Now into it’s twelfth year, the XXL Magazine has released its latest edition of the Freshman Class which looks to showcase and highlight up and coming Hip-Hop artists in the US scene.
This year, the artists are as followed:
In 2018, when Roddy released his second EP Feed Tha Streets II, his name gained attention amongst music fans. Following features on Meek Mill’s “Splash Warning”, the late Nipsey Hussle’s “Rack’s In The Middle” and also a feature on the UK album, The Plug, with Chip and Yung Bxne for “How It Is” grew his name in the UK.
Arguably, the biggest artist on the list. Signed to Young Thug’s YSL label, Gunna is known for his slurry but neatly flowing lyrics. Mixtapes and EP’s have been flowing since 2016 but late 2018 was when things really changed. The collaborative album, Drip Harder with Lil Baby made waves, with the hit single “Drip Too Hard” charting and becoming an anthem of 2018.
Gained to global attention when the release of “Thotiana” in late 2018 went viral. The dancing craze that went with the song meant the song gained further momentum. Currently signed to Cash Money West (An offshoot of Cash Money Records), the label aims to help up and coming artists. With Cash Money’s track record of helping push artists forward though, the question will be raised as to whether Blueface will be halted by the label.
Megan Thee Stallion
One of three female rappers on this years list, Megan Thee Stallion came to prominence with her music due to speaking her mind.
The likes of Yo Gotti and Boosie Badazz have praised and noted DaBaby’s tracks “Next Song” and “Blank Blank”. Signed to Interscope Records, DaBaby released Baby on Baby this year which features the likes of Offset, Rich The Kid and Rich Homie Quan.
One of the youngest rappers on, not only this years XXL Freshman Class but also one of the youngest rappers to feature throughout it’s history. Signed to Interscope as well, in 2018, Lil Mosey ended up on tour with Juice WRLD. This was then followed by the release of the album NorthsBest and 2019 has now seen collaborations with the likes of Chris Brown on “G Walk”.
Put his name on the map with the release of track, “Valentine” and “Worth It” that have both accumulated millions of views on his personal Youtube channel.
Part of the YBN collective, Cordae gained attention through WORLDSTARHIPHOP with his “My Name Is” release. Cordae was also part of the YBN debut mixtape entitled YBN: The Mixtape that was released towards the end of 2018.
Rico has been releasing mixtapes since 2014 but things really took off when Lil Yatchy remixed her track “Hey Arnold” which gained her further attention and recognition in the scene.
Gained a nomination for Best Music Video at the 2019 Grammy’s for the video to track “Mumbo Jumbo”. Released her audiovisual debut album in 2018 entitled Whack World.
Starting out as a Soundcloud rapper and making his way onto Youtube, Comethazine’s prominence and name has grown in the past year or two due to the release of mixtapes such as Bawskee and Bawskee 2. A$AP Ferg jumped on the remix of his track “Walk” which will add more statements to a growing musical CV.
It will be interesting to watch these artists grow, evolve and see where their careers take them…