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XXL Freshman 2021


The XXL Freshmen list is a group of 10 newcomers within the rap scene. Once the group is together, they do a photo shoot, along with a rap “cypher”, or a freestyle, which seems to be paired randomly. One of my favorite XXL freshman cyphers comes from the 2016 list, which includes 21 Savage, Denzel Curry, Lil Yachty, G Herbo, and many more. Ever since then, I have been hooked. In my opinion, this list is the most accurate, based on relevancy, but XXL seems to always pick one specific person at random.




Although not on the actual list, Snot would and should be the number one spot. Lately, with how much Snot has been in the spotlight, this should be a no-brainer. He has collaborated with the likes of Flo Milli, Cochise, Lil Skies, and directors like Cole Bennett and Omar Jones. With his signature hoodie and bandana, Snot shows versatility in his overall sound. Representing, for Florida, there is no surprise that Snot embodies that sound combined with his own unique attributes. Snot is definitely moving in a vertical direction. Even though this opportunity takes many artists to the next level, it is possible he could have rejected the list. This wouldn’t be the first time someone rejected the list, because Lil Skies also rejected the tenth spot a couple of years ago.


Coi Leray recently reached viral levels with her song “No More Parties“, which reached 17 million views. Coi Leray is definitely the underdog but has proven time after time that she deserves her spot in the rap industry. From having tensions with father and rapper Benzino to being in a relationship with platinum artist Trippie Redd. Throughout these trials and tribulations, Leray never gave up as an artist, which is highly respectable. Being highly compared to the rap/ rockstar Playboi Carti and frequent collaborator Lil Durk, Coi Leray brings many melodic high-pitched vocals that give her a unique and distinct sound.


Morray went viral with his song Quicksand, which is ultimately one of my favorites. Mentioning topics of living in poverty, Morray essentially is a rag to riches story. Essentially making music in the streets of North Carolina, to having a big hit, and then collaborating with the likes of J. Cole and 21 Savage on The Off-Season. His latest project Street Sermons received positive reviews from Pitchfork. The only reason for concern is the size of his catalog. With vocals similar to Rod Wave, this will not be the last time we will hear his name.


Pooh Shiesty is also a street rapper, who has received much success on Billboard Hot 100. He is a collaborator with XXL contender Coi Leray and Lil Durk. Coming from Tennesse, Shiesty brings a lot of tight-knit flows, mentioning the struggles of gang culture. Shiesty’s debut project “Shiesty Season” peaked at no. 3 on the Billboard hot 100. Taken under the tutelage of rappers like Lil Durk and Gucci Mane, he has the opportunity to grow and perfect his sound. His career as an artist is secured.


Slowthai has worked with the likes of Asap Rocky on their song “Mazza“. Earlier this year, he released his project Tyron, which received positive reviews. If he does receive a spot on the freshman list, this would be one of the oddballs that XXL chooses. In previous years, we have seen other U.K. artists like Stefflon Don. While this does benefit the artist, I also think this would help push more foreign artists towards the American mainstream.


Texas native Tay Money has also been a significant name, as she collaborated with freshman contender Flo Milli. With songs like “Asthma Pump” and “Bussin“, Tay Money shows how she is a boss. Her lyrics include topics of Texas lifestyle, taking other women’s man and bragging about herself. With her lyrics, flow, lisp, and accent, Tay money sound is distinguishable from everyone on the list.


The Kid Laroi has done exceptionally well in the past couple of years. His spot on the list is almost guaranteed. Taken under the wings of rappers like Juice Wrld and Lil Bibby, Laroi was able to escape the horrid lifestyle of poverty-stricken Australia. With songs like “Go” and “Let Her Go“, Laroi continues to improve and perfect his sound. This landed him collaborations with Miley Cyrus, Lil Tecca, and Lil Mosey.


Alabama native Flo Milli is known for her song “Roaring 20’s“. She has also collaborated with fellow freshman contenders Tay Money and Snot. I think she deserves this spot due to her virality from Tik Tok, but she is a very skillful lyricist. With her own unique, braggadocious flow Flo Milli could easily fit on many different styles of instrumentals. When she says her tag, the listener knows they are listening to something special. In the future, I would like to hear collaborations from the likes of Rico Nasty and Megan thee Stallion. Through the power of social media, Flo Milli will continue to be a household name.

9. DDG

Youtuber and rapper DDG shows that he can have the best of both worlds. With collaborations with Blueface and Coi Leray, his rap career is almost official. I think this would be the final “piece to the puzzle”. For this reason, I think he would be a good fit for this list. With songs like “Impatient” and “Beatbox Freestyle“, DDG has been the underdog for years. Being a Michigan native, he has proven that rap is more than a hobby, and hopefully, his rap career will be as fruitful as his youtube channels.


Mario Judah has to be one of the most unique artist on the list. Therefore, I thought it was only fair to give him the tenth spot. In my opinion, the rest of the list is guaranteed to be on the official list. Mario Judah is talented in multiple areas of production. With his corny, yet catchy Halloween anthem “Die Very Rough“, many thought he was a joke. Initially, mainstream people on media outlets would often compare him to a Disney villain. He even pranked Playboi Carti by releasing a mixtape, with similar sounds and name to Carti’s long-awaited “Whole Lotta Red“. I believe Mario Judah will find success in music in terms of production and songwriting.


Stunna 4 Vegas

Stunna 4 Vegas is overdue to be on the freshman list for XXL. He reached virality in 2018 with his song “Animal“, which gave him the opportunity to work with NLE Choppa, Offset, and Polo g. His major collaborator and mentor Da Baby assisted him in receiving a contract with his label “Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment.” With all of these elements combined, Stunna 4 Vegas should have been a freshman shortly after Da Baby’s debut on the list.

42 Dugg

From Detroit, Michigan, 42 Dugg has worked with the likes of Lil baby, Roddy Ricch, and Meek Mill. With his catalog and features, I think he has a pretty good chance of being on the list. If he does not make it this year, he will be guaranteed the opportunity next year.


In the past few years, we have seen producers like Jetsonmade and Dj Drama. Along with the pairings, the producer and instrumentals are very important. There have been many terrible instrumentals that the cyphers have chosen from. Some even rapping without the instrumental. Here are a couple producers that may possibly be coupled of this years freshman list.

Chopsquad DJ

Chopsquad Dj has worked with rappers like Chief Keef, Lil Durk and many other artist within the drill scene. While much of this list is inspired by Drill, I think his instrumentals and pairings would be beneficial to the likes of Pooh Shiesty, Flo Milli, DDG, Stunna 4 Vegas and 42 Dugg.


Turbo has also worked with the likes of Lil Baby, Gunna and Playboi Carti. Many of the artists that he collaborated with are apart of the melodic scene. I think this would be beneficial for everyone on the list due to the fact that any style of rap would mesh well on his instrumentals.

To conclude, I believe my list is about 70 to 90 percent accurate. I am not completely confident in Slowthai or Tay Money. If they do not make the list, I am confident that my honorable mentions will. With the tenth spot list, there are endless possibilities to create this list. With the three women I chose, could we see the first all female cypher? Regardless of my predictions, I am excited to see the next generation of rap.

Who would you like to see on the XXL Freshman 2021 List? Vote Now!!!


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