Its that time of the year again when XXL magazine comes out with their list of Freshman for the year. UIC Radio decided to take a unique approach to these predictions, by having two bloggers face off to see who has the best list. Who wins? You choose! Below are each of our lists and at the end you can vote for who you think is better. Check it out!

LFH25 List:

(Note: I would have Tory Lanez on this list but He declined the spot)

Honorable Mentions:

Nyck Caution

Coming from ProEra Crew, Nyck dropped a great mixtape earlier this year. Although I had him off this list, look for Nyck to be on it next year. Don’t be surprised if Pro Era has another star on their hands not named Joey Bada$$ soon. Check out his song What’s Understood below.


Saba has been out here in Chicato becoming a household name. With his numerous collaborations with Chance the Rapper and other high profile artists, he’s on the brink up stardom. His mixtape Comfortzone in 2014 was great, and his follow up should be just as great that I think he’ll be on this list come next year. Check out his song GPS below.


  1. Amir Obe

The Drake co-signed rappers has been making a lot of moves recently with his unique sound coming from Detroit & Brooklyn. He’s established his own sound with albums such as Detrookyln,  Happening in a Grey Area, and his short EP We Won’t Find Love in the Hills that have caught the eyes of many in the industry. Be on the look out for this guy, he’s a superstar in the making. The song “The Happening” below has one of my favorite beats in awhile and Amir goes crazy on it.

2. Anderson .PAAK

This guy has been putting in work for awhile and is finally deserving the recognition he deserves. 2015 was big for year for him by being featured on Dr.Dre’s Compton album, and 2016 has been even better with my favorite album of the year, Malibu. His ability to sing and rap at the same time is insane, seriously check this guy out, you wont regret it.


3. Bryson Tiller

Do i really need to introduce this guy to you? He’s already a bonafide star on this list, selling out show all over the world. “Don’t” is already a hit, and his other single “Exchange” is about to be just as huge. Check out his song below Self-Righteous that Chris Brown actually wanted but Bryson decided to keep it, Good move.


4. Denzel Curry

Few bring much energy to the mic as Denzel does, as this is one of the many reasons I have him on this list. Not only does Denzel have energy, he backs it up with straight bars and one of the best flows in the game. Don’t take my word for it, just listen to Ultimate by him below.

5. G Herbo

G Herbo, formally known as Lil Herb has been out here in Chicago for a minute. His mixtapes Ballin’ Like I’m Kobe and Welcome to Fazoland have been some of my favorite projects to come out of the City in the past few years. Chicago knows this guys is a star, now its time for the nation to find out. Check out one of his stand out song Fight or Flight Remix below.


6.  Jazz Cartier

I don’t know what they keep putting in the water in Toronto, but keep doing it, because dope rappers keep coming out of there. Jazz Cartier is another one from the 6 side killing the game, with one my favorite projects of the year, Hotel Paranoia. This dude is due to blow up soon and being on XXL will only help him further. Check out one of my favorite by him “I Know”.


7. Mick Jenkins

Mick is another from Chicago who has been putting in work for a minute and is due to make this list. His album the Water(s)  was one of my favorites of 2014 and his follow up Wave(s) was also great. Look for this dude to keep building on his success in 2016 and catch the spotlight of game soon. Check out his song THC soon, one my favorites off Water(s).


8. Lil Yachty

When I first heard this dude I was like “Get outta here with this singing young thug clone” but after awhile his music clicked for me. Now I can’t stop listening to songs off his last mixtape “Lil Boat”. I really think Yachty has found his own lane with this sound and because of this he could blossom into a star very soon, thus deserving his name on this list. Listen to Out Late below!

9. Towkio

Towkio coming from the Savemoney movement out of Chicago that has resulted in stars such as Vic Mensa and Chance to blow up in the past years. His last mixtape .Wav Theory was great, and his follow up is destined to be just as good. The movement of Towkio is just strong as when Chance was on the come up and if he gets on the XXL list expect it to grow even more. Check out his awesome Music Video, Clean up featuring Chance the Rapper.


10. Lil Uzi Vert

I wasn’t originally gonna put him on this list but his mixtape that dropped yesterday, Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World won me over. This dude’s flow and beats he chooses are crazy, along with his talent for making catchy hook’s that will be in your head for hours. Lil Uzi Vert is for sure gonna blow up this year and XXL will only make it happen faster. Check out his song below produced by Metro Boomin.


LeoFromTheGo List:

1. Kodak Black: If there was a draft board Kodak Black would be the consensus no.1 pick. A video of Drake dancing to Kodak’s ‘Skrt Skrt’ helped him gained national notoriety but his record “No Flockin’” Kodak was already buzzing throughout the South. He is that southern ignorance that I thought was forever lost with the end of the No Limit and early Cash Money era. Kodak is that underdog that everyone is rooting for.

2. Mick Jenkins: Its difficult to think of a more cohesive and well packaged project than Mick Jenkins’, Water[s]. Jenkins may has been the most notable snub of the 2015 XXL Freshman List. in 2015, Jenkins proved his versatility with the more uptempo Wave[s] project and flexed his lyrical prowess on “P&Qs”. Making him a no-brainer for this years list. At this point if Mick Jenkins doesn’t make the list it puts the validity of XXL at stake.

3. G Herbo: Lil Herb aka G Herbo was another candidate that could’ve and should’ve been on both 2014 & 2015 freshmen list. If there was one knock against Herb it would be the setbacks and delays of his highly anticipated mixtape ‘Ball Like I’m Kobe.’ With ‘BLIK’ releasing this past year followed by a national tour and some really dope visuals. G Herbo is another lock!

4. Lil Uzi Vert: Lil Uzi Vert manages to compile all of the contemporary styles from Keef to Thugger into one big melting pot. The Philly-native has backing from DJ Drama and Don Cannon which doesn’t hurt at all. His possesses a standout feature on Thugger’s Big Racks and gain notoriety with his DJ Carnage assisted single WDYW. With his style, charisma, and his connects he may be just surpass both Keef and Thugger.

5. Anderson Paak: The newest Aftermath signee Anderson Paak has had a notable 2015 to say the least. You can hear his influences all over the ‘Compton Soundtrack’ and his LP Malibu was very well recieved. Also, based on the slim pickings (outside of Boogie & Nef The Pharaoh) for a West Coast Freshmen representative, I consider Paak a lock.

6. Denzel Curry: Denzel Curry is the definition of major without a deal. His feats might not match the looks he gets. However, Curry is touring now selling out 1k-2k seaters all over the states. Which is a feat that more notable artists can’t do. Without the co-sign, no radio smash, and no major backing Denzel Curry is providing further proof that he is the ULTimate Warrior.

7. Dave East: Dave East is not backpack, nor is he trap rap, he’s that middle lane that Fabolous rode to the top. The Mass Appeal signee also has co-signs from Terrance Martin, Fabolous, Trey Songz, and label boss Nas. New York has to have a Freshmen representative and at this rate its either him or Desiigner. For Future sakes lets pray its not Designer.

8.Bryson Tiller: Every critic missed Bryson Tiller now you’ll have to hide under a rock to avoid him. Ever since dropping ‘Don’t’ this guy has been one a tear. Than he dropped ‘T R A P S O U L’ one of the biggest releases of the past year thats still one of the top selling and streaming albums currently. Also, he has co-signs from Drake, Timbaland, and even Sylvester Stallone…need I say more.

9. Young Dolph: Dolph is apart of a long lineage of souther street drug lord rap but it’s something about Dolph that seems relatable to the common man and authentic to the streets. in 2015, Dolph tasted commercial success with the Zaytoven-assisted, “Preach” and now has a standout feature on this year hottest club banger “Cut It.” With the release of ‘King Of Memphis’ it doesn’t seem like slowing down is anywhere in sight.

10. 21 Savage: The landscape for new Atlanta artists is probably as competitive as its ever. I mean between Playboy Carti, Rich The Kid, and Lil Yatchy I can valid points for any of these guys making the list but if I had to choose (which I do). I’ll choose have to go with 21 Savage to come out of the herd. With Atlanta artists I think it’s all about the moment. Who’s “The King of Moment”? Thus, at this moment I don’t anyone has a song bigger than “Red Opps” right now. Tomorrow might be a different story…literally.

11. Dreezy (Honorable Mention): I feel like out of all the potential female freshmen candidates, Dreezy has put out the digestible content. Her beat selection is on point, hooks are catchy, and lyrics are top shelf. She doesn’t have that huge single like Dej or that co-sign like Tink to make her a lock for the list but I think she has a solid shot. Still and all, shoutout to Little Simz, DonMonique, Kamaiyah, and even Kehlani for holding it down for the women in a major way this past year.

12. Post Malone (DISS-honorable Mention): Post Malone is my honorable mention however I don’t think he should be a XXL Freshmen. Granted, he’s has some accolades that may hint towards deserving the cover but he’s on record stating, “I doesn’t make rap music.” So, why grant him the honor of the cover of a rap/hip-hop publication?  Post Malone is the most blatant case of culture appropriate and I have no idea how he’s been granted this many passes.


This concludes this special edition of The Standouts, for more regular updates on new music like the Facebook Pagetwitter account or instagram account. You can also follow me personally @LFH25.

Also tune into Leo’s radio show “The Bullpen” friday’s from 4-6pm and follow Leo’s Blog here: https://uicradio.wordpress.com/author/leofromthego/

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