2017 XXL Freshmen List by EVRYDY

GK’s Picks

 Twitter @gk_ennedy

Allan Kingdom

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I first heard of Allan, the Canadian-based artist currently residing in Minnesota, from his work with Kanye, notably on “All Day” where he delivers some great, haunting guest vocals, as well as on Flume‘s 2016 single, “You Know.” From then on, my intrigue led me to his own solo work such as his mixtape Northern Lights from last year. I love his style of delivery and how he uses autotune so effectively. His album Lines drops on Friday, April 7th and I’m sure as hell gonna check it out!


Amir Obe

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Amir Obe rose to fame after his mixtape Detrooklyn in 2014, but this is a guy I know of purely because of one of my favorites, PARTYNEXTDOOR. I heard their collab “Truth For You” when it came out and I was naturally drawn towards it because he was making the type of music I love. When I checked out his other work, I realised he’s got potential to be something big. Drake clearly realised that too. After all, he welcomed Amir‘s co-production of “Star 67” off IYRTITL.


Kevin Abstract

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I never heard MTV1987 when it originally came out, so when his sophomore project American Boyfriend dropped back in November I was all over it. I really think soon enough he’ll be giving us number 1 hits. His aesthetic reminds me of a young Kid Cudi and I think that’s kinda what he’s going for. Spacious, youthful and playful content plays off really well when you’re super talented and turning it into indie pop/alternative rap. His stage name says it all about his character and stylish sound.


Nav

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There’s not much to say about Nav which isn’t already immediately obvious. I purely only know of him from the XO connection with The Weeknd. “Some Way” is a banger, Nav turns up in it, so when I listened to his self-titled project back in February I expected some chill trap music and that’s what I got. He’s riding the wave and I respect that route. I also recently found out he contributed to Drake‘s Meek Mill diss “Back To Back” so I guess he’s got some fight in him too. I wanna hear some more of that.


Noname

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Noname is my favourite artist on this list. I hate comparing artists but I’m sorry…the Lauryn Hill vibes I get from her are so strong. Her rapping/singing combination is compelling and relaxing, so many good beats too and she’s just addictive in the way she does her thing. The poet within her is evident through her music and Telefone was one of my favourite projects last year. Her collabs with Mick Jenkins, Kirk Knight and Chance The Rapper showcased her many rhythmic talents.


Taylor Bennett

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No surprises to how I know of Taylor Bennett. Chance‘s brother is pretty awesome. Restoration of an American Idol is a vibrant project and I really hope for his sake he can compete with his brother. I can imagine how much he hates having the comparisons to Chance hanging over his head right now. Taylor Bennett is also a social activist in addition to his rapping profession. He’s very ready to put himself out there to take the next step, so let’s expect more good music along with Taylor‘s friends over at The Social Experiment.


Kamaiyah

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The Oakland-native rapper and singer released her mixtape A Good Night In The Ghetto in 2016. I heard it. I enjoyed it. So did Pitchfork, seeing as they gave her major props by slotting “How Does It Feel” into their best songs of 2015. She featured on YG‘s Still Brazy banger, “Why You Always Hatin?” along with Drake. I was really impressed by everything I’ve heard from her so far. She recollects the hip-hop of the 90’s in her own approachable and assured way. Her carefree nature is refreshing to hear and I’d like to hear more material from her.

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