Next Up: Part 1

WANTED: The T.I. of tomorrow. The Kanye on the cusp. The Weezy-in-waiting. XXL looks into the crystal ball and calls the 10 best bets for future rap superstardom.

1-51.jpg
Label chiefs and A&R execs talk about looking for that elusive element of “star quality” in aspiring artists—intangible stuff like whether or not listeners believe someone’s music or if viewers want to be the person they see on MTV. But if predicting potential for success were easy, the labels wouldn’t be wrong so often. (Jay-Z wouldn’t have had to start Roc-A-Fella Records to put his music out himself. And Lil’ Zane would be quadruple platinum.)

Most of today’s biggest names are former outcasts and loudmouths that few believed in and no one would have wanted to be. 50 Cent was just a chubby kid from Queens with a chip on his shoulder before bullying his way to the top of the game. Kanye West was a college-dropout Chicago producer tugging on Jay’s coattails. Eminem was just some White backpacker MC from a trailer park in Detroit. And who would have thought Lil Wayne would be the Hot Boy sitting on top 10 years after Juve hit with “Ha,” ha?

While the pool of true hip-hop superstars is shallower than ever at the moment (in case you haven’t heard, the industry is experiencing something of a down cycle), there’s bound to be a few diamonds in the rough among the newbies. So the XXL brain trust set up shop in the boardroom for a few weeks and emerged with a Top 10 list of hopefuls. We considered things like technical proficiency, swagger, presence, co-signs from already-established artists, and the extent to which they move the crowd. So, without further ado, here are the 10 rappers we believe have the best shot to reach the top.

SAIGON: I Do This For My Culture.
saigonnext.jpg

  • OG BOBBY J

    These are all trash…except Sai….where Papoose at? Fuckin Rich Boy?? Plies??? Shit makes me laugh

  • og bobby j

    Ok….Lupe is tolerable too…maybe a little better than tolerable…but at the rate of the next superstar…this list is sorry

  • http://www.gunitworld.com J-banks

    Yall Crazy for putting up Plies, Richboy & Lil Boosie up there, god damn, they fucking suck. One hit wonders…

    The only people I see as the future are Saigon, Lupe Fiasco, Joell Ortiz, Hot Rod, Willy Northpole, Papoose, Willy Northpole, Sirius Jones, Gillie Da Kid, Spider Loc, Nyce, 40 Glocc and more (Infamous Mobb Deep)

    But yall putting up some wack rappers…

    -J-Banks

  • N.O. 4 life

    rich boy is super lame and sai(all this is too…i really dont know about plies yet he aint a wordy rapper but he real and he had a few good story tracks….bootsie is like plies in that aspect except he hgas alot more tracks

  • paychexx

    bout time boosie got some shine. saigon ya one of the realest and i say that before u show p the color purple. i like lupe he cool i BOUGHT ya first album, but i remember when you was thuggin on tracks. plies i dont know yet. rich boy the second album is the one. peace

  • NAWLEDGE

    Saigon – mmmm…. yeah ok
    Plies – WHAT? Although I DO see SOME potential.
    Lupe Fiasco – Mos Definetly
    Rich Boy – mmmm…. I dont know, but yeah ok.
    Lil Bossie – FUCKIN SUCKS WORSE THAN PLIES!!

    P.S: The scale is lying. Plies isnt 5’6. Im about 5’4 and he’s shorter than me. I saw him at the “Im so hood” video shoot. I could kick dude throug a window.

  • str8100

    lil boosie is not trash he talks about real shit, lupe is also fya, and and rich boi si tr8 also i mean just because u aint spittin punchline for punchline dont make you a bad rapper yall niggaz is trash and fuckin haters fuck saigon nigga gone go wood yall holler these niggaz names out but they dont fuckin sell

  • The Ficial

    I wouldn’t listen to any of these niggas but plies got the best shot, check “kept it too real”. It’s about the masses.

    P.S. Sai will never sell.

  • Tip (I’m Just Me)

    You know, I’m tired of y’all always talking about what will or won’t sell. For one, it’s not about sales, it’s about quality music. Right now, Hip Hop is about change and flip. People are tired of the gimmick, spoon fed music. You never know who the consumers will support. They may end up standing behind the Saigon’s the Lupe’s and so fourth. You internet goers certainly ain’t the judge and jury about what’s going to happen to these guys. You don’t have no crystal ball to predict that.

  • Darrin

    I agree with most the guys on this top ten list, but what the hell one guy your staff left off is better than every rapper on that list. I’m talkin about Willie the Kid. Have you ever listened to the Divide & Conquer Gangsta Grillz, this cat can def spit!

  • dave

    THEY RE ALL TRASH! PLIES SHOULDNT EVEN BE ON THE LIST HIS LYRICAL CONTENT IS NIL HEK YOU CANT EVEN UNDERSTAND WHAT THE GUY IS SAYING THE SAMBO RAPPERS GOTTA GO!!

  • Freddy(Vega$)

    Lupe
    MURS
    Saigon
    Bishop Lamont
    Joel Ortiz
    –ALL them other niggaz u mentioned are lames… they get no love but in there home state, Its time for the Realness to come out!!

  • Content

    that’s horrible. Hip hip, hip hop, hip hop is dead

  • me

    I DON’T SEE ANY OF THEM BLOWIN UP EXEPT LUPE
    THEY COULD BE THEY COULD BE THE GREATEST MC BUT
    UNLESS THEY HAVE THAT “IT FACTOR” THEY CAN’T BLOW…
    AND I DON’T SEE ANY OF THEM HAVING THAT.

  • southside 4 life

    everytime the south rappers have to be the one yall do not like. that is why most east coast rappers do not have big tours in the south anymore. we are know longer going to let yall hate and support yall records when they come out. so good luck cause in the south you can get your message out without having the east coast support. i for one will not by an east coast rapper cd unless it is 50 or jay the rest of them sound the same so why by that shit. do not be bitter that the south has it on lock and it has been that way since 99, 8 years and running how you love that east coast music critics.

  • xxl is on drugs

    xxl is on drugs, Crack i think, by placing these lames on the cover except lupe and sai you are giving the source a chance to catch up. future my ass!

  • JJ

    man southside 4 life stop acting like u speak 4 everybody in the south. I’m from atlanta and the only person who is any good on this cover is LUPE. And u act as if a lot of rappers in the south don’t sound alike. think b4 u type next time.

  • triplesixninja

    u people are a bunch of haters. boosie can rap better than all of u fags that hate on him so shut up.

  • B-X Borough So Thorough

    Where is Mighty Infamous in this list? He’s the only unsigned rapper I’ve seen Eskay post a track up from since…………ever. I seen him on URB Magazine a couple weeks ago too. Y’all still sleepin on this kid.

  • og bobby j

    first off…Papoose is the best lyricist in the game right now…hands down…..so fuck a lupe and fuck the south…..BK all day

  • Famous

    You guys are idiots.

    Billy Sunday and Eskay for XXL President

  • Jordany

    Saigon
    Lupe Fiasco
    Joe Budden
    Papoose
    Joell Ortiz

  • INFO

    Yaw needd to put Mighty Infamous in there..bronxx finest yaww beasttting..

  • KLETEWOOD

    All these fools are short. How hard can you be when you 5′-6″ tall?

  • DUB D

    I think someone failed to do their homework. Aside from Saigon, and maybe from Lupe Fiasco if he gets a little more recognition, these candidates are total shit. Plies raps like a retard with peanut butter in his mouth, and I know Rich Boy has Down Syndrome, mumbling motherfucker. Lil Boosie, on the other hand, has unpretentious raps and knows that he isn’t some lyrical wizard. But the next tupac? How much magic Smurf mushrooms do you have to eat to make that bullshit realization? There were so many other, BETTER, candidates to choose from, Clipse,Papoose, Joell Ortiz, Gabriel Teodros, ANYBODY except this wack-ass portion of your list. Take off your chasity belts and stop playing it safe, you cunts!

  • DownSouth

    @southside 4 life,What the hell are u talking about the south didnt get real props till 03 im live in the A but i go to ny allthe time and they got love for us just like we got love for them thats yall little kids trying to start region wars on the internet, all these rappers that go multi plat get support from every region if u like eastcoast music dont listen to it if u dont like southmusic dont listen to it all the fan turned into critics and fuckin rappers thats why the game is the way it is now

  • thetruthneverlies

    i am not for all the arguing and debating at the end of the day its all opinion you guys are acting like what you like is fact but its not. my only problem is that my man RAY CASH did not get any love shown i think he gets busy thats just my opinion wat do you think?

  • yessir

    Yellow Nigga called Papoose in the XXL Editorial. Pap was the only reason y’all MFs got my $3.95 for that issue. Pap my nig and alwaying saying the album gonna make history. Yeah history for longest that never came out.

  • Yessir

    Damn Pap, Kay Slay whats good with the album. That shit ain’t gonna be relevent anymore when it comes out. Shit even wack ass Boosie, Soulja boy, and Ah Bay Bay kids album is out. Atleast Saigon got a release date. XXL knows that BOOSIE is WACK as fuck. He is on the cover because of the hit songs(wipe me down)

  • nasir

    lupe and saigon are relevant but the rest garbage.maybe you should have add mistah fab,papoose and florida.plies is grabage period..

  • 504 BOY

    ALL-DAT-HATN-ON-DA-SOUTH-STOP-BUT-DA-FOOLS-DEY-GOT-UP-THERE–JUS-LAUGH-U-CANT-PUT-A-TOPS-UP-CUZ-DEY-HAVE-ALOT-OF-TALENTED-AND-UPCOMN-ARTSTS-SO-DATS-NUT-N-504-TL-DA-DEATH-OF-ME

  • TJ

    Boosie is real shit and they dont just get love in their home state its the whole fuckin down south…Quit hatin that shit you just mad the South is runnin the game right now bitch

  • 2wack

    crooked i and bishop lamont shit on all this niggaz combined

  • 2wack

    crooked i and bishop lamont shit on all this niggaz combined

  • DC’s Finest

    Lupe da best out of all dem fags. If u say Boosie can rap then u must think MC Hammer is the GOAT…LOL. Can’t wait for the Cool

  • Zbejohnny123

    No Papoose, No Bishop Lamont, No Max B, and No Joell Ortiz or Mistah F.A.B………..Y’all fucked up…(Plies and Richboy…..signs the world is coming to an end.)

  • Jason Murk

    All of those niggas are trash except for Saigon and Lupe.

    Lupe has already proven that he can’t sell. And while Saigon is decent, nobody gives a fuck about him.

    The rap game is over.

  • http://myspace.com/djuelz06 Darius

    why in the fuck do yall have lil boosie on the cover???
    boosie is wack as fuck.
    yall starting to kiss ass like the source (with benzino) used to do

  • Swizzie

    Lupe i get and Saigon maybe

    But the other 3 are straight Bitches

  • http://www.youtube.com/paragon249 Colron

    We made a green-friendly YouTube music-video-song “Blow My Mind”, and we want to make more. We need your help. We have begun offereing subscriber status to our YouTube channel “Paragon249″ so you can see our new stuff as we add it, and we can continue to improve the quality of our productions. This program, named “1k7″, will allow the first 1,000 Registered YouTube members who Subscribe to the Paragon249 channel to receive $Free.99 lifetime access to the rare AND exclusive “Paragon Premiered” music.*

    The first “Paragon Premiere” artist is named “NiQ” from Columbus, OH. He is a unsigned hip-hop act critically compared to Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, and even Freeway and Hot Rod. Watch the Blow My Mind video or listen to

  • lunatic

    man xxl got it all fuked up da new hopr 4 hip hop iz saigon,joell ortiz, papoose,tru life,manio,there go da real top 5

  • WRONG AGAIN

    One word…WEAK!

  • try me

    Oh man, if this is the future of Hip-Hop music I’m only going to fuck with the past.

  • http://www.myspace.com/cwoodson7 YUNG LOU_3Z3ANA

    boosie
    hurricane chris
    t.j. the gamewrecker-bet yall haven’t heard that name before.
    foxx
    allstar
    flo-rida
    these are real playas doin they thang makin hits about real shit they lived so get reall all you pussy ass hatin motha fuckers from the north.

  • bucsormore

    rich boys ok but yea hes not going to make big noise plies is straight trash who is supporting this dude that nigga shity and hes cd wats wrong with wayne saying its sweet he like it for wat saigon never caught me ear lupe hard and bootsie the shit fuck them other niggas tho

  • Seriously

    Royce Da 5’9″ and Crooked I better be on part 2.

  • big dick cheney

    All deez niggaz is doin they thang. Stop hatin mothafuckaz. They all done played they cards right now they deserve the chance to shine. They still rookies anyway. Ya’ll act like they first album has to mandatorily be a classic. Jay Z’s shit was and no body bought it. Then Jay Z started puttin out weaker shit and now he is known as the Best Rapper Alive today. No other album of his compares to Reasonable Doubt. BUt then again, half ya’ll niggaz ridin Jay Z’s dick have never even heard of this album. Fuckin Groupie ass niggaz.

    Rich Boy’s album was excellent
    Lupe’s was decent
    Saigon…im waitin on his shit. gotta cop it
    Boosie’s album i haven’t heard but Webbie’s was fire sooo…
    & Plies is the realest nigga in it. If you hatin on him you probly a FUCK NIGGA and thats why you wouldn’t agree wit his lyrics.
    Until ya’ll go out and listen to these ppl albums ya’ll cant talk. CUz ya’ll judging them off of radio singles and the radio djs are really the ones responsible for killing hip-hop.

    Half ya’ll fuck niggaz dont even buy rap albums. All ya’ll do is just download the shit so basically ur opinion is irrelevant. If you not a consumer, you don’t have the right to criticize the market(I.E. RAP IN GENERAL) SHUT THE FUCK UP. YOU GOT A PROBLEM WIT WAT I’M SAYIN COME SEE ME BOUT IT.

  • Doobie42

    saigon is the only one that is shit.

    plies can’t spit but has deep material.

    lupe is good but no one wants to hear that chicago sound too much.twista ain’t even doin that good.

    boosie is real and spits every minute or so but mostly cat in the hat.

    i dig rich boy though. didn’t cop the album but that paper planes remix verse was fuckin fire.

    no one gives a fuck where any of you are from. east coast and dirty south shut the fuck up. everyone has heard the beefin a million fuckin times. SHUT UP!

  • durdy burd

    man,man,man,hold da fuck up!yall,must think that all da rappers we have now gone be gone.i hopethat aint wut tha fuck yall thankin shouty!is it?man i gotta say all des muh fuckas priety good they try they best and some of dey shit lame but most of its fya folk,so dont hate shouty!!!

  • Big Bizness

    When it all boils down to it, u can run your mouth and say what u want,but all yall on here with ya negative and straight out rude opinions r broke and ya sound awfully lame!! Especially OG Bobby, u have got to be the dumbest person god ever put breath in!!! Learn the history of these people before u go disrespecting them!!! Everyone on this cover has earned thier place on it!! They are all there for different reasons!!! Im glad that u dont work for XXL!!!

  • BIg Bizness

    When it all boils down to it, u can run your mouth and say what u want,but all yall on here with ya negative and straight out rude opinions r broke and ya sound awfully lame!! Especially OG Bobby, u have got to be the dumbest person god ever put breath in!!! Learn the history of these people before u go disrespecting them!!! Everyone on this cover has earned thier place on it!! They are all there for different reasons!!! Im glad that u dont work for XXL!!!

  • http://dubcnn.com dr.raskizzo my nizzo

    half these dudes is trash. Saigon, Crooked I, Papoose, Ortiz and Dro the only ones with a chance. The rest is straight gahbaje! Where Bishop Lamont and Glasses Malone at????
    This n*gga up there said Hot Rod, Hot Rod straight poopoo! Hot Rod breath smell like 50′s d*ck.

  • Pingback: XXLmag.com | Hip-Hop On A Higher Level | » Next Up: Young Dro

  • NAWLEDGE

    big dick cheney Says:

    October 9th, 2007 at 9:53 am
    All deez niggaz is doin they thang. Stop hatin mothafuckaz. They all done played they cards right now they deserve the chance to shine. They still rookies anyway. Ya’ll act like they first album has to mandatorily be a classic. Jay Z’s shit was and no body bought it. Then Jay Z started puttin out weaker shit and now he is known as the Best Rapper Alive today. No other album of his compares to Reasonable Doubt. BUt then again, half ya’ll niggaz ridin Jay Z’s dick have never even heard of this album. Fuckin Groupie ass niggaz.

    Rich Boy’s album was excellent
    Lupe’s was decent
    Saigon…im waitin on his shit. gotta cop it
    Boosie’s album i haven’t heard but Webbie’s was fire sooo…
    & Plies is the realest nigga in it. If you hatin on him you probly a FUCK NIGGA and thats why you wouldn’t agree wit his lyrics.
    Until ya’ll go out and listen to these ppl albums ya’ll cant talk. CUz ya’ll judging them off of radio singles and the radio djs are really the ones responsible for killing hip-hop.

    Half ya’ll fuck niggaz dont even buy rap albums. All ya’ll do is just download the shit so basically ur opinion is irrelevant. If you not a consumer, you don’t have the right to criticize the market(I.E. RAP IN GENERAL) SHUT THE FUCK UP. YOU GOT A PROBLEM WIT WAT I’M SAYIN COME SEE ME BOUT IT
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    First of all my nigga, CALM THE FUCK DOWN.
    Secondly, Plies and Bossie suck ass!! Plies has some potential but Bossie is fucken trash!!

  • Genius Jones

    saigon
    lupe
    joel ortiz
    joe budden
    king syah

  • http://www.myspace.com/MizRedd1 MizRedd

    All i know is Lupe is Fiyah…..rich boy….he aight.. LIL Boosie got G-points with me for having JADA on the Wipe me down remix…so he aight but PLIES…DAMN he can teach me how to talk back when he givin pipe…LMAO!!! DAMN

  • MizRedd

    ^^^^I don’t know how i forgot but LUPE is FFFFIIIIIIIIIIYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!! he can spit it all Hood shit for yall dumb ass niggaz and some conscious shhit for those who wanna get they learn on while they listen!!! Gotta Respect that!!!

  • JD

    StOP HatiNg On hIp hOP BrUH…. If yoU feeL sO Live aBout it… make ya own cd and put it Out…. Everybody On there is doing there thIng…. and BoosiE… a one hit wondEr… he Been puttINg out HitZ when LiL wayne was singing the BloCK is hot…….. he got OVer 300 soNgz oUt brUh… get reaL

  • The fuckin don

    yo all yall bitch ass niggas doggin lupe fiasco is bitch made your favorite rapper cant even spit lik lupe (some exceptions) boosies garbage saigon is garbage plies isnt even garbage hes trash take that grill out homie only rich boy, young dro, papoose and joell ortiz got potential others are ass

  • Ruff Huff

    The only one on this list that is going to do good is boosie… a lot of people hate on boosie but if you really take the time and listen to all the shit he drops you’ll realize he’s very talented and does have is own unique sound… he has the real shit… you can tell when you listen to his shit… that muther fuckers raw man

  • Ruff Huff

    plus… boosie doent have the help the other fuckers got… they all got monster budgets with giant hit makin producers with akon and t-pain on their songs… boosie raps mainly works with one producer… on his album the only feature he had besides webbie is one verse from pimp c.. i mean… this mother fucker gotta be doin somethin to get where he at… some of these muther fuckers just seem like their career is handed to em

  • Pingback: …shot then » Blog Archive » xxl’s “next up” emcees

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Balla

    Where The Fuck Is Trae Tha Truth ????

  • http://myspace.com/wpprince J-Free

    If you say Boosie isnt real you need to just kill yourself, Boosie is the realest..he talks about real shit like he said “ya’ll rap, i tell life stories muthafuckas”.
    ya’ll mad cuz boosie makin money, you seem them chains on his neck? he didnt get those for free, he didnt get that by collectin monopoly pecies.
    ya’ll love the north so much…but the north is dead…soulja boy is sellin more than the northern rappers.

  • T.M.D

    PLIES:WACK
    BOOSIE:HE AIGHT
    LUPE:SICK
    RICH BOY:SICK
    SAIGON:DONT EVEN MENTION HIS NAME AGAIN UNTIL HE DROPS HIS ALBUM

  • TiffRocka

    Just like some of you not feeling Saigon, nobody has to feel Plies or Boosie. It’s not an obligation or requirement to like those guys. It has nothing to with being from the streets. If people don’t feel them, they just don’t. I’m not into their music. I’m not going to speak bad about them, but I’m not going to front like I feel them either. Nobody is going to like certain rappers because you do.

    As for saying Saigon, Joell, and them are irrelevant. Correction, they’re just irrelevant to “YOU.” It’s one thing to not feel these dudes music and what not. I don’t knock anybody for that. But you can’t speak for the rest of us or any other Hip Hop fans, by calling them irrelevant because you don’t like them. That’s your opinion, it’s not reality. They have a following, whether you want to admit it or not to yourself. You ain’t got to feel them, but your opinion, is not a judgment on their careers or fans that they’re aquiring.

    That’s just like saying, (insert artist here) is irrelevant because he/she doesn’t sell X amount of records. Just like a billboard chart won’t tell me what’s hot, hype and record sales won’t either. If you have a problem with the list, take that up with XXL.

  • http://myspace.com/perry_park senio

    yall niggaz stupid. lil boosie has earned every fuckin right to be sittin there right now. boosie is that nigga like it or not. and webbie should have been standin next to him swervin on all yall lame ass haters.

  • http://myspace.com/perry_park senio

    yall niggaz stupid. lil boosie has earned every fuckin right to be sittin there right now. boosie is that nigga like it or not. and webbie should have been standin next to him swervin on all yall lame ass haters.

  • Tense

    these niggaz have come a long way. they wouldnt be on the XXL next up list of they were that wack. I mean, come on…all you gotta do is lay back and wish them luck. Give it time and you’ll see whoz gonna make it big…..

  • Pingback: XXLmag.com | Hip-Hop On A Higher Level | » Next Up: Pt. 2

  • Pingback: XXLmag.com | Hip-Hop On A Higher Level | » Next Up: Plies

  • Pingback: XXLmag.com | Hip-Hop On A Higher Level | » Next Up: Plies

  • Jordan

    Lupe- a sick mc but doesnt get alot of credit he deserves.

    Plies- a deep dude. I think by his sophmore album he’ll be better.

    Boosie- Dude is real. He’s been puttin out shit for a while but doesnt get alot of credit but he’s MAJOR in the south and has been for a few years.

    Rich Boy-Wack…give it up.

    Saigon- When will he drop an album???

  • Doughboi_45

    BOOSIE= THA TRUTH

    PLIES= THA MOTHERFUCKIN TRUTH

    LUPE= FUCKIN TRASH

    RICH BOY= STR8

    SAIGON= FUCKIN TRASH

    DOWN SOUTH FUCKIN STAND UP!!!!

  • LB

    LUPE iS THE iLLEST RAPPER 0N THE LiST
    HE D0ESNT GET A L0T 0F CREDiT HE DESERVES

  • The_illest_chick

    Lupe is fucking corny….The realest nigga on here is Plies and he 5’9 nigga cause Im 5’7 and he taller than me!! Bitch nigga’s always hateing… cause I hate lames!!

  • Jackson

    Yall stupid, yall dont know about YA BOY, he makes me wanna go and cop his mixtapes and when it comes out his album. Yall dont know about him Yet.

  • http://xxlmag.com TANK

    BOOSIE= THA TRUTH & DA WHOLE 9

    PLIES= BEAST

    LUPE= AIGHT

    RICH BOY= AIGHT

    SAIGON= GARBAGE