Welcome to the WhyList?, the new freshman list.
XXL finally revealed their annual Freshman 10, and to put it nicely... it was god awful.
Some of these names definitely belong on the list, but the issue with this year's list is the glaring omissions. For one reason or another, some of the biggest new artists of the past year didn't make the list. Whether that be because of politics, the artist turning it down, or XXL giving this women full jurisdiction over the list, it's no denying XXL dropped the ball this year.
And that's where WhyList? comes in. I'll be giving you the accurate Freshman List of 2018. No politics, just an honest take on which rappers had the biggest come up over the past 12 months and Why?
So let's get straight to it.
How the hell do you have a 2018 Freshman List without 6ix9ine? As controversial as he is, you can not deny the come up. 6ix9ine is the hottest rapper from New York right now that much is undeniable, but he can claim to be the hottest rapper out period. His billboard record speaks for itself as he is currently 7/7 on his singles, including his biggest single 'Gummo' attaining platinum status. He has multiple music videos surpassing over 100 million views, and his social media following speaks for itself. He has turned trolling into millions, and as much as you hate it, you can't stop watching him. 6ix9ine's spot on the WhyList? is unquestionable
Top Songs: 'GUMMO', 'KOODA' 'TATI' & 'KEKE'
Trippie Redd was one of the few choices XXL got right. Trippie Redd making the XXL List has been a given for a while now, at least to me. He busted onto the scene early last year with 'A Love Letter To You' and has become a mainstay in music since. He owned the Soundcloud charts all 2017 with songs like 'Luv Scars' and 'Romeo & Juliet' and made his Billboard chart debut at the beginning of 2018 with his Travis Scott assisted banger ' Dark Knight Gummo.' Trippie has since signed to QC, giving them another new generation heavy hitter, and is currently prepping for the release of his debut album and his and Lil Yachty's collab tape.
Top Songs: 'Luv Scars' 'Poles1469' & 'Gleeming Karnival'
"I was waiting on this shit, Rookie Of The Year, I wanna show out for the Freshman List." That's what NAV said on his diss track to XXL titled 'Freshman List' when he found out he didn't make the cover. To me, this was probably the biggest miss outside of 6ix9ine. NAV honestly should've been a lock on the 2017 XXL Cover. He dominated the Soundcloud charts when he first came out, with nearly every single of his hitting a million plays within days if not hours. After missing the list in 2017, 2018 should have been automatic. He kicked off 2017 with two fire mixtapes in 'NAV' & 'Perfect Timing' that were more commercially successful than every rapper on the cover outside of maybe Lil Pump. And let's not forget that NAV's sound is one that numerous new artist are running off with. Give him his credit where due. NAV's case for Rookie Of The Year is clear; he gets to show out for the new Freshman List.
Top Songs: 'Fell In Love' 'Wanted You' 'Reckless Intro' 'Freshman List'
Gunna was not going to make the this year's XXL list regardless, but it doesn't mean he doesn't deserve to be on it. The reason Gunna would be left off of 2017's list is the fact he popped off too late, at least according to XXL's timeline. Gunna blew up after the release of 'Drip Season 3' in February, and I am assuming by that time, XXL already in the process of contacting the chosen artists. It's funny though, these past four months, Gunna has probably shot past every artist that did make the list, popularity-wise at least. We are in the height of a Gunna lovefest, and it is much deserved. He's received cosigns from Young Thug to Diddy. He's given us some of the best songs of 2018 and gave us a top 5 mixtape to boot. Gunna will be on XXL's 2019 Freshman List, but his spot on the WhyList? is already cemented.
Top Songs: 'Mind On A Milli' 'Top Off' 'Sold Out Dates' & ' Oh Okay'
If Gunna is the hottest rapper in Atlanta right now, then Lil Baby is neck to neck with him. On his feature with Gunna 'Oh Okay', Lil Baby said he's going number 1 this year, and even though he hasn't yet, his buzz is as if he did. Just like Gunna, he is a casualty of popping off a little too late. Lil Baby came on the scene early 2017 with 'My Dawg,' and he's stayed relevant with a stream of hits since. He caught his biggest cosign with the Drake-assisted 'Yes Indeed' that reached number six on the Hot 100. Lil Baby then dropped his latest tape 'Harder Than Ever' which is full of bangers. Lil Baby is another guaranteed lock for the 2019 Freshman List, but he'll take his spot on the WhyList? this year.
Top Songs: 'Yes Indeed' 'My Dawg' 'Freestyle' & 'I'm Straight'
Lil Pump's spot on the Freshman List is unarguable, I'm happy XXL got this one right. No new rapper has had a stronger 12 months career wise than Lil Pump. He had one of the biggest songs of the past year in 'Gucci Gang.' He is the most followed on social media of any of the Soundcloud generation of rappers (12.5M) surpassing the likes of Uzi, Carti, and Yachty. He dissed J. Cole which caused Cole to diss him back, which then resulted in them actually forming a friendship that woud later lead to them interviewing each other. Pretty much which all resulted in more clout for Pump, something he's racking up on right now. Lil Pump is the most undeniable Freshman of 2018 which makes his spot on the WhyList? a given.
Top Songs: 'Gucci Gang' 'ESSKEETIT' 'What You Gotta Say' 'Boss'
I know he's not on the XXL cover, but Lil Skies actually made it and rightfully so. He was the fans vote for the 10th spot, but Lil Skies turned it down because he said XXL was playing politics, which they do. Regardless of Lil Skies' choice, his spot on the list is well deserved. He started catching steam in late 2017, but blew up in January after the release of his tape, 'Life Of A Dark Rose.' His mixtape produced the singles 'Nowadays' & 'Red Roses' that have both surpassed over 90M plays on Youtube. Skies has a style as distinct as his face tats, and his sound is one that will live past a lot of these new rappers. Lil Skies is here to stay so its only right he makes the debut WhyList?
Top Songs: 'Lust' 'Nowadays' 'I Know You' & 'Signs Of Jealousy'
He's an icon living already, and he's not even 20 years old. That's the kind of status you get when you're the son of Will Smith. What makes Jaden so unique is that he has already distanced himself from his father's shadow at such a young age, and he's doing that with music. Jaden has been making music for years now, but these past 12 months he's made a name for himself in the scene. He dropped his debut album 'Ninety' which was a more complete project than any rapper on the Freshman List. He's given iconic performances at Rolling Loud, and he already has a Gold plaque to his name. XXL might've passed, but icons belong on the WhyList?
Top Songs: 'Ninety' 'Icon' 'The Fallen' & 'Falcon'
The final spot on the WhyList? goes to Jay Critch. Many thought him and or Rich The Kid would make the XXL List, and neither of them did, but The Breakfast Club explained that.
Regardless of XXL's reasoning Critch belonged on the list. Jay Critch's sound is what every Soundcloud rapper hopes to sound like when he's in the booth. He went from being another rapper on Rich Forever to arguably being the face alongside Rich The Kidd. Critch has seen his status grow over the past 12 months exponentially. He's become one of the faces of New York rap, released numerous bangers on Soundcloud that have each surpassed a million plays, and he was the star of Rich Forever's latest compilation tape, 'Rich Forever 3.' His star is only rising too, I can guarantee XXL will at least offer him a spot on next year's list, it'll be up to Critch if he wants to take it though. Critch can enjoy the 10th spot on the WhyList? this year though.
Do you agree with my first annual WhyList? Who doesn't belong on the list? Or who should be on the list? Debate with me on Twitter @_WhyToby