I’m Shining: 2011 Freshman Recap

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    I'm Shinning: 2011 Freshman Recap
    There were so many buzzing MCs in 2011 that <em>XXL</em> made an exception and selected 11 freshmen that year. Here, <em>XXL</em> takes a look at what its '11 Freshmen alumni have been up to.—<em>Carl Chery</em> (<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/cchery">@cchery</a>)
  • FreshmanClass_013111_Yelawolf-074
    Yelawolf
    The Alabama rhyme slinger’s year got off to a slow start, but he made a noteworthy appearance in the show-stopping “Shady 2.0 Cipher” at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Yela’s stellar Shady/Interscope Records debut, <em>Radioactive</em>, hit stores in November and debuted at No. 27 on the <em>Billboard</em> 200 chart. The record had sold a little over 100,000 units when this mag went to print.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_MeekMill-220
    Meek Mill
    The Philly-bred MC had a big year, signing to Rick Ross’ MMG and then contributing two breakout hits to the crew’s Warner Bros. Records compilation <em>Self Made, Vol. 1</em> with the Rozay-assisted “I’ma Boss” and “Tupac Back.” Meek’s <em>Dreamchasers</em> mixtape, helmed by DJ Drama, was critically acclaimed and produced another hit, “House Party.” His highly anticipated Warner/MMG debut is due out later this year.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_MacMiller-090
    Mac Miller
    He’s more than a YouTube sensation, even though his “Donald Trump” single became a viral hit with 47 million views and counting. The Pittsburgh rapper appeared on VH1’s hit sitcom <em>Single Ladies</em> and Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger (Remix).” Mac’s debut, <em>Blue Slide Park</em>, topped the <em>Billboard</em> 200 chart—becoming the first independent LP to debut at No. 1 since Tha Dogg Pound’s <em>Dogg Food</em> in 1995.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_Kendrick-160
    Kendrick Lamar
    His indie release <em>Section.80</em> didn’t chart high, but it was critically heralded as one of the best albums of 2011. Compton’s K.Dot opened for Drake on the Club Paradise Tour, dropped noteworthy verses on Drizzy’s and Game’s LPs and has spent time in the studio with Dr. Dre and The Neptunes. Lamar is rumored to drop his buzzed-about major-label debut this year.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_BigKrit-022
    Big K.R.I.T.
    K.R.I.T.’s <em>Return of 4Eva</em> was one of the year’s most celebrated mixtapes. He also produced and appeared on T.I.’s first post-prison single, “I’m Flexin’,” and on The Roots’ <em>Undun</em>. There’s still no major-label release in sight for the Mississippi rapper/producer, but his next mixtape, <em>4evaNaDay</em>, is sure to keep his momentum going until his anticipated Def Jam Recordings debut.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_Lil_B-154
    Lil B
    Lil B’s cooking dance became a popular end-zone celebration during NFL football games, but the California native’s buzz died down a bit over the year. He appeared on Lil Wayne’s <em>Sorry 4 the Wait</em>, but his controversial indie album <em>I’m Gay (I’m Happy)</em> was underwhelming. The BasedGod still has an exemplary work ethic, releasing mixtape after mixtape, but he appears to be doing so aimlessly.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_Lil_Twist-105
    Lil Twist
    Young Money Entertain- ment’s teen MC has been a bit slow turning up the heat. The Weezy-assisted “Love Affair” earned a worthy buzz and the video got love on BET, but Lil Twist’s two follow-up singles haven’t had as much impact. A Young Money/Universal Republic debut album is still in the works for this Dallas representer.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_Diggy-215
    Diggy Simmons
    He teased fans with his well-received “Copy Paste” single and a guest appearance on R&B quartet Mindless Behavior’s “Mrs. Right.” Dig’s latest single, “Do It Like You,” has been a favorite on BET’s 106 & Park countdown—just in time for his Atlantic Records debut, <em>Unexpected Arrival</em>.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_CyhiPrynce-140
    Cyhi the Prynce
    In addition to releasing two mixtapes, <em>Royal Flush 2</em> and <em>Jack of All Trades</em>, Atlanta’s CyHi the Prynce appeared on Maybach Music Group’s <em>Self Made, Vol. 1</em> compilation and YC’s star-studded “Racks (Remix).” The G.O.O.D. Music artist has yet to lock in on a release date for his debut album, but he’s set to appear on the label’s compilation this spring.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_YG-008
    YG
    YG followed up his first mixtape effort, <em>The Real 4Fingaz</em>, with another tape,<em> Just Re’d Up</em>. He also showed up on New Boyz’s <em>Too Cool to Care</em> LP. Though he’s been garnering spins on the West Coast, the Compton rapper has been flying under the radar outside of his region. No word on when his Def Jam Recordings debut will drop.
  • FreshmanClass_013111_FredGodson-025
    Fred the Godson
    The Bronx Bomber has been releasing music at a steady pace, but his <em>City of God: Gangsta Grillz</em> mixtape with DJ Drama and songs with Diddy, Jadakiss, Raekwon and Erick Sermon haven’t done much to raise his profile. Still unsigned at press time, Fred the Godson’s prepping a joint mixtape with Olivia titled <em>Beauty & The Beast</em>.
  • wat

    This was the worst class in XXL history.

    …Until the class of 2012 came out.

    • Dortiz

      You’re buggin’ son worst class? Meek is ill, Fred The Godson (Over My Dead Body Freestyle), Diggy Simmons is nyce, & Kendrick Lamar is dope that ADHD is still rockin’. Just give those guys a listen.

      • wat

        The worst class =/= every member being bad. This was the worst class *collectively* until 2012′s class came out.

        Also, I dislike Meek Mill. His voice is whiny and there’s nothing special about him, Fred da Godson is wack and sounds like he’s dying, Diggy was nice but then went super pop, but yes, Kendrick is ill.

    • voice of reason

      i think it’s more like this class was the most polarizing in the sense that the gems were fuckin gems (k.dot, big krit) and the others were, well, total garbage (lil b)

      • D-Miz

        Lil B needs to have an effin direction, there’s far better MC’s.
        Meek is dope. Yelawolf is epic but undervalued I think.
        Krit, that guy there knows wassiup.
        Twist is ridin’ coat tails, Cyhi is ballin’, and MAC seems to know what he’s doin… can’t hate on success.

  • s

    It was pretty bad, but Kendrick and Big KRIT are BEASTS. no contestin’ that.

  • xxlwtf

    is xxl slow as fuck or what? Big K.R.I.T’s album comes out June 5th, dumbasses

  • CPT

    all i care about for 2011 was Kendrick Lamar

  • Juwad

    Why XXL been talking about every class except 2012! lol

    • wat

      These features are recaps showing where past class are today.

  • ROB916

    yall dont know shit bout hip hop this class was smackin CyHi is dope as fuk, Yelawolf spits heat, Big KRIT prolly 2nd best rapper lyrically followed by KENDRICK LAMAR who is maybe the best rapper IN THE GAME right now, if bitchass drake is on 1 k dot is on 10

    • wat

      You’re an idiot. What I was saying is that with the amount of shitty rappers on the list (Fred, Twist, Lil B, YG), it was the worst class *COLLECTIVELY.* All the other classes only had but a few wack MC’s. This had the most, meaning it was the worst class *OVERALL.*

      UNTIL the class of 2012 came out.

      • ROBD916

        i never really listened to fred, i heard twist was wack, YG isnt tryin to be the next 2pac but he does put out some bangers that u would play at a party, lil B tho dont get me started on that waste of life tho hahahaha but i feel like this class gets blasted for no reason cause they got hella talent, maybe not twist and definitely NOT lil b’s gay ass but i honestly think collectively this class was pretty solid

  • Roger

    Yeah Fred, Lil B, and Twist are weak, but Yela, KRIT, Kendrick, and Cyhi are on another level. And yeah Mac is pop now, but you can’t even hate cause of what he did with his indie record debuting at #1.

    Still waiting for Laws, XV, Jon Connor, Emilio Rojas, and Childish Gambino to get on this list.

    • wat

      They won’t, unfortunately. The fact that they were passed on this year says a lot.

  • Bread

    Lil B Sux…..and Lil Twist can do much much better…..