Every year, hip-hop magazine XXL publishes a list of 10 artists it believes will become the next big names in hip-hop. Its freshmen list is always a subject of much debate, whether it be around the talent of the artists or around their status as freshmen who have yet to emerge in the industry. This year’s list was no exception, yielding praise and criticism from different music outlets. Making the cut were: Fetty Wap, Dej Loaf, Raury, Kidd Kidd, OG Maco, Shy Glizzy, Goldlink, K Camp, Vince Staples, and Tink.
In the scrutiny of this year’s list, many have noted that some of the artists featured have surpassed the “freshman” level and are already mainstream. Still, the list always succeeds in sparking conversation and shining the spotlight on the hip-hop genre. Rather than debate whether these artists are worthy of their places on the list, we thought to add 10 more names in order to highlight talented artists you may or may not know.
He’s only 18, but this New York rapper is incredibly talented. His current work has landed him on the lineups of numerous festivals, including SXSW, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball. His next album will be executive-produced by none other than Nas, who called him the “future of music.”
You’ve probably heard of Casey Veggies, one of the founding members of OFWGKTA, the collective known as Odd Future. While Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator are the most well known members of the group, Casey Veggies, who left the group early on, is not far behind. He is signed to Roc Nation, and his first album is slated for a 2015 release.
Just last month, Fat Trel made a surprise appearance at Wale’s Concert About Nothing, a free concert in their hometown of D.C. curated to promote Wale’s new album. A relatively new member of Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group, his latest mixtape, his final one before his debut album, is impressive. Best of all, it is titled “Georgetown.”
Bay-area rapper G-Eazy might be more in his sophomore year now, with several world tours under his belt. However, his first studio album, “These Things Happen,” was released 11 months ago, so we have included him on the list. Having spent time opening for the likes of Lil Wayne, Drake and T.I., it is hardly surprising that he is beginning to find success.
Tuesday. When Drake decided to hop on his now-hit track, everything seemed to change. However, this is not the Atlanta rapper’s only song, and his talent can be heard on his mixtape series “Drink More Water.”
This Chicago artist released a critically acclaimed mixtape titled “The Water[s]” last summer and signed with Cinematic Music Group, the label of Joey Bada$$ and Big K.R.I.T. If his past year is any indication, he is poised for success in the upcoming one.
PartyNextDoor is often compared to The Weeknd for his music style, his connection with Drake, and his Canadian roots. Rising to prominence through several songs released with help from Drake, the rapper has since been on multiple world tours, released an album and an EP in the past year and has continued his close work with Drake as he seeks to emerge from the shadow of The Weeknd.
QuESt is a bit of a wild card on this list. Not too long ago, he considered giving up his music career entirely. However, he emerged this past year with the Logic-affiliated mixtape “Searching Sylvan,” which was listed by The Huffington Post as one of the 15 most underrated albums of the year.
This duo has undoubtedly made a lot of noise in hip-hop this past year with a seemingly endless stream of hits, so it is reasonable to think that it might be too big for a freshmen list. Snubbed on the XXL 2014 freshmen list, it released its debut album “SremmLife” earlier this year and have not looked back since. These two brothers have catchy lyrics and an infectious energy. Only 20 and 21 years old and they are starting to perform with the biggest names in music on the biggest stages: they have a bright future.
One of my personal favorites, the Manhattan rapper Skizzy Mars released his first EP this past February that showcases his ability to weave hip hop and indie music together. Touring tirelessly over the past few years with the likes of Logic and G-Eazy, his unique style and sampling has rewarded him with a loyal following that is sure to help him have a breakout year.
Andrew Minkovitz is a rising junior in the School of Foreign Service. Tuned In appears every other Monday at thehoya.com.