“Too many chiefs, but not enough Indians
See everybody needs to play they position”
– E-40 (“It’s All Gravity”)
Every year, XXL Magazine, one of the largest hip-hop publications, releases their top freshman class for the upcoming year. Some past alums have gone on to be successful such as Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B., and Wiz Khalifa; and some have gone on to be the biggest busts in hip-hop history. Shout out to Charles Hamilton and Papoose! But what is it about this list that excites everyone UNTIL the actual cover is released and your favorite new artist didn’t make it? Everyone is a critic these days. The power of the blogs has created the ability for people to post comments and share their thoughts: the modern day industry executive.
This year XXL decided to do something different. They posted 50 nominees on their website, and fans got to vote 1 time for their favorite artist. 50 artists!!!! That right there is problem #1. For an industry that is so small, and already saturated, there are too many people trying to enter the game. GO TO SCHOOL PEOPLE! GET AN EDUCATION! Just because you “rap,” have a computer, and can upload a video to YouTube doesn’t mean you have talent or ability to succeed in the industry! Yes it’s true that you don’t actually need a record deal to achieve success in this day in age (See Maintaining Independence: Hip-Hop’s New Business Model), but use some common sense people! It’s cooler to tell someone that you’re a doctor or a lawyer rather than saying you’re an up and coming rapper, because (1.) it’s bullshit and (2.) it sounds silly. If you really wanted to drive a fancy car or buy out the bar, get a profession that actually gives you that ability!
Be smart and invest in yourself wisely!
Anyway, XXL only chooses 10 artists for the cover so here are my predictions. I put honorable mentions as well.
Don Trip Danny Brown
Chase N Cashe A$AP Rocky
Casey Veggies French Montana
Stalley Schoolboy Q
Other close possibilities: Action Bronson, Chip Tha Ripper, Roscoe Dash, Chevy Woods, Kirko Bangz, Los, Iggy Azalea, Macklemore, and Slim The Mobster
Top freshman producers: Hit-Boy, Mike Will Made It, Clams Casino, Beat Billionaire, Lil’ Lody, and Jahlil Beats