The 2019 XXL Freshman list was revealed in June I think, and to me it’s actually one of the better lists in recent years. I’m not actually a fan of most of the artists, but I think most of them deserved to be on the list. One thing that a lot of Hip Hop fans seem to forget is that this list isn’t about putting a spotlight on the best upcoming MCs. It’s just about highlighting who the hottest, most popular newbies are in Hip Hop right now. The only people on this list who I actually like are DaBaby, YBN Cordae, and Tierra Whack. Tierra is easily my favorite artist on the list. DaBaby’s latest album wasn’t really that good to me, but I like him. YBN Cordae has a lot of potential, but most of his songs are pretty underwhelming to me. I do love that Kung Fu track though, and his recent single with Chance was pretty good too. The only artists on this list who I think are trash are YK Osiris, Gunna, and Lil Mosey. I used to think Comethazine was trash, but he’s starting to grow on me to be honest. Anyway, one thing that’s different about this list is the fact that there are actually 11 rappers on it instead of 10. I think there were only 9 on last year’s list, so I guess that’s part of why that happened.
The first freestyle to be released came from DaBaby, and unfortunately it’s not very impressive at all. In fact, it’s not even an original freestyle. He spit this same verse for Funkmaster Flex earlier this year.
The verse itself isn’t terrible or anything. It just sounds like every other verse I’ve ever heard from him. I’m still waiting for him to do something different. I feel like all the verses I’ve ever heard from him could all be on the same beat to make one long ass song. The verse sounds way better over the beat that Funk Flex played for him too. I guess that could be said about most of the freestyles though. So yeah, this was a pretty underwhelming way to start the freestyles. It’s fine though. It’s not bad. It’s just not really worth paying attention to. People are gonna watch it and then forget about it 10 minutes later.
2. Megan thee Stallion
I’ve never actually heard a solo track from Megan thee Stallion, and that’s probably not gonna change any time soon. I heard her feature on that wack ass Wale song she was on earlier this year, and wasn’t impressed at all. Based on everything people have said about her, I don’t think she’s the kind of artist that would appeal to me at all. This was pretty much confirmed by her freestyle.
It’s not a bad verse by any means, and she definitely had a better performance than DaBaby. Again, it’s just not for me. I appreciate her attitude and confidence, but the verse itself didn’t really do anything for me. It was fine though. I just didn’t care. Nothing she said interests me at all. It’s another average verse that I’m probably gonna forget about in a few minutes. I liked it more than DaBaby’s though.
3. YBN Cordae
I was expecting Cordae’s freestyle to be pretty solid, and I was thankfully correct. With that said, “solid” isn’t exactly high praise. When I say it’s solid, I basically mean it’s passable. I guess that could be said about the previous couple as well though.
It honestly kinda just sounds like a phoned in J. Cole verse. I’ve seen a lot of people compare him to J. Cole, but I definitely think J. Cole is way better. Well, I’d hope that’d be the case since Cole is over a decade into his career and Cordae is pretty much just starting out. If Cordae continues to improve instead of just plateauing or getting worse, then I could end up being a fan. I think he’s a better rapper than most of the newer artists coming out these days, but that really isn’t saying much. He’s good for a newcomer, but overall I think he’s mediocre at worst and just good at best. I have yet to hear anything truly mind blowing or amazing from him. This verse was honestly pretty underwhelming if I’m being real. It’s short length probably has something to do with that. He only spit for about 30 seconds. The whole thing was only like 12 bars. Lyrically, he pretty much just said “I have a lot of hunger and if you stick around I’ll probably be really good in about a year or two.” It was a decent freestyle, but pretty forgettable.
4. Rico Nasty
Rico Nasty is another one of those artists that everyone else seems to love. Again, I think she’s far better than most of the other newer rappers these days. The thing that I just don’t really like is her voice. I don’t know what it is, but her voice is annoying to me. On every track I’ve heard from her, she’s trying to sound really aggressive and angry, but her voice is too high pitched and frankly doesn’t have the strength to pull it off in my opinion. She’s not terrible lyrically, but she’s also not really that impressive to me lyrically either. Her freestyle did pretty much nothing to change my opinion of her.
The effect her freestyle had on me is pretty much identical to that of Megan’s freestyle. It wasn’t a trash verse or anything, but nothing about it stood out to me at all. I didn’t care about anything she said. I guess that one line about people wasting their money on dumb shit was cool. I always shake my head at rappers bragging about spending ridiculous amounts of money. I guess they think that they’re impressing people by talking about spending a shit ton of money on dumb shit, but it just makes me think they’re stupid as fuck. I don’t know why the hell BET has that “Blew a Bag” series. I guess they think people actually care about that shit. Well, people must be watching since they keep doing them. I get annoyed every time I see it in my subscriptions on YouTube. The only reason I’m subscribed to BET in the first place is for their “Rate the Bars” series. Anyway, I’m sorry for getting off topic. But yeah, I didn’t really care for Rico’s freestyle. It wasn’t bad. It just didn’t do anything for me at all. Once again, I’m gonna forget about it in the next hour. These freestyles really suck so far to be honest. They’re super underwhelming. Hopefully Tierra Whack comes through. I’m sure she’ll find a way to keep me entertained.
Okay, so apparently this dude didn’t even have a freestyle, which is lame as hell. He gets an F on this assignment. I mean, I know I’m not really giving each freestyle a grade, but I’m just tryna keep up the “Freshman Class” theme. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I would’ve expected his freestyle to be good in the first place. It most likely would’ve been one of the worst freestyles XXL has ever published. I would’ve respected him for even attempting though. I’m tempted to say that corny ass adage about how you miss all the shots you don’t take. Gunna misses pretty much every shot that he does take though. Anyway, I’m shaking my head at Gunna for not even trying. Shame. Shame. S h a m e.
I haven’t really been a fan of Comethazine in the past, but as I said, he’s starting to grow on me. The little snippet of his freestyle actually stood out from the rest because he had such an aggressive delivery, so I was honestly looking forward to hearing from him more than anyone else.
After watching the full freestyle, I was honestly kind of disappointed. It’s still the most entertaining one so far, but the snippet they included in the preview for all the freestyles was the best part of the verse. His flow isn’t as smooth during the rest of the freestyle as it is during that part. I liked it overall though. It was just typical gangster shit, and it wasn’t particularly well-written. It was sufficient though. I love how aggressive and angry his delivery was. That’s really the factor that makes it stand out to me. Everyone else had average bars, average flows, and average deliveries. Comethazine had average bars & an average flow, but a great delivery. Also, this shouldn’t matter, but the facial expressions he was making made me like it even more. The dude looked fucking crazy.
So yeah, I liked the verse overall. It’s my favorite freestyle so far overall, but obviously that isn’t saying much. This one is just slightly above average. Shoutout to Comethazine for actually standing out from the crowd though. I fuck with this one.
7. Tierra Whack
The biggest disappointment I have with this entire class is Tierra Whack’s refusal to participate. I have no idea why, but it’s a goddamn tragedy. Pretty much everything I said about Gunna not doing a freestyle applies to her, except she’s actually dope. There’s no doubt in my mind that she would’ve had the best freestyle. Thankfully she apparently participated in a cypher, so she’s not completely fucking up. She’s still fucking up to a certain extent though. I’m very upset right now. I’m upset and confused. I don’t know why she didn’t wanna participate, but I’m very disappointed. Shame. Shame. S h a m e.
8. Lil Mosey
I was pretty much expecting this to be the worst freestyle out of the bunch. I guess it’s possible that YK Osiris’ freestyle will be even worse, but this is bottom of the barrel stuff. I already knew Lil Mosey was a trash ass rapper, and this freestyle solidified that opinion.
I know this is kinda fucked up to say, but this dude literally sounds like he’s mentally disabled in this video. He sounds like a fucking idiot. I don’t know how anyone could watch this thing and say that he had a good freestyle with a straight face. I don’t think he’s the kind of rapper who’s supposed to kill verses though. He just seems like another one of those super generic Trap artists who everyone will forget in the next 6 months. I feel like if someone told me to do an impression of a generic SoundCloud rapper, this is what would happen. It would just be me performing this freestyle. There are no redeemable qualities to it. His delivery was lazy, his flow was absolutely generic, and his borderline unintelligible lyrics were stereotypical in the worst way possible. With all that said, I gotta give him props for at least participating. It’s like when you’re taking an exam. He got all the answers wrong, but at least he wrote his name. He tried, and I respect him for that. Tierra & Gunna didn’t even show up for the exam, so they get automatic zeroes.
9. Roddy Ricch
Roddy Ricch is one of those artists who I’ve only heard on features. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only time I ever heard him was on that last song that Nipsey released before he died, and all I remember is thinking the song was boring as fuck. I’m really just indifferent towards Roddy to be honest.
Honestly, I knew it was gonna be some bullshit when he started the video by rubbing his dry ass hands together. The freestyle itself reminds me of Desiigner’s infamous freestyle from the 2017 class. Or maybe it was 2016. I can’t remember. Anyway, Roddy’s pretty much doing what Desiigner did, except with less repetition. He’s not just repeating the same shit over again. He’s snapping his fingers and singing though. It’s clear that he actually put some effort into it, unlike Desiigner. I thought it was pretty bad, but once again, I appreciate the effort. His singing isn’t really impressive at all, his flow was unimaginative, and the lyrics were generic. It’s yet another forgettable freestyle. Jesus. This might actually be the worst XXL Freshman list just in terms of the freestyles. This one was wack.
Believe it or not, I’m actually very disappointed that Blueface didn’t participate either. Don’t get me wrong; I know for a goddamn fact that it technically would’ve been trash. That’s why I’m disappointed though. It would’ve been so fucking funny. He’s pretty much a novelty rapper, and he genuinely makes me laugh quite often. Are his songs actually entertaining enough to return to? God no. He has a few funny lines and deliveries here and there though. Every beat I’ve ever heard from him has been generic as hell, and I don’t need to tell you about his off-beat rapping. He has some funny lines though. I’m not a fan at all, and I don’t think I’ll actually ever listen to any of his projects. I was looking forward to seeing what he’d do for a freestyle though, and unfortunately he didn’t even try. Shame. Shame. S h a m e.
11. YK Osiris
I was pretty much expecting this freestyle to be around the same level of quality as the Lil Mosey one. I knew there was a slight possibility that it could be even worse than the Lil Mosey freestyle though, and unfortunately it ended up being way worse than that.
If you were in my proximity as I watched this freestyle for the first time, you would think that I was trying to pass a kidney stone based on the sound of me cringing so much. I feel like this could be the most memorable freestyle with the most potential to go viral because it’s almost on the same level as that Desiigner one. I kinda feel like that’s why they saved this for last. It’s so ridiculously bad that everyone’s gonna be making fun of it. Alright, let me get more specific and talk about what makes it bad. First of all, YK Osiris is not a good singer. He’s just not. Roddy Ricch had a melodic delivery for his freestyle, but he was still kinda rapping. This is just straight up R&B singing though, and it’s terrible. YK Osiris does not have a good voice. He sounds awful here. The most accurate comment I saw under the freestyle was this: “Why does this sound like a bad American Idol audition that Simon Cowell stops in the middle?” That’s exactly what it sounds like. It was just as awkward and difficult to watch as an American Idol audition. I knew this was gonna be some bullshit as soon as I heard him sing that first line…
i ShOwEd YoU lOvE wHeN yOu AiN’t EvEn KnOw WhAt LoVe WaS
The hand motions he was making just made it so much worse too. The whole thing was just so dramatic. I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised though. He always sounds way too dramatic like that. This is just the kind of artist he is. He kinda reminds me of Rich Homie Quan in that he sings really dramatically and he doesn’t sound good at all. The way he ended the video by winking at the camera was awful too. Good for him though. I’m glad he’s confident and not a self conscious depressed guy. Lord knows he wouldn’t be able to endure the comment section under the video. Anyway, this was definitely the wackest freestyle. However, I still respect him for participating. Kudos to him for that. Well, maybe I shouldn’t give him kudos for doing what he’s supposed to do. Idk…
This was pretty terrible. This is honestly one of the worst years in recent memory in terms of the freestyles. I still think the list itself is solid, but these freestyles sucked. They were average at best, and laughable at worst. The biggest disappointment is obviously the fact that three of the artists on the list refused to even participate. It’s frustrating and shameful. Gunna would have been trash anyway, but I still lost what little respect I had for him for not even trying. Same goes for Blueface & Tierra Whack. The lack of participation from her is what stings the most because I know she would have killed it. There’s no doubt in my mind that she would have been the best. So yeah, this shit sucked. Big thumbs down from me.
Favorite Freestyle: Comethazine
Least Favorite Freestyle: YK Osiris
Watch the video below for more thoughts on these freestyles.