I know I’m late af on this but y’all should now how it is a nigga got shit to do, but all that matters is that I’m here to talk about whats important, and right now its this XXL Freshman List 2015. So for those who don’t know (please get your life from up under that rock) Every year since 2008 XXL magazine releases a list of up and coming rappers or “freshman” to look out for in the coming years. Some of the top artist in hip hop today, were at one point or another XXL Freshman including J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-soul, B.o.B, Kid Cudi, Meek Mill etc. It has gotten to the point where making this list can help an artist on the come-up break into the spotlight, in other words its a pretty big deal. But not every artist that makes this list goes on to become wildly successful in fact there is usually an artist that makes this list every year that leaves us scratching our heads wondering “how the hell he get on here?” So today we are going to go through the list and determine did XXL get it right or wrong?
Starting from right to left is Vince Staples. the long beach native has actually been in the music scene for a while now with 4 mixtapes under his belt and an album set to drop June 30th. Vince Staples is far from a freshman in my opinion I would say he’s more if a junior. Having worked with Earl Sweatshirt, Mac Miller, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul AND Being signed to Def Jam, there is no question that he belongs on a freshman list, he just should have been on one a long time ago. XXL dropped the ball, #shrugs.
If there is the one artist on this list XXL got perfectly right its Tink. I have actually been following Tink for awhile now. The first song I ever heard from her was ‘Want It’ Featuring Kelela. The song had an r&b vibe to it with both artist going back and forth singing until Tink starts rapping and pretty much murdered the whole thing. Since then she’s released several singles including ABC fantasies & M.E.N. & more recently Million (a remix of Aaliyah’s One in a million) Producer and Hip Hop OG Timbaland has even taken her under is wing and is pushing her heavy. I am telling you watch out for Tink.
Glizzy Gang Boss, and DC native Shy Glizzy first gained major attention here in the DMV around 2012 with his single Swish of his FXCK RAP Mixtape dominating airwaves here in the DMV. He then went on to release several mixtapes until he released Young Jefe in 2014. This is the mixtape that really put him on not only in the DMV but nationwide with his single Awwsome killing the clubs & radio stations alike. Law 3 dropped late 2014 and stand out tracks from that mixtape were John Wall and my personal favorite What You Talking Bout. So does Shy Glizzy deserve to be on this list? In my opinion yes. The freshman list is all about artist on the come up and that’s what Shy Glizzy is. He ain’t there yet but he’s well on his way.
G-Unit Member and Nola native Kidd Kidd, was discovered by Lil Wayne, and was one of the first signees to the Young Money record label, but they chose to part ways. After meeting 50 cent in New York, Kidd Kidd was shot 6 times, Instead of walking away 50 chose to help Kidd out and sign him. He has since gone on to appear on a bunch of 50 Cent’s songs and became the youngest member of G-unit, and has recently released a new mixtape #RWN Kidd Kidd has gotten alot better over the past few years. Does he deserve to be on this list? well I have no say in that because he was voted on there by the fans, so salute to y’all for making it happen.
It feels like K Camp has been out for a while now. The rapper has had a handful of hit songs including Money Baby, Lil Bit, & I think everyone’s personal favorite Cut Her Off. He’s been doing considerably well for himself as of late with a new album set to release this summer and I have no problem with him on this list, honestly he should have been on it last year though.
The “U Guessed It” rapper somehow nabbed him a spot on this year freshman list. Do I personally think he deserves a spot on the list…. well no. But its not because I don’t think he is good. Despite the lack of lyricism on his more popular singles OG Maco can actually spit. I remember listening to Get Down off his Breathe EP feeling duped. The man can actually rap, very well. The reason I don’t think he deserves a spot on the list is because there are other artist who should’ve made the list (Fat Trel , Tory Lanez, Manolo Rose) but didn’t. the fact is OG Maco has had one big commercial success. I’m not saying “U guessed it” wasn’t good or that Maco doesn’t have potential, but its too early to put him on the list when there have been artist who have been putting out heat for years, who didn’t make it.
I admittedly had no idea who the DMV native Goldlink was before writing this article so I decided to educate myself. I took a break and listened to his latest mixtape The God Complex which dropped on April 1’st. As I’m writing this right now I haven’t finished listening and I understand how he made the list. Goldlink’s style is unconventional as he spits over more electronic production, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he has bars. Not only can he rap but his music makes you want to get up and dance. I may not have known who he was before but I do now. If Goldlink keeps putting out music of this caliber I see big things for him in the future.XXL actually featured an artist who deserves to be on the list while they are actually freshman in the rap game. Good Job.
When I first heard “Try Me” by Dej Loaf, honestly my first thoughts were ‘Who is this lil boy and why is his voice so high?’ (I can be a bit of a hater sometimes) but after a couple of listens the song grew on me and so did the artist. Lil Loaf has seen great commercial success this past year with Try Me, We Be On It, & more recently her Latest single Me, Hennessy & You along with being tapped to appear on numerous songs and hooks. As far as her abilities in the booth? Honestly slightly above average. But she’s new in the game with plenty of time to grow, so shes got my approval.
I knew that Fetty Wap was going to be one of those take off artist as soon as I heard Trap Queen, based off how much I hated the actual song but I could not for the life of me stop singing it. I know all the words and as soon as it comes on in the whip, I’m singing along before I know whats happening. On a serious note though what Fetty Wap lacks in lyricism he makes up for in his ability to create catchy radio friendly songs and infectious hooks. I was DJing a Dominican cookout recently and when i played My Way this 60 something Dominican woman who spoke no English lost her mind. Seriously. Love him or hate him you cant deny those kind of results. With another single on the horizon (679) Fetty Wap is positioning himself to take over this summer whether we like it or not so its only natural he ended up on this list.
Raury is another artist I knew nothing about prior to this list coming out so I took another break to listen to his EP Indigo Child. Now I’m back armed with new found knowledge. The 18 year old acoustic guitar wielding musician from Atlanta Georgia, has a unique style & sound about him that I can’t put my finger on. I’m hesitant to even call him a rapper. That statement is in no way meant to take away from his talent; Raury can rap, and he does so very well on tracks like Superfly. Its just on this project we find the straw hat artist singing over guitar riffs more than we hear him actually rapping. I do know one thing Andre 3000 is strong within Raury, you can hear it on tracks like Wood Crest Manor. Sonically Indigo Child is amazing, and I find myself liking the Raury style even if i cant put my finger on it just yet. Traditional Hip Hop heads may not like Raury and they will definitely will wonder how he made this list, but at the end of the day great music is great music so open your mind and just enjoy it. Now with that being said I don’t think he should have been included on this list.I know I sound liek a hypocrite but the XXL freshman list is supposed to recognize up and coming rappers. After listening to Raury’s only body of work, I am impressed by the artist but no more convinced that he is a rapper. Raury could probably make more traditional hip hop music with ease but until he does that i will still feel that his spot could’ve went to someone else who is more rooted in Hip Hop.
Well that’s it folks! what do y’all think, am I tripping or did I hit it right in the nose? Who got robbed? Hit them comments and let me know what you think!