We don't know if you've heard but, the 2018 XXL Freshman Class is officially in the building, and now, so are each member's freestyle.
Over the last two weeks, each of the 2018 XXL Freshmen—which include Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s Ski Mask The Slump God, Miami’s Lil Pump and Smokepurpp, Atlanta’s J.I.D, London’s Stefflon Don, Memphis’ BlocBoy JB, Birmingham, Ala.’s YBN Nahmir, West Palm Beach, Fla.’s Wifisfuneral and Canton, Ohio’s Trippie Redd—have served up memorable, entertaining freestyles and accumulated millions upon millions of YouTube views in the process. Seriously a lot of people have tuned in.
Thus far, freestyles from this year's Freshman, which marks the 11th annual class, have been viewed more than 15 million times, and that number continues to rise. Just as a quick data point, Wifi's freestyle was, at one point, the No. 1 trending video on YouTube within 24 hours of its release. Needless to say, that's pretty crazy. With a mix of tight rhymes, regional flows and the weight of a decade-plus history behind them, the attention received by the 2018 XXL Freshman freestyles isn't too surprising.
Since 2007, XXL has sparked conversations in every corner of the rap world by unveiling its annual Freshman list, a typically polarizing piece that will invariably lead to triumphant fist-pumping or some frustrated head-scratching. Usually, though, the freestyles serve as sort of a self-contained revelation about each rapper—whether they're more about said MC's artistic aesthetic or their persona. Usually, it's a bit of both.
But, enough with the talking. Check out each and every 2018 XXL Freshman freestyle for yourself below.
2018 XXL Freshman Freestyles Recap
Kicking things off was Smokepurpp, who was one of four 2018 XXL Freshmen to put on for South Florida this year. Using a flow he flaunted plenty on his Bless Yo Trap project with Murda Beatz, Lil Purpp unloaded his typical bars about flexing jewelry and being the coolest guy in the room. We expect nothing less from Smokepurpp.
Taking the lyrical baton from Purpp was Atlanta's own J.I.D, who quickly validated his spot in the hopes and dreams of rap purists with a vicious stream of multi-syllable rhymes and clever bits of wordplay. We'll let you check that out for yourself—it's really something you just have to watch.
Next up was Ski Mask The Slump God, who served up a dexterous, tongue-twisting flow that might just make Twista jealous. If you've been following the career of the talented Sunshine State artist, there's no way you were surprised by his offering. If you hadn't, you now know exactly who you're dealing with.
Injecting a bit of international flavor was Stefflon Don, who unleashed a barrage of tight rhymes over the course of just about a minute. Being from overseas, Stefflon's talents have probably been a bit slept on up to this point, but as her Freshman freestyle shows, she's got a ton to offer the rap game.
Keeping up the momentum of the Freshman freestyles was Lil Pump, who delivered an a cappella rendition of the second verse of his hit single, “Esskeetit."
Also repping Florida was Wifisfuneral, who impressed with big chunks of quotable bars and a tight flow. His Freshman freestyle eventually turned into his song "Been 2 Hell & Back," featured on his recently released mixtape, Ethernet, Vol. 1. With 1.4 million views at press time, the rapper's freestyle was the No. 1 trending video within 24 hours of its release on YouTube. It might be just a little bit harder to call this guy an "underdog" next year.
Putting on for Birmingham, Ala., YBN Nahmir was the next Freshman to body an a cappella freestyle. With straightforward, but decisive bars, the "Rubbin Off the Paint" rhymer played no games as he let loose little details about his life up to this point and the street ethos that defines it. YBN is doing it big this year, and obviously, Nahmir is the biggest reason why.
Taking off his dancer hat for just a second was Memphis native BlocBoy JB, who came through with some super-rugged bars during his freestyle. If you want to hear bars about meeting a drug cartel and "walking 'round with 30 Glock shells," this one is definitely for you.
Last, but definitely not least was Trippie Redd, whom some fans thought might not have taken part in the freestyle portion of the 2018 XXL Freshman shoot. Surprise, surprise, the Canton, Ohio native has delivered, and though he's known primarily for his gift of melody, he comes through with some hardbody bars. Salute.