The all inclusive guide to XXl’s upcoming 2018 Freshman class
In what could be considered one of the greatest triumph stories of all time, hip-hop not only became the most listened to music in 2017, but also proved that above all odds, it has the ability to last.
For over 30 years, Emcees have risen to the challenge, developing their skill to prove why they should be considered the best. Since 2007, XXL magazine gifted the genre with a top ten list of the up and coming hottest rappers to keep an eye on in that current year. Artists from Shy Glizzy, Chance Tha Rapper, YG and Kendrick Lamar, have found themselves alongside a set of names chosen to represent the upcoming class of hip-hop for that year.
Fresh off of last years list where we saw rappers like Playboi Carti, XXXTentacion and Amine get highlighted, most have come to criticize this list regarding it to have lost its value due to the current wave of rappers who have found their names left off of the list over the last two years. One has to wonder what this years list might look like.
Rich The Kid
Ski Mask Tha Slump God
In the heart of every hip-hop fan, there are few things you can’t escape. One of which is a list of complete biased reasons why the artist you connect with the most should succeed, however, this doesn’t mean those artists make the list. Resembling more of a wish list before showing the list, here are three names that should, for many reasons, be on it.
WISHLIST TOP 3
Replace the harboring hometown bias for a second, and it won’t take but a second to realize the talent behind Maxo Kream. Fresh off the release of his first album, Maxo demonstrates his potential like never before. While the album does not feel as complete as it should, there is still room to grow; which is good for a rapper his age beccause he’s not hitting a wall. However, if he had more tracks like “G3,” this albm would’ve been unstoppable for his lane. The difference between him and most trap rappers is ability. Maxo’s ability to make a song so appealing lies in his cookbook of methods for trapping. For those who are uncertain of the lifestyle, he does more than enough to paint that gritty image of what the trap life could be like.
Being in the game for a fair amount of time, Maxo has yet to see a glimmer of the limelight. Working with artists such as Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Father and the late Fredo Santana, there are many that will be put on the list, but few will be as deserving as Maxo Kream. Unfortunately, Maxo will more than likely be overlooked, although we hope he makes it.
SKI MASK THA SLUMP GOD
There shouldn’t be any surprise with this pick. Getting his pop in 2017, he’s shown he hasn’t even started when it comes to making hip-hop his playground. Few rappers on the rise are as hot as Ski Mask. While still developing, he’s proven himself to be a key element in how versatile hip-hop is today. Using his quirky ad-libs, Ski Mask has unearthed a style within this era of SoundCloud rappers that have given him the opportunity to be dubbed one of the most lyrical rappers of his generation. So much so, he was regarded as the better rapper out of the duo when he and X were still making music with one another. Soon to deliver an album, Ski Mask is ready to destroy 2018.
Now, before you even think about all the reasons why you should name a person in 2017 who had a better rookie year than Cardi B; you can’t. Cardi shook the frame of hip-hop. If you listened to hip-hop or not, you couldn’t escape the sounds of her song, “Bodak Yellow.” The pin she placed in the year had tensions running high, not to mention the possibility of dethroning Nicki. Cardi B has pretty much ruled the Billboards since she released “Bodak Yellow,” and doesn’t seem to be backing down. It is said she is working on her first album, and as an audience, the anticipation for this one has the highest stakes of anyone that could be on this list as far as an upcoming project.
For the people that are on this list, with a few exceptions, these are performers who have either been the topic or been apart of the topic in regards of whose making an impact currently in the youth of hip-hop. For a few of these performers, I fear they will not make the list for a variety of reasons, but before speaking on that, the actual list.
PREDICTIONS (ALMOST GUARENTEED TO MAKE THE CLASS):
Ski Mask Tha Slump God
WISHLIST TOP 3
TEKASHI 6IX9INE/TRIPPIE REDD
Few have been able to remove this man’s name from their mouths, with serious sexual misconduct cases held against him from his past. However, there isn’t any amount of blackballing that could stop people from listening to his breakout track, “GUMMO.” What’s interesting about Tekashi is his career alongside Trippie Redd’s. Trippie Redd has taken every opportunity to make it clear, since Tekashi’s misconduct case, that they were not to be associated. This caused beef to brew between the two, and each continuously compared their careers to one another with every hit they could make. Tekashi’s placement on this list will be different than Trippie Redd’s. If Trippie Redd makes it on the list, this will create less of a surprise than if Tekashi does not; Tekashi’s situation being a bit more serious than Famous Dex’s last year.
With zero drama attached, Smokepurpp is a given for the list. Usually seen with close friend Lil Pump, the two have been nonstop in action. Each dropping a project in 2017, Purpp has proven that as soon as Pump gets his credit, he is next. The only concern that comes with Smokepurpp is with biting styles. Yes, at the current age there isn’t much room for argument for anyone to make a case for themselves, but it does still matter, especially when an image is involved. First with Wintertime, who claimed Purpp was biting his style on a snippet of a song he and Pump had shown. The second would be when people started noticing the similarities with Playboi Carti. Regardless, Purpp is going to be one of those on this upcoming list, if not he’d be one of the more larger snubs.
No one has been able to steal the show quite like Lil Pump. Accomplishing what most couldn’t imagine he’d be able to do, Lil Pump has shed the SoundCloud rapper title from his persona; he has propelled himself into the mainstream. With “Gucci Gang” taking flight as high as it did, the question (much like Cardi B) isn’t if he’ll be on the list, but should he be? Should Lil Pump, at this point, accept the invitation or should he join the names that turned the list down. Pump’s persona, along with what he has been able to build thus far, has outdone anything that the list may be able to do for him. If you were Lil Pump and you were one of the hottest artists who just got out of a huge record deal with full ownership, would it help? Either way, Pump does not take a loss.
Famous Dex/Rich The Kid
(I would add Tay K, but we all are aware of his situation, and will more than likely not be able to be on the list)
The worst part of about this list is that there are so many that could fit in this list due to the current talent pool in hip-hop, but that also can be considered a blessing. It has the ability to challenge every artist to come harder every year when it comes to their craft. For some, this list can be considered both.
FAMOUS DEX/RICH THE KID SITUATION
These are two men who have consistently been snubbed every year when it comes to the Freshman list. This year, however, is going to be the most interesting as we have to wonder if they will be ignored again? With Rich The Kid gaining more than the much needed traction after releasing his track, “New Freezer” with Kendrick Lamar, there isn’t much of an argument that honestly could be made this year for his exclusion from the list. In Dexter’s case, it’s once again up in the air because if they are holding the same policy regardless of the success of his “Pick it Up” track feat. A$AP Rocky is getting, he may be out of luck.
Much like Lil Pump, both of these men should take into consideration if they even need the list at this point. Dex has always been making moves to ensure he gets known, and his long waited Rocky collab was one that couldn’t be passed on. Dismissing the list that has consistently rejected them on several occasions and surpassing with their own success, just might be the best form of proving that they shouldn’t have been overlooked in the first place.
In the case of the XXL list, the anticipation couldn’t be arriving at a better time, as we wait to see whose on the list and who is not. As the time draws near, each Emcee will be as sharp as possible and ready for their name to be called to show just what hip-hop truly stands for.