It’s that time of year again — XXL has released their 9th annual “Freshman 10” cover issue. For the last couple of years, this drop has been a cultural occurrence where many music industry figures, critics and listeners go back and forth on their “who’s hot, who’s not,” who they’re already previously a fan of, and who they’re unfamiliar with.
Check out a little rundown on my favorite artists from the list below:
One of this years most polarizing new artists, Lil Yachty has been the talk of the internet and industry since jumping on the radar of various culture’s gatekeepers. Either you love him or you hate him. He has a very childlike, free-spirited energy to him, which is either endearing to some, or off-putting to others. However, he has one of the biggest songs of the year and has other pretty big songs to accompany his buzz. He’s the little boat that could.
Originally catching my attention under his previous Lil Herb moniker, Chicago spitter G Herbo possesses the same charisma and rugged energy that made us all fall in love with with Juelz Santana ten plus years ago. Herbo is a star without a doubt. If you don’t believe me, attend one of his shows. Even with extreme street-orientated music, there’s always a fleet of beautiful young ladies at his show just as much as there’s a bunch of guys. That’s how you know you’re doing something right.
Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert is another polarizing young artist that has caused some controversy upon his rise to fame. While many would say he doesn’t sound like a typical artist from Philadelphia, I would raise the question… who’s to say what a rapper from Philly under the age of 25 is supposed to even sound like? He sounds like what he grew up on in my opinion. The self-proclaimed rockstar may have left a sour taste in the mouth of certain Hip-Hop traditionalists via his interview with Ebro In The Morning, but I happen to think his mentality is a beautiful sign of the times. Here’s the thing, Uzi Vert can really rap. Whatever production he chooses to rap over and how he chooses to pattern his melodies and flows his is personal artistic preference. you don’t give a guitarist a guitar he isn’t familiar with right? Same argument no?
One of the rawest — and slightly scariest — young rappers on the scene right now 21 Savage. Just like Uzi Vert and G Herbo, 21 is one of those unique cases were a rapper has both the streets, as well as the internet, in the palm of their hands. His brash, no filter accounts of his real life in the streets of Atlanta, on top of the fact that he has a tattoo of a dogger on his face will intrigue anyone who hasn’t already heard of him.
If you heard Kodak Black‘s story before you heard his music, your memory would probably jog back to when you first heard of Chief Keef. However, Kodak is a completely different artist and case. Coming from Pompano Beach, Florida, Kodak is probably one of the most lovable and charismatic artists on the cover this year. His real life story might raise an eyebrow, but his electric energy when performing and honesty within the music will make you an instant fan.
When it comes to this year’s Freshman Class, I’m actually more interested in everyone who turned down the cover. I’m also very interested in the individual freestyles as well. Who will have a great verse? Who will be in a cypher with who?
Who was your favorite artist from this year’s XXL cover? Let’s continue the conversation via twitter, @killTURNHERkill.