The 2017 edition of XXL Magazine’s notoriously contentious Freshman Class was announced today, marking the 10th year the publication selects a crew of rising artists to highlight. On the Latino front, Chicano rapper Kap G made the cut, a feat that many fans are characterizing as a long overdue accomplishment, since he first turned heads back in 2012 with the Chief Keef collab “Tatted Like Amigos” (his most recent release, El SupaJefe, likely gave him a boost for this year’s list). For most rappers, nabbing a spot on the Freshman Class cover is a mark of success – even if, year after year, it sparks debate on which artists are truly “emerging” and deserve to be included.
The 2017 cover also features Kamaiyah, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, PnB Rock, MadeinTYO, Playboi Carti, Aminé, KYLE, Ugly God, and XXXTentacion, whose inclusion is particularly controversial, given the charges of domestic battery, witness-tampering, and false imprisonment he is facing, as well as a recent stabbing at a San Diego performance. Though XXXTentacion was selected through a fan contest, his success has raised concerns about the music industry’s continued support for artists with histories of violence against women.
Kap joins the ranks of Latino alumni like Joell Ortiz (2007), Kid Cudi (2009), Kirko Bangz (2013), and potentially 2017 member Ugly God, who might be Dominican, judging by his video for “Water.”
Duke out the selection in the comments, and watch our mini-doc with Kap G below: