XXL just dropped their annual list of hip-hop’s rising stars. The XXL Freshman class has always sparked a compelling debate on which new artists shined the brightest over the past year. This year’s top picks includes Shy Glizzy, Goldlink, Raury, Dej Loaf, Tink, OG Maco, Vince Staples, Fetty Wap, K. Camp, and G-Unit’s, uh “new,” addition Kidd Kidd. Since the cover hit the Net earlier today, people on social media have been buzzing about who else should have made the cut. Here’s five emcees we think could have made the 2015 XXL Freshman Class.
1. Young Dolph
Dolph has the South on lock right now. He’s rapped over the beats of revered producers like Zaytoven, Metro Boomin’ and Drumma Boy. Last year, he received plenty of praise for his mixtape High Class Street Music 4 and has been tapped to drop bars on songs with rapping phenoms like Jeezy, 2 Chainz, and Juicy J just to name a few. Plus, he had a show-stopping verse on Young Thug’s Barter 6.
2. Rae Sremmurd
Mike Will Made-It’s dynamic duo Rae Sremmurd definitely got the ill snub. Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy’s infectious single “No Flex Zone” topped the charts for weeks before they released the debut album SremmLife. The 11-track LP was nothing but hit after hit and featured major artists like Nicki Minaj and Big Sean. It’s shocking that they didn’t even have a feature in the issue like Bobby Shmurda (who would’ve been #1 on the list if he wasn’t in jail.)
Virginia’s rising star D.R.A.M. has already won with his popular single “Cha Cha.” Beyoncé loves it and Snoop Dogg recently brought him out to perform the song during one of his shows. Along with Erykah Badu, Big Sean, and Busta Rhymes, D.R.A.M was also featured on Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment’s new album Surf.
4. Mick Jenkins
Mick Jenkins had a stellar year in 2014. His 2014 mixtape The Water[s] garnered plenty of national attention and is still talked about to this day. He was one of the most anticipated acts to catch during the 20104 Smoker’s Club tour with Method Man, Redman, and B-Real. With his dazzling new “P’s and Q’s” track, Jenkins should have been a top contender as one of XXL’s freshmen.
Rapsody has more of a complex discography than any of the emcees who made the list (and probably those listed above.) Along with her album The Idea Of Beautiful and her five mixtapes, the Jamla rapper released her EP Beauty And The Beast last year and was the only true feature to appear on Kendrick Lamar’s critically-acclaimed album To Pimp A Butterfly. How has she never even gotten an offer to be on this list?!