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Martin Lozano
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XXL 2018 Freshman Class Predictions 2017: How They Compare to Previous Years and What to Expect from Them


XXL 2018 Freshman Class Predictions 2017 Download




If you are a hip hop fan or an aspiring rapper, you probably know about the XXL Freshman Class. It is an annual list of 10 emerging artists who are chosen by the editors of XXL magazine as the most promising and influential in the genre. The list is revealed on a special cover issue, followed by a series of content such as freestyles, cyphers, interviews and live shows. The XXL Freshman Class is considered one of the most prestigious and coveted honors in hip hop, as it can boost an artist's career, fan base, credibility and opportunities. However, it can also come with high expectations, pressure, criticism and competition.


The selection process for the XXL Freshman Class is not easy or transparent. The magazine staff consults with various industry insiders, tastemakers, rappers, friends and fans to get their input on who deserves to be on the list. Then they debate and narrow down the candidates based on several criteria, such as buzz, popularity, originality, skill, potential and impact. The final decision is made by XXL's editor-in-chief Vanessa Satten. The magazine also allows fans to vote for one artist to fill the 10th spot on the list.




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Being part of the XXL Freshman Class can have many benefits and challenges for an artist. On one hand, it can expose them to a wider audience, attract more collaborations, deals and endorsements, increase their sales and streams, and validate their talent and hard work. On the other hand, it can also expose them to more scrutiny, criticism, comparisons and expectations from fans, peers and critics. It can also create rivalries or beefs with other artists who feel snubbed or disrespected by the list.


Review of the 2017 Freshman Class




The 2017 XXL Freshman Class was revealed on June 13, 2017. It marked the 10th anniversary of the franchise. The 10 artists who made the cut were:


  • Kamaiyah from Oakland, California. Known for her songs "How Does It Feel", "Why You Always Hatin?" (with YG and Drake) and "Build You Up".



  • A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie from The Bronx, New York. Known for his songs "My Shit", "Drowning" (with Kodak Black) and "Say A".



  • PnB Rock from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Known for his songs "Selfish", "Everyday We Lit" (with YFN Lucci) and "Horses" (with Kodak Black and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie).



  • MadeinTYO from Atlanta, Georgia by way of Tokyo, Japan. Known for his songs "Uber Everywhere", "Skateboard P" (with Big Sean) and "I Want" (with 2 Chainz).



  • Playboi Carti from Atlanta, Georgia. Known for his songs "Magnolia", "Woke Up Like This" (with Lil Uzi Vert) and "New Choppa" (with A$AP Rocky).



  • Ugly God from Houston, Texas. Known for his songs "Water", "Fuck Ugly God" and "No Lies" (with Wiz Khalifa).



  • XXXTentacion from Plantation, Florida. Known for his songs "Look at Me", "Jocelyn Flores" and "Sad!".



  • Kyle from Ventura, California. Known for his songs "iSpy" (with Lil Yachty), "Doubt It" and "Nothing 2 Lose".



  • Amine from Portland, Oregon. Known for his songs "Caroline", "Redmercedes" and "Heebiejeebies" (with Kehlani).



  • Kap G from College Park, Georgia. Known for his songs "Girlfriend", "Rings" and "I See You" (with Chris Brown).



The 2017 Freshman Class was praised for its diversity, talent and potential, but also criticized for its lack of lyricism, originality and impact. Some of the highlights and controversies of their Freshman Class content were:


  • Kamaiyah's freestyle was widely regarded as one of the best, as she delivered a confident and smooth flow over a classic West Coast beat.



  • A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie's freestyle was also well-received, as he showcased his melodic and catchy style over a piano-driven instrumental.



  • PnB Rock's freestyle was criticized for being too short, generic and off-beat, as he repeated the same lines over a trap beat.



  • MadeinTYO's freestyle was praised for being fun, energetic and humorous, as he rapped about his love for Japanese culture and anime over a bouncy beat.



  • Playboi Carti's freestyle was slammed for being lazy, boring and unintelligible, as he mumbled and ad-libbed over a minimalistic beat.



  • Ugly God's freestyle was applauded for being witty, self-deprecating and creative, as he rapped about his viral fame and internet persona over a quirky beat.



  • XXXTentacion's freestyle was controversial, as he delivered a dark, aggressive and acapella verse that addressed his legal issues, personal struggles and social commentary.



  • Kyle's freestyle was appreciated for being positive, uplifting and inspirational, as he rapped about his dreams, goals and achievements over a cheerful beat.



  • Amine's freestyle was admired for being clever, playful and versatile, as he rapped about his identity, culture and influences over a funky beat.



  • Kap G's freestyle was respected for being honest, passionate and bilingual, as he rapped about his heritage, experiences and opinions over a Latin-infused beat.



  • The cyphers were divided into three groups: Group 1 consisted of Kamaiyah, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Kyle; Group 2 consisted of MadeinTYO, Ugly God and XXXTentacion; Group 3 consisted of PnB Rock, Kap G and Amine. Playboi Carti did not participate in the cyphers due to scheduling conflicts.



  • The interviews were conducted by XXL staff members and covered various topics such as their backgrounds, influences, styles, goals, challenges and opinions on the current state of hip hop.



Predictions for the 2018 Freshman Class




The 2018 XXL Freshman Class was revealed on June 12, 2018. It marked the 11th edition of the franchise. The 10 artists who made the cut were:


  • Ski Mask The Slump God from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Known for his songs "Catch Me Outside", "BabyWipe" and "Faucet Failure".



  • Lil Pump from Miami, Florida. Known for his songs "Gucci Gang", "Esskeetit" and "I Love It" (with Kanye West).



  • Smokepurpp from Miami, Florida. Known for his songs "Audi", "123" (with Murda Beatz) and "Nephew" (with Lil Pump).



  • J.I.D from Atlanta, Georgia. Known for his songs "NEVER", "EdEddnEddy" and "151 Rum".



  • Stefflon Don from London, England. Known for her songs "Hurtin' Me" (with French Montana), "Senseless" and "16 Shots".



  • BlocBoy JB from Memphis, Tennessee. Known for his songs "Look Alive" (with Drake), "Rover" and "Shoot".



  • YBN Nahmir from Birmingham, Alabama. Known for his songs "Rubbin Off the Paint", "Bounce Out With That" and "No Relations".



  • Wifisfuneral from West Palm Beach, Florida. Known for his songs "2 Step", "Juveniles" (with YBN Nahmir) and "25 Lighters" (with Curren$y).



  • Trippie Redd from Canton, Ohio. Known for his songs "Love Scars", "Dark Knight Dummo" (with Travis Scott) and "Topanga".



The 2018 Freshman Class was praised for its star power, charisma and potential, but also criticized for its lack of diversity, substance and innovation. Some of the highlights and controversies of their Freshman Class content were:


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