XXL is a little late to the party with their annual freshmen cover, but they could drop it at anytime and still get the attention they’re looking for. The freshmen class has gone on for nine years. Some may argue its importance, but it has helped many artists over the years. As hip-hop fans, it’s fun to debate and discuss who made it, who didn’t, and who will actually make it. This year, there’s a lot to talk about with the list made up of 21 Savage, Anderson .Paak, Lil Dicky, Lil Uzi Vert, G Herbo, Desiigner, Dave East, Denzel Curry, Kodak Black, and the fan-voted pick Lil Yachty.
First, there’s a couple names everybody knew would be on it. With Desiigner’s chart dominance, he was a shoe-in. If you have followed the list in the past, there’s almost always NY artists and Dave East earned his position through organic buzz over the past year. Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage and Kodak Black have been making so much noise to exclude them would be to feel the Internet’s wrath. Then, you have Lil Yachty who obtained this year’s fan vote. It says a lot about his fans so early on in his career since his first mixtape only came out a few months ago. Think of all the names he beat to get that spot.
Anderson .Paak is another artist who rightfully deserves his cover, but stands out from the class. He doesn’t make music like anybody else on the list. If I had to toss out my guess for who will become a superstar out of the bunch, it’s .Paak. He has the backing of Dre, and limitless talent. Just listen to Malibu and by track two it will be clear how unique he is.
A little unexpected is Denzel Curry, G Herbo and Lil Dicky. All three have an underground following and experienced a pretty big 2015. Curry flies under the radar of most hip-hop sites, but he’s continued to tour the country twice over on his own. Herbo is somewhat of a wild card, because his placement can be argued against a couple other Chicago artists, but at least XXL acknowledged the hard work he had last fall with Ballin’ Like I’m Kobe.
Lil Dicky might be the “WTF” pick to most people. However, I actually like his music. “Professional Rapper” with Snoop Dogg was a fun, creative concept. That’s all there is to him, too. He’s just a rapper who likes to have fun, make some weird concepts, and party.
This is the part where everyone jumps in the ring like a Royal Rumble and starts to debate, discuss, and create chaos. Which artists on the cover do you like? Who should’ve been in this year’s class?