It’s 2019 and the new Freshmen list is officially up! Now, I know I missed y’all last year, but keeping it real, I still didn’t miss much. So let’s get this started.
As usual, everybody over 28 is going out of their way to say “they don’t know who anybody is” or “everybody weird or trash”. Off top I’m not here for that. In fact, I want to highlight the obvious chess move XXL made. They spent the last 2 years trying to figure out who was the best with most promise out of who was going viral. Now, it seems like they predominantly took the route of the artist who are definitely known and hot right now if you’re truly paying attention to the music. I’m not mad at that. I can pick 10 artist who didn’t make the last 2-3 list and it would be everything you are most likely listening to or need to listen to.
See. And let’s not forget some of the great artist that have just never been on the list for one reason or another. Speaking on that, although I am a huge Griselda fan, Benny The Butcher doesn’t belong on this list. As the viral saying goes, “This above him now.” Benny’s already super nice, the legends, OG’s and people are aware of who he is and he’s put out a catalog of work that screams everything but Freshmen. GXFR is the hardest Team in America! A Freshmen nod, is unnecessary. So with that said, let’s breakdown the 2019 XXL Freshmen List!
Honestly, if you don’t know half this list, you’re most likely out of tune with today’s hip-hop scene, social media and you have no youth in you or young people around you. This is the most thorough list in a few years. Let’s talk why.
Rico Nasty: At first I thought Rico was a dude. I had never seen a Rico Nasty picture. And it’s not that she sounds like a dude, it’s just when you hear the name Rico Nasty, you lean towards a dude. Regardless, Rico’s dope! Any woman who talks as tough as she does and hops on a “Super Thug” remake needs mine and your attention. Women are real rappers and students of the culture in this era. She’s a prime example of that. I want to see her live. I imagine her show is insane! One time for Largo, MD. RIP to my cousin Curtis. I know he would be Championing Rico Nasty just cause she from Largo. She’s have an even bigger cult following after the list.
Gunna: I heard about Gunna through Gary Vee last year. Gary made it a point to “play some Gunna” during his photoshoot and mention him throughout 2018 in quite a few pieces of content. It was all rooted in him respecting his grind and how he was making a name for himself. Now the music, different story. I’m not the biggest fan of Gunna, but I like his project with Lil Baby. “Drip Too Hard” is my ish! You also might have heard a joint called “Never Recover”. Drake on it. Gunna has put himself in position for this moment, so respect to him for that. However, he’s not necessarily “better” than a lot of guys that he sounds like. He’s firmly in the wave, but apparently he’s smart and works hard, so it sounds like longevity is in his future.
DaBaby: Unfortunately, you should know DaBaby for killing a dude at Walmart! No Cap! It was self defense though. You may also know him from beating a dude ass at his show or in the mall. Needless to say, DaBaby is not playing with anybody! He also got some hard music! “Up The Street” “Kujo” “Walker Texas Ranger” and his official Billboard Charting single “Suge” has definitely made him earn his spot. He’s one of my favorites on this list. He’s actually a really good rapper. Not a bad marketer either. DaBaby is just getting started. I think his true success is on the way. Get ready for his feature if you haven’t been hearing it already.
Megan Thee Stallion: My ultimate favorite on this list! Megan COLD! I mean that on several levels too! She look good, she rap hard and her projects can hold any rap fans attention. “Tina Snow” and “Fever” are dope projects. It’s room for Her, Cardi, City Girls and everybody before them. We haven’t seen a movement like Megan’s in a long time. That Big Ole Freak Challenge is top 5 for 2019. I think she hands down ends up with one of the longest careers. Any woman who patterns herself after Pimp C should have a long career.
Tierra Whack: Somebody whose name I heard but couldn’t attach it to any particular song. Tierra is that eclectic talent that can rap, sing and will do “music things” unconventionally. Artist like M.I.A. Tink, Dreezy and Tyler The Creator never made Freshmen List. This is a suitable make good for all of them. She’ll be dropping critically acclaim albums for a while. She’ll also be the artist that will get the most “WOW! You collabed with THEM!?” features. Good pick and you can’t box her into just “Hip-Hop” so don’t even try. Y’all like “CLONES” and don’t know it.
Blueface: The guy everybody swear offbeat. When I heard him, I thought he was using the E-40 flow. Either way, Blueface has cut through and regardless how you feel, he’s needed. You most likely were just complaining about how everybody sound the same. Well, now you got an alternative. Blueface is going to be that rapper that gets a lot better because he’s rapping consistently. He say some hilarious stuff and “Stop Cappin” “DM” and “Put it in her Face” are examples of that. Basically, y’all hate dude cause he the only young cat not riding the bay beat pocket like Tyga. But y’all hate Tyga too though. The West Coast behind Blueface and he ain’t going nowhere.
Lil Mosey: Being real, I didn’t know Lil Mosey by name. I heard him a few times though. He’s unfortunately a kid from Seattle that sounds like he grew up in Atlanta. I honestly don’t know how that’s going to work for him. The PNW really needs it’s own sound. Macklemore is still the hardest since Sir Mix-a-lot from the PNW. Authenticity is always going to win and I don’t see too many W’s for this young cat until he does a 180 in sonics, flow and sound. Sorry.
YBN Cordae: Cordae is undoubtedly the best rapper on this list. This “Young Boss Nigga” get busy! If I remember right, he had the most viral rapping moments last year. Don’t get wrapped up in how much the YBN crew know about 90’s hip-hop and who took they chains. These guys got real talent. Nahmir, Almighty Jay and Cordae are worth listening to. A lot of y’all love songs like “Locationships” so listen to it. “Old Niggas” is probably talking to you every time a Freshmen List drop. Listen to YBN Cordae; He’s Dope and will be here as long as y’all claim y’all support “real hip-hop”.
Roddy Ricch: Another artist I heard of through social media. He on the wave though. Roddy, Gunna and Mosey all fighting for the same spot. There’s nothing X-Factor about his music, but the right feature or collaboration will buy him some time. If you truly just dig the harmonic trap wave regardless of who performs it, then you’ll ride out to him, too.
Comethazine: Young man sounds violent. I can’t be the one to hold that against him. If he told me Chief Keef is his inspiration or favorite rapper, I wouldn’t find it shocking at all. I’ll say this, he is picking unique beats. He get with the right producer he’s going to have a few anthems. I pray him and 21 Savage Collab! Cause that’s going to be my ISH! This is the “guilty pleasure artist” on the list. Cats going to swear that can’t stand dude, but then say, “that song hard though”. East St Louis! Stand Up! I think y’all got one.
Y.K Osiris: I’m curious what people are going to think about Y.K. cause I hear Michael Jackson and Johnny P vocal influence on his songs. I didn’t know him before the list, but I’m not mad at what I heard. If there’s not a category called Emo-Soul he may be inventing it. That may keep him around for a long time.
XXL finally stopped playing “Miss Cleo” and put who we actually know and like along with some people worth listening to on a list. No list has batted 1,000, but this list is definitely a great resurgence for the Freshmen Brand. I expect a few of these artist to do some big things. God only knows and labels are still scrambling, but the majority of this list is a win. Looks like the Freshmen List is back to talent and artist really trying to make it in the music industry. That’s a beautiful thing.