Its that time of the year again! The “long-awaited” XXL 2013 Freshman class cover to be revealed to the public. The debatable list of up-and-coming emcees and hip-hop artists to carry the proverbial torch in the upcoming year is one of the most highly publicized features in the magazine’s history. This year the list features a 10+ person mix of underground artists that have found success off in the mixtape venture, while other artists have already had one or two chartable singles in the past year or so. Honorary members include Angel Haze, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Kirko Bangz, Action Bronson, Dizzy Wright, Chief Keef, Logic, and more.
For those unfamiliar with many of the rap artists that grace the controversial cover, some readers might recognize a few of the successful singles or mixtapes that these artists have put or been featured on in the past year.
Underground emcees and Top Dawg Entertainment members Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul join the ranks of other west coast emcees, like Kendrick Lamar, by both making the cover this year. Definitely wouldnt be considered freshman or new to the genre, both artists are equally dope. After both dropped highly praised efforts, Q’s Habits&Contradictions and Soul’s #controlsystem, it was about time that they reached notoriety.
The honorary femcee to make the list this year was NY’s Angel Haze. Creating a buzz for herself after dropping two mixtapes last year, “Reservation” and “Classik”, this young artist’s aggressive flow on the mic and talented lyrics make her placement on the list no surprise. Although her success is slightly overshadowed by her rap beef with the equally talented Azealia Banks, their is only one who made the list this year.
Young emcee and newly signed G.O.O.D. music artist Travi$ Scott made a name for himself and continues to build buzz in the game. His latest single “Quintana” features the MMG vet Wale spitting some sick bars over a hard hitting beat. Scott is prepearing to drop his upcoming EP Owl Pharaoh, later this year.
Leader of the throwback, back-pack and skateboard kid era of Hip-hop is the young rap star Joey Bada$$. Gaining huge success and critical acclaim for his work with Pro Era and his effort on “1999”, this indie NY emcee has already made a name for himself on the underground circuits. There is no surprise that he made it on to the list and his spot is well deserved.
Not really much to say about the selection of Trinidad Jame$ for the 2013 list. Although his flow is borderline elementary and love for gold has caught the attention of many music lovers, his single “All Gold Everything” made him an overnight success.
As the People’s Champ Winner, Gaithersburg, MD rapper Logic unexpectedly makes the list this year. Also known as Young Sinatra, the rising star has kept his buz up with the release of last year’s mixtape “Undeniable”.
Funk Volume‘s own Dizzy Wright makes his way onto he cover. After Hopsin was featured on last year’s, it comes as no shock that the talented Wright steps into XXL spotlight. His SmokedOut Conversations effort helped him gain wide stream notoriety and his work through Las Vegas, Nevada gained him more exposure.
Queen’s Action Bronson has been making a name for himself in the rap game as far back as 2008, but it is good to see that he is reaching that mainstream attention and success he deserves. One of the hardest working emcees in the game over the past year, Bronson has been featured on a plethora of tracks and released multiple critically acclaimed-tapes like “Blue Chips” with Party Supplies and “Rare Chandeliers” with The Alchemist.
Like Trinidad Jame$, Chicago emcee Chief Keef reached success with his single “I don’t Like” and continued to keep people chanting his infectious hooks with the follow-up single “Sosa”. Although the G.O.O.D. music remix to his first single helped hip-hop heads get familiar with the young star, the controversy and on-going Twitter jokes kept him in the public eye. I wouldn’t say that his placement on the list is well deserved but it comes as no surprise.
Houston rapper Kirko Bangz is no stranger to autotune or success. He has already reached mainstream notoriety with his singles “Drank in My Cup” and “What Yo Name Is”. The young star recently released a video for his new single”Keep it Trill” and continues to grind through the Houston, TX circuit with his Procrastination Kills mixtape. I wouldn’t really say that he is a freshman, considering that he already had charted singles in 2011, but I guess XXL is making up for excluding him last year.
Artists I feel should have been on this list too:
Chance the Rapper
A$AP Ferg or A$AP Rocky
XXL 2013 Freshman Class issue hits shelves soon. Do you agree with the choices made by XXL for this year’s freshman class? Do you have any other artists in mind that deserved a nod? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.