Look at Me Now: 2008 Freshman Recap


The Leaders of the New School class kicked things off, but this bunch—comprised mostly of celebrated online MCs—arguably planted the seeds for what the freshman phenomenon has become today. XXL looks back at its class of 2008 to see how well the MCs have done for themselves since posing for the cover.—Jesse Gissen

Kid Cudi

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Not only does Cudder have two gold solo LPs, he also had cameos on projects by Kanye West and Jay-Z, as well as a role on the defunct HBO series, How To Make It In America. He recently dropped a rock-influenced project with Dot Da Genius titled, WZRD.


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Spitta enjoyed a strong run with Damon Dash by his side (See Pilot Talk 1 & 2), but last year the fiercely independent artist struck a deal with Warner and continues to maintain his loyal fanbase.

Cory Gunz

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A Young Money record deal and a MTV reality show have yet to translate into success for Cory. To add to his musical hurdles, he recently got arrested for gun possession and faces three years in jail.

Mickey Factz

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The Bronx native scored a sweet Honda endorsement and a record deal with Battery/Jive, but he has yet to capitalize off the achievements with an album for fans to purchase.

Asher Roth

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With his 2009 platinum-selling anthem, “I Love College,” Ash seemed destined for stardom, but the lackluster sales of his debut LP stalled his career. He’s currently plotting a comeback on Def Jam.


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The D.C. rep started off on the wrong foot (see 2009’s Attention Deficit), but is currently enjoying an amazing comeback thanks to a co-sign from Rick Ross and a pair of radio-friendly hits featuring Miguel and Jeremih.

Ace Hood

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Three times' the charm for Ace. On his third LP, Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Miami rep finally scored mainstream chart success with the two biggest hits of his career, “Hustle Hard” and “Body 2 Body.”


Charles Hamilton


Hamilton’s suffered a series of damaging loses—including rap battles, record deals, a stint in jail and a physical confrontation with his ex-girlfriend—all making the rapper/producer hard to find over the last few years.


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Although he was briefly signed to Sire, unabashedly underground MC Blu would rather release material under his own whim, and he does so quite often and unceremoniously on his Tumblr and MySpace pages.