Let’s begin with this shout out to XXL Magazine for creating the “Freshman 2017” list ever year which has been a guide of who’s up next in music. Now please note while being so controversial because of course someone will always get left out since it is only 10 slots. You must take into consideration XXL cannot be bias towards any region. Let’s be honest just because you are popping in your region it does mean everyone knows you. I also go by the belief that just because you have a large number of followers on INSTAGRAM/Twitter does mean you are top 10 we all know followers can be purchased not to mention the amount of fake pages that are made daily.

Congrats to the artist who made the list because no matter what we know to be selected is a process. If you’ve been living under a rock and you don’t know who made it well let’s run it down for you quick.

  • PNB ROCK (Philly)
  • A Boogie with Da Hoodie (Bronx)
  • Kamaiyah
  • Playboi Carti
  • Kap G
  • Kyle
  • UglyGod
  • MadeInTYO
  • Amine
  • XXXTentacion

I must say it is truly hard to argue that list but if we did have to argue well I could easily come up with a few names who should’ve made it that will be around for years to come but for some reason were overlooked whether it be because they don’t have enough followers or simply the buzz isn’t big enough. Who knows? Anyway let’s get into it.

  • RUSS– A true spitter signed to Columbia Records has been selling out shows easily for over a year not just in the states but overseas as well. Debut album “There’s Really A Wolf” is probably one of the best albums to drop so far this year. A perfect blend of rap skills and melodies. Lead single “Losing Control” has over 42 million views on YouTube Vevo. Yikes and he didn’t make the list. Hmmmmm
  • 6LACK- Where do we start? Maybe he turned XXL down or simply wasn’t available to do the shoot because he was on tour with THE WEEKND. “Free 6Lack” Was one of the BEST ALBUM/Mixtapes of 2016 PERIOD. Without debate. Recently signed to Interscope is in my opinion the artist who will be around the longest. He has a very unique sound that grabs your attention not to mention a very creative and attention-grabbing look. Lead single “Prblms” over 29 million views on YouTube and a national tour should be worth something. I would love to know why 6Lack was left off of this cover.
  • YFN LUCCI- We live in an era of “Do it yourself” or the “Indie Era” No major deal YFN Lucci has been one of the HOTTEST IN THE GAME over the past year. His lead single “Key To The Streets” hit every top magazine’s and blog sites top songs of 2016. After hitting the road with Jeezy on the Trap Or Die 3 tour Lucci has been added to the RocNation’s Against All Odds tour w/ Heavy Hitters Meek Mill & Yo Gotti. He has the views, listens, radio spins, looks, features etc. Lucci is the total package and I just don’t see his style going anywhere anytime soon.
  • Nick Grant- Now this pick may surprise some of you. Nick Grant is a natural talent and a true lyricist. Just go check his BET CYPHER 2016 he BODIED or his HOT 97 Funk Master Flex Freestyle he BODIED. Aside from being on the “Made In America Festival” this year Nick’s “Return Of The Cool” album was just an all-around feel good project. He instantly reminds you of an artist like J.Cole who we agree the game needs more of. Now I understand Nick may not have the social media following some of the others have but when XXL first started this did we care about social media. I know this is a new day and age but do we not care about how this all started. Do we discredit or ignore those guys who have an old soul and choose to pay homage to those who came before them? It sounds like HIP HOP is getting away from a few core values. Nonetheless I’m riding for Nick Grant even if he’s the sleeper right now. The man has a true gift. XXL start the wave not ride it.

I know I know those are some major players that were left off but hey can’t win them all. All this tells us is our music is in great hands. With so many dope artist all around the country and each region fighting for their spot the game is probably more competitive than it’s ever been. The beauty of if it all the culture is moving forward and expanding. We are becoming the pop stars, closing deals with major corporations like SPRINT, TARGET, NAUTICA there is no denying Hip Hop’s influence. No more looking past Hip Hop’s importance or dismissing our culture. Salute to every artist trying to be the best and every DJ we can’t forget the DJ’s that’s playing these new artist and giving them a chance.