There aren’t many emcees who have had a better 2015 than Fetty Wap.
The Paterson, New Jersey native hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Trap Queen” in early February, and by May the track had peaked at number two. As of Aug. 26, Wap has four songs — “Trap Queen,” “My Way,” “679” and “Again” — in the top 12 of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and according to rap magazine XXL, he’s the first artist to ever put his first four singles in the top 10 of the Billboard Rap chart. All of this has come before the release of his first full album.
When “Trap Queen” was just starting to gain momentum at the end of 2014, Wap received a very important endorsement, as well: He was selected as one of XXL’s Freshman Class, a distinction given to emcees that the magazine believes will break through in a given year. And while some of the yearly picks have never become household names (sorry, OJ Da Juiceman), many have gone on to great success around the world.
If Fetty Wap finishes the year as the valedictorian of the 2015 Freshman Class, here’s who he’ll be joining from the past five editions:
2014: Chance the Rapper
Much like the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, XXL can sometime be a little late to recognize up-and-coming talent. By the time Chance was named to a Freshman list, he had already released “Acid Rap,” which had been named the 12th best album of the year by Pitchfork and 26th by Rolling Stone.
2013: Joey Bada$$
It was a loaded year for the XXL Freshman Class, with two Black Hippy members (Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul), Action Bronson and Trinidad James, as well as the perpetually on-the-brink Angel Haze. But when your T-shirt ends up in the White House (Malia Obama wore a Pro Era shirt in a photo posted to Instagram early this year), you win.
2012: Iggy Azalea
Ignoring the appearance of the Australian “rapper” on the list would be like ignoring Milli Vanilli’s Grammy win: Completely understandable, but still wrong. With his recent success, though, Future could end up being the best of this class in a few years.
2011: Kendrick Lamar
Can there be any question? There’s a chance that Lamar could be the first XXL Freshman list honoree to also win an Album of the Year at the Grammys come 2016, thanks to the universal love for his latest album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.”
2010: Wiz Khalifa
All apologies to J. Cole, but in terms of straightforward success it’s Khalifa who has had the bigger hit single (“Black and Yellow”), the bigger award win (Best New Artist at the 2011 BET Awards) and, quite possibly, the song of the summer this year with “See You Again.”
If you go: Fetty Wap opens for Chris Brown on the “One Hell of a Night” Tour, Aug. 30 at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater at 7 p.m., 1000 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh, 516-221-1000, $18.75-$150.