The 2019 XXL Freshman Class has been announced.
For the past 12 years, the XXL Freshman list has bolstered the biggest up and coming voices in hip-hop with a selection of eclectic picks anticipating new trends and artists for the year to come. This year’s class sees a jump in female representation with three female artists in contrast with the usually almost entirely male line up.
Here’s some of our picks to check out:
22-year-old Maryland rapper Rico Nasty has been on the rise over the last couple of years with seven mixtapes under her belt since 2014. Whilst the start of her career centred on her self proclaimed dreamy “sugar trap”, last month saw her release Anger Management, one of the heaviest hip-hop slices of the year, alongside producer Kenny Beats. Littered with nods to industrial club and a constant hard hitting flow, Rico Nasty is a mile away from the pop-leaning trap dominating the mainstream and it’ll be a treat to see what she brings to the Freshman cypher.
Philadelphia native Tierra Whack deals in syrupy, unassuming sounds blending together influences from trap to soul to 80s pop and everything in between. Last year’s 15-minute audiovisual album Whack World was a delicious mission statement displaying a refreshing take on accessible but boundary-pushing hip hop whilst 2017 single ‘Mumbo Jumbo’ earned her a Grammy nomination for music video of the year.
21-year-old North Carolina rapper YBN Cordae is a sure set for mainstream success with an accessible rap sound focusing on lyrical flexing and a return to old school high energy hip-hop. With only a few singles to his name, YBN Cordae has already drawn online attention with the ‘state of hip-hop’ battlecry of 2018’s ‘Old N*ggas’ and recent smooth cut ‘Bad Idea’ featuring Chance The Rapper.