Every year, XXL publishes its Freshman Class issue, trumpeting what the magazine considers the most promising up-and-coming hip-hop artists — and D.C.-area rappers Shy Glizzy and GoldLink made this year’s list, revealed today.
Shy Glizzy has been on the rise locally for a few years, but he got his first national hit with his 2014 single “Awwsome.” GoldLink — whom we interviewed last year — popularized the sound of “future bounce” with his 2014 project The God Complex and has been ascendant ever since, recently working with superproducer Rick Rubin.
In the hip-hop industry, XXL‘s Freshman Class is a big deal. Locally grown artists have benefited from their inclusion on the cover in the past: Breakout D.C.-area rapper Wale made the list in 2009, and two years later inked a deal with Rick Ross’ major label Maybach Music Group. Gaithersburg, Maryland, native Logic appeared on the list in 2013, and announced a deal with Def Jam weeks later.
This year’s Freshman Class also includes “Trap Queen” singer/rapper Fetty Wap; Timbaland protégé Tink; underground favorite Vince Staples; “Try Me” crooner and MC DeJ Loaf; Atlantans K Camp, OG Maco and Raury; and G-Unit affiliate Kidd Kidd.