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  • Charlie Taylor

XXL Freshman Class: How Is This Still A Thing?

2017's XXL "Freshman" Class

Its times like this, where I am so grateful that I have a website where I can talk about everything Hip-Hop, good, bad or indifferent.

Now, I have always watched these lists from afar. I see it come by on Twitter and I usually recognise, on average, three of the 10 names. This year's list is no different. The list in question, is Hip-Hop magazine "XXL" and their ritualistic list, attempting to guess what rappers are next up to take over the rap game. They call it the "Freshman Class".

Whatever the field, whether its music, sports, film. It is always hard to guess who will be relevant. Hell, many sports magazines give high school athletes a cover and then we see the same cover 10 years later with the caption "What happened to this guy?". It's fine being prisoners of the moment, but XXL can't even do that right.

Which is why I write this article and (in the fashion of "Last Week Tonight w/ John Oliver"'s popular mini videos) title it. The XXL Freshman Class: Why is this still a thing?

Firstly, lets take a look at the artists themselves. We have Kamaiyah, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, PnB Rock, Madeintyo, Playboi Carti, Aminé, Kap G, Kyle, Ugly God & XXXTentacion.

I know what you're thinking. "Who?" That is not much of a problem for me, I am not that educated on who's up and coming and don't claim to be plugged into that realm, XXL however, do. Which perplexes me. If you're doing a list such as this, why have you purposefully snubbed people that clearly have more popularity right now? In XXL's public vote for "The 10th Spot", they had everybody in the long-list, including people such as Dreamville's JID, TDE's Lance Skiiwalker, 6LACK, Joyner Lucas, Young M.A. I don't know what XXL's criteria is. "The 10th Spot" was a public vote, which means "Who has the biggest following that gives a crap about the list". But what about the other 9? You have picked people that genuinely deserve it like Kamaiyah and Amine, artists that already have popular work under their belt but you have snubbed people for what? To make sure that people get their predictions wrong? It doesn't make sense.

And what about the artists that reject it? Oh yes ladies & gentlemen. Artists you know now, have rejected the invitation in previous years. Drake, Nicki Minaj, Tory Lanez to name a few. So, that means that XXL are creating a list of people that wouldn't have even made it if artists better than them didn't reject the invitation. If the hottest up and comers have rejected it, then what is the point of this list?

So, in one sentence. The XXL Freshman Class is pointless. It claims to be the definitive list of up and coming artists but how can that be done if you don't have a clear criteria? It damn sure can't be done if artists reject being on the list, forcing you to pick people that shouldn't sniff the list in the first place. And boy, do NOT get me started about the cyphers. 

The XXL Freshman Class. Why is it still a thing?


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