The XXL freshman list has one of the most interesting love/hate relationships among hip hop fans. Hip hop fans love the anticipation of waiting a year to see who the new underdogs or the new rising kings and/or queens that will come take the throne for that year. So, when the cover is revealed…everyone hates it and complains. Some become upset because their new favorite rapper may not have made the list. Others can be justified that some or majority of the artists don’t deserve to be on the list. I have no hate for any of the artists that made the list, but this year, I feel that many artists were overlooked. As I look back at 2013, I base a “freshman” or a candidate that should be worthy for the list on my “ABC’s” (artistic authenticity, buzz, consistently) for the XXL list. Within the list, I do feel that there are a couple of artists that deserved to make the cover but were not. Here are a few artists that I feel were redshirted from the list:
1. King Los – I don’t know if XXL has a personal vendetta against Los, but this man has shown his worth to hip hop over the past couple of years. Artistically, there aren’t too many artists doing what he does. His vernacular and diction are superior to many of the vets in the game now. Kendrick Lamar said himself, that the best “Control Remix” came from Los. He should have got it when he dropped “Fall for your type” years ago.
2.Rapsody – I don’t Believe in the term “femcee”. I think it’s degrading and continues to segregate the hip hop culture. “She got Game” was one of the most talked about mixtapes of last year. I remember listening to the mixtape all the way through and not taking it out of my CD player for weeks. I remember hearing the great wordplay from “Dark Knights” and how she brought back that old hip hop feel. She is putting Jamala and North Carolina on the map.
3. Lecrae – He is more of a John Connor of the list, but he has steadily been creating a buzz and won over hip hop heads with “Church Clothes”, “Gravity” and “Church Clothes 2”. He’s worked with some of the biggest producers, DJs, artists, had huge tour turn outs, been discussed on within at least 3 of Dead End Hip Hop’s video discussions and just recently announced a new album this year. Hopefully, this will catch XXL’s ear.
4. Dee-1 – This guy has been making some real moves with his “one man army” movement starting with his break out track “Jay, 50, & Weezy”. He went on tour with Macklemore and has been receiving huge buzz from his “I hope they hear me” series. Last year he signed with RCA Inspiration. I knew after hearing “Writer’s Block” that he was going to blow up.
5. Andy Mineo – Andy Mineo has been a name that has been coming up a lot lately. Some has been his particular stance on certain views, but I believe last year, the biggest conversation his name was in was the “they ain’t got the answers” freestyle he did with Sway on the MTV Rapfix live cypher. This freestyle was so impressive that Sway got him on his show. He dropped “Neverland” last year and is building up steam this year.
6. Add-2 – ” Between Heaven and Hell” was possibly the best mixtape that came out last year. “Club Church/Club Hell” is one of the best songs to drop last year (in my top 10 songs of all time). Due to the project dropping so late, I think that it’s going to go into his favor for the list this coming year. All he has to do is drop an album and it’s as good as his.
There are more that I want to add to the list, but are still in their proving phase. I can assure you that you will be hearing/seeing more of these redshirted artists this year. With some of the buzz that these guys/gals are getting now, their success may pass many of the freshman on the list. Watch, listen and learn about these names…they will be making changes in the game real soon.
Do you believe any artists got redshirted from this year’s XXL Freshman List that were not mentioned above? Let us know in the comments section.