Earlier this week, XXL released the list for the 10th man voting system that comes along with the 2016 XXL Freshman List. The XXL Freshman List in the past has gone on to house many artists before they gained their profound fame. Today, we are here to conduct a top 20 list of artists from the 151 featured on the XXL website that we believe have the best chances of making the top 10 cut. The list below has no order and is just a collective. Vote for who you believe should make the XXL Freshman List on the XXL website.
Anderson .Paak broke onto the mainstream scene in 2015 thanks to numerous features on Dr. Dre’s “Compton” album. But after such a successful 2015 he only looks to build off that and have an even better 2016. In January he released his second album titled “Malibu” which had peaked at #9 for the R&B/Hip-Hop Billboard charts. Listen to “Heart Don’t Stand A Chance” below.
New York native, Bishop Nehru, has already worked some legends in the game. First gaining buzz back in 2012 when he was 16 for spitting a hot 8-bar over Mos Def’s Mathematics. Fast forward to 2014 and he’s released a project with MF DOOM, all caps, titled “NehruvianDOOM.” Today, Bishop is to be in the studio working on his album that will be executive produced by Mr. Illmatic himself, Nas. Check out the track “MellowWithMe” off of The Nehruvian EP.
Talking about struggles growing up? Bryson Tiller can let you know what that’s all about. Growing up having a difficult life, struggling to make a dollar, Tiller never gave up his passion for music and we thank him for staying on the grind. After releasing his hit song “Don’t,” he reached mainstream fame, receiving co-signs from Drake and Timbaland. Shortly after, Tiller released his debut album “T R A P S O U L” which had peaked at #8 on Billboard’s Top 200. Listen to Don’t below.
Pro Era’s CJ Fly has been relatively quite since the release of 2013 mixtape “Thee Way Eye See It,” but has dropped a couple gems scattered throughout the years. Gaining fame as a above average lyrical talent filled with entendres left and right, CJ Fly deserves your attention in the upcoming months. Getting set to release a 2016 project titled “Flytrap,” we here at Daily Gems would be surprised if it wasn’t met with critical success. After hearing snippets of Flytrap over from other Pro Era member, Jab, on Snapchat we can already tell that it’s a project you don’t want to miss. Listen to Sup Preme off of Thee Way Eye See It featuring Joey Bada$$ below.
After what seems like a big snub from last years XXL Freshman List, Denzel Curry is back and he’s back with a vengeance. Coming a long way from being apart of rap group, Raider Klan, fronted by rapper/producer Spaceghostpurrp, today Curry is well independent hitting us with hard hitting lyrics. bar after bar. Recently dropping a project titled “Imperial,” with producer Ronny J, who is also working with a project with The Underachievers that is set to drop in May, it gives 10 tracks to blow you away. Getting features from fellow Florida rapper Rick Ross, Pro Era’s Joey Bada$$, and indie artist Twelve’len. Listen to the single “ULT” off of the project.
Seemingly coming out of nowhere to no discredit to his work, but after being featured on Kanye West’s recent album, The Life Of Pablo, on Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2, he’s blown on to the scene and could be here for awhile. Gaining success off of hit song “Panda” he’s gained comparison for his flow and sound of other rapper, Future. But don’t let that cloud his fame, Desiigner is a very talented artist and capitalized to land a deal with Kanye’s music label, G.O.O.D. Music. Check out his song “Panda” and bang out to those ad-libs.
Formerly known as Lil Herb, G Herbo looks to put on for his city of Chicago and to bring in the riches. Coming up in the game alongside 2014 XXL Freshman Lil Bibby, he looks to make his own name. Hitting the scene with visuals for “Kill Shit,” Drake gave it attention and tweeted that G Herbo and Lil Bibby “the future.” Fast forward to 2015, Herb drops “Ballin’ Like I’m Kobe,” which had met positive reviews from other blogs. Listen to “Lord Knows” featuring Joey Bada$$ below.
Being dubbed the next big thing to come out of Toronto since Drake can be some awfully big shoes to fill. But Jazz Cartier doesn’t seem to be fathomed by these reports and instead is taking it all in and using it to his advantage. After dropping a successful tape in 2015 called “Marauding In Paradise,” he comes back in 2016 to drop “Hotel Paranoia,” which was met with positive reviews. Listen to “Stick And Move” from Hotel Paranoia below.
Coming out of the Houston Hip-Hop scene, Kevin Abstract looks to build his new sound into an empire. In 2014 Abstract released a concept album called “MTV1987,” which was to fuse elements of past and present pop culture of today’s tech age. Working with his band Brockhampton, they are set to release a mixtape titled “All-American Trash,” with a single recently being dropped. Listen to “DRUGS” from Kevin Abstract below.
Another Pro Era standout, Kirk Knight, is one of our top picks to make the XXL Freshman List. After releasing Late Knight Special late last year, Kirk Knight has proven that his production and witty lyrics are not to be messed with. Not many artists out there fully produce and write from top to bottom their whole project and that’s what makes the KREEPER so special. Keep an eye out for this upcoming superstar and be sure to check out his music on Pro Era’s Soundcloud. Listen to “I Know” featuring Mick Jenkins off of Late Knight Special below.
Coming out of the projects in Florida, Kodak Black looks to show that his age is nothing but a number. Receiving co-signs from Drake and various Kardashian sisters, Kodak rose to mainstream success. With hits like “SKRT” and “No Flockin’” he became a favorite over twitter and other social media platforms. Listen to “SKRT” off of the project “Heart Of The Projects” below.
Lil Uzi Vert
Presumed next up to come out of Philadelphia, Lil Uzi Vert ain’t here to mess around. Lil Uzi Vert will hit you with a rapid-fire delivery to compliment a nice melodic hook and that seems to be something his fan base likes. Gaining co-signs from rap group A$AP Mob and having Lil Uzi perform for the late A$AP Yams tribute concert, Yams Day, Lil Uzi’s name is popping up everywhere. Listen to “Top” off of his previous mixtape “LUV Is Rage” below.
A name that probably should’ve been on the 2015 XXL Freshman List, Mick Jenkins, looks to that as fire for his ambition to be the best he can. If Mick wasn’t a lock for last year, he should be a lock for this year. Breaking on to the scene with his mixtape “The Water[s],” Jenkins looked to created a 3 step project with The Water[s] being the start. Back in August, Mick Jenkins released “Wave[s]“, the second installment and is gearing up to a summer 2016 release for the final part “[T]he [H]ealing [Component]“. Check out “P’s and Q’s” below.
Nef The Pharaoh
Former Bay Area Freshman Of The Year, Nef The Pharaoh, looks to bring the hyphy movement to the XXL. Representing Vallejo, CA, home of Mac Dre, E-40, and B-Legit, Nef The Pharaoh looks to carry on the hyphy legacy to boundaries not reached before. In the summer of 2015, Nef hit mainstream success off the single “Big Tymin.” The song was later remixed by Compton’s YG and singer/songwriter Ty Dollar $ign. Stay in tuned for this heavy hitter as he has a debut album titled “My Great Impression” in the works. Listen to “Big Tymin” below.
Pro Era is not a group to mess with, as we have another talented prospect ready to make mainstream success. Nyck Caution presents us with nothing but an impressive catalog. Recently dropping a project titled “Disguise The Limit,” Nyck comes through with some witty metaphors that collaborate together to make crazy double entendres. Caution’s word play is like no other and needs to be recognized asap. Check out “What’s Understood” featuring Joey Bada$$ while also calling on producer Metro Boomin for some help. Young Metro trusts the Pro Era clique and so should you.
Talent just keeps on pouring out of Atlanta, Georgia, and it’s only getting hotter with rapper Playboi Carti. Carti caught everyone off guard with the hit “Broke Boi” but isn’t planning on stopping there. The next to blow up for rap collective Awful Records, Playboi Carti hopes to capitalize off his friends success for his own and continue to make hits. Listen to “Broke Boi” below.
Arguably having one of the most successful 2015’s out of artist on this list, Post Malone hopes to keep the clubs going with more hits. Gaining nationwide attention for his song “White Iverson,” Post has yet to release a full project under his name but is rumored to be working with the likes of Kanye West, Young Thug, 50 Cent, and Ty Dolla $ign. Not much more needs to be said for this man as he already has a huge following, but check out his song White Iverson below.
If you sign to Drake’s OVO Sound label, most likely you are in for huge success. Roy Woods gained fame when Drake played one of his songs during his OVO Sound radio show on Apple’s Beats 1. Go ahead a couple weeks and he releases his debut EP “Exis” through OVO Sound. He took to twitter this year to say that a new project titled “Waking At Dawn” will be released shortly. We are sure he’s in for mainstream success with no faults. Drake has an eye for prized talents just ask The Weeknd, PartyNextDoor, and iLoveMakonnen. Check visuals for “Get You Good” below.
Formerly known as Astro, gaining fame from being a contestant on the talent show X Factor, Stro looks to show that he’s no longer a kid and needs your attention ASAP. From his EP “The Computer Era” Stro showed his growth from the kid we saw on TV. With releases from then to now we see that he’s done messing around and will not take no for an answer. After releasing in what is looked at as a warm up for 2016 “Best By Far” comes through with some hard hitting New York bars. Check out a track dropped on his soundcloud called “Skrrr” below.
Toronto is just giving us talent after talent these days and it continues with talent Tory Lanez. Beginning his music career back in 2009, it’s been a long road for Lanez but he continues to fight for that top spot. Aside from making his own music, he has also reported on writing songs for artists like Akon, Travi$ Scott, and Meek Mill. Check out his hot single “Real Addresses” below.
There was 151 candidates to pick from and it wasn’t easy bringing it down to a top 20. These are a list of people that were right there on the edge of making this list.