Here’s What Went Down at the 2018 XXL Freshman Show in New York
2018 hip-hop might look a lot different than 1988 hip-hop, but one principle remains the same: MC means master of ceremonies or like Rakim once said, "MC means move the crowd," and that's exactly what members of this year's 2018 XXL Freshman class did when they took the stage at the 2018 XXL Freshman show at Terminal 5 in New York City on Wednesday (July 11).
Over the course of three hours, members of the 2018 XXL Freshman Class, a list that includes Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s Ski Mask The Slump God, Miami’s Lil Pump, Miami’s 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, delivered high-energy, live renditions of tracks that thrust them into stardom.
Regretfully, the stipulations of Trippie Redd's recent release from jail prevented him from making the New York stop of the 2018 XXL Freshman show. Ski Mask and Pump, meanwhile, were also unable to make the show after performing in Europe earlier this week.
Still, the New York edition of the 2018 XXL Freshman show, hosted by Power 105's DJ Self, was more than stacked, and the night ended up being a memorable one for everyone involved.
Up first at the showcase was London's own Stefflon Don, who set things off the right way with dope performances of tracks like "Senseless," "16 Shots" and her remix of Section Boyz's "Lock Arff." Acting as the event's opening act, Stefflon's set proved to be an exercise in showmanship as she had the crowd jumping up and down to the sounds of her quick-fire raps the whole way through.
See Photos of Stefflon Don at the 2018 XXL Freshman Show
Holding down the second performance of the night was none other than YBN Nahmir, who also brought his YBN team along for the ride. In an interesting move, Nahmir had his team of YBN Cordae and YBN Almighty Jay perform just before he hit the stage. For his part, Cordae, who first made waves when he responded to J. Cole's "1985" with his track "Old Niggas" in May, performed his freestyle over Eminem's "My Name Is" before jumping into his new single, "Kung Fu."
After Cordae came Jay, who brought LouGotCash onto the stage for his performance of tracks like "Chopsticks" and "Two Tone Drip." Almighty Jay never disappoints.
After about 15 minutes, Nahmir himself made his way out onto the stage and promptly jumped into "Bail Out." With the stagelights shining down onto the stage and the sound of an excited crowd filling the air, Nahmir kept his energy level high as he performed an assortment of his own solo tracks ("Bounce Out With That," "Rubbin Off the Paint") and "No Hook," his standout 2017 collab with Jay.
See Photos of YBN Nahmir at the 2018 XXL Freshman Show
Coming all the way from Atlanta, Dreamville's own J.I.D was next to tear up the stage, performing tracks like "Never" and "EdEddnEddy." Both tracks are from his stellar 2017 debut studio album, The Never Story, and as dope as they sound on wax, hearing them in person is even better. Salute to J.I.D, who also came through with some hardbody a cappella bars at one point of his set.
See Photos of J.I.D at the 2018 XXL Freshman Show
Next to destroy the stage was Wifi, who, at one point during his set, took a moment to address his doubters by before serving up a furious a cappella rhyme session.
"So, I guess I'm a 2018 XXL Freshman or whatever," he began. "I'm not just saying it like it don't mean shit to me, that means a lot to me, you feel me? But I feel like y'all not taking me serious, like I'm just some bumass rapper that don't rap or some shit. So I wanna rap. I want y'all to just listen to me rap." And rap he did.
In a night filled with awesome demonstrations of lyrical exercise, Wifisfuneral hit the stage with all the fire of someone looking to prove themselves on the biggest stage. Starting things off with his raucous slapper "Aw Shit :(," Wifi had the crowd screaming at the top of their lungs at various points of his set.
See Photos of Wifisfuneral at the 2018 XXL Freshman Show
Jumping between cuts from his 2017 effort, Boy Who Called Wolf ("Tic Tac (Intro_)") and his Ethernet Vol. 1 project ("Knots"), the 21-year-old definitely proved his place in the Freshman Class.
Next up was BlocBoy JB, who brought his good pal "Look Alive" producer Tay Keith onto the stage with him as he ran through performances of "Look Alive," "Rover" and "Shoot." At one point during the show, he had a couple of audience members come up to the stage to do his Shoot dance in front of the entire crowd. Definitely an epic moment.
See Photos of BlocBoy JB at the 2018 XXL Freshman Show
Taking the baton from BlocBoy was Smokepurpp, who closed out the night with a bang. At the very top of his set, the South Florida rhymer sprinted onto the stage to perform "123," a cut from his and Murda Beatz's Bless Yo Trap project that dropped back in April. From there, he gave fans live renditions of tracks like "Bless Yo Trap," "Fingers Blue" and, of course, "Audi."
When Purpp wasn't performing his own songs, he paid tribute to his Florida comrade, XXXTentacion, who was tragically shot and killed last month. For his tribute, Purpp had fans make X's with their hands before he led them in a group sing-along of X's hit single, "Sad!" Keeping with the shout-outs, Purpp also gave a shout-out to his close friend and fellow 2018 XXL Freshman Lil Pump before performing the 17-year-old's 2017 single, "Boss."
See Photos of Smokepurpp at the 2018 XXL Freshman Show
Check out photos from all of the night's biggest moments in our galleries above and below. When you're done with that, check out every 2018 XXL Freshman interview and every 2018 XXL Freshman freestyle when you're done.
You can also cop tickets the Los Angeles 2018 XXL Freshman show, which will take place at The Novo next Thursday (July 19).
See Portraits of the Artists at the 2018 XXL Freshman Show