5 biggest snubs from 2023 XXL Freshman Class

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The meteoric rise of Texas rapper BigXthaPlug has vaulted him to the limelight of southern hip hop's stars on the rise. BigX has proven to be one of the most unique and prominent voices and storytellers emerging in the rap genre in 2023. He's exploded onto the scene with unabated trap bangers such as "Texas" and "Big Stepper".

BigXthaPlug is having a massive year, which has seen him drop his debut studio album AMAR in February on the label UnitedMasters. AMAR debuted on the top 10 the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart earlier this year, holding the No. 1 spot for multiple weeks.

In fact, no hip-hop album has remained in the top five of the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart for longer than AMAR in 2023 (now at more than 15 weeks).

BigX's debut album was met with a lot of positive reception from critics and fans alike. Pitchfork's Peter A. Berry tabbed AMAR as a project with a lot of songs that show how "his granular details evoke the type of desperation you can taste".

Pitchfork also rated AMAR as one of the highest-reviewed hip hop albums in the first half of 2023. His album rated higher than BabyTron (6), Lil Durk (Almost Healed), Jack Harlow (Jackman), and Destroy Lonely (If Looks Could Kill) by Pitchfork.

The quick rise and emerging influence of BigX in southern hip-hop landscape this year makes him stand out from the rest of the pack among the rising standouts in the genre that were considered for XXL's Freshman Class. His unique flow and delivery and raw storytelling ability made him deserving of a spot on this list.