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Here’s Who SHOULD Be on the 2018 XXL Magazine Freshman Issue List

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It’s that time of the year, folks! Every hip-hop fan’s favorite list has now been released to the public. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, XXL magazine finally dropped its 2018 Freshman Class magazine cover. The cover has become a huge summer hit for rap music fans, as it is used to commemorate the hard work the selected artists have put in over the past year to get where they are.

This year’s list features names like Ski Mask the Slump God, Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, J.I.D., and more. However, there are some big names that were left out of the equation totally. A lot of other big rappers, including Lil Skies, have boycotted the Freshman List as a whole, complaining on their social media accounts that the competition is rigged to satisfy XXL Freshman issue’s biggest sponsor, Trojan Magnum Condoms.

Because of this controversy, I have given myself the task of re-doing the Freshman list how I see fit. I will take into account the rappers who have allegedly declined XXL’s Freshman Class offer, as well as rappers the magazine hasn’t put on the list due to ongoing legal problems, arrests, etc. (NBA Youngboy, 6ix9ine, etc). But let’s start by addressing the problems of this year’s list, which made some fans unhappy.

What’s wrong with this year’s Freshman List?

A big problem with this year’s Freshman class list is the amount of people on it. Last year, to celebrate XXL’s 10th Freshman Edition, 10 hip-hop artists were picked to be on the list. The 2016 and 2015 Freshman Class Lists also had 10 and 2014’s list had 12. 2018’s Freshman Class list only has nine rap artists on it. Why are the numbers decreasing when there’s more talent that could’ve been added?

This year’s list is also void on a lot of big names, specifically from the city of Atlanta. Talent like Lil Baby and Gunna tore up the streets (and the charts) with an array of music coming from their respective tapes. Baby bodied Drake on his song “Yes Indeed.”  Other artists are appalled at not seeing his name on here, including Atlanta native 2 Chainz, who gave his two cents on this year’s Freshman class.

In order to fully formulate my list, I’ll remove some names from this year’s list and add more deserving artists onto it.


Trippie Redd

Michael White, otherwise known as Trippie Redd, had a promising start to 2018 with his second album, “A Love Letter to You 2” landing in the top 40 on the Billboard top 200 chart. He showed massive versatility with his style and once upon a time was an artist who had massive potential in the rap game. After losing his feature on the biggest song of the year (Drake’s “God’s Plan”) and being involved in a social media beef with former collaborator 6ix9ine, Trippie’s path to greatness started slowing down. He was put on probation for jumping another rapper, and was recently arrested for pistol-whipping a girl. Due to past events, we know that XXL doesn’t tolerate abuse of women (*cough* Famous Dex, *cough* NBA Youngboy) therefore Trippie should be terminated from the list.


I am a huge fan of Wifisfuneral, and believe he deserves an XXL Freshman spot, just not right now. I believe that Wifi is one of the most talented rappers out now, yet he still doesn’t have the mainstream push needed to be placed on the Freshman List. When most people see his name on the list, they’ll say “Who?” because he lacks any mainstream hit songs. Wifi needed one more good year before he was put on the Freshman class list. This way, he would be able to put out more music and get more attention on him.

Blocboy JB

Blocboy JB is the most surprising person on this list, simply because he blew up literally two months ago off of a Drake feature. Other than this, people only knew who he was partially because of his famous “Shoot” dance. Blocboy’s music is hard, and he seems to have a promising future, but XXL putting him on the list discredits all of the other rappers who put the work. His placement seems really rushed to me. The “Shoot” still fye though, lol.

Stefflon Don

I like Stefflon Don. She can spit. The only reason I want to remove her from the Freshman list is because there is a more deserving woman who needs to be on there. Other than that,  Steff would’ve been a great candidate for next year. I also see how XXL used her to fill the female and the international spot as well, but I have a fix for that too.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are the people I’ve chosen to replace them with in this year’s Freshman Class list.

My Replacements

Lil Baby

Let’s be honest, Lil Baby has destroyed the competition in 2018. His new mixtape, “Harder Than Ever” sold 71,000 in its first week and landed at No. 2 on the Top R&B and HHip-HopAlbums Charts. His song “Yes Indeed” charted at No. 6 on the Billboard Top 100. He did all of this while being relatively unknown. There is no reason why he shouldn’t be on this list.

Tee Grizzley

If we’re being honest, this Detroit rapper has been snubbed from the XXL Freshman List two years in a row now. Despite this, he remains a solid artist with hard-hitting bars. It’s clear that with or without the list, he’s still a star and a soon-to-be rap cheat code.


Like Lil Baby, this Atlanta native has been tearing up the streets with his trap classics. Songs like “Oh Okay” ft. Young Thug and Lil Baby and “Sold Out Dates” ft Lil Baby have put him on the radar of many hip hop legends, including Gucci Mane (who offered him a nice $1 million to sign with him). The fans love his energy and amazing fashion style, and say the duo of him and Baby are becoming the new Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan  — and it’s actually not a stretch! Gunna was definitely snubbed from the list. With or without it, he’ll still remain to be a promising star in the hip-hop industry.

Rico Nasty

Rico is one of the hardest female rappers we have right now. She is absolutely nuts. She has an amazing story also, starting off as a single teen mother then making her way up into the rap industry. She also just got signed to Atlantic Records. Her bright and flashy personality, along with a modern punk-rock style, separates her from the typical female rapper. I believe XXL needed this.

As stated before, XXL usually has a 10th slot. Here’s the artist who could’ve filled this role.

10th Slot: Rich Brian

Rich Brian, formerly known as Rich Chigga, was a breakout star in 2017, and should’ve had a spot on the list since he could cater to XXL’s international crowd, and because he’s very talented. Brian’s “Dat $tick” might be one of the hardest music videos ever and now has 95 million+ views on YouTube. The song was also remixed with hip-hop legend Ghostface Killah on it. Brian’s also shown amazing versatility as an artist, with songs like “Glow Like Dat” and his label 88rising’s collaboration “Midsummer Madness.” Brian got rappers like 21 Savage and Offset to feature on his album “Amen,” which debuted at number one on the iTunes Hip Hop Chart. Brian should’ve been a shoe-in for the Freshman List, but as the Rolling Stones so famously said, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”.

Mack’s Honorable Mentions: Lil Peep, Tay-K, Yung Bans, Young Nudy

This is my re-do of the XXL Freshman list! Please, let me know what you think and don’t be afraid to let me know what you’d change!

Mack, 15, attends North Atlanta High School.

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