Every year XXL Magazine comes out with their “Freshman issue ” around spring time. They usually start a lot of controversy with some of their picks, but for the most part they get it right. Last year I thought they played it kind of safe with their picks, especially with the exclusion of Chance The Rapper, who ended up have a bigger year than most of the freshman on the list. This year, I thought I’d give my opinion on the matter:
1. Chance The Rapper
After being snubbed on last years issue, and having a monster year with Acid Rap; collaborating with Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber, James Blake, and Childish Gambino; being the only independent artist to cover Complex Magazine, Chance seems like one of the only “sure picks” on this years cover.
2. Troy Ave
Troy Ave is reminding everyone of the vintage New York, “50 Cent” style. He had one of the biggest mixtape releases of the year, and followed that up with his White Christmas series hosted by DJ Drama. Between the amount of buzz he gained and the work/relationship he has with XXL, I think Troy is getting a spot this year.
Migos released two of the hottest records of the year, with Hannah Montana and Versace. They got Drake to remix one of them, and came into the game with a brand new style of rap that multiple rappers have mimicked. I think Migos is another one of those “sure picks” for the cover.
4. The Underachievers
There is no way someone from the New New York movement isn’t going to end up on this cover. Especially someone who is a member of the Beastcoast movement as well. After coming off the Beastcoast tour with Pro Era and Flatbush Zombies, releasing two huge mixtapes, getting signed to Brainfeeder, and now headlining a nationwide tour this year, UA definitely deserves a spot on this list.
5. Lil Durk
Chicago is probably the hottest city in the country right now for hip hop. You could easily fill the list with 10 Chicago artists and it would still be solid. Lil Durk dropped a hot mixtape, made some hot club records, hooked up with Coke Boys, and has recently been seen hanging out with power players like Diddy.
If XXL keeps with the theme of having at least one female on the cover, then Rapsody is the easy choice. She dropped a big mixtape which got a lot of buzz, she stole the show at the BET Hip Hop Awards, she is one of the faces of 9th Wonder’s Jamla records, and on top of all that…SHE IS NICE!
7. Rich Homie Quan
Rich Homie Quan had one of THE biggest record last year with “Type Of Way.” Then he followed that up with an even bigger record with “My Nigga.” Two hot records, and a unique style, equals XXL Freshman.
8. Ty Dolla $ign
I noticed that XXL is adding R&B acts to the list this year. I would have gone with Mack Wilds, but he released an album last year, which was nominated for a Grammy. The next best I think is Ty Dolla $ign. He had a super hot record with Paranoid, he’s got the backing of Taylor Gang and Atlantic, and he’s a killer writer.
9. Chris Webby
XXL had a lot of success last with their Logic “curveball.” I think their going to try and keep the theme of tapping into the Frat Rap scene and pick Chris Webby this year. He’s been grinding hard and he’s coming out of a small market (Connecticut).
10. Casey Veggies
I think this is the year Casey Veggies FINALLY makes the cover. After being snubbed for the past couple of years, and signing with Epic Record’s brand new Vested In Culture, plus the backing of super-executive Sylvia Rhone, this is Casey’s best shot to make it.
Just Missed it: Vic Mensa, Que, Vince Staples, Vinny Chase, Flatbush Zombies, Fat Trel, Rockie Fresh, August Alsina, Chinx Drugz, Denzel Curry
**What do you think of this list, who would you take off? Who would you put on?