• GOV'T NAME: Trevon Gardner
  • AGE: 25
  • REPPIN': Detroit
  • X: @_Skillababy
  • INSTAGRAM: @_skillababy
  • TIKTOK: @_skillababy
  • NOTABLE RELEASES: Songs: “Tay B Style” featuring Tay B, Sada Baby and EWM Buck, “Gorgeous” with Tee Grizzley, “Bae,” “Icki Vicky Vibes”; Projects: Crack Music, We Eat the Most, Controversy with Tee Grizzley, The Coldest; Guest Appearances: Rob49’s “Mama” featuring Tay B, Yung Miami’s “CFWM (Can’t F*** With Me),” DaBaby’s “Judy”
  • LABEL: Geffen Records
  • CURRENTLY WORKING ON: Crack Music 3 project dropping end of the year or early 2025.
  • WHO ELSE SHOULD BE PART OF THIS YEAR'S CLASS: “I think y’all picked most of the people that I wanted to win. I think Veeze should have been a part of it. I think he’s been deserving of it for, like, two, three years.”
  • INFLUENCED BY: “Musically, I’m influenced by Lil Wayne, Anita Baker, Luther Vandross. Meek Mill was a big influence for me. Stage-wise, I think I’m influenced by Michael Jackson. I like how he performed and stuff like that. I’m influenced by a lot of people.”
  • AS A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL: “I was energetic, antsy. I wasn’t bad, but I was a little too much. My favorite class was math. I would get kicked out of every class, but math.”

TRUTH ON BEING AN XXL FRESHMAN: ���[When I found out I won the XXL Freshman 10th Spot] I felt ecstatic. Because this is an accomplishment that everybody wants, but everybody don’t get. It solidifies you in hip-hop ’cause only certain people are part of the Freshman Class. It’s some big names in there. You got Lil Uzi Vert, you got J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, you got Megan Thee Stallion. You got people like that, like Kodak Black. They career skyrocketed. So, it’s big for me.

Being a part of the 2024 XXL Freshman Class is important to me because, like I said, it just solidifies my name in hip-hop. I’m a part of those names. You can’t just be a part of that. [It’s] like being a part of the Hall of Fame. Everybody don’t get inducted. So, for me to be doing enough to be part of the Freshman Class, and this is a real accomplishment for people, it’s just big for me. And then I’m from Detroit. We don’t have a lot of Freshman Class members.

I think right now is the right time [for me to be an XXL Freshman] because I think I’m bringing a breath of fresh air to music right now. Last year, I thought I was slighted, but then I started talking to people and then realizing that I bring something to music this year. It’s not that people just know me. I bring a difference to music. I feel like I’m shape-shifting music, changing music, [making] people want to do what I do in music, perform how I perform. So, I feel like this year is the year for me. I think this is my year.”

Watch Skilla Baby's 2024 XXL Freshman Freestyle

Skilla Baby 2024 XXL Freshman freestyle

Skilla Baby is the coldest out of Detroit right now. With buzzing mixtapes—one even aptly titled with that same chilly descriptor—to features with some of the biggest names in rap, the 25-year-old rapper has kept his foot on the gas with consistent releases over the last few years. While he's been dropping official tracks since 2015, he really caught his stride in 2022 with tracks "Tay B Style" and "Leave It in the Streets." Since then, the Midwest native has been perfecting his craft. He considers himself to be a shape-shifter in the rap game with his authentic sound and distinctive approach to music. All of which are displayed in Skilla Baby's 2024 XXL Freshman freestyle.

In a short time, Skilla has shown his versatility. He crafts songs for the streets and makes anthems for the ladies, but in his 2024 XXL Freshman freestyle, the rhymer unleashes bars about success and the glitz and glam that comes with it. He's typically calm and demure, but here, Skilla lets his bravado fly. He's poised, rocking heavy ice as he affirms his talent in the game, while tossing a bit of dust towards his constituents, whom he doesn't feel are up to par. "Valedictorian, I'm at the top of the class/Push up in Ferrari truck/I'm at the top of the dash/My youngin' chasin' sh*t down like a block off the glass/I think the labels get a lot of rappers right out the trash," he raps in the video below.

Skilla Baby also uses clever wordplay in his rhymes by referencing Tupac Shakur's 1996 diss track "Hit ’Em Up" aimed at The Notorious B.I.G. Skilla also name-drops the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo in a witty line centered on the cash.

"Rap beef, no hit ’em up/Put my opps through trauma/My Draco, my K-Dot, they gon' scream, 'Who shot ya?'/New money, new problems, two watches/Bust Presi, plain Richard Mille/Everything I do timeless/Coast to coast with them bucks, I'm like the new Giannis/I ain't gotta paint my nails ’cause I'm too polished," Skilla rhymes.

The rising artist, who won XXL's Freshman 10th Spot this year, is currently headlining his Vultures Eat the Most Tour with former 2023 XXL Freshman Rob49. Before hitting the road, Skilla released his project, The Coldest, in April, which features guest appearances from Moneybagg Yo, G Herbo, DaBaby, Polo G and more. With standout hits like "Icky Vicky Vibes," "Gorgeous" with Tee Grizzley and anthemic tracks like "Bae," Skilla has garnered over 50 million Spotify streams and nearly 2 million monthly listeners on the streaming platform.

As far as the recipe for his success, Skilla attributes where he's at to humility and being himself. "I think I'm different from a lot of artists," he tells XXL. "’Cause I'm unapologetically myself. Like I said, I could be a gangster at times and stuff like that, but I'm not too cool. Not too cool to perform. I'm not too cool to touch the people. I think I bring a different humility to rap... But that's just naturally me, though."

Skilla's growing popularity isn't just with his fans, but his rap peers as well. He appeared on Yung Miami's "CFWM (Can't F*** With Me)" in April and collaborated with French Montana on "Skyami" in June. Skilla was also brought out on stage to perform at Madison Square Garden during A Boogie Wit da Hoodie's sold-out Better Off Alone Tour that same month.

Check out Skilla Baby's 2024 XXL Freshman freestyle below.

Watch Skilla Baby's 2024 XXL Freshman Freestyle

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