Previewing XXL’s 2019 Freshman Issue: the Best of the New Hip-Hop Artists

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Previewing XXL’s 2019 Freshman Issue: the Best of the New Hip-Hop Artists

XXL's Freshman class of 2018 featured Ski Mask The Slump God, Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, J.I.D, Stefflon Don, BlocBoy JB, YBN Nahmir, Wifisfuneral, and Trippie Redd.

XXL's Freshman class of 2018 featured Ski Mask The Slump God, Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, J.I.D, Stefflon Don, BlocBoy JB, YBN Nahmir, Wifisfuneral, and Trippie Redd.

XXL's Freshman class of 2018 featured Ski Mask The Slump God, Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, J.I.D, Stefflon Don, BlocBoy JB, YBN Nahmir, Wifisfuneral, and Trippie Redd.

XXL's Freshman class of 2018 featured Ski Mask The Slump God, Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, J.I.D, Stefflon Don, BlocBoy JB, YBN Nahmir, Wifisfuneral, and Trippie Redd.

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Hip-hop magazine XXL magazine annually selects 10 artists who are growing in popularity and features them in a late March issue. XXL’s past lists predicted the careers of Kendrick Lamar, Trippie Redd, Wiz Khalifa, and so on. Now that the 2019 XXL Freshman issue looms around the corner, we can attempt to predict the 2019 “Freshmen” that could make the cover and their careers.

The rules for picking the Freshmen have been disregarded in recent years; one of those former rules being “no duos,” which explains why Ski Mask the Slump God was not included in the 2017 issue with XXXTentacion. However, 2018’s cover featured both Lil Pump and Smokepurpp, essentially meaning any up and coming artist can be on it as long as they haven’t been on it before.

The list is entirely determined from word of mouth, meaning popular features will go a long way in getting noticed as a new artist.

Topping off our list of predictions is Moneybagg Yo, releasing his first album Reset in late 2018 with features from rap veterans, Future and J. Cole, a 2010 freshmen himself.

Next up is YBN Cordae and YBN Almighty Jay, a member of the Xbox live rap group with Almighty Jay and Nahmir. Nahmir, who was on the 2018 cover and has one collection of songs with the other YBN members. Also on the YBN mixtape is Gucci Mane, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Skies.

Lil Skies declined his spot in last year’s XXL Freshman issue, claiming the magazine was “rigged,” probably due to the loose rules and terms that determine who makes the list. Cordae was also in the closing track “Elevate” in the recent Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse film. Between the mixtape and movie, they are almost a definite on the next Freshmen cover. The pair also reportedly have solo projects dropping in 2019, teased on Twitter and Instagram.

Superstars Gunna and Lil Baby are very possible members of the 2019 cover. Both careers have exploded in 2018 with the release of Drip Harder, their joint mixtape which dominated every chart upon release. Lil Baby’s albums Street Gossip and Harder Than Ever were well received and Gunna has been featured in most popular 2018 projects and his own album, Drip Season 3.

Newcomer Flipp Dinero has a lot of bubbling hype at the moment. His most noteworthy song “Leave Me Alone” charted at 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. Since then, he has released some new songs with a possible new project on the way.

Next on the chopping block is Roddy Rich. His album Feeding the Streets II was moderately successful with the song “Die Young” earning massive attention. Rich was also featured on Meek’s album Champion on the song “Splash Warning.”

Sheck Wes has probably earned his spot with the top-10 billboard platinum single “Mo Bamba”  featured on his one and only album, Mudboy. Wes has a very high chance of landing a spot on the cover, possibly more so than the others.

The 17-year old rapper Lil Mosey has been making rounds with his album Northsbest. He collaborated with Bloc Boy JB-a 2018 freshmen-on “Yoppa” which is the only feature on the project. For a literal just-on-the-scene rapper to drop a project with a caliber competing for chart spots, Lil Mosey probably deserves a spot for artists to watch.

If you had asked anyone two months ago if Blueface was XXL Freshmen material, they would have probably asked, “Who?” But the former Crip gang member caught the attention of both Drake and Quavo with his single “Dead Locs” and he has upcoming songs with both of them.

That rounds out our list of the top of the 2018 Freshman class of hip-hop; in March we will see how similar our list is to XXL’s.

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