Let’s be clear, Memphis influences Hip-Hop. Debate this with your mama. We saw what 8Ball & MJG did in Houston in the late 90s, we saw what legendary producers DrummaBoy and Jazze Pha did in Atlanta in the 00s, and we’re seeing it today. Just listen to an album by Megan Thee Stallion, Travis Scott, Cardi B or ASAP Rocky – Memphis, Memphis, Memphis, nothing but Memphis. All this to say, our sound has been a major influence for decades and we’re finally getting recognized as the hot spot for Hip-Hop music and culture. 

Take the XXL Magazine Freshman List for example. Every year, XXL Magazine releases a Freshman class of the hottest rising stars in the rap game. In recent years, before the big reveal of each cover’s freshman class, XXL has given hip-hop heads across the country the opportunity to vote for the number 10 spot on the list. This year, five Memphis artists were nominated to be #10.

With five of the 901’s hottest lyrics up for a nomination, we encourage you to check out their videos, if you’re not familiar with them already:

1. Duke Deuce | @yfndukedeuce

The Blackhaven representer, Duke Deuce, has taken the streets by storm. Spawning his own dance craze and signing to one of the hottest rap labels in the world, Quality Control, Duke Deuce has now earned the title “King of Crunk.”

2. Jucee Froot | @iamjuceefroot

Recently signed to Atlantic Records, Jucee Froot has been making a name for herself across the South. From working with Birdman’s RichGang to having one of the hottest dance songs of 2019 with Zed Zilla, this Memphis native is a breath of fresh air for people who appreciate bars.

3. Key Glock | @keyglock

Key Glock aka Mr. Glock, signed to Young Dolph’s Paper Route Empire and has been dropping hits “Back to Back”. See what I did there? Pitchfork described the South Memphis vet’s latest project – the “Yellow Tape” – as “a street-rap saga peppered with such trenchant insights, narrating the lonely world of a 22-year-old who has been through more bad times than any 22-year-old deserves.”

4. NLE Choppa | @nlechoppamusic

From the cafeteria lunch tables of Cordova High School to just about every Hip-Hop radio station in the country with his Billboard hit “Shotta Flow”, NLE Choppa is clearly the “youngest in charge.” Choppa reportedly turned down $3 million offers from major labels, and now has a distribution deal with UnitedMasters.

5. Lil Migo | @1_lilmigo

If you listen to K97.1 or Hot107.1, you’re going to hear Lil Migo. Migo is known for energy and relatability to Memphis streets. Once you listen to his hit single “Letter to the Industry,” you’ll understand why Yo Gotti and Blac Youngsta signed him to CMG/Heavy Camp. 

Since its creation, only 2 artists from the M-Town have made the XXL Freshman Class: Blocboy JB (2018) and Don Trip (2012). And it looks like XXL may be adding a 3rd in 2020. Who do you think should get the 10th spot in this year’s class?

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