XXL magazine recognizes the best of the 2019 hip hop freshman class

XXL magazine's 2019 freshman class honoring the most promising newcomers of  hip hop.

XXL magazine's 2019 freshman class honoring the most promising newcomers of hip hop.

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Back in January, The Torch made its predictions on which artists would be selected as XXL’s Freshman Class of 2019. Over the summer, the hip-hop publication released the list of the 11 artists on the rise to greatness to represent their brand and the genre itself. Today, readers will see how The Torch’s predictions compared to XXL’s choosing.

Let’s start with the rappers that we predicted to be on the cover that actually did make the cut. YBN Cordae was chosen for the list due to his God-given lyrical abilities, insane flow of words, and rising popularity. Cordae’s wordplay often represents his struggle growing up, and how he made nothing into something for his career. Cordae has hit tracks such as “Alaska,” “Kung 

Fu,” and “Target,” which are all apart of YBN: The Mixtape, Cordae and his rap group’s debut album. In July, after he was chosen as an XXL freshman, he released his debut solo album, The Lost Boy that includes songs “Have Mercy,” “RNP” featuring Anderson .Paak, and “Bad Idea” featuring Chance the Rapper.

Next up is another rapper we predicted to be selected for the list: Blueface.  Emerging during the second half of 2018 and still trending today, Blueface has used his offbeat style of rapping to release many hits that have resided at the top of the charts. In the summer of 2018, nearly a year before the 2019 XXL Freshman Class was chosen, Blueface released his first solo album Famous Cryp, which included the songs “Thotiana,” “Dead Locs,” and “Respect My Cryppin’.” Blueface has also released hits such as “West Coast” featuring G-Eazy and “Daddy” featuring Rich the Kid. Recently, he released his Dirt Bag project that included the tracks “Bussdown” featuring Offset, “Bussin” feat Lil Pump, and “Bleed It.”

Our predictions continued to prove correct when rapper Gunna was selected as a freshman. Based on the music Gunna has released in the past, his selection should not surprise many. His album Drip Season 3 featured hit songs such as “Top Off,” “Car Sick” featuring NAV and Metro Boomin, and “Oh Okay” featuring Young Thug and Lil Baby. All three, along with other songs from the release, made Gunna a common name in the hip-hop culture. Later in the year, Gunna and Lil Baby provided a duo album, Drip Harder, to hip-hop fans, which included the tracks “Never Recover” featuring Drake and “Drip Too Hard.” “Drip Too Hard” peaked at #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 list. In February of 2019, Drip or Drown 2 was released with many different songs that made Gunna a popular choice for the XXL Freshman Class of 2019: “Richard Millie Plain,” “Baby Birkin,” and “3 Headed Snake” featuring common collaborator Young Thug. Due to Gunna’s quality and quantity of music, he was chosen as a freshman.

Roddy Ricch was an expected choice to be apart of the freshman class, and he ended up being selected. His exceptional music was recently portrayed through his late 2018 mixtape: Feed Tha Streets II. The project included a tribute to late rapper XXXTentacion with “Die Young” and “Every Season.” The mixtape topped out at #36 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums rankings. Ricch also collaborated with popular DJ and producer Marshmello. Together, their song “Project Dreams” peaked at #46 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list produced by Billboard. Late rapper Nipsey Hussle’s “Racks in the Middle” would not have reached #11 on the same Billboard list without Ricch’s feature on the track. The song also has a music video with over 100 million views on YouTube. 

Capping off our correct predictions of the XXL Freshman List is teenage rapper Lil Mosey. Mosey’s melodic style of rap likely brought him into the list. His late 2018 album, Northsbest, brought his fans catchy tunes such as “Kamikaze,” “Noticed,” and “Burberry Headband.” These three, specifically, all have music videos that have generated, in total, over 190 million views on YouTube. Since the release of Northsbest, Mosey released the highly demanded “Bust Down Cartier” taking pride in his jewelry collection and the Chris Brown featured “G Walk.” Mosey has been teasing a future project; because his last project was filled with hits, fans should expect similar for the future.

Megan Thee Stallion begins the rappers that we did not predict correctly to be on the list. Her selection should not shock anyone as she is one of the biggest female artists in the entire rap game. Her debut mixtape Fever topped the top 10 in three different Billboard ranking charts. “Cash S**t” featuring DaBaby, fellow 2019 freshman, was the only song that charted the Billboard Hot 100. Regardless, her catchphrase “hot girl summer” took the 2019 summer by storm with many people on social media using the expression, and recently her single “Hot Girl Summer” was released with features from Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign. Collectively, the community of hip-hop is praying that she continues to release more fantastic songs as her potential is through the roof to become an absolute force in the genre.

Rapper Comathezine was included in the stacked freshman class due to his anti-melody style of hip-hop. However, Comethazine’s style isn’t the lone reason he was selected. Over the past, he has released tons of songs that have raised his popularity to the point where XXL would be making a mistake by not choosing him. His collection of mixtapes titled Bawskee, Bawskee 2, and Bawskee 3.5 have all introduced his distinctive approach when it comes to rapping. A handful of his singles “Bands,” “Walk,” and “Find Him!” have all propelled him to be a fan favorite in the genre. He has released two mixtapes since the start of the calendar year, so fans should not expect another project in 2019. However, Comethazine is not a typical rapper, and it is very possible another mixtape of his drops this year, which is why fans should stay on the lookout for this rising rapper. 

Female rapper Tierra Whack has made noise in the past with her album Whack World and her inclusion on The Lion King: The Gift, the official soundtrack of The Lion King film. Whack pairs with Beyoncé and others for “MY POWER,” one of the songs included in the movie soundtrack. For her own album, Whack used a unique one minute per song track length to give fans a quick punch with her music. “Hungry Hippo” and “Pretty Ugly” are two of the best tracks on the album. Singles such as “Only Child” and “CLONES,” describe her childhood and her success as a rapper. Meek Mill and Childish Gambino have both praised the rapper with Mill calling her the best female rapper in the world. 

Rico Nasty, the third female freshman, earned her spot on the XXL Freshman List with her various mixtapes over the years. More recently, Nasty and Anger Management, a duo mixtape with producer Kenny Beats, have given her the spotlight to shine and make a name for herself. “Countin’ Up” and “Trust Issues” are two of the most popular tracks of Nasty while “Cold” and “Cheat Code” featuring Baauer are the best in Anger Management. During her career, her popularity has grown due to her own songs and features with popular artists such A$AP Ferg, Lil Yachty, and Aminé. Recently, she was a feature on “#PROUDCATOWNERREMIX” with late rapper XXXTENTACION. It’s been over four months since Nasty released her last mixtape, so another 2019 project could definitely be in the works.

21 year old rapper YK Osiris has used his individual singing and rapping talents to drive himself into mainstream hip-hop. Although YK Osiris has not released any type of project as of now, his single tracks have blown up to make his name a common one used in the rap community. “Worth It” charted at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track is used as a message to perhaps a future spouse in order to tell him/her that he will do anything to make that person happy. “Valentine” has a similar approach, as he sings/raps about a girl that he appears to love. Osiris reached out to DaBaby to feature on one of his most popular tracks “Freaky Dancer.” Hopefully Osiris releases some type of project sooner than later to please hip hop fans all around.

DaBaby caps off the list as one of the most popular rappers in the entire genre. His most popular song “Suge” held its own at #3 for some time on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Earlier this year, his second studio album Baby on Baby, which peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200 list, released featuring popular tracks such as “Suge,” “Goin Baby,” and “Baby Sitter” featuring Offset. As mentioned before, DaBaby has given spectacular features to Megan Thee Stallion and YK Osiris. DaBaby, more recently, was included on Quality Control’s Quality Control: Control the Streets, Vol. 2 album on the tracks “Pink Toes” with Gunna and Offset and “Baby” with Lil Baby. DaBaby is getting more and more popular as the days go by, and he could become, if he isn’t already, hip-hop’s biggest superstar.

XXL did a great job choosing these 11 rising stars. All of them were chosen for their unique style, lyrics, and character. Although rappers such as Lil Baby and Juice WRLD (Juice WRLD has said that he rejected their offer however) were missing from the list, all 11 musicians surely earned their spot. With the ability to post one’s music anywhere nowadays, the 2020 XXL Freshman Class will for sure be exciting to see.

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