Freshmen Class of 2008 Reunion, Where Are They Now?

March madness is in full swing. The 10 Freshmen for ’10 issue is on stands now, the DJ Whoo Kid-hosted mixtape is available [download here] and the one-night only Freshmen 10 Concert is set for March 31 at the Highline Ballroom [cop tickets here]. Although it’s time for this year’s class to get their shine, we can’t forget the MCs that paved the way for this highly-anticipated XXL cover.

It all started back in late 2007, when 10 select artists were co-signed by XXL as hip-hop’s next superstars, the leaders of the new school if you will, for 2008. But the world of hip-hop moves pretty darn fast and a lot can change in three years, so we figured we’d give you a brief rundown on where things stand with our Junior class. Some fumbled the ball, while others used the co-sign to the best of their ability to truly excel… or, more specifically, to XXL.

LIL BOOSIE
Last year, Bad Azz’s would-be breakout year was marred after a marijuana bust and a parole violation brought on a current jail bid. His long-awaited fourth album, Superbad: The Return of Boosie Bad Azz, didn’t exactly set the charts ablaze, either, peaking at No. 7 on Billboard’s top 200 albums chart.

LUPE FIASCO
Wasalu scaled new heights to start 2010, climbing Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise awareness of the global clean-water crisis. Lasers, his third LP and much-anticipated follow-up to his 2007 album, The Cool, however, remains grounded.

SAIGON
The Yardfather surprised fans last year by dropping All in a Day’s Work and Warning Shots 2 through Amalgam Digital. Unfortunately, his enigmatic The Greatest Story Never Told continues to be the most appropriate album title ever.

RICH BOY
It looked like Mr. “Throw Some D’s” might move beyond one-hit-wonder status, after dropping the impressive Bigger Than the Mayor mixtape in 2008. The disappearing acts he pulls makes one wonder, but at the top of 2010 he’s started to show signs of life with several released tracks of note.

PLIES
Propelled by the radio success of the Ne-Yo–assisted “Bust It Baby, Pt. 2,” Plies dropped Definition of Real and Da Realist, back to back, in 2008. As of press time, his fourth record, Goon Affiliated, is slated for a May release.

GORILLA ZOE
The Atlanta silverback scored a coup by topping the Billboard Rap Albums chart last April with his second album, Don’t Feed Da Animals. Yet he’s still best known as the guy who replaced Jeezy in Boyz N Da Hood.

YOUNG DRO
Quietly, Dro has continued to rep Grand Hustle, with mixtapes like R.I.P.: I Killed That Shit. But his still-unreleased sequel to 2006’s Best Thang Smokin’ has so far remained M.I.A.

JOELL ORTIZ
Yet another Interscope casualty, the hard-spitting Boricua now calls E1 Music home. After uniting with Crooked I, Royce Da 5’9” and Joe Budden as the popular rap quartet Slaughterhouse, he’s set to drop his sophomore independent LP, Free Agent, this Spring.

PAPOOSE
Alleged $1.5-million man Papoose has taken to the Internet since his Jive deal disintegrated, releasing mixtapes like Military Grind through his social-networking site, thugacated.com. Public response, on the downside, has paled in comparison to that of his pre-Jive days.

CROOKED I
Crooked I has managed to attain respected veteran status without ever actually dropping a solo album. The former Death Row soldier has kept busy with his “Hip-Hop Weekly” freestyle series, last October’s Internet-only Mr. Pigface Weapon Waist EP, and a role in the multiregional supergroup Slaughterhouse. —Jesse Serwer

  • kasiology

    lupe leads that pack all day…. THE COOL was cold as ice, loved that album

    • sooperb in tha 585

      Joell Ortiz but of course, you crazy? That kids been nothin short of awsome lately!! Then Crooked and Lupe then Pap and Saigon.

      • http://www.myspace.com/idonthavearapname Mika

        hahaha i love that line there…. but for real though … tht dude been nothin short of awesome lately .. YAOWAA !!!!! you’re another one world away !!

    • http://www.LiveLyricism.blogspot.com TyLFI

      definitely!

  • Caino

    Its all about Lupe!! with his go-go gadget flow!!

    Ahh when xxl introduced the kiss of death class!

  • Sharoyce Antwan

    Joell Ortiz is my favorite of them all. His Covering The Classics mixtape was unprecedented.He and Novel worked magic w/ that Defying the Predicable mixtape. I’ve also enjoyed Saigon’s showcasing of skills on his mixtapes too.

    • Josh

      Damn! The Frequency “Road Kill” mixtape gets no love?!?!?!?

  • Joe

    Thats a helluva group, compare them to 2010 its not even close

    Damn Pap fell off

    On a very funny note, remember when Saigon had Trey Songz on his first ‘single’??? Now Trey is the next R. Kelly Ha

  • Justice4All

    Lupe!!!! Dude is nice.

  • Kerma

    Joell ortiz is like sex to my ears.

  • http://joeyzrappicturez.tumblr.com/ joeyzrappicturez

    bad year for hip hop

    except Lupe the phoenix that rose from the mediocracy of Young Dro

    (Rich Boy #2)

  • http://www.thebossboard.com Snake Eyez

    Crooked I… boss of the west

  • Cesar

    Crooked i one of the best that ever blessed the mic.

    SLAUGHTERHOUSE!!!

  • General Yopeck

    Papoose is leader of the class 08′!!!!
    Real hip-hop!!!

  • J.Cain

    Niggaz can’t touch LIL’ BOOSIE with a flag pole
    Free Boosie
    Gone But Not Forgotten

    • http://MYSPACE.COM/SOBENT30 SOB ENT

      BOOSIE BADAZZ DA TRUTH NIGGAZ CANT FUCK ROUND WIT DA NIGGA MAYNE..FREE MY THUG..WEN HE TOUCH DOWN HE GON CAUZE HELL

    • Timbardy

      Whats eht sonq called ?

  • mav

    lupe that dude hes probably the illest artist to come out in the new millenium as a lyricist myself you gotta appreciate the complex shit he be droppin but young dro is the most suprisin failure bcuz that shoulder lean was a huge record and tip was on top i think that nigga popped on too many e pills everybody else on this list is still makin music i aint heard shit from dude gorilla zoe…lmfao aint that tone loc nephew?

  • b-dogg

    Co-Sign Lupe and Pap—} Lupe was killin that shit last year[Enemy of the State} and my dude Papoose got skills i aint heard since… wait for it….. Big L

  • ea$e

    women lie men lie numbers don’t lie. plies is certainly the hottest most successful outta everyone on that list…

    • Alan Anderson

      and by far the least real

  • http://pigface pigface

    crooked i is the illest …joell and lupe are dope as fuk to…then pap then saigon and the rest are asss

  • AfrikaBlack

    I cant lie, I HATE Plies music but he did the most of all these boys. He had da hottest songs and he was on da radio and tv the most. I like Lupe but he wasnt as hot as Plies tho. Rest of them boys aint really produce, the 2009 class killed these cats.

  • mazemayhim

    Maybe Dro spent the advance on Polo, pills & p-poppers. Regardless, I fux wit Young Dro when I’m Polo to the floor, feelin myself. This message was brought to you by a Bay nigga

  • bus-a-bus

    Lupe alday everyday still bump the cool waiting in lasers to go way over my head so i can bring it back turn it up and listen as the illest kid kicks that knowledge also crooked i joell are nice to slaughterhouse baby

  • Pat Project

    They all suck balls really. Been two years none of them really popped off like that still. Lupe buzz aint hot no more,ect.

  • ernie

    i cant belive people are sleeping on crooked i i mean lupe is dope but crooked i is ill

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    i kinda am leaning towards this group being better. this group is very diverse. u got ur lyricists and ur rappers. Plies was the most successful. Lupe or Crooked I could be the most lyrical. Dro in the middle. all of them still doing pretty good.

  • patkilpat

    I checked the RIAA Lupe’s The Cool and Plies The Real Testament both went gold. So this “men lie women lie, numbers don’t” is off base.

    P.S. Plies “Shawty” and Lupe’s “Superstar” both went plat with ringtone sales. Also I found no itunes download reconds on RIAA.com

    “ya’ll lames make me laugh,like a wizard that crashed a spelling bee”- Patrick Kilpatrick and The Suicide Notes

    myspace.com/patrickkilpatrickisshadowgovernment

    • kedordu

      PLIES SOLD MORE THAN LUPE . PLIES HAS GONE GOLD LIKE 3 TIMES

  • lyricist

    yeah lupe is niceee , but joel ortizz can spit mann.. he gt that story tellingg ability that most rappers cnt doo . but they both dopee

  • Th187Worm

    Ok the top three are the fucking best out the whole group of these cats but CROOKED I FUCKING KILLS EVERYONE ON THE LIST AND SHOULD BE NUMBER ONE ON THIS LIST..AND IN FUCKING HIPHOP/RAP…THIS CAT IS A LYRICAL BEAST AND NOONE CAN FUCKIHNG TOUCH HIM…I NEED ALL YALL MOTHERFUCKAS TO LISTEN TO EVERY SONG THIS CAT HAS DONE!! I HAVE NEVER LISTENED TO AN ARTIST WHERE I FUCKING LOVE 99% OF THERE TRACKS…THIS IS THE FIRST DUDE…ive been listyening to this cat for 8 years now and hes been around long as shit..fuck lil wayne , drake, young money, gucci mane, soulja boy!!!! all of that is ruining hiphop its fucing trash…CROOKED I!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Fresh

    @ff1one@yahoo.com
    Co-Sign

    @Th187Worm
    They wouldnt be hot if they was ruining hip-hop.
    But Souja boy garbage, they shouldnt be wasting their beats on that nigga.

  • these posts are racist

    Lupe is the realest!

  • http://lbc lbc

    crooked I best rapper alive

  • def soulja

    joell ortiz is ahead of the class if you ask me….lupe is doing him but joell has been on point for awhile now. cant wait for the free agent joint to drop

  • Teddy

    XXL needs to step up its freshman picking game even out of last years picks no one did shit except kid cudi, asher, b.o.b.,

    this years list looks even more tragic like whats that line on the drake song “who the fuck are yal…” “yal know them, well fuck it me either”

    only ppl on that shit that will do anything solid j.cole, nipps, maybe wiz doubt it that he will do more than the mixtape curcuit shit like currensy and net released albums

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=73540 Tmacka

    Crooked I. WC

  • B..

    Crooked I and Joell Ortiz are wayyy better than lupe, and why are plies and lil boosie on this list?

  • @ teddy

    right cuz Wale is a noone…. Charles Hamilton only didn’t do shit cuz he has a dumb ass sized mouth. So if 5/10 were big ticket names, i think their picks were pretty good. This year however……

  • BlackStar

    Lupe is easily the best on the list then Papoose. Other than that ’09 blows this list out of the water.

  • http://www.twitter.com/deneshia deneshia

    Far best, Lupe Fiasco! #lasers!!

  • dreamer

    numbers dont lie. Lupe is ahead in the poll by more than 5 times the amount of votes. LASERS is one the most antcipated albums in 2010

  • http://www.mypace.com/bmclothing MARQUAN

    LUPE FIASCO IS DA TRUTH!!!FNF UPPPP!!!!

  • Devan

    Yo, yall are out of your mind for not voting for Lu! Dude is TOO sick!

  • dvusdan

    pap smear doesnt even belong on that list that guy is terrible Ortiz is light year ahead of all those clowns

  • CZR

    CROOKED I ALL DAY EVERY DAY

  • Pingback: UrbanEstablished.com : Around the Hip Hop world in 15 minutes or less 3/22/2010

  • Will

    The two favs for me are Lupe and Young Dro, RIP is a really good mixtape, and if you listen and don’t dismiss it as “some south bullshit” like you niggas so often do, Dro got bars

  • DNO

    LUPE IS LYRICALLY KING. ENOUGH SAID

  • http://www.facebook.com New Orleans

    FREE LIL BOOSIE

  • Timbardy

    aye what’s eht sonq called with lil boosie when he said niggas cant touch me with a flagpole you fucking tadpole i’ll rip you a new ass hole ?

  • Rico

    Man papoose had so much potential WTF happen to him

  • Ronni

    crooked I freshman? idiots. he’s a veteran of the game… the boss of all bosses. he’s these other rappers father.

  • DatNiggaROd

    ALL YALL NIGGAS WACK LUPE A FUCKIN LAME…BOOSIE AND PLIES GO THA HARDEST…RICH BOY AND DRO STRAIT TOO…BUT PLIES HAD THA MOST SUCESS OUT ALL DEM NIGGAS..BUT BOOSIED DAT NIGGA DOE….FREE BAD AZZ!!!!!