I was sitting at home, chillin, flipping through channels, drinking water. I had no intentions of blogging today. I came across this picture though.
For those of you that don’t know, the magazine XXL releases a listing every year of the 10 new rappers they feel have the chance to achieve longevity in the industry. Usually they have a good run of picking artists with legitimate talent and enough buzz to keep their names active in the hip hop circle. Notable XXL Freshman alumni include Lupe Fiasco, Wiz Khalifa, Kid Cudi & B.o.B just to name a few.
Usually, there are a few questionable selections. A guy who has a mild buzz but you’re not really sure why they made the list. This could be due to regional bias and not hearing the artist’s music (i.e. Fashawn) or hearing the music and not being pleased (i.e. Ace Hood). However, this year’s list threw me for a loop, in that the number of questionable selections was much higher than recent years.
This year’s XXL Freshman list is in no particular order:
• Lil B
• Kendrick Lamar
• Mac Miller
• Lil Twist
• Diggy Simmons
• Big K.R.I.T.
• CyHi Da Prynce
• Meek Mill
• Fred Da Godson
If you’re keeping count in your head, yes that’s 11 artists this year. They managed to add one more questionable name to the list. I’m not exaggerating when I say I had never heard more than 5 songs from over half of the list. My iTunes currently has about 6,000 songs on it, and I’d never heard even one verse from Fred Da Godson before. I listened to Meek Mill earlier this week and erased both mixtapes within the same 24 hour period. If I wanted to listen to someone that sounds exactly like Ace Hood, I would just listen to Ace Hood.
One name I did recognize though was YG, who made one of my favorite songs ever with “Toot It & Boot It”. I love the message of the song, I love the video, I love the hook. I love everything about that song but the verses. Meaning I would have enjoyed the song just as good without YG on it. Yet he’s one of the best 11 artists 2011 has to offer. Yeah.
So, since I am a hater in every form of the word, I decided to make my own list. Just 10 artists who I feel are more deserving of that 2011 XXL Freshman spot that YG has. The only caveat is that they can’t have been named the honor of XXL Freshman before. Also, I’ll leave Fred Da Godson on there until I have a chance to listen to his material. I’m fair like that.
Without further ado: “Ten artists better than YG”
1. French Montana
While not being the most lyrical person on earth, French Montana makes good music. He’s taken the baton gracefully from Max B during his absence (Free Max B) and kept the torch going for New York artists. He deserves some recognition.
2. Dom Kennedy
Dom Kennedy has made FOUR (4!!!) projects that I can listen to from beginning to end without wanting to skip a single track. I can’t even listen to one YG song without wanting to skip through his verse.
3. Chip Tha Ripper
“The Cleveland Show” was an overlooked mixtape, but I thought it was super dope. Chip has a great flow and brings a lot of charisma to the mic. Still, gets no love.
4. Anyone from OFWGKTA
And I literally mean anyone. All these kids can spit. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Tyler The Creator after his “Yonkers” video, but this honor could equally be deserving of Hodgy Beats, Earl Sweatshirt or Mike G. Even Domo Genesis is better than YG and I’m not the biggest fan of his material.
If this list was strictly based on lyrical talent, Skyzoo would have made the list 3 years ago. That being said, he still is more deserving than YG.
6. Thee Tom Hardy
This kid can rap circles around many rappers out today, but with 2 white rappers already in this year’s XXL list I guess he was the odd man left out. Seeing as he already has a record deal with 9th Wonder, one of the best producers out today, I think he doesn’t need a cosign from XXL.
7. Flynt Flossy
YG had one huge song this year. Flynt Flossy has been a part of at least 3 huge songs. Flynt Flossy is the headline act from the Turquoise Jeep crew and they even got a few tour dates before the year ended. F-Dot-Floss deserves his shine.
And I can’t tell whether that last paragraph was serious or a joke. All I know is YG is a joke.
Young Money is the largest crew in rap music today, whether you want to admit it or not. They are trendsetters. And behind Lil Wayne, Drake & Nicki Minaj, Tyga is the next best member. Tyga lost out on this honor to his label mate Lil Twist, even though Tyga has consistently been putting out quality material. Well hey, at least it was Lil Twist they chose and not Jae Millz. Who?
9. Danny Brown
I was torn with this pick between Danny Brown & Black Milk but I decided to roll with Brown. “The Hybrid” is a great body of work and I listen to it at least once every other day. His animated flow while containing the realness in his lyrics makes for great music that never gets old.
Recently released from his Cash Money contract, Star is now free to go where he pleases. Which should cause labels to come running because he’s easily the most charismatic, gifted emcee I’ve named so far. To quote Starlito, “I’ve done songs with everyone you look up to, we see eye-to-eye. Google Starlito, b**** I ain’t gotta lie”. And he’s right. Starlito has put in work for awhile, and he deserves some recognition for this. And, most importantly, he’s better than YG.
*Honorable mention to Playboy Tre, who is another new artist making waves.