The Leaders Of The Leaders Of The New School

A few months ago, XXL Magazine once again dubbed 10 young artists “The Leaders Of The New School.” Here we are five months later and after a little spotlight, we can now take a step back and look at all of these artists’ accomplishments and see who’s really decent.

Here’s the 5 XXL got right, and why you should be listening to them right now.

Charles Hamilton: This dude is one of the best out there doing it right now period, let alone for a rookie. Hamilton is a complete breath of fresh air for the rap game, as his love for music shines on every single track he records. He’s amazing on the beats and has unbelievable lyrical talent, but do not go into any of his mixtapes/projects waitin’ for that gangster sound, as this guy’s sound and style isn’t really like anyone else’s (I’ve heard comparison’s to his vocals sounding like Slim Shady and some of his beats resembling ‘Ye). The Sega loving blogger started out as a 19-year-old former heroin addict, until his first project “The Pink Lavalamp” unleashed a bidding war which resulted in the color pink-obsessed nerd to get picked up by Interscope. Now the 21-year-old Cleveland-born, Harlem-bred rapper has 12+ albums/projects/mixtapes out there on the web for download – including the Pink Lavalamp album – and it’s all crack. Check him out.

Songs, no wait, Albums, you should be listening to:
“The Pink Lavalamp,” “Crash Landed,” “And Then They Played Dilla”

Cory Gunz: This dude is sick. His old stuff is decent but now this kid has nearly perfected his craft to become a beast on the mic, and has his own flow that no one can touch. The son of Peter Gunz can rap faster (and sound better) than Twista, with lyrical content years ahead of most MCs. He will make your head spin. Keep your eye on this kid. Check these songs out below, but also youtube this guy, because he got some sick freestyles on there.

Songs you should be listening to:
“Body Bags” feat. Cassidy, “Box Full Of Bullets” feat. Square Off

Asher Roth: This kid is good, and when he’s on the ball, he makes great music. He’s also original and hilarious, and his lyrics remind me of a ’05-’06 Lil Wayne, even though a lot of people say he sounds like Eminem (is it a white thing?). I’m not sure how he got on a mixtape with Don Cannon & DJ Drama while basically unknown, but the Greenhouse Effect is a solid effort. It’s looking like he’ll be the first of these 5 with a retail album. Watch for Asleep In The Bread Aisle to drop in April.

Songs you should be downloading:
“Silly Boy,” “The Lounge,” “I Love College”

B.o.B: B.o.B is good and has talent, but it’s hard to say if his album stuff is gonna be decent. It could be good, but it could be weird as fuck, or that ringtone rap garbage. He’s got some jams, and some fuckin terrible songs. He even dropped a video for a song that sucks dick. But his ones that are good are fuckin great. You make the call.

Songs you should be downloading:
“Hip Hop Ain’t Dead (The Future),” “Generation Lost”

Mickey Factz: This guy can spit. His freestyles come off like a lyrically gifted poet, and the dude got bars. And while he does rap about real shit, the question remains on his flow, his musical talent, because what I’ve seen so far hasn’t been perfect. But we gotta remember he’s still a rookie and that’s the point of the article. The question is can he work on that shit and drop something to listen to. We’ll see.

Song you should be downloading:

A couple of these guys have come up with some collabs, and they’re pretty dope. In fact, I wanted to mention them separately because they’re so dope. “Change Gon’ Come” with Charles Hamilton, Asher Roth and B.o.B tearin’ it up “Neh Neh Neh” by Charles Hamilton and Cory Gunz. This shit is crazy.
“Swagga Like Us Freestyle” with Mickey Factz & Cory Gunz. No idea where I found this, but it goes hard.

Now who were these other 5 that won’t last?

Wale: He’s okay. But his lyrics are average and the dude lacks flow. His “Mixtape About Nothing” is overrated as shit.

Blu: See Wale, but replace “Mixtape About Nothing” with “Her Favourite Colo(u)r” and “overrated” with “whack”.

Ace Hood: DJ Khaled thinks he can give us anyone on his tracks. This kid sucks dick. The Khaled/Miami/Ringtone fascination is over. Not to say Miami doesn’t have some talent, Brisco should have been on this XXL cover, but Ace Hood just fucking sucks.

Curren$y: This kid does have talent. He can make songs, and his lyrics can be clever. But 95% of what he comes out with is average. I don’t care how many mixtapes he drops, he should have stuck with Lil Wayne, because now he ain’t goin nowhere.

Kid Cudi: This whiny little mother fuck ain’t even on yet, and he actually complained about his placement on the physical XXL cover itself. This kid can eat a dick. His one song is garbage and it’s still his only song anybody knows after 2 years on the scene.

So with that being said, at a 50% ratio, XXL did okay. So the question now is, who should have been in the other 5 artists to blow up?

Brisco: Fuck Ace Hood, this guy makes real goon music. While his message may not be revolutionary, his flow is, and I’ve heard him say some pretty clever gutter shit. His Underworld Rise mixtape is bomb.
Songs – “In The Hood” feat. Lil Wayne “This Is My Life” “I’m Back”

Bishop Lamont: This guy is pretty dope, and a perfect representative of the new west coast. He been around makin mixtapes for a minute, and they’re all pretty dope. I’m fairly certain he’s gonna be the Hittman of Dr. Dre’s “Detox”
Songs – “Kissin’ Tha Curb” feat. Busta Rhymes “Grow Up” “Missle Testing”

Black Milk: Black Milk is original, and his beats are crazy right now. I love an MC that puts their whole song together, and this guy does a fucking amazing job of it. His first album, “Popular Demand” was decent, but his latest effort, “Tronic” is fire. It has something for everyone, but most people could enjoy the whole thing as much as I do.
Songs – “The Matrix” feat. Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price & DJ Premier “Losing Out” feat. Royce Da 5’9″ “Give The Drummer Sum”

Glasses Malone: With Crooked I making it in last year, this guy needs in this year. If you ask me who leads the new west it’s Crooked I, Bishop Lamont and Glasses Malone. I doubted “Certified” (feat. Akon) and joked on it for some time, until I heard him on a couple tracks (“I’m Cold” with Crooked I and Hard Head & Big Baller (remix) with Mack 10 and Birdman). Then he dropped this mixtape, “Fuck Glasses Malone” and it’s absolutely crazy.
Songs – “Grown Man Anthem” “Haterz” feat. Lil Wayne and Birdman “Lonely At The Top”

Killer Mike: An intelligent rapper from the south that isn’t associated with Outkast?? Oh…he was associated with Andre 3K and Boi, but since going independant with Grind Time Rap Gang this guy has dropped some bangers. I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II is one of the best albums that dropped in 2008, hands down.
Songs – “Pressure” feat. Ice Cube “God In The Building” “2 Sides”

There’s still lots of dudes that I woulda have love to put up there, but they all seemed like they been around the game too long (Gillie Da Kid, Joe Budden and Royce Da 5’9″ all come to mind). Some of you are gonna agree, but I imagine most of you don’t, so what do you think, how wrong am I?-Nibs

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  • Phil

    Fantastic job, man! THIS is what a Hip-Hop media outlet should be promoting. I’ll agree and disagree about Blu, though! “Her Favorite Color” was terrible, but doesn’t dismiss the dopeness of “Below the Heavens” or the J&J projects!

    I was WAITING for someone to say that damn “Mixtape about Nothing” was garbage, too. Way too overrated, too many go-go beats, and the concept got lame about halfway through. I keep hearing Wale on OTHER people’s better beats/songs, but nothing from him yet that has told me that he’s got the whole package yet. He keeps hopping on other hot tracks, but doesn’t have one of his own yet for me.

    Totally agree about B.O.B…that mixtape with all the great promo did nothing for me, and that single and video are awful. I don’t know who told him he’s in Andre 3K’s league. I’ve heard some decent stuff, but nothing that’s sold me on him at all.

    A Cory Gunz mixtape with Green Lantern or Don Cannon needs to drop NOW. THAT kid is the future.

    I pretty much agree with everything else…don’t care about a Brisco or Currensy…



  • Jame

    Asher over Wale? Umm. Asher will move units and get press because he’s white. He’s good here and there. Wale is solid on everything and is versitile on top of that.

  • capcobra

    fuck that..i’m better than at least 10 of these dudes…go to and search cappy j

  • Pierzy

    Great topic to tackle and excellent job doing it, even if I disagree with where you had Asher Roth and Wale’ – personally, I would flip the two. But well done nonetheless.

  • Mr. 306

    This list is pretty much perfect. i wanna give kid cudi a chance cause im really into that Day n nite track. and I’m a white boy…but fuck it i’ll say it, Asher Roth is just plain horrible. he needs to stop

    • Pierzy

      Asher Roth makes me ashamed to be the lighter shade.

      • Phil

        Now that’s a quotable for ’09. lol

  • Chris Cash

    Am I the only person who’s heard of Wiz Khalifa, that dude can spit. Im still checking for Drake since he did nothing but sing on his last mixtape and the fact he’s rollin with Wayne so heavy makes me question his intelligence, and this other kid Fashawn who had the mixtape come out on nahright and onsmash is pretty dope so far, I think he could make next years cover

    • Strombino

      wiz khalifa out the 412 will shit on ace hood, b.o.b., and asher (i am a fan of b.o.b. and asher, ace hood sucks the dick). you guys should be ashamed to not even put wiz on the list, one of the biggest freshmen blowing up

  • DJ Daddy Mack


  • sharpie

    finally som1 is givin Killer Mike credit. Homie is a beast!!!

  • Wizzie Pak

    partially because he’s the best new ARTIST out but also because he made the “best rapper alive” actually have to back up his title and not just say it anymore LOL!

  • Were Read 2 Def

    You are stupid as FUCK! Blu is the TRUTH! Just wait. “Below The Heavens” is probably my favorite album of all time.

  • Mo Betta

    ::::::::::WALE:::::::::: Omg! I can’t wait to comeback to this page and show exactly who made it and didn’t Im bout to save this to my favorites right now! DMV what’s hood?

    • akaTheRealist

      are you fucking serious? Wale is better than every fucking dude on this cover and half the game…that’s why XXL put him on the main cover, far left=top of the list…

  • Mr Black

    Where’s Blake?

  • Jack

    I hope this shit is a joke… the best thing you can say about the rappers who will “make it” is that you think they can spit, and the rappers who “won’t make it” won’t because they “suck a dick” or are “overrated”… the type of eloquence and insightful thinking I would expect from a list like this, to be sure.


    “He’s got some jams, and some fuckin terrible songs. He even dropped a video for a song that sucks dick. But his ones that are good are fuckin great. You make the call.”

    Wasn’t the whole point of this shitrag of an article for _you_ to supposedly “enlighten” us as to who will and won’t make it? So why the fuck are you asking us to make the call?

    Basically, you’re fucking retarded.

  • OG Matt Herbz

    Asher Roth turned out to be straight trash. What a fuckin hippie. Tell that bitch to come see me.

    –OG Matt Herbz–

  • Detroit P

    Yo this post actually kinda sucked dick(see:whoever wrote this) wasn’t balanced at all…this shit wasn’t balanced at seems like you just have people you like and people you don’t but then you tried to portray it as if you were being objective about it, when this shit was clearly biased…I like Charles Hamilton too(maybe to the point where i might be a fan)…but you didn’t list any of his negative points(and he does have negative points)…then you say his lyrics are incredible and then turn around and say Wale is average?…they are on about the same level..Charles might be a little bit better…then you start talkin bout Brisco and all these other dudes who ARE NOT FRESHMEN…and Cory Gunz?…you didn’t mention how he needs work musically..and nobody ever really knows what he’s saying without reading the lyrics…i stopped reading at Glasses Malone

    • Phil

      Ah, the many ways you fail:

      1. Wale has yet to prove that he is above average, while Hamilton has TWO jawns on the radio NOW.

      2. Cory Gunz The Beast. Um, why admit you can’t understand an MC that is CLEARLY UNDERSTANDABLE. Re-learn the listening skills.

      3. Everyone has negative points. You suggest that Hamilton has them, but then LIST NONE.
      Since you were too lazy to do so, I will.

      Hamilton’s flaws:

      1. Recording quality is hit-and-miss.
      2. Maybe one too many jawns about the ladies.
      3. No album release date, title, nada. He needs to drop a hint.
      And that’s just off the knot. If you gonna argue a point, COMPLETE THAT SHIT.

      • Detroit P

        you must be from New York or something..cus I haven’t heard one Charles Hamilton on the radio..I seen the video..but again I like his I have no problem

        I have heard Nike Boots by Wale tho

        If Cory raps faster than Twista, who people can barely understand…what chance does Cory Gunz have…nobody wants to hear all that..just make a point and keep it movin

        And why would I argue/complete a point when
        1.) it’s an obvious truth and
        2.) some faggot would come do it for me

        …yea i’m lazy…and?

        FYI Charles Hamiltons album title is gonna be “the Perfect Life”…bitch

  • louie mo

    Killer Mike: An intelligent rapper from the south that isn’t associated with Outkast?? Oh…he was associated with Andre 3K and Boi, but since going independant with Grind Time Rap Gang this guy has dropped some bangers. I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II is one of the best albums that dropped in 2008, hands down.
    you can’t tell me that ya’ll get paid to be this stupid……… this nigga killer mike has been in the game for at least 8 yrs… he has won a grammy…….a debut plat album….. is in dungeon family……. do your fuckin reserch …….. on some really shit i’m goin to start make v-blogs about all these dumb ass blogger …….. how ya’ll don’t know shit about this hiphop game …….. ya’ll muthafuckas make me sick……. i mean look at this quote
    “There’s still lots of dudes that I woulda have love to put up there, but they all seemed like they been around the game too long (Gillie Da Kid, Joe Budden and Royce Da 5′9″ all come to mind).”
    joe budden debut came out in 03
    royce da 5′ 9″ debut came in 02
    gillie first major look was the major figga group which drop in 2000
    killer mike first major look was on outkast stankonia song “snappin and trappin”
    so once again these bloggin muthafucka be pullin wool over ya’ll eyes ……. these niggaz(if they really are) don’t know shit about this ……… hey xxl, ya’ll need to start givin ya’ll bloggers a hip hop test or some shit …… they makin ya’ll look hella of bad

  • louie mo

    killer mike first major look was on outkast stankonia song “snappin and trappin”
    and that album came out in 2000

  • technai~the comment blogger

    Everything was on point except for the Wale comment…wale is a beast…see–nike boots!…saying wale is whack was jus uncalled for!

  • drama

    HOLD UPPPP! Kid Cudi is raw as fuck cuz he real. I wouldnt call him as hip-hop as some of the others, bt who cares, da musics good. dis guy is just hatin. and wale got raw flow and lyrics is on point. but hey, dats why this guy is only writin about hip hop and not writin hiphop. clearly dont know shit. a good writer is gonna state opinion, not hate on shit. bein at xxl, you would think dat dis guy should kno wut good music is atleast, even if he dont like it.

  • Rob

    I guess if you say something forcefully enough, someone’s gonna believe you. Because for all the bold statements made here, there’s still some straight bullshit. Charles Hamilton and Asher Roth over Wale? Charles Hamilton is overrated and Asher Roth is straight garbage. Oh, and Killer Mike’s been around for damn near 10 years!!

    Homework man, homework.

  • Dru

    Drake is a better talent than all of them, because he is a rapper/singer hybrid some will knock him. Plus you’ve already heard Wayne spit half of his shit. (Yeah I said it, listen to songs that they are both on and tell me if you can tell the difference.) Other than that:

    B.O.B. is great but inconsistent. The same goes for Charles Hamilton but they’re young so that’s a good thing, and they both can be weird as hell at times. Everyone can’t be LeBron-like, some can be Kobe-like and play the back for a couple years and develop then dominate.

    • Phil

      Really? Then why wasn’t he on the cover of the Freshmen issue? Why don’t I hear him on Sirius? Did HE make it on Jimmy Kimmel and Carson Daly? Did his video make it to BET? Um, no. Why?

      Cuz there’s NOTHING clever about sounding like Wayne and ‘ye at the same time. That’s just multi-tasking. “Drake” is already a victim of sickening hype.

      • The DMV Blog Bully

        so Asher Roth and Charles Hamilton haven’t been compared to sounding like Eminem? the fuck?

  • Jame


    Plus check out Wale’s “Work” on 100 Miles and Runnin. No one in that top five could have pulled that shit off.

  • bongolock

    blu is wack? thats a bit harsh….

  • The Last Hope

    Man you sounded like a little kid when you were dissing KiD CuDi, telling him to “eat a dick” thats just weird. Man on the moon is good and so is embrace the martian. dat new was alright too.

  • bwa ha ha

    someone define “new.” please. lol@budden, royce and killa mike… those dudes been around since you was in diapers… at least i hope ur that young.

  • The DMV Blog Bully
    • FlapJack

      You on point.

      Cudi, Drake and Wale are the best new acts in years IMO.

      xxlmag, whoever wrote this is lame as hell.

  • EmCDL

    Honestly I haven’t listened to any of the XXL Freshmen cats yet (well, with the exception of Asher Roth; heard that I Love college song on the radio…didn’t really care for it too much), so I can’t really speak on any of them right now. I do co sign on the folks you put on your list that should have been on the the XXL Freshmen though…Brisco is pretty nice on the mic I ain’t gonna lie (listen to “I’m a G” on Officer Ross’s Port of Miami and “LaLa” on the Carter 3).

    That one comment about not putting Joe Budden, Royce Da 5’9 and Gillie The Kid didn’t make since to me…they haven’t been out that long my friend so I wouldn’t count them out just yet…if anything they getting better at their craft (especially Royce he stay spittin fire nowadays).

  • darrell

    okay this guy shall b shot and ran over AT LEAST 70 times by a fucking tank, simply because he says KiD CuDi is wack and that he has only one song! Has this guy been living in fucking Guam, dummy you never heard of “The Prayer,” “Cleveland is the Reason,” and “Pillow Talk.”
    And then you said Blu is wack are you on crack c’mon now.
    wat was really HILARIOUS is that you labeled killer mike a “freshman” and that you lied to yourself so much that you ACTUALLY BELIEVE Glasses Malone is worth THINKING about. THe only things you got a 100 percent right was Asher Roth, Charles Hamilton, and Ace Hood.

    • The Last Hope

      I know man CuDi’s song the prayer is amazing the blogger is trippin. CuDi’s legit

  • epinz

    Since sum of the niggaz he mentioned were old, how bout clipse or even phonte?

  • ATI

    There’s a reason this blog was anonymous, and Louie Mo bodied this thread by exposing the idiocy of it.

    Stop with the wack, posts, please.

  • macdatruest

    “XXL magazine has partnered with Harlem-bred newcomer Charles Hamilton to produce, direct and release the publication’s very first music video.”

    rappers and magazines getting together to make money is a red flag. Why wouldn’t you guys use your position to knock Charles Hamilton’s opposition if you guys are working together? XXL is Shady I don’t believe shit they do has any integrity, I read what the “real” bloggers have to say, the fans.

    • The DMV Blog Bully

      LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOO. wow @ the first thing you said.

      welp that explains that.

  • Whuzi

    How about AZ or Nas…

    you might as well add them to the newcomers section.

    Whoever wrote this is an idiot. KILLER MIKE??? Did you just start listening to hip hop or are you only 12?

  • johngone

    what type of bs is this?

    how is this even a valid review ..

    wale – ” he’s okay.”

    what kind of third grade level review is this? this is just ridiculous and amateur. GTFO

  • valdez

    LOL! @ how yall are roasting the writer.

  • hiphoplives

    How is everyone sleepin on Ya Boy?

    and how the fuck yo hatin on Curren$y da hot spitta!? he the most clever in the game hands down. JETS!

  • Chris

    rhymefest killed charles hamilton. so did that bitch that punched him. he was gonna cry if they kept rollin. and F the writer, doesn’t know what he’s talking about. just talkin about all this rap shit that’s on the radio. kid cudi is dope and changin the game more than hamilton. were all over hamilton’s dick.

  • John

    HAHAHA, this article is fucking ridiculous. Kid Cudi and Wale fuckin murdered everyone you had in the top 5 last year.

  • sam

    good call on kid cudi, he definately didnt blow up.

  • treston owens

    fuk u kid cudi on his shit bitch

  • Seriously?

    Ok, Ace Hood is really good what are you on? And really? CuDi sucks? His album is out of this world. B.o.B is extremely good as well, sure he has a couple of radio hits but all his other stuff is good. Wale also has tons of amazing songs out right now. This article is bullshit

  • SJEM

    Blu> ALL