Here’s What Went Down at the 2017 XXL Freshman Show in New York
In hip-hop, there's nothing better than an artist who is ready to show and prove. The rappers of the 2017 XXL Freshman Class took over New York City on June 28 to do just that at XXL's headlining show at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square.
The Freshman Class of 2017, announced in early June, include The Bronx’s A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie; Portland, Ore.’s Aminé; Oakland, Calif.’s Kamaiyah; Atlanta’s Kap G, Ventura, Calif.’s Kyle; Tokyo representer Madeintyo; ATL’s Playboi Carti; Philadelphia’s PnB Rock; Houston’s Ugly God and the 10th Spot winner, Broward County, Fla.’s XXXTentacion.
With internet culture running rap the way the streets used to, you never really know if the hype will translate to a lively show. But thanks to the viral reaction the XXL Freshman Class creates every year, this year's NYC show was sold out within a day of the 2017 class announcement. And with 2017 marking the 10th anniversary of the XXL Freshman franchise, the stakes were higher than ever to put on a dope show with surprise special guests.
As soon as doors opened to the theater around 6:30 p.m., fans of all ages rushed to get a decent spot in the pit for showtime. First up was the ATL's Kap G. With radio singles like "Girlfriend" and "Policia," the i am Other signee brought energy to the stage early. Kap even welcomed Brooklyn rapper Casanova onstage to hype up the crowd with his own hit "Don't Run."
Next up was The Bay's Kamaiyah. Known for her raunchy and confident lyrics, Kamaiyah let the East Coast crowd know who was boss early. "I am the muthafuckin' West Coast queen, goddamn it," proclaimed Kamaiyah on the mic before jumping into her tracks like "I'm On," "Freaky Freaks" and "How Does It Feel."
While Kamaiyah was bringing The Bay to the big city, acts like Kap G, Ugly God and Kyle were chopping it up backstage, while other Freshmen were eating wings and playing NBA 2K. By the time Ventura, Calif's Kyle was ready to hit the stage, fans were turnt up and a little restless. Luckily, Kyle and his hype man Super Duper Brick wowed the house with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air dance moves and tracks like his breakout radio smash "iSpy."
After Kyle, SoundCloud's most outlandish new star Ugly God turned things up even more with his ridiculous lyrics and crazy stage presence. Even before he made his appearance onstage, fans in the audience were chanting "F*ck Ugly God" (the chorus to his latest single). Ugly performed his biggest internet hits and of course finished with two different versions of his breakout track "Water," all while spraying the first few rows with water bottles.
After Ugly God, Madeintyo danced his way onstage to keep the party going. Though he's the smallest Freshman in terms of stature, Madeintyo came to the stage with colossal, infectious energy. The Tokyo-bred Private Club Records co-founder rocked out to "I Want," "Uber Everywhere" and Skateboard P."
Taking it back to the East Coast, PnB Rock showed up, decked out in Gucci frocks and diamond chains. PnB serenaded the ladies in the house with "Feelins" "Time" and his breakout single "Selfish."
After PnB, Portland's Aminé brought some comedy to the stage. "What's up everybody. I'm Playboi Carti," he joked before launching into his set of tracks like "Baba," "REDMERCERDES" and "Caroline." The rapper even previewed a new track to the audience off his upcoming debut album, Good For You.
Closing out the show was hometown favorite A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. A Boogie a.k.a. Artist had all the cell phone lights on him as he performed his earliest bangers "Bag on Me" and "My Shit." He even brought out his Highbridge labelmate Don Q. Before his set was over, he finished with a booming version of "Drowning" with the entire crowd singing his verse back to him.
Unfortunately, XXXTentaction and Playboi Carti couldn't make it to perform at the New York show. XXX has postponed his performances and canceled his Revenge Tour until further notice due to his cousin being shot while Playboi Carti had a last-minute family emergency.
Check out exclusive photos of the performances below. Be sure to grab your tickets to the 2017 XXL Freshman Los Angeles Show going down July 12.
And if you missed any of the freestyles and interviews featuring this year’s XXL Freshman class, check out their individual pages here: A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, PnB Rock, Playboi Carti, Ugly God, Madeintyo, Kyle, Kamaiyah, Kap G, Aminé and XXXTentacion.
See Photos From the 2017 XXL Freshman Show in New York