How on Earth did Lil Baby miss The XXL Freshman List

How On Earth Did Lil Baby Miss The XXL Freshman List?

Every year, there are artists that fans perceive as being snubbed from XXL’s annual list of the hottest and most promising up-and-coming artists.

How On Earth Did Lil Baby Not Make The XXL Freshman List?

Every year, there are artists that fans perceive as being snubbed from XXL’s annual list of the hottest and most promising up-and-coming artists.

Every year, there are artists that fans perceive as being snubbed from XXL’s annual list of the hottest and most promising up-and-coming artists. In honor of the 11th installment of the freshman cover, I would like to share my personal gripe.

How on earth did Lil Baby not make this list?

XXL clearly invests more stock into an artist’s following, viewership and any kind of objective talent -- which makes the fact that they overlooked arguably the hottest artist, in the biggest rap market in the country, quite perplexing.

Lil Baby has been doing serious numbers in the last year and a half. His video for the song “Freestyle” has racked up over 79 million views in only seven months. While this song may have dropped fairly close to the selection of the list, XXL still does not get a pass as “My Dawg,” his breakout single, racked up a whopping 46 million plays on YouTube. When comparing Lil Baby to other XXL freshmen such as Wifisfuneral & Smokepurrp, neither have racked up even half as many plays on a video, and it starts to become confusing as to what the criteria for this list actually are. Hell, Lil Baby put out a video three weeks ago (“Cash”) that has more views than any Wifisfuneral video that has ever been released. Not to mention the fact that he has multiple records with Drake in the clip, and has other high-profile collabs with the likes of Gucci Mane, Gunna, and Young Thug.

Lil Baby - Freestyle

While the collaborations are great, the most important distinction to note about this omission is the fact that unlike many artists on the list, Lil Baby has proven that he can hold a song down by himself. If you look at his breakout tape Harder Than Hard (his second mixtape after Perfect Timing), the smash hits were the the records he did with his friend Marlo (a completely unknown artist at the time, who broke out on “A-Town”) as well as “My Dawg,” which of course, he handled himself. He is managed by Pee of QC, but is not signed to QC, and has barely any collaborations with any QC artists. It’s not like he’s riding the wave of Migos & Lil Yachty -- he truly is in his own lane.

"wah-wah-wah, bitch I'm Lil Baby"

Furthermore, Lil Baby is as lyrically adept as anyone on the list (except for Dreamville signee J.I.D.), and he is real-deal authentic. For every clever braggadocious line about money (“I got on two watches, I still come in late”), women, or cars, there are riveting bars about growing up poor (“I used to sleep on the floor for a mattress / Getting evicted, that shit was embarrassing”) and the perils of street life (“Remember that shoot out we had that time we thought a kid died / Only thing I know when we pulled up, everybody hopped out firin' / I remember on the way back, everybody in the car quiet / I'm just knowing everybody thinkin' we just pulled a homicide”).

Overall, this comes surprise as XXL has featured many street oriented Atlanta artists (Rich Homie Quan, Future, Kap G etc.) in the past and is especially disappointing considering the fact that this year's class only featured nine people (Lil Skies turned it down, claiming it was rigged) when in years past, XXL has featured as many as twelve artists on a single cover. It’s all good though, Lil Baby never needed no help anyway.

Lil Baby - Never Needed No Help