For those of you who are perhaps not woke on the matter, the “XXL Freshman Class” is an annual list of the world’s top up-and-coming rappers published by American hip-hop magazine, XXL. The rappers produce a series of freestyles together, which are generally pretty average compared to their individual work. Nonetheless, historically speaking, the publication has provided us with valuable insight into who’s likely to make history in the following year, if they haven’t already. Indeed, such rap icons as J. Cole, K-Dot, Future, Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, and yes, even XXXTentacion (whom I have gone on record hailing as this generation’s Elton John) have been honored with this highly-esteemed award. Recently, rumors of 2018’s XXL Freshman Class have surfaced and, being the Internet sleuth that I am, I was able to locate—on the ever-so-reliable Facebook—an image that is believed to be the official list of 2018’s class. Now, I consider myself something of a music expert: I’ve listened to nearly all genres of music since I was a wee lad, I will soon graduate with a degree in music, and I am now a professional musician with sponsorships—not to mention I’ve entered the musical blogging profession, which holds its own merits. And in my brief 22 years, I have NEVER seen such an abominable travesty as the XXL Freshman Class of 2018.
It’s a damn shit show, so let’s tackle these one by one.
Rich The Kid: This guy isn’t completely terrible. I mean, the song he has with Kendrick bangs, but honestly, the dude just sounds like ILoveMakonnen stranded on a desert island with nothing but old Migos tapes.
Bhad Bhabie: I’m dead. The tables have turned, people. For quite some time, the status quo has held that rappers, if given enough attention, become memes. Every picture of Kanye is meme-worthy; Drake transitioned from the Versace memes to the Hotline Bling memes; Gucci Mane is a well-renowned courtroom meme; XXXtentacion has his “Look At Me” dank memes. The list goes on.
But dear God, good people of Earth, apparently now memes become rappers! That’s right, folks, the “Cash Me Outside” girl is now a recording artist. We’re done for.
Jaden Smith: Industry plug via his dad. Generic.
Jay Critch: Garbage Future wannabe.
Ski Mask The Slump God: It’s funny that there are so many SoundCloud rappers out there now. The uniting feature among them is their attempt to sound weird and/or different, at which they fail! Very sad!
smokepurpp: “Audi” goes so hard but in the end, the dude’s pretty forgettable.
Lil Pump: Honestly, you’ve gotta hand it to 17-year old (yes, that is correct) Gazzy Garcia. Lil Pump’s entertaining persona (and bangers, of course) has been an integral factor in his world domination over the past year. And, I cannot lie, “Gucci Gang” was the anthem of 2017. However, at the rate this guy’s going, I’m not convinced he makes it past the age of 20.
Famous Dex: Whomst?
Roy Woods: Meh.
Cardi B: Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t deny that Cardio B is a star now. Prostitute turned trap rapper, Cardi B, is here to stay. She’s one of very few who belongs in this Freshman Class.
YBN Nahmir: Isn’t SoundCloud a sad and failing company, anyway?
NBA Youngboy: Fetty Wap- the sequel.
6ix9ine: This guy right here is the most insane Internet sensation I have ever seen. If his rainbow hair and the “69” tattoos all over his body (literally every inch of his body) weren’t enough, go listen to his hit track “Gummo.”
Trippie Redd: Trippy is the perfect name for the rapper with an entire collection of seizure-inducing music videos.
Final Take: In general, I don’t think any of these rappers are very good. The highlights are Lil Pump, Cardi B, and 6ix9ine, though all have their flaws. But you know what? I’m still going to get intoxicated almost exclusively to these artists in 2018.