We Gon Make It?

Hate him or love him, I’m pretty sure everybody agrees that Drake is set as far as commercial success.

His buzz may fizzle a bit by the time Thank Me Later drops, but there’s no way he won’t at least go gold. And a gold plaque prediction only comes with looking at the glass half empty. Should Drizzy continue performing at his current pace, sky’s the limit. He could easily become a platinum, or multiplatinum artist, rap’s next superstar. The way things are going nowadays, we need some new blood on the charts badly.

As previously mentioned in this blog, I’m actually feeling several new generation acts. Artists like Blu, B.o.B. and J. Cole make me excited about rap again, which is more than I can say for the last few freshmen waves to have invaded the internets. The thing is, as much as I like some of these guys’s music, I’m not totally sold on whether or not they’ll become stars. My colleagues and I often have this discussion. Will so and so pop, will so and so make it. With that in mind, I decided to take a look at a few fresh talents and share my two cents on their chance to stardom.—Jackpot

Nicki Minaj: Ms. Minaj is a star, not a star as in status (yet), but her personality, presence, charisma. There’s just something about her. The music is there too. She seems to have a few skeptics out there and the common critique is that she doesn’t put out enough material, but I believe in her song-making ability and appeal. Being part of red-hot Young Money with today’s highest selling rapper and the game’s most promising rookie won’t hurt either. So what if some of her content is too reminiscent of Kim and Foxy? Nicki’s the perfect candidate to end the female MC drought. She has a pretty nice set up, let’s just hope they don’t mess it up.

Kid Cudi: I’m not the biggest Cudi supporter, but I respect his ability to create catchy melodies. “Day ‘N’ Nite” was fire and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has another heater in the stash. Dude’s a bit delusional, though. I heard this interview where says he was Top 5…what, why, when, where, how is this guy Top 5 at anything? Come on! Dude is definitely gassed up, but it comes off weird cause he has no personality. I actually don’t know too many people who like Cudi… mostly people who are working his project. It seems like the looks he’s been getting are courtesy of his Kanye affiliation, not because people think he’s dope. I heard part of Man on the Moon. It wasn’t that bad. Then again, it wasn’t that good either. I think Cudi will probably do Asher numbers, which is probably a lot less than he expects. Guess I’m being judgmental, huh?

J. Cole: Probably my favorite new artist aside from Drake and Blu. Cole comes from the rhyme animal mold and makes good relatable music. The thing is, is it appealing enough to move units? He’s sick, but so were Freeway and Beans, and these are different times. It’s a lot harder for someone in Cole’s lane to chart these days, but if awareness on this kid continues to spread by the time his debut’s ready, he may just pull it off.

Blu: This may sound bad, but Blu will probably never blow up on a mainstream level. The thing is, I’m not sure he cares. Out of all these rookies, he’s probably the closest to his end game than anybody. Already, the Los Angeles lyricist is cultivating a devoted fanbase. The major label route isn’t the one for Blu, especially since I heard he doesn’t want to play the game. He should just get rich off independent releases and international tours. And he probably will.

Wale: [See Kid Cudi for almost everything expect the album is reportedly dope.]

B.o.B.: First off, this kid needs to get off the boo boo and stop confusing people with his damn name. The music is there. It’s just a matter or whether or not the people get it. I definitely think B.o.B. has the potential to blow up if he makes the right moves.

What do you guys think? Which one of these new kids has a shot at stardom?

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • Brahsef

    J Coles that dude. He’s got the best chance to go big than any of the others you’ve mentioned. Unlike Beans and Freeway, he can go huge because he isn’t rough around them edges like those two. He can make some smooth ass shit, while not club bangers chicks can get down too. I know numerous girls that love “Lights Please”, he can craft quality.

    • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

      J. Cole’s definitely got skills.

      • Silly Chilly Willy

        What’s good, P!

        J. Cole is dope, no doubt. I see him in the same lane as Lupe Fiasco, somehow. Both for skill and commercial potential.

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    Awwwwwww…no Asher Roth?

    I don’t know if any of them will be stars. In addition to the music, you need a personality. DMX was entertaining as hell, even in an interview. These days, I’d rather hear 50 get interviewed than put out a single.

    I like Wale a lot and getting Lady Gaga on his song was smart since people like my girl now know who he is because of her but star? Ehh…

    Nicki Minaj has something but she NEEDS to do something with that awful weave. Not feeling that…

  • avon

    j cole is dope but i think him being signed to roc nation could hurt his chances of hip hop stardom drake is dope as well hes gonna blow for sure blu wont blow up but i too dont think he cares im ridin with cudi just because im from cleveland but he sort of sucks just like b.o.b or bobby ray fuck him hes lame i never really got why wale was so big on the net i dont much care for his music i think charles hamilton had a good shot at blowing up but hes feelin himself 2 mulfuckin much and gettin his jaw rocked aint help his case but far as whos the bet new jack i gotta ride with j cole first drake second and im pissed papoose aint drop shit yet that nigga can forget about another major deal he need to just sign with koch or babygrande or sum shit and give us that album change the title tho nacirema dream that shit sounds silly

  • Grand Prixx

    good post jackpot,i think we should debate more about the new generation than the usual suspects.my fave’s of the new class are wale,jcole,blu,big sean,drake,charles hamilton among others n think they could all have decen careers.if u mean “blow up” as in plat plaques i doubt they will do those kinda numbers but i think they all have the ability 2 sell close 2 gold(350,000-500,00) over the course of a year consistently and have successful show draws 4 a minute(especially wale n b.o.b.).i hope they’re all have long careers because they’re all talented artists in their own right

  • General

    Nicki Minaj-No. I agree that a new female MC needs to breakthrough, but she ain’t the one…

    Kid Cudi-He has a lot of potential and has a decidely different sound and approach to his music than anyone right now, but he may be too different for most people. That being said, he will be around for a 2nd and 3rd CD.

    J. Cole-He does have the “goods” to be big, but unfortunately I don’t think Jay will let him out of his shadow on the Roc, nor will his project be a priority. Hell, Jay is already promoting his next Cd when BP3 hasn’t even been released yet.

    Blu-You hit that on the head. I don’t think he cares to be a huge star and is happy with where he is and will be, which is underground

    Wale-I like a lot of his tracks, but i just don’t know that he really has that star factor

    B.o.B.-He has the co-sign of so many artists that believe in his talent, but he still seems like he is tryin to find himself musically. If he ever does, I think he will be a star

  • latino heat

    Nicki is trash. plain and simple. i wish she would do prOn instead.

    i hope B.O.B. blows up but he’s had 2 singles and neither one went anywhere though. T.I.’s cosign might help him appeal to the ladies if he can give him a Shoulder Lean type single. i don’t see him going that direction though. i wouldn’t be surprised if he never even drops a album with Grand Hustle. he seems better fitted for G.O.O.D Music or a label like that.

  • Davis HussleSoft

    Yall still sleepin on Nipsey and Kalifah I think they could get some mainstream looks if their management grinds right. In this day and age its not your music that gives you mainstream success its your management and the business/relationships that give you that look. Its unfortunate but its true.

  • L.a Vet

    nipsey hussle…

    all them other cats are fads…

    except b.o.b

    @ pierzy

    u wasn’t feeling war angel???

    • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

      What up…

      I like War Angel…didn’t love it. But I mainly meant that comment more as 50 is great in interviews, so I was more complimenting that than criticizing his music and just saying that his personality helped take him to the next level. Without personality, you’re just a dude that can rhyme…

  • Jericho

    He could easily become a platinum, or multiplatinum artist, rap’s next superstar


    Lil Wayne has already lowered the standard for “rap superstar” so it should be easy for the TIs new favourite property…erm, “artist” to ascend to superstardom.

    Anyway, haven’t we already been here? Remember Asher Roth…roffle.

    I can’t see any of these “rappers” mentioned taking a step up…none of them are particularly charismatic (you know, that quality that separates “stars” from everyday bums…).

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    In defense of J. Cole, he’s certainly not as gruff and mean as Beans and Free. As far as Cudi, I like him as much as Drake and Wale.

  • Jeremy J.

    I definitly say WHERE THE HELL IS K. SPARKS on this list. Pay attention to the underground to see who’s really working/grinding. Not just those with record companies backing them. Cudi’s Day n Nite is 4 years old now. Seriously 3 songs released this year???? Dude is not getting the help he needs from G.O.O.D music. Only person I’m feeling from the list is Wale, I don’t know the other artists on the list to judge them. But cudi and wale, F cudi, wales dope.

  • capcobra

    jay rock.

  • that nigga

    Jay Roc and Nippsey Hustle. You guys always leave off the nicest niggas and then they happen to blow up, i.e., Drake. They shoulda left Cory Gunnz off too so he coulda blew up.

  • P. Harris

    Drake – I’m tired of Drake, there is such a thing as too much…

    Nicki Minaj – honestly, I haven’t heard not one track on the radio with her in it? Not in NC? But hell, I don’t listen to the radio neither. **co-sign latino heat** I want to see her in pr0n.

    Kid Cudi – Just not feeling his music… day and night was dope though.

    J. Cole – I was/am feeling J. Cole, after seeing and talking to him at a party my Frat threw in Fayetteville last week and noticing that nobody but me knew who the fuck he was. I’m showing dude even more support. Niggas was like “who was that?” I just think the nigga needs more or better promotion.

    Blu – I’ve only heard him spit over a dilla track it was dope… haven’t heard enough to judge

    Wale – He has skills but I’m not feeling his music

    B.o.B. – same as above

  • Sincere

    I think J.Cole and Wale have the best shot at blowing up. Wale makes good music that is able to be played on the radio but still manges to put some lyrics and word play in there for the underground(ie the Jasmine Sullivan song). And Cole is a beast lyrically and he produces. Blu is dope but i agree i don’t think he wants it. Cop Back 2 the feature and the warm up

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    J Cole(son is nice, picks good music)

    Nipsey(stop forgetting the West!)

    Jay Rock(see Nipsey)

    Wale(good ARTIST)

    Fashawn(how could you forget!!!)

    Nikki Minaj(girl teen idol, music no buena)

    Kid Cudi(big song, Kanye connect)

    Honorable Mention

    XV(check for this dude y’all)

    Blu(what was said is correct)

    Thee Tom Landry(don’t say I didn’t warn y’all ’bout 9TH Wonder’s boy)

    B.o.B(name waffle speaks volumes)

  • Vicious Seiger

    Blu has talent and I like that he’s about the music first and could careless if blows up or not. Below the Heavens was a damn good CD and turned me into a believer.

  • http://myspace.com/federalranga Federal Ranga

    Lil Wayne has already lowered the standard for “rap superstar” so it should be easy for the TIs new favourite property…erm, “artist” to ascend to superstardom.

    Nigga, you ain’t ever lied with that one.

    It’s not easy to break into the game, but at the same time it isn’t that hard. Bullshit sells, but we don’t tolerate it at the same time. Rap’s the only genre with this problem which is why it’s pretty difficult to even begin to identify the next big thing in rap.

    But fuck it… E8 up!!! youtube.com/federalranga

  • tronthadon

    My favorite new artist are J.Cole and Nipsey Hussle i like Wale i see him goin gold but not a superstar…tha west needs new blood and Hussle got it..and J.Cole is just a muthafuckin beast!!!
    The Warm Up is classic!!!!!!

  • westcoastaggie

    The fact that there are so many good & great artists out there is whats good and whats bad about the current music today.

    Today’s music market is just so saturated with artists that it is hard for the average fan to listen to all of music that is out today. One can literally spend days sitting on the computer listening to these artists. The average fan just isn’t going to do that. As a matter of fact, the average music fan is only going to buy what they hear over and over on the radio, BET, & MTV and the club.

    Sadly, alot of these artists (except Nikki Minaj and Drake) do not appeal to the Teenage girl marketplace, the NUMBER 1 CONSUMER OF MUSIC.

    If the artists are STILL trying to make money of selling records today like they did back in the 90′s and early this decade, they have to start puting out music that they will appeal to teenage girls. However, IF they are down to just doing music for the art, like BLU, Keep putting out the FREE MUSIC and build up the fanbase on the grassroots level and make money doing tours worldwide.

    It literally comes down now-a-days to who is able to market themselves the absolute best

  • Enlightened

    “There’s just something about her…”
    Hmmmmm let me see, could it be that we would all like to fuck that broad?

    Other than that, that bitch is horrible.
    The only thing I heard is that Itty Bitty Piggy shit, but nobody who could really spit would put that out to represent

  • Shawty J

    Nicki Minaj: I can’t call it. She seems to be very talented, but I hardly hear any of her music.

    Kid Cudi: Cudi’s alright, but I don’t see him blowing up unless everything he drops is as dope as Day N Nite. And while I like his second single, it’s mainly because of Kanye’s verse.

    J. Cole: I just downloaded his mixtape and I’ve listened to it like 5 or 6 times within the week, it’s fire. I dig Cole, but I’m not sure about his star quality. It mainly depends on what kind of a promotional push he gets. He can rap and produce very well, but I’m not sure how mainstream he is. On the positive side, song like “Lights Please” and “Get Up” shows that he knows how to write a catchy hook, and that does help.

    Blu: I saw him on the XXL cover, but I have no idea who he is.

    Wale: I’m not sure about. I dig Wale, but I hate his current single, which has had moderate success so far.

    B.o.B.: I think B.o.B. could be a star be he needs to settle on a name, and actually get some music out there. I though his old songs were good, but after hearing his most recent mixtape it’s clear that he’s been holding back, either that or he’s improved alot. I’ve seen videos of him rocking crowds, I believe he can do it!

  • X

    Blu is the best out of all the people mentioned here. Below The Heavens is a great album, he’s a good spitter, and he’s not gimmicky or effeminate (which sets him apart from a lot of people on this list).

    • Jericho

      I’m actually listening to Below The Heavens right now…it’s a lot like Elzhi’s The Preface. Good rap music but not “marketable” rap music.

      Blu is a good rapper…much better than everyone else mentioned on this drop. I agree he’s never going to be “mainstream” though. Dude is far too creative and intelligent to make it big…

  • Brooklyn

    j. cole is that nigga, and i fucks with nikki minaj too. kid cudi is a little too pop for me, so is drake, but wale can spit. i haven’t heard blu yet, though someone told me that he was nice.

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

    I think Nips isn’t on that “list” for a reason. Dudes doing the same thing The Game did, & everybody hated on him. The whole “banging on wax” strategy is a gimmick.

    I will say that he’s true to what he speaks, no doubt, but where does that fit in to this artform we call hip hop? We’re more/less talking about artists that have what it takes to arrive @ “mainstream” appeal, right? What’s appealing about gloriying gang violence? If you don’t live around here (in L.A.), or aren’t from Rollin’ Sixties, he’s not offering up much but a remix of why cats started counting us out to begin with.

    Cats like Fashawn, Pac Div, Blu, those dudes are expanding (somewhat) the creativity. Thats what needs to be happening, not more guns, more murder & more genocide. The games not reaching out for that right now, ask 50. The West does need some new blood pumping, but I’m not looking for Nipsey Hussle to bring the game, from a west coast perspective, to the forefront.

    & for the record, I grew up around the same area he stays talking about, & dude walks how he talks. That’s a fact. If that’s what it takes to be a “star” nowadays, then so be it.

    • David HussleSoft

      Im a eastcoast dude and I fuck wit Nipsey music real heavy. I dont think he is bangin on wax or glorifying gang culture. In my opinion he makes some heart felt hood shit that I like. I would say he talks more about husslin and grindin then bangin.
      I only hear west coast dudes say that he is glorifying bangin I dont see it maybe because Im to far from the west or maybe dudes out in the west are to close and only see the gang aspect of his music.

      • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands


        Actually, thats a good point. I’ve noticed the difference between coasts & how they feel about him.

        Maybe that could be it; so close to it that we don’t want to hear about it. I’m going to give him a few more listens based off the fact that I may be biased. Word.

      • Brooklyn

        co-sign husslesoft completely. i’m east coast and i think that nipsey is the best thing to come out the west coast in a minute. he’s a rarity in that he’s a young dude but he’s making hard music, none of that hip-pop dancing shit that a lot of guys his age are making. he’s got them street bangers, that’s why i fuck with him,

  • Produnkgirl

    I respect every thing you said. J. Cole is up their for me though. Kid Cudi is ok, he’s not that ill but to say that Wale is similar to him, Are you fucking killing me. Wale is the only one to really blow everyone you mentioned out of the water! His cadence,personality, with,skills, delivery, the beats he pick to rap over. He’s illy. Like YN said on RapRadar why won’t you let Wale be great.

  • http://danjlovesthe90s.wordpress.com DANJ!

    Yeah… I’m calling it for Minaj.

    That female rapper void being wide open for someone to take it, the Young Money co-sign, and the fact that there are actually young girls out there who love this broad already (for inexplicable reasons)… all signs point to her blowing up. She’s practically a hit away from gaining the notice she needs to become a star. And yeah, I agree- I’m not crazy about her music, but the star quality is there.


  • jeff

    I think you may be sleeping on Blu a little bit. Not that you are questioning his skills, but he has that ‘IT’ factor these other dudes don’t quite have. As far as longevity in this game, I can see him going that Common route without making ‘The Light’ or ‘Go’. Below The Heavens is one of those albums that is hard to front on…regardless of what kind of hip hop you typically go for. Most of the folks I know who copped that went on to cop Johnson & Jonson and CRAC Knuckles. If his timing is right, he’s gonna be a huge star. Drake was made into ‘IT’. He has already hit his apex so once girls move on…it’s a wrap. Kudi’s song was big in a ‘youtube I heard it on the internet type of way’ but not really. B.O.B. is just different than most southern artists so I think people just appreciate him more than they’ll actually support it. I think the BP3 not being what a lot of people wanted it to be will mess up J. Cole’s momentum. Nicki Minaj = Tax Write off…but she could get lucky. Wale is not gonna blow. I’m from DC and he just won’t have the support.

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    We don’t have an up & cumin’ female mc @ present that can carry the torch left by the likes of Lauryn Hill etc,Nonchalant,Queen Latifah etc……..

    I’m impressed though with the new crop of male mc ie.

    Bobby Ray – fresh & expriemental
    Nipsey Hu$$le – the WC is awaitin’ 4 a saviour
    J Cole – he might the next big thing
    Cudi – can make it
    Asher Roth – his 2nd LP will b’ fiya’
    Blu & Drizzy ah gonna run this shit if they drop classic album material

  • che

    you know you can listen to the entire blueprint 3 plus bonus album tracks on faceZook .com too, it’s got all the lyrics and loads of videos and stuff on it.

    it’s pretty cool, you guys should check it out.




  • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

    J.Cole is pretty tight no lie…heard a few of his tracks and they sound dope. I still have yet to get his mixtape though…yall know where I can get it?

  • http://xxl ryan

    j.cole 2 mixtapes were hella good. too bad i see jayz hendering his career

    blu is not a new artist hes been around for 2 dam years. kinda sad artist like him wont be heard by the masses(anyway that below the heavens is a great album if not a classic album)

    drake is garbage by all means. the dude lyrics are some of the most pathetic shit i ever heard. dude is a creation from the fuckin music industry which yall fools dont seem to understand

    nicki minaj is by far the worst female rapper i ever heard (dont believe me listen 2 itty bitty piggy)

    kid cudi is ok his flow is just something i dont appeal to