XXL has revealed its 2020 Freshman Class and the list of names may look familiar if you’ve been keeping track of viral hits for the past year. It includes 24kGoldn, Baby Keem, Calboy, Chika, Fivio Foreign, Jack Harlow, Lil Keed, Lil TJay, Mulatto, NLE Choppa, Polo G, and Rod Wave, all stars who’ve had breakout projects and songs in the past 12 months — some even more recently than that.
XXL‘s annual Freshman Class has been a highly anticipated list of artists expected to have huge breakouts in the coming months or who have already experienced them by the time the list is published. Beginning in 2007, the list has been used by fans as a guideline of which artists to watch and has helped boost the careers of rap superstars like Lupe Fiasco (2007), Ace Hood and Wale (2009), Big Sean, J. Cole, and Nipsey Hussle (2010), and Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, and YG (2011).
In more recent years, the list has featured breakout viral stars who have gone onto mainstream success like A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and XXXTentacion (2017) and JID and Lil Pump (2018). Last year’s list had an unprecedented number of success stories as DaBaby, Gunna, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, and YBN Cordae all exploded into mainstream success, landing No. 1 albums and singles — and even earning Grammy nominations, which Roddy ultimately won, with the help of late former Freshman Nipsey Hussle.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.