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XXL Freshman 2021
XXL/ Travis shinn


Shortly after making my XXL Freshman prediction for 2021, they released the list. A solid amount of the list I was able to get correctly, but there were many people that I did not anticipate making this list at all. Many on the internet are calling this list the worst list they have ever created. This is my reaction to the list:

From my predictions, I got a whopping 5/11 people correctly, and 6 if you like to include 42 Dugg. (I guess there are also 11 people appearing on their list now.) While I am not saying that the unanticipated people do not deserve to be on this list, there are people like Rubi Rose, who many did not know made music. There were a few oddballs and many who I thought should have made the list. In my opinion, my list is more rational than the official list. To start, I will discuss the people who I did not know, or think about, prior to the release of this list.



Again, I am just as surprised as everyone else. I know of Rubi Rose, but had no idea about any of her music. I would think that regardless of whether I knew of her work, I would at least know of her as an artist. I knew that she was in entertainment. From what I understand, she was previously a model. This must be a clout thing. What I want to express is that regardless of connections, there is no way she should even be close to this list. For a normal person that would like to pursue a music career, it would take years of hard work and dedication to become an XXL freshman. She’s only been making music for a couple of years, based on her Youtube. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if she is capable of pursuing a rap career after this opportunity. I can see cosigns from the likes of Cardi B or City Girls.


I think Iann Dior deserved to be on the Freshman list. This was someone who I wouldn’t doubt if he did make it. With his affiliation with Internet Money, they helped Iann prosper into the artist he is today. There have been multiple times where he has been called an industry plant. He then named one of his projects Industry plant, so if someone were to search up “Iann Dior Industry Plant”, his project would be the first to appear. This was one of the smartest decisions Dior has made. When looking at videos like Progress Iann Dior analysis, it is possible that he is an industry plant. One should not have to go through making a project named after the truth. I am still not a big fan of his, but with millions of numbers on his Youtube, and a hit with 24KGoldn, I think it’s safe to say that he is the next big artist.


I never heard of Blxst a day in my life. When looking at his youtube page, I hear many harmonic vocals that may be similar to Drake. With 250k followers on Instagram, I think Blxst may be the smallest artist to appear on the list. It is possible that he is independent, but he definitely is going in the right direction. He has worked with the likes of rapper Drakeo The Ruler and even Amazon Originals. Even though I believe he is too small for this list, I believe that this may be the biggest artist out of the overall list. (If everything goes as planned.)


Lakeyah is another person who I have never heard from. Lakeyah is doing significant numbers and is affiliated with Quality Control. Being signed is very significant, as she has millions of views. With those numbers, she definitely deserves to be on this list. It is possible that she is being pushed to the mainstream by the label, but from what I can see, her growth looks authentic. Similar to Megan thee stallion or Rico Nasty, I think she has a signing and rapping voice. When looking at her page, you can see the growth in sound and production. Overall, a solid pick for XXL, but there are more fitting people for the spot.


I knew nothing about Toosii, but from looking at his Instagram, he seems pretty established as an artist. With 3 million followers on Instagram and collaborations with the likes of Da Baby, there is no doubt that the North Carolina rapper was meant to be on this Freshman XXL list. Similar to Lil Baby, his sound is more of melodic rap, but he does have a more lyrical sound. I would definitely like to hear him and Lil Baby go bar for bar on a track.


With most of the artists that I didn’t predict, XXL could have chosen more relevant artists. None of these artists are significantly bad, well, for the most part. It felt like XXL just called any artist to appear on this list. This list seems like something that was created to promote the artist. Not because they are on the rise, but more so as advertisements for the artist. I think record labels got behind this list from a business perspective. I would replace Rubi Rose, Blxst, and Toosii. Toosii is too big, but by contrast, Blxst is too small. Rubi Rose is irrelevant in my opinion. I feel as if this list is something the artist could utilize to their advantage to clarify their skills/ clout. For any talented artist, this shouldn’t have to be the case. With the XXL list for 2018, we see that all great things come to an end. Will any of these artist careers reach levels of superstardom?, Or will they see their unfortunate fate of “flopping” or “falling off”? Only time will tell.


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