Since 2008, XXL magazine has rolled out an annual list of the top 10 most promising young rappers, AKA its Freshman Class. The criteria for inclusion is all subjective, determined by a panel of writers, bloggers, and other industry members, based on everything from a rapper’s current hype to the staying power of his/her debut album. Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, Kid Cudi, Angel Haze, and Big K.R.I.T. all received nods in past installments.
This year proves to be a big one for Chicago hip-hop as a total of four Windy City emcees have made the final cut: Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Lil Durk, and Lil Bibby. The remaining spots are rounded out by Top Dawg’s own Isaiah Rashad and budding Louisiana rapper Kevin Gates, along with Rich Homie Quan, Ty Dolla $ign, Troy Ave, August Alsina, Jarren Benton, and Jon Connor.
As Fake Shore drive points out, prior to this installment, only two Chi-Town residents had made the Freshmen list: Lupe Fiasco in 2008 and Chief Keef last year. (However, due to serving jail time, Keef didn’t technically appear on the cover.)
Starting May 12th and running through June, XXL will periodically deliver profiles, interviews, and cyphers featuring various configurations of the so-called Dirty Dozen. In the meantime, enjoy a few favorites from this year’s class.
Chance The Rapper – “Juice”
Lil Durk – “I Want It All”
Vic Mensa – “Crazy”
Lil Bibby – “For The Low”
Isaiah Rashad – “Soliloquy”
Jon Connor – “Judge And Jury”
Jarren Benton – “Gimme The Loot”