Revisiting XXL Freshman of the Past | The Lit Freshman Class of 2016 – Where Are They Now?

The debates and drama that came after the publication of the XXL 2016 Freshman class on social media were hot. But, when it was time for the cipher, the flow and delivery of these rappers showed that they were not playing! Their lit performance shook the crowd questioning their abilities, and they did not stop there as one-time wonders.

Many of the members of this class have gone on to gain relevance over the years through single hits or collaboration with top-notch artists. Nonetheless, some might be finding it hard to stay relevant currently.

We have spent time exploring every XXL Freshman cover before this: 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014, 2015, we present the XXL 2016 Freshman class, their success and where they are now.

Desiigner, Dave East, Denzel Curry, G Herbo, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Dicky, Lil Yachty, Anderson .Paak, 21 Savage and Kodak Black.

 

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Desiigner

The 24 year old rapper was one of the biggest names in the XXL shortlist in 2016. He got all eyes on him because for this, and he didn’t disappoint with his “Timmy Turner” freestyle. “Timmy Turner” was later released as a whole song that same year, and it was massive. The song made the top 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and was certified platinum by 2017.

“Panda,” his first official single, was also a bang. After its re-release in 2016, it became Desiigner’s most successful song. It was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and won the Billboard Music Award for a top rap song.

Desiigner had a great time in his early career. He made music with Kanye, Gucci Mane, and Mike Dean under the label of Good music and Def Jam. However, things appeared to be going south when it became public that he had parted ways with Good music. In an interview with Everyday Struggle, Desiigner explained that he needed to be himself but was isolated. He also implied that Kanye’s decision to go “gospel” also impacted his decision.

Where Are They Now?
Desiigner’s hit song-panda has currently amassed over one billion streams. Nevertheless, since he left Kanye’s record label, we haven’t heard much about him other than how he spends money.

In 2021, he released an EP titled Hard Way. But, it made no wave from the looks of it. His most recent released in July 2022, Jaguar, appears to be also getting a disappointing reaction from fans. A lot of fans have expressed shock as to how quickly he has seemingly fell off. However, Desiigner seems unbothered.  He’s released several singles this year, including the most popular, “Move How We Move.”


Dave East

 

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While Dave East is a decent rapper, he has not reached super stardom in the rap game, but he puts in work and everyone is aware of his presence. After the XXL saga, he released Kairi Chanel, a mixtape which made it to the top 38, the billboard hot 200 charts. He followed up with Paranoia: a true story in 2017, his most successful mixtape yet. The mixtape had notable features from Nas, Wiz Khalifa, and Chris Brown. And this contributed to it earning the ninth spot on the Billboard Hot 200 charts.

Dave has released more mixtapes: Kairi 2, Paranoia 2, and others; however, they only got mid reactions from people.

Where Are They Now?

Dave East has tried to spread his tentacles to most parts of the art. He made his debut entrance as an actor in Bet’s series- Being Mary Jane, in 2017. Since then, he has starred in the Netflix film Beats, and Wu Tang’s Hulu series American Saga.

His rap career might not have brought him the crown he deserves for his lyricism. Nonetheless, he is not quitting rap yet. He released a new single this year, titled “Bet It.”  He is also planning on some upcoming projects, one of which includes Beloved 2, a sequel to his joint album with Styles P.

One of his more recent singles is “How We Livin.”


Denzel Curry

 

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Fame was not strange to Denzel Curry before being named in the XXL freshman 2016 class. In 2015, he already had a breakout single, “Ultimate.” This hit song brought in over 175 million streams on Spotify and 65 million views on YouTube. The song also attracted Adidas, which decided to use it in one of their commercials.

Denzel’s inspiring album, Imperial earned him a spot on the XXL list. However, he did much more after the XXL Cypher. He signed a deal with independent label Loma Vista, which led to the re-releasing of the Imperial album and others like the TA1300 and Zuu.

Where Are They Now?

Denzel Curry is still grinding in the game and confident in his development. After posting the official thriller of his latest album, Melt My Eyez See Your Future, he implied that it would be one of his best works. The album, which was released in March of 2022 featured artists like T-Pain, 6lack, Thunder Cat, and others.

He released the remix to the album’s single, “Walkin” featuring Key Glock this June.

In June 2022, he revealed his NPR Tiny Desk Concert as well.

He joins Kid Cudi on his To The Moon World Tour later this year.


G Herbo

 

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The XXL freshman cover of 2015 left out G Herbo. However, after his single- XXL, he got the attention and praise of the magazine; they were not going to snub him in 2016. He made the list for the XXL 2016 Freshmen edition, and after the cover, he released a mixtape, Strictly 4 My Fans. It was a mid-hit, but it was a stepping stone to releasing his first EP, Welcome To Fazoland 1.5, in 2017.

He soon released his first album, Humble Beast, which featured Lil Bibby and fellow XXL 2016 freshmen, Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert. The album had been long overdue, and he didn’t disappoint, as it made the top 21 on the Billboard Hot chart.

More albums from him include Swervo, Still Swerving, and PTSD, which peaked at seven on the Billboard hot charts. G herbs has definitely had a good run since the cover, but his career may have peaked early.

Where Are They Now?

G Herbo got fans talking about performances from him, including his freestyle, “Who Run It,” on K104 radio in Dallas. Nonetheless, his personal life was not helped his career with all the legal issues surrounding it. It only took a year after getting off the weapons charges in 2018 that he appeared in court for assault and battery against his baby mama. As if that wasn’t enough, in 2020, he appeared in court again for wire fraud; he still pleads innocent to date. Herbo came back to the scene later that year with a new single, “Statement,” which addressed the whole fraud scandal.

25 is his latest album so far, and it has proven to be a fine work, as it earned a number 5 spot on the Billboard charts.  The album was released in July of 2021.  His most recent solo single is titled, “Locked In.”

 

~ CLICK TO GO TO THE NEXT PAGE FOR The Remaining XXL 2016 Freshmen ~


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