2018 XXL Freshmen Prove They Belong With Impressive Cypher Performances


XXL’s Magazine’s Freshman List is loved by few and hated by many these days. Through out the Magazine’s 11 years of life, this list has acted/represented its self as a launch point for many influential careers. The likes of Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Kid Cudi, Mac Miller, Big Sean, Wale have all graced the cover. Also there were artist such as Fashawn and Lil Twist who just flat out disappeared. This year’s picks had a lot of people frustrated. Some believed the likes of  Lil Baby and Gunna should be on this list. I agree with the popular opinion but XXL measures each acts success within a specific time frame. Lil Baby and Gunna picked up heavily towards the tale end of this window but should be guaranteed picks for next years cover. Anyways, I just wanted to do a little write up on this years freshman class and their cyphers as well as  grading each group as a whole. Also, I just wanted to post each session for those who still haven’t seen them! Esketitttt.



I am a huge Wifi advocate! I think he’s extremely talented. His last two projects  were solid efforts especially for an up and comer like himself. He has some real potential to be big time. Wifi making the cover comes as no surprise either if you actually FOLLOW HIP HOP.  He was among the category of artists to be included the past two years that are basically shoo-ins. Along with Ski Mask and Lil Pump, you really should have seen this coming. As for his freestyle he did his thing. It was pretty much of what I have come to expect from him. 

Stefflon Don

Stefflon Don belongs on this list! A lot of people tried to play her like she didn’t belong. She is probably better than your favorite up and comer…. Maybe already one of the better female artist in the game. The sole woman artist on this year’s list, Don’s appearance here is anything but tokenism. Her music flares with Caribbean and dance-hall influences. She is quite the breath of fresh air in an otherwise trap and SoundCloud heavy list. She still has plenty of room to grow but she is a great talent who is well on her way to becoming a force. 

YBN Nahmir

Man after hearing “Rubbin Of The Paint,”  I felt like Nahmir could be something one day and it looks like XXL agrees with me too.  I loved his delivery and cadence. He is definitely more of the traditional type of rapper compared to his fellow freshman peers. YBN Nahmir is special and he has plenty of flow and the potential for mass appeal with longevity. He is starting to breakthrough with working with bigger artist such as G-Eazy and Yo Gotti on “1942” which is good. Nahmir has some star potential or at least be that artist who is around for a long time. His freestyle was solid here too! 

Conclusion: This group delivered with their cypher. Could have been better but it was pretty good given that many people assumed the worse outside of Stefflon Don! 

Rating: 4.75/5



Lil Pump

This pick was a no brainer….. I will not waste time trying to explain this one. He obviously is not the most lyrical or most talented artist but the kid is a star! I actually liked his verse a lot. He probably didn’t completely freestyle his verse but it definitely was a half written/freestyle verse possibly. Good attempt!

Blocboy JB

Blocboy JB is definitely deserving of a spot! A pick like this though is why some people were upset. Not upset because JB didn’t belong but it had people wondering what about Gunna, Lil Baby, Moneybagg yo and other up and  comers who are absolutely killing it. Blocboy’s freestyle wasn’t half bad either. 


 Smokepurpp was over shadowed  by Lil Pump as these two good friends were coming up in FL trying to make it in the industry.  Smokepurpp, the 2018 XXL Freshman, has the talent and overall opportunity now to not just catch his good friend but surpass him. He is one solid project away from real super stardom, in my opinion. 


Conclusion: These three had the most fun with their cypher! They weren’t the most lyrical but they had fun and showed so much chemistry and this cypher had so much energy! Surprisingly, they also spit some decent verses in all honesty! Pretty sure everyone did a freestyle off top but Pump! (I think…) These three rising stars messed around and gave XXL a free song. I definitely will be coming back to this just to listen to it. 

Rating: 4.5/5



J.I.D IS THE TOP TALENT IN HIS CLASS. ON TOP OF THAT, J.I.D IS ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED ARTIST IN THE WHOLE RAP GAME. I have not decided where to place him yet but based off his work up to this point he’s up there. I’m pretty sure he was a shoe in to make this list. I could go on for days about J.I.D but I’ll just say one thing. This Dreamville artist is just getting started and I believe the best is yet to come.

Ski Mask the Slump God

Ski Mask is such a weirdo. A talented weirdo. He’s another artist on this list that has Florida ties. While already being pretty big around the time of last year’s list, Ski Mask has shown a lot of growth since his split from the other artists who appeared on last year’s list. He has the potential to keep growing and so far his music stands out from most other members on this list for it’s sublimely dark and gritty vibe.

Conclusion: This was the first cypher to be released and this duo of J.I.D and Ski Mask The Slump God did not disappoint. J.I.D kills the Sonny Digital produced beat, as he takes up most of the time. Ski Mask took the xxxtentacion route from last year as he delivers a rapid fire verse acapella. J.I.D carried the two but this was my favorite of the three cyphers.

Rating: 5/5

So there were nine freshmen this year! A 10th spot was awarded to Lil Skies and he felt the list was rigged so he declined to be apart! Some believe another artist that would’ve made sense as a tenth pick would be Juice WRLD, who has been making a lot of noise BUT at the time of the construction of this list it was too late. Juice WRLD has made a lot of noise post the announcement of this years freshmen and he should be a guarantee for next year. Honestly, he may be bigger than this list by that time. Anyways, the group selected made sense to me and each artist deserved to be on this list. We could debate all day but just remember when those artist you argue for that should have been on this list may have not made enough “noise” or accomplished enough at the time of XXL made their picks. Those artists that we love that got left off will be on the list next year or they may be BIGGER than the list. We shall see. 



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