10. Playboi Carti
Carti provides an extremely lackluster freestyle, especially for someone who is widely touted as one of the best new rappers in the game. Carti catches us with a typical “Ayyy” flow and typical non-lyricist lyrics. Only hardcore Carti fans MIGHT enjoy this freestyle.
9. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
As far as freestyles go, A Boogie’s is pretty weak. He raps about a girl who never replied to his message, girls who chase him at the mall, people who want him to get arrested, and his friend who is in jail. For a 40-second freestyle, the content is meandering and the flow is choppy. Overall I think A Boogie takes an L for this one.
8. Kap G
Like Kamaiyah, Kap G’s presence on this list was met with skepticism. Unfortunately, I don’t think he did enough in this freestyle to stand out from the crowd. The freestyle is not bad, but it has its flaws. Many lines are hard to understand and the repetitive hook probably would’ve been better suited for the outro, like MadeinTYO’s. I could see myself enjoying this verse a lot if it had a great beat behind it… but that would defeat the point of having a freestyle in the first place.
XXX’s freestyle is exactly what you might expect. It’s violent, angry, and a bit anarchistic. He knocks J. Cole for “sucking government dick” (presumably with the song High For Hours) and says that he will “tie your throat to a truck bed and pedal the metal quickly.” Though X brings his typical energy to the freestyle, much of what he is says is hard to understand. He fumbles over his words throughout, ultimately dampening his message.
6. PnB Rock
PnB Rock really hits his stride halfway through the freestyle. The best moments lyrically come when he raps about wanting to be with his brother and paying his daughter’s tuition. This freestyle has a strong focus on family, from mama to baby mama. When PnB Rock is at his most emotive, he is at his best.
Fittingly, MadeinTYO begins with a shoutout to Japan, the country where the 25-year-old rapper spent much of his teenage life. Despite its brevity, this freestyle is pretty good. TYO’s cadence and flow are excellent, and he ends by chanting a short hook about the “old heads” versus “mumble rap”. The verse is a nice vignette of the changing landscape of hip-hop, and a perfect message from someone who embodies what it means to be a XXL Freshman Class.
The only female on the Freshman List, Kamaiyah outshines many of her contemporaries with this freestyle. Like Ugly God, Kamaiyah has a great tone to her freestyle. Name-dropping JAY-Z and Shaquille O’Neal, Kamaiyah brags about her rapping chops with her distinctively West Coast flow. Though many have criticized Kamaiyah’s presence on this list, she proves the haters wrong with a good ol’ freestyle.
3. Ugly God
Straight from the opening lines it is clear that Ugly God has got a handle on his lyrics. In the first two lines, Ugly God has multiple internal rhymes, and he continues the same momentum throughout. He stumbles over some lines, leading me to believe it was (mostly) prewritten, though in this day and age, most freestyles are. The gold here is really in the lyrics. This freestyle is everything a freestyle is supposed to be—lyrical, funny, wild, and amusing. Written or not, Ugly God succeeds.
Aminé throws a lot of good things into this freestyle. It’s both lyrical and melodic, simple and complex. With just this freestyle, Aminé sends a clear message to those who watch: I can sing. I can write. I can rap. There’s really nothing more to it.
Kyle comes through here with a great freestyle. It seems clear that he is rapping off the top, which is impressive considering the lyrical quality of the freestyle. Kyle raps about his girl, his family, and his early career. The highlight of the freestyle is when he admits to sounding like Drake when he first started rapping. But as Kyle says, “who fucking doesn’t?”
Who do YOU think had the best freestyle? LMK.
Check out my picks for the XXL Freshman Class of 2017 below.