9 Names to Watch for Next Year’s 2018 XXL Freshman List
It’s safe to say XXL’s unveiling of its 2017 Freshman Class causes a bit of an uproar. Mixed feelings circulated all throughout the social mediaspehre, from fans distraught that their favorite artist(s) missed the cut, to praise that some names made it, to “who the f*ck is this?”
What’s done is done though. No more campaigning can be done to land in this year’s class, and no amount of complaining with solve any issues anyone has with their selections. Now, the countdown begins to next year. While many people have their list of who was snubbed, who wasn’t quite poised to make a case this year, but will be able to by next June? I’ve compiled nine names to watch out for next year.
Other notable songs: “Westside-Digitial,” “Gets My Staces,” and “Bacc Forth”
A guy from Los Angeles with curlers in his hair on an all blue album cover really caught my attention. Once you get past that initial shock of curiosity though, G Perico’s All Blue sounds like the soundtrack to Los Angeles. It’s distinctively West Coast and there’s no way around it. He could be next in line behind YG in 2010 and Kamaiyah this year.
Other notable songs: “Hey Arnold,” “Dennis Rodman,” and “Block List”
The DMV has gotten some shine in previous classes recently, from Logic in ’13 to GoldLink in ’15. With a bubbling scene on the cusp of a breakout, Rico Nasty is one of the hottest names in the area leading the way. She had a breakout 2016, with hit singles “iCarly” and “Hey Arnold,” which went on to get a feature from Lil Yachty on the remix (and we’ve seen the “Yachty effect” on “Broccoli” and “iSpy”). With an appearance on the recent soundtrack for Fast & The Furious and her sophomore project Tales of Taco Bela being propelled by singles “Glo Bottles” and “Block List,” I can’t see her momentum slowing up anytime soon.
Other notable songs: “Uptop! “Uptop!,” “Stuck In My Ways,” and “Have Nots”
Kur has all the tools to blow. He has a distinct voice, can rhyme with the best of them, and an ear for beats – all tools making him one of the hottest in Philly right now. After finally releasing his 180 mixtape, he should be able to have a big second half of the year to set him up to be the next from his hometown behind Meek Mill (’10) and PnB Rock (’17).
Other notable songs: “Boy’s Innocence” (feat. Fat Trel), “I Picture,” and “God Said Trap (King Trappy III)”
Jay IDK is the perfect balance between consciousness and “let’s turn up.” In fact, it’s what his moniker stands for – “Ignorantly Delivering Knowledge.” He’s one of the great young minds not only in the DMV, but in the game period. The marketing of his 2016 Empty Bank was brilliant, from having someone dressed as Ben Franklin walk around with him for months before its release to premiering it on Forbes, and discussing the project’s emphasis on the value of money. Recently, he partnered with Adult Swim to produce visual content on the Cartoon Network cable network. With a continuation to push his boundaries and outreach, Jay IDK may have his case for the freshman class more than established by next June.
Other notable songs: “IDK,” “Ready,” (feat. GoldLink), and “Aquafina” (w/ GoldLink)
Chaz French has been relatively quiet since his 2015 These Things Take Time. However, even two years later, the album holds its own, so much that he was able to land a deal wit Motown Records earlier this year. With a new project on the way, one of the District’s brightest young stars should be poised for a breakout. French has an incredible story that I believe makes the music he constructs all the more memorable.
Other notable songs: “Space Jam,” “Whatever You Want,” and “Options”
When you think of buzzing artists that seem to have the backing of their entire hometown behind them, Mir Fontane has to come to mind. The young Jersey native has the whole city of Camden rooting for him, so much that it’s the title of his forthcoming project due the 23rd of this month. Even after inking a deal with 300 Entertainment, he shows no signs of letting up after his acclaimed 2016 Who’s Watching the Kids. He has a knack for storytelling that instantaneously brings the turmoil of his hometown to life, making him easy to gravitate to for his listeners with the transparency in his music.
Other notable songs: “Money & Bitches” (feat. Mick Jenkins), “Cornerstore” (feat. Saba and the Mind), and “Morning Sex”
Joey Purp put out arguably one of the best, most slept on projects of 2016 with iiiDrops. Even after landing on the year-end lists of many publications, it just wasn’t enough to get the Chicago native into this year’s class. It’ll be hard to imagine back-to-back classes without a name from Chicago in the class.
Other notable songs: “Shinning,” “Blazing” (feat. Shy Glizzy), and “Purple Haze”
After the tragic murder of Lor Scoota, YBS Skola has been able to keep YBS and his brethren alive in his music. His lyrics serve as an inspiration to his hometown of Baltimore, especially on his recent project Only Hope. After recently signing a deal with Meek Mill’s DreamChasers, and a knack for making radio-ready singles, Skola should be able to position himself to become the first from the city to make it into the XXL freshman class.
Other notable songs: “Elm Street 2,” “Today’s a Good Day,” “Who Ya Gang” (w/ Hardo feat. 21 Savage)
Jimmy Wopo is a prime candidate to make the list next year. His “Elm Street” cuts are what have garnered him much of his buzz thus far, but a deeper look into his catalog show that he’s no *2-hit wonder. With a co-sign from fellow Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa and features from the likes of 21 Savage, he should be able to keep pushing his way into next year’s class.