Watch Every 2018 XXL Freshman Interview
The unveiling of the XXL Freshman Class cover is an annual event, where a group of talented rappers—both on the come up and those just breaking through—are highlighted for their accomplishments. With rappers from all walks of life, there are plenty of different stories of how they got to this point. For 2018, the "We Got Clout" class features nine artists who forged their own path, making their way to this platform in their own unique way.
As you may have noticed, South Florida is heavy on this year's list. Lil Pump (who didn't take part in a XXL Freshman interview) and Smokepurpp, two Miami-raised friends, grew up together, with Pump crediting Purpp as his gateway to a rap career. Both make a somewhat blistering style of music, and Smokepurpp credits his city for some aspects of his sound. "It's rough, it's not just beaches and stuff, so, that's why it kinda has the trap in there, too," he shares.
The immensely-talented Ski Mask The Slump God is also from the area, coming up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Interestingly enough, he gives props to a rapper born a long way from his city: Brooklyn MC and respected rap veteran Busta Rhymes. "The way he delivers his music, it's not only like he's spitting fast and has flow, he's saying something that's meaningful or hits you," Ski says. As one of the most young, talented, technical rappers out, that kind of homage is important.
The last South Florida rapper on this year's cover is Wifisfuneral, who also credits Ski Mask The Slump God, along with himself and XXXTentacion, as one of the other rappers in the area who helped usher in the next generation. He's put his time in and been through it all; he's visibly appreciative of making it onto the 2018 XXL Freshman list.
BlocBoy JB, the budding star from Memphis, and Atlanta's J.I.D, the upper level lyricist from the Dreamville crew, have more in common than most think. They both got popular by solely being themselves. BlocBoy's infectious dance moves and ability to express fun, while still being lyrically clever, elevated him to the top. J.I.D fully dedicated himself to being the absolute best rapper he can be, while making sure to keep himself grounded in reality. Both artists are happy to be Freshmen and will take the opportunity as far as they can.
In her profile interview, U.K. rapper Stefflon Don shares that she used to be a "double-time" rapper, cutting her teeth with the difficult style of extremely fast and rhythmic rapping. YBN Nahmir is another young spitter who can absolutely turn it up. Being multi-faceted like this will always be beneficial as an artist, as Stefflon and Nahmir's ability to flip a variety of styles will serve them well.
Coming from the middle of the map, Ohio's own Trippie Redd is somewhat of an enigma. His highly honest, vulnerable music took him over the top, which has earned him tons of fans from coast to coast. In his interview, he talks about melding rock, R&B and more on his next project. That interest in experimentation will continue to set him apart from a lot of artists.
The 2018 XXL Freshman Class gracing the cover this year were eager to share their stories. Watch them open up below. And surely you want to see them rap, and you can check out all of their freestyles here, then brace yourself for all of their cyphers next week.