Every year, Rap Magazine XXL releases a list of up-and-coming rappers who they believe are on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream. Past winners include notable figures such as Chance the Rapper, J Cole, and Kendrick Lamar. While the magazine does a great job in recognizing talent, they have also nominated duds such as flat-earther B.o.B, Macklemore and even Iggy Azalea.
This year’s class consists of: Anderson .Paak, Dave East, Denzel Curry, Desiigner, G Herbo, Kodak Black, Lil Dicky, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty. 21 Savage.
Here is a more in-depth look at our five favorite nominees.
Lil Dicky seems to be the most unconventional choice, since most people view him as a comedy-rapper, but if his last music video is any indication, then we know that Lil Dicky is going for a more serious public image.
Personally, I’m most excited for Dr. Dre’s protégé, Anderson .Paak, who recently dropped his second album, Malibu. Anderson .Paak also has a new documentary coming out soon, centered around the creation of his latest album.
Florida native Denzel Curry has been dropping mixtapes since he was 16, and recently released his second studio album, Imperial. Denzel Curry is known for his lyrical ability as well as his energetic live performances.
Atlanta born trap artist Lil Yachty, recently released his debut mix tape, Lil Boat. Lil Yachty is definitely an acquired taste, but his bizarre music videos as well as his persona are definitely enjoyable.
The 19-year-old rapper of “panda,” Desiigner also appears on the list. In what might be the most disappointing controversy of 2016, Desiigner recently admitted that he in fact did not have any “broads in Atlanta.”
While XXL’s acknowledgment of rap ability is not a guarantee for success, I’m expecting big things from all those introduced into the Freshman class of 2016.