Like every year, XXL released their freshman list, but this year seemed quite disappointing for hiphop fans. Surprisingly, the 2016 XXL Freshman list was not what we expected at all. Not only are most of these artists barely known, but hip hop fans feel that they’re also not all that great. I do like these guys, but I personally feel that XXL could’ve done a better job.
On the other hand, I know many upcoming artists do turn down being on XXL’s freshman list, for example, Tory Lanez, whom I expected to be on the freshman list, declined the offer.
You may be asking yourself “WHO ARE THESE GUYS?!” Well, let me help you get familiar with XXL’s 2016 Freshman class…
The 2016 XXL Freshman list included Lil Yatchy, Desiigner, Dave East, Denzel Curry, G Herbo, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Dicky, Anderson Paak, 21 Savage and Kodak Black.
Lil Yatchy is 18 years young, straight out of Atlanta, GA. He is mainly known for his debut single “1 Night,” and his track “Minnesota” off of his mixtape “Lil Boat”, which features Quavo from the rap group Migos.
Desiigner is the most recognized freshman on the list this year. He is best known for his single “Panda,” which landed him two record deals, the first being with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. MUSIC label and the other with Def Jam records. Panda has hit #1 on the Billboard’s 100 charts and is now a platinum selling record. Not bad for a 19 year old straight out of Brooklyn, NY.
Dave East is from Spanish Harlem in Manhattan. The 28 year old is the perfect representation of a NYC rapper. His classic NY flow is what really drew me to him as a fan. East gained his recognition with the release of his Black Rose mixtape from back in 2014. Over the past year, he has worked with well known artists including Trey Songz, Fat Trell, Nas, Meek Mill, Future, Mac Miller, Fabolous, and BJ the Chicago Kid just to name a few.
Denzel Curry is a 21 year old coming straight out of Carol City in south Florida. Curry’s career began when he became part of SpaceGhostPurrp’s rap group, Raider Clan, back in 2011. Denzel Curry eventually left the group to go solo and released his first album, Nostalgia 64, in 2013. His 2nd album, Imperial, was dropped on March 9, 2016.
G Herbo, formerly known as Lil Herb, has been in the game for a while now. G Herbo was recognized for his track “Kill Shit,” along with Lil Bibby, which has gained over 15 million views on Youtube. Herb has contributed to tracks for artists including Chief Keef, with whom he has major music ties, Nicki Minaj, Common, Chance the Rapper and other Chicago rappers including Lil Bibby, and Lil Dirk. G Herbo was supposed to be featured as a 2015 XXL Freshman but was omitted, which caused him to make a track titled “XXL.” XXL complimented the track and announced Herbo as a XXL Freshman of 2016.
Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert is a North Philly native from Francisville. The 21 year old was first noticed when he was featured on DJ Carnages’ “WDYW,” but gained major recognition with the release of his “Luv Is Rage” mixtape, which I can say immediately made me a HUGE Uzi fan. After the buzz on Luv Is Rage died down a bit, Lil Uzi Vert released what is now his latest mixtape, “Lil Uzi Vert vs The World,” eventually landing a record deal with Atlantic Records. Uzi rarely ever has other artists featured on his mixtapes, aside from Young Thug and Wiz Khalifa on Luv Is Rage, he usually goes feature-less. Uzi does on the other hand, have many famous producers on his tapes, such as Metro Boomin, Don Cannon, FKi, Sonny Digital, Wondagurl and TM88 to name a few. He is currently one of my favorite artists.
Lil Dicky is a 28 year old rapper/ comedian out of Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania. He was first recognized when his “Ex-Boyfriend” video went viral and received over 1 million views in it’s first 24 hours. Dicky released his debut album “Professional Rapper” in July 2015. The track “Save Dat Money” featuring Fetty Wap and Rich Homie Quan helped Lil Dicky gain a lot of his recognition as a rapper.
Anderson .Paak is from Oxnard, California. He’s 30 and his music reflects his maturity with beautiful lyricism and the mellow sounds of a poet. .Paak gained some recognition as a drummer for an American Idol contestant. After 4 albums and 4 EPs into his career and with an extended list of features, .Paak gained proper recognition for his vocal and producing skills, which landed him a record deal with Dr. Dre’s label Aftermath Records on Jan. 30,2016.
21 year old Atlanta rapper, 21 Savage, gained his recognition from his consistency as an artist in the past year. He released 2 mixtapes, “The Slaughter Tape” and “Slaughter King,” and 3 EPs, Free Guwop, SavageBoomin, which featured Metro Boomin, and Savage Mode, also featuring Metro Boomin, all in the year 2015. So far in 2016, Savage has released the tracks “Oh Ok,” “Red Ops,” “One Foot,” “21 Way,” and “Trappin After Dark,” and has released music videos for the tracks “Supply” off of his Free Guwop EP, and “Dip Dip” off of his Slaughter King mixtape. Talk about consistency!
Lastly, we have Kodak Black from Pompano Beach, Florida. The 19 year old, has been booming through out Florida, with his “No Flocking” freestyle off of his Project Baby mixtape, which later became a club banger, giving him lots of radio play. Kodak gained major recognition after Drake released a video of himself on a private jet on his birthday in October 2015, dancing to Kodak Black’s song “Skrt,” off of his “Heart of the Projects” mixtape. People who have never heard the track were going crazy over it.
XXL did a decent job putting this list together and are giving this new era of rappers their space to shine. I have enjoyed music from every artist on this list, whether they’re lyrically gifted or not, they know exactly what it takes to make a hit and a club banger, and that’s what matters the most. Next year, I hope to see Madeintyo, A-Boogie, Skepta, and Joyner Lucas on the 2017 freshman list.
Shoutout to @XXL and super shoutout to all of the artist that made the 2016 Freshman class, @LilYachty, @LifeofDesiigner, @DaveEast, @DenzelCurryph, @NoLimitHerbo, @LilUziVert, @LilDickyGram, @Anderson._Paak, @21Savage, and @KodakBlack.