This year’s XXL Freshman Class is a particularly impressive bunch of up-and-coming emcees. As luck would have it, four of the most exciting inclusions — Chance the Rapper, Isaiah Rashad, Vic Mensa, and Kevin Gates — all appear together in a corresponding cypher. Chance delivers the most quirky freestyle, Mensa probably has the best flow, but if I had to pick a winner it’d be Rashad, who’s clearly picked up a thing or two from his time with Kendrick. Watch below.
Since 2008, XXL magazine has rolled out an annual list of the 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, Danny Brown, Kid Cudi, Angel Haze, and Big K.R.I.T. all received nods in past installments.