike while he’s hot. Following on from the success of his track ‘Drip Too Hard’ and an abundance of guest verses, it’d be hard to discredit Gunna from this list.
If Gunna is on here then Lil Baby has to be as well. The pair had monumental success with their ‘Drip Harder’ collab project late last year. On top of his work with Gunna, Lil Baby smashed the charts with his ‘Street Gossip’ mixtape and his track ‘Yes Indeed’ with Drake. Both men will be on the list and both likely on the same cypher.
Up and coming Soundcloud rapper Comethazine should see himself on the Freshmen List this year. He’s dropped some viral songs through Lyrical Lemonade including the absolute banger that is ‘Walk’ as well as two mixtapes titled ‘Bawskee 1 & 2’.
Rico Nasty is as wild as they come. She’s got the bars and she’s as legit as they come. XXL will most likely include her in this years freshman and personally I think she’s one of the very best on here. She’s worked with Injury Reserve and Doja Cat this year and dropped two singles of her own, she’s building quite the name for herself and that’s going to bigger than ever come Freshman season.
Juice WRLD could be a strange inclusion. He blew up long before this years freshman list, if anything he should’ve been included last year. But he’s openly said he would accept a spot on the list and I think he’s more the deserving. From ‘Lucid Dreams’ all the way through to his insane freestyle ability and his two studio albums, he’s got it. He’s not only deserving of a place, but he’s the potential front runner of the pack.
The YBN collective are taking over. Last year it was Nahmir this year it’s Cordae, who is one of the very best rappers on this list. He’s not here for 5 minutes, he’s in this for the long haul. He blew up massively last year after some top quality bars on the L.A Leakers show as well as a response to J Cole’s ‘1985’ titled ‘Old N*ggas’. If anyone on this list has a chance at major longevity, I think it’s Cordae.
070 Shake blew up massively last year thanks to working with Kanye West and co on the 2018 Wyoming sessions. Working with Ye, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Nas among others is a gigantic endorsement and as a result it’s a logical next step to see her on the XXL Freshmen list.
From one GOOD Music signing to another. Valee was signed by Kanye last year after the release of his mixtape ‘1988’. After being signed to the label, Valee went on a hot streak of tracks and guest appearances which ultimately culminated in his ‘GOOD Job, You Found Me’ EP. In all likelihood Kanye West will see two of his GOOD Music artists on a very hyped list, boosting everyone’s stock.
At 17 years old, Lil Mosey would be one of the youngest XXL Freshmen in the decade or so the list has existed, but he’s deserving of a spot. His debut studio album, ‘Northsbest’, reached 29 on the US billboard and was a generally solid piece of work. He’s worked with the likes of BlocBoy and Juice WRLD, he’s on an upward trend that XXL will pick up on what everyone else is seeing.