They were merely freshmen

When there wasn’t a Freshman 10 issue of XXL this past fall, I thought they might have done away with the idea of spotlighting up and coming artists on the cover, embarrassed at the clusterfuck the ’09 class had become, but it could just be that it took a few more months to come up with a list of 10 artists worth spotlighting. I’ve hardly so much as heard of half of the artists on this year’s list, and it’s obviously not because XXL didn’t have time to conduct a proper search.

I’m sure part of the problem is that XXL didn’t want too many hipster rappers on this year’s list. Last year’s list, as I recall, was pretty much all hipster rappers, except for Ace Hood – and even he could be viewed as primarily an Internets phenomenon, in the sense that his career doesn’t really exist outside of the context of jokes about it on Twitter.

#uknowuacehoodwhen the highlight of your career is the fact that a song by Shyne was deemed not good enough to be on an album by DJ Khaled, which probably has an Ace Hood song on it.

The only member of this year’s class who could be viewed as a hipster rapper is Wiz Khalifa, who doesn’t look particularly, erm, hip on the cover, but I’ve seen pictures of him in clothes that look like they might have come from Hot Topic. They sell guys clothes at Hot Topic, right? Regardless, it looks like he might be trying to switch up his image. He’s got more tattoos than Lil Wayne and Baby combined, despite his Kid Cudi-esque physique (no homo), but he’s got on a black long sleeve shirt that covers up all but the ones on his neck. And a chain with a huge P medallion. I’m pretty sure people who shop at Hot Topic don’t wear chains – unless it’s to signal an interest in BDSM to the other kids at your middle school.

I know Wiz Khalifa had a deal with Wonder Bros. that didn’t end up going anywhere. From what I understand, from the veritable fuckton of emails I’ve received from his handlers, he had a song that actually got some play in the club, but either there was never an album recorded in time to capitalize on it, or maybe there was, but the TIs didn’t feel like it was worth being released. Maybe the TIs saw what happened with Asher Roth, Wale, Charles Hamilton, so on and so forth and were like, fuck that shit! If that’s the case, you can see why he might want to put a shirt on and order a chain from out the back of XXL, in the section with the pr0n ads, across from the part where they used to mention Def Jux albums, however briefly. Now, if he could only come up with another song people give a shit about.

At the very least, it shouldn’t be too difficult for him to come up with a song more popular than anything last year’s class came up with. Indeed, this year’s class could end up being more successful than last year’s much ballyhooed class, if only because last year’s class set the bar so low. Even though there’s hardly anyone in this year’s class I could pick out of a lineup, other than Nipsey Hu$$le, who has a very distinct look – like a cross between Prodigy from Mobb Deep and a cholo. As the late great Noz pointed out in his post in which he seriously discussed each individual artist’s career prospects, as if anyone gives a shit, OJ Da Juiceman has now been on the cover of XXL twice. In the same year, even. They don’t even put Jay-Z on the cover more than once a year. Unless someone from the first freshman class – of which I can remember hardly anyone, even though I may have been working here at the time – has since made the cover, OJ Da Juiceman might be the only freshman to ever appear on more than one cover of XXL, as if he were Lil Wayne.

Drake is probably the only new guy from the past year or so that I could imagine on the cover of XXL on his own (or in a sweaty, post-coital embrace with Baby, as the case may be), but he didn’t want to be a member of this year’s freshman class. There was a story over at MTV News a few weeks ago in which one of the guys from the Mail Room asked XXL’s editor in chief whether Drake would be a member of this year’s class, and she wouldn’t confirm or deny. As if there’s 10 other up and coming rappers they’d pick before Drake, like they did last year. Then Drake revealed, in some video on YouTube, that he and Nicki Minaj opted out of this year’s class, because they felt like they were too good for the Freshman 10 at this point (though Nicki Minaj was obviously not too good for the freshman 15 – zing!), and clearly he’s still salty about not being included in last year’s class, even though it may have been career suicide. Damn.

It must be tough, for the other guys on the list, to hear that other people turned down being on the same list, because they felt like it was beneath them. I would never receive an award for anything (I’ve never been so much as nominated for one of those black blog awards), but if someone were to give me an award for the important work I do scouring the Internets for especially breathtaking pictures of women, and I found out that they were originally gonna give the award to someone else, but he thought he was too good for it, I’d definitely rack my brain for something insensitive to say about him. Drake must not have been concerned that anyone from this year’s class would go at him for belittling what’s almost certainly their lives’ crowning achievements. Even though there’s plenty of material on the Internets with which to make fun of Drake, including that picture of him in a wheelchair, and that video of his grandma spitting a hot 16. It just goes to show you how soulless and corporate this whole endeavor is. Though I guess there were a couple of people who benefited from Drake and Nicki Minaj having standards for themselves. I wonder who they were. One of them was probably Donnis, right? Who the fuck is Donnis?

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  • Jon Dog

    Great post!!! Slim pickinz these days. It’s hard to be open minded to new hip hop. I like some new shit, but for the most part, I think it’s crap. I would’ve hated to be the guy who had to pick a whole 10, YIKES!!!

  • No Mames Buey

    Fashawn is a good rapper. His “Boy Meets World” album with great beats from Exile, is a classic, a word I use rarely, maybe 15-20 classics per DECADE.

    Don’t cry that “hip hop sucks now” if u haven’t spun that album yet. In fact, you should review it on ur site already, u’ll prolly enjoy it more than that faggatory indie rock stuff u review.

    • Josh

      Per decade??? There might only be 15-20 true classics in the history of hip hop.

      • valdez

        in no particular order:

        1. makaveli: 7th day theory
        2. paid in full
        3. reasonable doubt
        4. illmatic
        5. the carter 1
        6. the blueprint
        7. all eyes on me
        8. low end theory
        9. ready 2 die
        10. life after death
        11. speakerboxx/love below
        12. aquemini
        13. the chronic
        14. doggystyle
        15. st. elsewhere
        16. the odd couple

        (sorry eminem stans, but marshall does NOT make the list)

        • elimatic

          The Carter 1?
          St. elsewhere and the Odd Couple?

          try again.


          the miseducation of Lauryn Hill
          36 Chambers.
          Midnight Muraders.

          GTF outa here.

        • ladidadida

          nawww st. elsewhere was amazing innovative but the odd couple is ehh…. Common’s Be!

  • Tiiz

    As much as these posts crack me up, I hate it when Bol clowns people who’s music he’s never heard. Would I be wrong for saying Wiz has more bangers than anyone else on there?

    • AZ40

      No, you’d be dead on about Wiz, in fact most of these artist have their own solid cult following which is what it looks like hip hop is becoming these days, who’s falt is it if Bol has never heard of these artist…stop sleeping and stop waiting for the radio and t.v to tell you what to like

  • that nigga

    OJ Da Juiceman has now been on the cover of XXL twice. In the same year, even.

    Now, thats crazy. OJ da Jew man should never ever, ever be on any magazine covers that have to do with rap. He should be on one of those “How not to speak when spoken to” books or some shit… And If I were Drake or Nicki I wouldnt have done that “Freshman” bullshit either. There ten times better than that whole group from last year. But this year, Nipsy, Jay Roc, Wiz Khalifa and J Cole will pick up the slack for the rest of them trash wrappers….(Notice the spelling)

    • valdez

      ^^drake and minaj better than wale and cudi??


  • Worley

    Judging from the past few “freshmen” covers I can say with certainty that at least 8 of the 10 “won’t be around next year.” It’s a bad omen like winning the Heisman.

  • Mike Streezy

    Lol @ the Ace Hood twitter comment. I think I read somewhere that Ace Hood’s song replaced Shyne’s. Crazy. I actually like Ace Hood’s stuff even though I gotta admit I wasn’t open to it at first.

  • DV8

    maybe they should cut the list in half or only make it 3.

    I know yall gotta feel dumb after getting dissed by Drake after yall slobbed him all year.

    Here is a idea how about you reward MC’s who earned the respect and acclaim to grace the cover? Garbage rappers like OJ Da Jewmane and Gucci should never grace any cover.

  • Pierzy

    ” that he and Nicki Minaj opted out of this year’s class, because they felt like they were too good for the Freshman 10 at this point (though Nicki Minaj was obviously not too good for the freshman 15 – zing!)”


    Karen Civil, take notes.

    • Curtis75Black

      What a way to put her out there Bol !!

    • Detroit P

      Dont give Bol any credit for that freshman 15 joke. he jacked the idea for it from Noz’s post about the freshman 10 @ cocaine blunts….Noz said they should call it the freshman 15 so it would be some sort of pun….all Bol did was connect the dots and aim his hatred at a black female(who has not seemed to have gained any weight)…so the joke didnt fit in the first place…..another example of Bol’s black woman hate

  • og bobby j

    they should do a battle each year, between the new clas and the previsou class…kind of like handing over the torch…maybe even have successful rapper judge it…

    just an idea…

  • Juice is Lose

    OJ the Juiceman is the best on the list w/o a doubt. Gucci Mane we need you back to bring some entertainment to this industry for fuck sake, so break out pimpin. Juice is flossin unlike the other rappers. This just tells you who is getting MONEY$$$$$$$$$$$$. Atlanta’s Finest Out Now!!!!

    • SCrote

      Juice is Lose. Nuff said.

      • mousie

        Well damn… if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes…

  • John Cochran

    Who cares who’s on the cover of the magazine? I aint bought a copy since like 07. It’s kinda stupid for XXL too, cause if Im a customer of the magazine that isnt on the net checking for artists
    (there may be some out there), Im not gonna know who any of these guys are and I’m not gonna bother buying it. I mean I like Donnis, but he got on off one tape. You need more than that.

  • southsidereef

    “OJ the Juiceman is the best on the list w/o a doubt. Gucci Mane we need you back to bring some entertainment to this industry for fuck sake, so break out pimpin. Juice is flossin unlike the other rappers. This just tells you who is getting MONEY$$$$$$$$$$$$. Atlanta’s Finest Out Now!!!!”

    hahahahahahaha, Jewman is the best because he got more jewelery on? ohh the the ignorance lol

  • Wow

    You were top 3 before you started taking shots at Wiz. Still LMAO at majority of this post

  • Deadly MIME

    In reality most of the dudes in the “Freshmen 10 list this year ain’t really gonna do anything. At least one of em is gonna capitalize on their buzz. XXL only picks these guys not cause they think their good, but because they have been on the net, ppl are talking about em, and plus it all has to do with popularity potential. Look at dude like Asher Roth, Chuck Hamilton, and Wale. hey were on the list a few years back and look at what has became of them. What Drake and Nicki did was smart because the Freshmen 10 cosigns new artists that they feel will be big. I think Drake and Nicki feel they dont need that validation cause they have such a huge fan base and the hotteset rapper in hip-hop right now is cosigning them so I agree why be on the list. XXL aint that credible.

  • EReal

    That cover looks like a years worth of unsigned hype columns; shitty ones.

  • KS

    if you dont know who J. Cole is find out. Really talented dude.

    • O2theC

      yh man hands dwn, the dopest on the list. dudes got a bright future, a talented MC & Producer let’s hope he goes far

  • lupe?

    the only good mc on this list is fashawn. everybody else is mediocre at best.

  • Blakout615

    J.cole and Freddie Gibbs>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  • latino heat

    the freshmen 10 has become like MTV’s hottest mc’s list. not really credible, dosen’t really break any new artists to the main stream and dosen’t result in any record sales. look at the 1st freshmen 10 in 2007, 4 of them still don’t have official DEBUT albums out 2 and a half years later. the 2nd cover has 3 artists still waiting to drop a debut a year and a half later. and the ones that have manged to drop an album (or 2) have all pretty much flopped.

    all the list does is create some buzz for the magazine on the internet. maybe that’s all the list is really for now is to create some buzz for the mag and not the actual artists on the cover.


      i appreciate that you took time to research it.

      • latino heat

        @ bboycult

        the funny thing is, as i was doing the research i was thinking to myself “i’m doing more research just to comment on one of Bol’s blog’s then Bol does to write his actual blog’s.” and he’s the one getting paid. ain’t that a bitch? lol.

  • The real chris

    Oj the worst and i mean the worst rapper ever and guccimane is the second and wacka-flocka the 3rd worst eva.i mean those guys are really clowns and are killing hip real bad.thats y i mostly listen to veteran rappers who deserves to be called a rapper.

  • The real chris

    And to juice is loose,that clown gucci has brought enough entertaiment to the industry more than it can bear.i can tell u a true gucci fan i bet he yo hero.face it he trash he is a joke and he is a clown let dude stay away aslong as possibble

  • Brahsef

    Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

    Damn, you’re all salty here hating on XXL for puttin on people who have yet to grace a cover. What do you all want, your favorite 90s artists to keep getting coverage?

    J-Cole, Pill, Nipsey, Wiz, Big Sean, and Jay Rock are all decent as fuck and deserve some publicity outside the internet. I’ve heard good things about Gibbs, Fashawn, and Donnis; I just haven’t heard their shit yet.

    OJ Da Juiceman…Well XXL can’t be perfect out here.

    On the real though, don’t know if Wiz should be considered a Freshmen. He may never have been put on really, but he’s been in the game for six years.

    Oh and OG, if they did a battle between them all, that’d be epic. Post each battle on the site, shit would get mad hits.

  • DVS

    The only reason Minaj got buzz is b/c she standin’ next to lil wang and the same for Drake, his buzz just grew more, I guess if you nominated for grammys and shit you don’t really need this cover it’s like the madden curse of hip hop

  • Brooklyn

    i think nipsey, fashawn, jay roc, and j-cole are nice. i’ve heard of the others, though i’ve never heard any of their music, except for oj da doucheman, because my ignent ass neighbors play that nigga’s music like it’s going out of style. i don’t think the freshmen list is about who xxl thinks is going to be big more than it’s who they think has the potential to be big. xxl just puts these dudes out there, it’s up to these dudes, the record companies, and the fans (if there are any) to do the rest.

  • Jubei Kibigami

    I’m not gonna front, I live for Bol’s posts!! Always hilarious whether I agree with him or not (and on this one, I agree with most of it. That ‘Freshman 15′ line about Nicki Minaj had me dying!!)Fuck ‘em if they get mad! Keep ‘em coming, Bol..

  • EmCDL

    J.Cole is fire, dude got flows for days. I’ve heard great things about Fashawn but have yet to listen to his music; been meaning to cop his ‘Boy Meets World’ album for awhile now. I’ve heard Wiz on some of R.A.’s stuff and I have yet to listen to Nipsy’s material. This list is way better than last year’s…tell me if I’m wrong…

  • thoreauly77/ian

    “unless it’s to signal an interest in BDSM to the other kids at your middle school.”

    now THIS is fucking funny.

  • hate

    fashawn’s “boy meets world” =

    best album of 09

    best debut of the decade

    skyzoo “the salvation” was excellent too

  • BlackBoy

    Verve Pipe reference, Bol?

    c’mon son!

  • Good Money

    Knock OJ all you want, dude is the most recognized guy on that list… He can’t rap, but he’s getting spins in every hood. Although J. Cole probably is the best artist, but he ties a few people depending on what you like…

  • Anonymous

    Have you not heard of j.cole, The warm up check the shit out or ya just listen to radio shit, plus fashawn, plus pills, and da nigga nipsey was in the we our the world vid, wtf and wiz doin his shit with curren$y just cause you dnt see dem on Bet or hear dem on the radio means nuffin, cuz every one of dez niggas vids been up on mtv jams, fuck da radio and dat commercial shit

  • Anonymous

    dis dude is obviously lame as hell n knocks shit b4 he knows what he is talkin bout listen 2 dese rappers b4 u clown them last year freshman were mostly good too just that people like u and radio dont give them a fuckin chance because it about ignorant shit.listenin to da same kinda shit all da time lame…j cole is the future so is wiz big sean n all da others up der get off bet and da radio dick…fools