The 2022 XXL Freshman Class is here, highlighting all the rappers expected to blow up in the year ahead. included are Detroit rappers Babyface Ray and Babytron (no relation), Memphians Big30 and Big Scarr (ditto), Florida’s Cochise, TDE-signed, genre-bender Doechii, Atlanta TikTok favorite Kali, Kenya-born Minnesota transplant KayCyy, Houston firecracker KenTheMan, “Who Want Smoke?” star Nardo Wick, out-and-proud Saucy Santana, and just-out-of-his-teens map-hopper Sofaygo.
Each year, the highly anticipated list offers listeners a guide to some of the hottest up-and-coming talents of the past 12 months. Some are viral stars in their own right, with hit records on TikTok or lots of Twitter buzz. Others are often established vets who are only just receiving their big breaks after signing major label deals or garnering big-name co-signs. While some of the names may not be familiar to many readers when they’re first announced, many of those names do become undisputed stars, headlining festivals, making television appearances, and representing hip-hop in the mainstream for years after their selections.
Prior stars who appeared on XXL‘s Freshman list include high-flyers like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, while last year’s list highlighted breakout stars like Blxst, Coi Leray, Flo Milli, Morray, and Pooh Shiesty.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.