Watch Every 2017 XXL Freshman Profile Interview
With every new year comes 10 rap artists (sometimes more) who have earned their spot in the annual XXL Freshman Class. And with every up and coming group comes a new set of stories. The 2017 class, a.k.a. Generation Next, all come with individual, unique tales and experiences that ultimately got them into the game, though unsurprisingly, many of them had somewhat of a similar upbringing.
A few of them unknowingly resided in the same state. About half the class grew up listening to what their parents played. Take Kyle, who heard his first rap song—which just so happened to be by Ol’ Dirty Bastard, rest in peace—while riding around with his dad. These days, he’s still shocked at the success of “iSpy,” which he says is “the most unexpected event” in his career to date during his XXL Freshman Class profile interview.
Though Kamaiyah‘s Bay Area vibe and XXXTentacion‘s rough Florida flow vary dramatically, they both admit genres other than rap are to thank for their distinctively different rap styles. Kamaiyah has been influenced by pop singers like Zara Larsson, while XXX grew up rocking out to Nirvana and The Fray.
Ugly God and Playboi Carti were understandably fans of Atlanta rap acts in their younger days. Though he states no one has influenced the music he makes now, Ugly God reveals he listened to Soulja Boy and Lil Jon—two artists who, like him, have made tons of viral tracks. Playboi Carti, who hails from the Peach State himself, describes his sound as “confident,” which can be seen in artists that inspired him, like Gucci Mane, Jeezy and late rapper Shawty Lo.
Then there are two rappers who grew up in places we never really thought we’d get a Freshman from. Aminé, who grew up in Portland, Ore., says “being kinda secluded, in a way, was good for me.” Madeintyo grew up between Lawrenceville, Ga. and Tokyo, Japan, solely making music that him and his friends would turn up to. These days, he’s working on his first studio album with Pharrell, as is Kap G, the Atlanta native who first met the real Skateboard P back in 2012.
Last but not least, you have A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and PnB Rock, who both come from cities where a hip-hop artist is expected to do numbers. A-Boogie—who now wants to go by his real name, Artist (“Thank you to my moms and pops for that one,” he added)—spent some time in Florida but reps Highbridge in the Bronx to the fullest. PnB Rock was born and raised in uptown Philly, a city he sometimes considers one filled with “brotherly hate” but has shown him nothing but love after he was released from prison.
These 10 hip-hop artists have shown and prove, and now it’s time to get to know them individually—you can also watch them flex in their 2017 XXL Freshman freestyles. Take a look at each of their profile interviews below, and stay tuned for their long-awaited cyphers dropping next week.