The TIs must be done trying to inflict hipster rap on the populace.

When it was announced, yesterday or the day before, that 50 Cent would be on the cover of XXL's Dec/Jan issue, it occurred to me that he was on last year's Dec/Jan issue. For all I know, he could have been on the cover of every Dec/Jan issue going back to like '03. The only reason I know he was last year is because my parents bought a copy, because it was one of the few times I wrote anything for the print version of XXL, before the Internet Soldiers put my career on hold. It's probably still sitting on their coffee table to this day. People tend to prioritize things that are published in dead tree media, even though the things I've written for them have been absolute crap. Maybe I'll frame a copy of yesterday's post about 50 Cent banging Taheezo and give it to my mother for Christmas.

Seeing XXL's annual "two months worth of our favorite rapper, 50 Cent" issue made me realize there was no '09 version of XXL's infamous Freshman 10 issue. Last year they made a whole big thing of it, both in the magazine and on the Internets, where I'm sure they figured it would go over well, since so many of the artists featured were especially (which is to say only) popular on the Internets. There was a whole separate part of this site dedicated to the Freshman 10. Remember those viral freestyle videos? It was the gift that kept on giving. If only it had given us any good music.

I don't follow XXL the magazine closely enough to know which issue this year's Freshman 10 should have been, but I'm assuming it was the Def Jam issue, where they couldn't get anyone famous from Def Jam to show up to the photo shoot, so they had to settle for the likes of Method Man and Warren G. Which might actually work out in their favor. As recently as a few years ago, I used to smoke weed with some white guys who still crank Regulate: The G Funk Era on the reg. Someone with the tools and the talent ought to do a story on white people in the Midwest who never gave up on Warren G. It must be one of those phenomena similar to how the band Night Ranger is big in Japan, just like my dick.

But I digress.

The TIs must have seen the returns on that Asher Roth album and decided they're pushing old man rap in '10. Hence this year's VH1 Hip Honors being a tribute to Def Jam, which still employs a number of old rappers, rather than any one old rapper in particular. And then the XXL cover, which was filled with relics from the 1990s still trying to hold on to their glory days, rather than the artists you might think they'd trot out to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Def Jam Records. Public Enemy, anyone? Slick Rick couldn't possibly have had something else better to do. He does shows where it costs $5 to get in, and there's five other acts on the bill. I saw one, back in like '05. Not that I'm complaining or anything. I love '90s rap. Even the shit from '96 to '99 is starting to sound better and better, via lowered expectations, as Carles would say.

This theory occurred to me yesterday, and I kept seeing things that suggest it might be true. First there was Charles Hamilton, announcing that he's back (whatever that's supposed to mean) by posing in front of a picture that says Charles Hamilton Is Back. If that doesn't work, he might try posing with a coffee can that says J Dilla. He'll have the Internets going nuts, just like in the halcyon era of four months ago. Then there's Wale, who know better than to have Dilla produce his album via seance, or get beat up by a girl, though it doesn't seem to have done his career any good. I read yesterday that you can't even buy his album at Best Buy, and I'm assuming it's not because the aforementioned Internet Soldiers bought them all. Interscope probably only shipped as many copies as necessary to say the album was definitely released before the end of this year, for tax purposes.

Even Saigon, who was on the cover of an XXL Freshman 10 issue before it was all trendy, got caught last night trying to beg some obscure video ho for her phone number, on Twitter. You know your career isn't going well, when you can't nail one of these video hoes. Joe Budden dropped one and found another in less time than it takes me to wash my good pair of pants. Even Red Cafe (who?) is risking the herp to hump Ashley Logan. Fortunately for Saigon, he's old enough to pass for old man rap. He might need to holler at whoever's running Def Jam these days, if only to get his sex life in order.