Who’d Be Your Top Pick in a Rap Draft? – Free Agents Pool

In light of the speculation surrounding LeBron James’ pending free agency; I wondered what would happen if a similar thing happened in hip-hop. Could you imagine if much of the rap game’s top flight talent were free agents on the open market? Who could garner the LeBron-like attention and Benjamins that came with it if they were free to sign with any label?

In my imaginary scenario, however, there is a criteria. Something to dwindle down the playing field. Only rappers who didn’t release a debut album before June 2003 (the year LeBron James was drafted into the league) are allowed to participate in this free agent class.

Whip out your checkbooks and let the games begin. Which of these 12 MCs would you sign to a once in a lifetime lucrative deal? Well, if you had your own label, of course. —Rondell Conway

DRAKE

Pros: The multi-talented Canadian has game on both sides of hip-hop’s musical spectrum—rapper and singer. After a breakout rookie season, this perennial chart-topper won’t come cheap, but he’s the type of talent you can build a music franchise around.

Cons: Like the all the greats before him, Drizzy still has to prove he can put together a complete body of work.

NICKI MINAJ

Pros: Minaj is the most attractive female prospect in the game. Even with an unorthodox approach, the Queens native has shown an ability to make others around her better.

Cons: While her throngs of supporters indicate she’s a definite franchise rapper, her first single leads one to believe rap greatness is no slam dunk.

KANYE WEST

Pros: There have been concerns about his attitude, but there is no doubt West possesses all-world talent. Not since His Airness has a Chi-town player brought this much hardware back to the Windy City.

Cons: His ego. Had a few run-ins with the media. His Dennis Rodman-like flamboyance may offend some of his peers.

GAME

Pros: At 6’6” the Compton rapper was blessed with the physical and lyrical ability to be a force in rap. His aggressive style on offense can be an attribute, he’s not afraid to go one-on-one against the other team’s best player.

Cons: His game (no pun) can be erratic at times. May have issues playing with teammates. Has had his Ron Artest moment with a fan.

GUCCI MANE

Pros: With a game tailor-made for the streets, Gucci has become one of the hottest players on the market. Not fundamentally sound, his flashy play and trash-talk makes him a fan favorite in some regions.

Cons: Hire a lawyer. The Atlanta native has a rap sheet that would make the old Portland Jailblazers seem like model citizens.

JIM JONES

Pros: A hard worker Jones is admittedly not the most talented baller in the game, but he’s a crafty leader who knows how to take a squad to victory.

Cons: Needs to be surrounded by talented players to get the job done.

LUPE FIASCO

Pros: Arguably the most talented lyricist in the game. He’s a looming threat to any of rap’s top MCs.

Cons: Two albums into his career and his passion for the sport has been called into question at times.

SOULJA BOY

Pros: Few boast a rookie campaign like Soulja had in 2007. A No. 1 record, millions in ringtone sales, and dominant presence on the Internet that paved the way for future online rappers. Despite the doubters, the hits keep coming. He’s shown the ability to be a marketable star in various entertainment outlets.

Cons: Though he’s said to be working on improving his game, SB lacks the skill set to take him to the next level.

YOUNG JEEZY

Pros: A natural motivator, the Atlanta wordsmith knows how to get the best out of the people around him.

Cons: His numbers have dropped since a breakout season in 2005. May need some motivating himself to get things back on track.

RICK ROSS

Pros: Behind his customary dark shades the rotund rapper can see the entire court. With a well-tuned ear for beats and ferocious appetite for lyrics the Boss stays on point.

Cons: A checkered past may bother some suitors.

JAY ELECTRONICA

Pros: The New York transplant from New Orleans has earned the respect of his peers and with a style that’s reminiscent of the good ol’ days in the Big Apple.

Cons: Unpredictable. Unreliable. Works at his own pace.

B.O.B

Pros: Another two-way talent (raps and sings), Bobby Ray proved this year that he’s more than just a role player on a successful franchise. The Andre 3000 comparisons are no longer as far-reaching.

Cons: His recent chart-topping pop play may have turned away some rap purist. He still needs to prove he’s an ace with the wordplay.

  • The187Worm

    FUCK YOU XXLMAG THIS LIST IS FUCKING TRASH EXCEPT B.O.B N —JAY ELECT. ALL THE REST IS WHATS WRONG WITH THIS FUCKIGN MUSIC TODAY YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

    CROOKED I!!!!
    JOELL ORTIZ!!!
    YA-BOY!!!!<goin commercial now too wtf! but still got great shit…
    T-Rock!!!
    Ludacris
    Eminem

    YES IM A HATER N PROUD OF IT!…FUCK WAYNE , GUCCI, DRAKE, MINAJ,OJ DA JUICE, WACKA FLOCKA,SOULJA i can keep going but you know who the fuck i mean…fuck all yall and burn! and i know if BIG L , BIGGIE , TUPAC were alive today this shit wouldnt be happening

    • latino heat

      @ The 187Worm

      did you read the rules homie? Em and Luda released their debuts in ’99 and 2000. the rules are nobody that dropped a album before June ’03.

      and who is T-Rock? that dude that used to be down with 3-6 mafia?

    • beaver

      @187worm..
      i agree..
      wheress joell crooked???

      oh u also forgot Big L.. just sayin..

      fuckk gucci and them..

  • THA TRUTH

    FUCK GAME, ROSS, & DRAKE CUZ THEY FAKE!!

    FUCK GUCCI, SOULJA BOY, & BOB CUZ THEY WACK!!

    & THATS THA THRUTH

    • http://mozilla LI PUPU

      GOTTA ASK U WHATS FAKE BOUT DRAKE. HE AINT TALKN BOUT SELLN DOPE, BRICKS AND HE AINT QUOTING DOPE PRICES. HE JUST RAP. UM JUS ASKN

      • El Tico Loco

        Nobody ever said that his subject matter is what makes him (Drake)fake, even though he does talk the same money, hoes club shit that every other rapper talks about, is not even his background because Robin Thicke got a pass, the difference is that you can tell that Drake is trying hard as hell to fit in and delivery sounds forced like a mug, it doesn’t help that he’s being forcefed to the people by the machine. If his aim was to change the game he should came in with something different you can’t have change and you bring the same thing to the pot. He got what it takes but he’s not thinking for himself he’s a robot just like in the commercial.

      • Infamous1

        DRAKE IS FAKE BCUZ HE IS ALWAYS THROWIN UP BLOOD GANG IN VIDEOS & PICS. IF U LOOK @ DA PHOTOS 4 THE XXL SPREAD HE DID HE IS THROWIN UP A BLOOD GANG SALUTE & IT IS SAID THAT HE GREW UP IN A NICE AREA OUTSIDE OF TORONTO, YET HE REPS TORONTO INSTEAD OF WHERE HE IS FROM. & HE ACTS LIKE HE WAS DEAD BROKE B4 HE BECAME A RAPPER, BUT HE HAD ACTING MONEY & HE WAS APART OF A R&B GROUP SO HE HAD MONEY FROM DAT 2.

  • AZ40

    I’d pick Kanye he’s an actual artist and he’ll do numbers…Lupe and B.o.B are artist but besides sold out shows I don’t think they’d reach platinum(but that’s okay)

    It would all depend on what your looking for, the dying art of getting tv/radio time, an actor/character, someone to sell singles but not actual albums or a rapper who’ll do/say/wear anything just for attention.

    • Dom Walker

      I feel you on this, good point i coildnt agree more

  • SansBeach

    This is easy Kanye hands down he makes good music and does better numbers then anyone else. Drake and Nicki have potential but are unproven. I dont think anybody on this list is or will be the caliber of artist that he is. Maybe B.O.B. but he will not do the same numbers.

  • General

    Who in their freakin right mind would pick Nicki Minaj or Soulja Boy as a “franchise” type rapper for a label, GTFOH

    • Eff That

      completely agree with that and to Li PuPu, the only reason drake got his degrassi ass in the door was from the instant wayne co-sign which pretty much transferred the blind wayne fans (we’ve all met these media brainwashed people) over to drake giving him a foundation to stand on and then everyone allofasudden every fuckin rapper gives dude a free pass?! what happened to the struggle of getting your music out, on that note fuck diggy simmons we shouldn’t allow people to come into hip-hop based off family history this aint a company where a son can become CEO just because his father’s retired

  • steve-o

    B.O.B. has the most upside potential. He has a good crossover sound that appeals to the largest audience. Is he the best rapper on the list? NO, that would go to to lupe, and jay elect. But I am assuming if your talking about building a label you want that star power that will make you money and that is B.O.B.

  • DV8

    Thinking that you have a overhead to cover you have to go with someone who sells. Being the Hip Hop purist that I am I absolutely have to have some creativity. SO that being said. To cover both topics (revenue, creativity) I would draft Kanye West.

    But if it was based purely on creativity it would definetly be Jay Electronica.

    P.S. Why are Soulja Boy and Jim Jones on this list. You could have gave Rich Boy a spot instead of those 2.

    • DV8

      oh yeah and Lupe Fiasco on the creativety tip too.

      I hear Ross makes good music. Maybe one day ill get around to checking him out. I havent listened to one of his albums yet.

  • mrwm1234

    kanye all day g.o.o.d music in this b*tch

  • mrwm1234

    and where is j.cole on this list

    kanye
    j,cole
    big sean
    jay-z
    jay elcetronica
    MY STARTING 5

  • http://dopeave.com MrWillDoIt

    Are you serious? Where’s J. Cole?
    Are you serious? Where’s J. Cole?
    Are you serious? Where’s J. Cole?
    Are you serious? Where’s J. Cole?

  • capcobra

    the kanye pick is a no brainer..give us another list with the last 30-40 xxl freshmen.

  • latino heat

    Kanye, hands down. the purists love him and the cross over appeal is still there. the question is, are the white people still going to support him after the Taylor Swift incident. he hasn’t dropped one single since that happened. after the longest layoff of his career he may end up more like Penny Hardaway then Michael Jordan.

    Ross has a “appetite for lyrics”? that fat fuck has a appetite for lies, that’s about it.

    Jezzy, “knows how to get the best out of people around him”? word, you ever heard that USDA album?

    when did Game go Ron Artest on a fan?

    Nicki is only the most attractive prospect because she’s the ONLY female prospect in the game. and with that nasty ass blonde wig on there is nothing attractive about her.

  • Dom Walker

    This list is not that good. Obviously Kanye is the smartest pick. Even though drake hasnt proven himself yet i think he will. Soulja boy, NO WAY. I mean sales is a big part of making it but he just makes terrible music. B.O.B. and Lupe would be next up to kanye though

    Should have thrown some new faces in their though kanye, the game, jezzy, rick have all been around long enough to were people know who they are and are familiar with their music.

    Where’s Kid Cudi, Asher Roth, Cory Gunz, Consequence, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Chip Tha Ripper at?

  • El Tico Loco

    If those are the draft choices I might have to go to check a different league. Drake will change his name to Jamarcus Leaf Oden after june 15, Kanye is Ocho Owens where he’s good but you can’t stand the ego, Jeezy, Gucci, BOB, and Soulja Boy are the Atlanta_______ that means you get a winning season but sooner or later they gonna choke, Jim Jones is Sasha Longley was part of a winning team but he was not a factor, Lupe Fiasco and Jay Electronica are the Kevin Durant, and Barry Sanders of this, all the talent but on the wrong team. OJ the Juice Man and Stephen Curry are possible the same person(that was random damn). With that said my starting five are Slaughterhouse and Pill

    • El Tico Loco

      Oh yeah where’s Currensy and Vado? I get it this is how XXL picks who they dickride for the next decade.

  • epinz

    as far as your list, of course u have to go with kanye. but thats not even fair cuz they all came out at diffrent times and some are more established than others. alot of the names on the list have alot to prove and some on the list would have never been mentioned in 03 or would have higher stakes in 03 (game,jezzy)and me personally? i would take phonte of little brother over all of them. he can really rap, sing, has classics under his belt, and crafts great songs……and where the fuck is j.cole?

  • Real412

    If these were true rap free agent choices then I would pack up my shit and go. 99% of these artists are worth shit, they all suck ass. Expecially Cucci Mane and Soulja Fuck. The only two worth the $$ would be Lupe or B.O.B. I would say Kanye but that ego and the shitty auto tone crap ain’t worth it.

  • Devin the Dude

    Royce
    Budden
    Ortiz
    Cole
    Saigon

  • 619

    Nip Hu$$le

  • monco

    id bring the old dream team back G-Unit

    The Game
    50 Cent
    Young Buck
    Lloyd Banks

  • KLETEWOOD

    PURE TALENT AND A TRACK RECORD SINCE THE BLUEPRINT.

    KANYE.

    ALL THE REST DON’T REALLY COMPARE.

  • Kenny D

    Word monco, that G-Unit group was probably the best team ever. The only albums I’ll be picking are Lupe and Game. I’m sorry, but Kanye hasn’t been the same since his mother died.

  • Face Phoenix

    Just on creativity and notoriety Kanye would be the best anchor for any team. A Talented Rapper & prover 5-Star Producer – he would be a steal at any price. My other pics would be Rick Ross at No.2 [Proven ability to move units and get spins], Lupe Fiasco at No. 3 [Possible potential to be the next big thing] and The Game at No.4 [Another Solid or last solid pick of the bunch mentioned.] But if I could have anyone else I would pick 1. Ludacris [SALES,SALES,SALES], 2. Twista [Solid Performer] 3. Snoop Dogg [Experience] 4. Jean Grae [Undeniable Talent] 5. Talib Kweli [Versatility].

  • wackkkzzz

    where the fuck is eminem? hes at least 10 times better than every rapper on this list??? and at least 10000000 times better than gucci and soulja? xxl dont know what they talkin bout

  • wackkkzzz

    where the fuck is eminem? hes at least 10 times better than every rapper on this list??? and at least 10000000 times better than gucci and soulja? xxl dont know what they talkin bout

  • wackkkzzz

    where the fuck is eminem? hes at least 10 times better than every rapper on this list??? and at least 10000000 times better than gucci and soulja? xxl dont know what they talkin bout

  • Anonymous

    kanye west by far. not to mention the producing he would bring to you

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    Among those on the list? Kanye.

    But there are plenty of dudes I’d take above any of them.

  • Federal Ranga

    See… now I’m pissed… if this ain’t jackin for ideas, I’on know what the fuck is…

    Commission!!!

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

    Pierzy, Ranga whaddup!

    You know they lookin’, been told you that!

    ‘Ye hands down. Kill yo’self if you don’t understand how his multi-tasking is way more of a better investment than this list. Dudes flick looks like a billboard, the others look exactly like bio pics.

    I see cats are investing in favorites, the same way The Blazers did with Greg Oden instead of Kevin Durant. You pick the best.

  • http://www.emcdl.com EmCDL

    Its a toss between B.O.B. and Lupe…Kanye would be a good pick too.

    And why are there folks on this list that are already known and been in the spotlight? IMO you should have put the Freshmen 10 on here instead….

    Who the hell would sign Soulja Boy???? That nicca is like re-heating McDonalds Fries…not good AT ALL.

  • W. J. Rice

    Come on, Kanye West should be automatically on everyone’s list because he generates millions

  • beaver

    garbage list..
    i was lookkin forward to this list when i cliked on it..
    ughh..

    wheres fuckinn..
    joell ortiz.?
    crooked i?
    charles hamilton?
    j. cole?
    mickey factz?
    wale?
    blu?

    garbage fuckin listt…
    fuckk xxlmagg..fakee asses..

  • Reggie B

    This list sucks. Why in the phuck are Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane & Rick Ross on this list. Their pure stupid. Plies would be better to be on that list. Sure the dude need some work on his music but that dude got dedication. And what about Cudi? Cudi should’ve been on of the first to be on that motherf*ckin list. This article sucked ma d*ck.

  • Anonymous

    Crooked I

  • Kingroy

    Lol I like how I start in the comment section seeing fans diss other rappers. You gotta be a kid or a childish as grown man for that(take note that I’m 16). But back on topic. In a super group I would draft(though some aren’t on the list)
    B.o.B, Drake, J.Cole, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, And Jay Electroinca. Lol their name would be “Mile High Club”.

  • Infamous1

    XXL IS ALWAYS MESSING SHIT UP!! WHERE IS J. COLE? THEY 4GOT VADO 4 FRESHMEN 10 & NOW THEY 4GOT J.COLE 4 THIS VOTE. J. COLE = THE TRUTH, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN MY VOTE & WIZ KHALIFA IS DOIN HIS THANG 2, BUT WHO IS SEEING COLE? WHO?

  • Yankee

    I’m taking Kanye West, KiD CuDi, or Big Sean. they can freestyle and write, and sounds good on any beat

    • infamous1

      KID CUDI DOESN’T FREESTYLE. HE EVEN SAID SO HIMSELF

  • Realis

    U should have to pick someone with no major label albums yet…..

    Wale
    J. Cole
    Nipsey Hussle
    Currensy
    Wiz Khalifa
    Slaughterhouse
    Jay Rock
    Charles Hamilton
    Cashis

  • Anonymous

    Fuck Kanye, ole cryin ass bitch.Cant believe you all voted for him the most.He is all hype just like Drake, only thing he has goin for him is beats.He is a wack ass rapper and spoiled ass kid.I agree with a lot of the others on here you left out a lot more talented rappers.

  • http://yahoomail.com Official!

    Lil Wayne would be the biggest free agent right now, every label wants him!

  • http://myspace.com/kidpistol Kid Pistol

    Yeah, but Lil’ Wayne would not be the smartest free agent, however. Kanye has longevity, no way in hell does Wayne have longevity.

  • http://myspace.com/kidpistol Kid Pistol

    PS For the oh-so predictable comment that someone is going to say about Lil Wayne being in the game for so long now already, keep in account he’s only been hot a quarter of that time, if that.

  • NAPTOWNNUISANCE

    Im basin my pick off of skills alone. I would go with Jeezy, the rest of these dudes are pure garbage, except maybe Game but even the name droppin gets tired after awhile.

  • Agent Red

    where the fuck is bank$??? that nigga’s lyrical and flowin delivery is better than %90 of these artist up here.

  • Agent Red

    where the fuck is bank$??? that nigga’s lyrical and flowin delivery is better than %90 of these artist up here.

    • jasp

      yo agent red. he said no albums before 2003. banks had a debut album by 2003

  • jasp

    i cant believe i chose drake tho. i feel like such a dick ryder (no homo). maybe i’ll trade down and try and get rick ross and gucci instead. they can make a collabo album, and then i’ll quickly trade officer ricky for 2011 picks when he gets to snitchin

  • zwanzig

    this list should b thrown off a cliff!!!!! word slaughterhouse should b here!! but def ma son joe budden i was mad hyped when i seen this on twitter….n this is the fukin list???? jump offf joe numba 1 n will destroy anyone in the game!!!! cant wait to he kills em on the track!!! na juz playin they gnna go in tho!!!

  • HipHopFive15

    Yea defnitly not really feelin this list at all besides jay electro lupe jeezy maybe game maybe drake . Like gucci dont know how to rap he got some sick beats but he just dunno how to rap. souljah boy is all i gotta say to move on to the next dude. Drakes nice but my man is stupid stupid pop. This the list thats gonna take it home

    Jeezy
    Jay Electro
    Nipsey Hussle if he keeps droppin music
    Sean Price and Jadakiss fuck the cant debut before 03 rule
    Trae
    Asher Roth he got bars dont hate
    Mobb Deep an M.O.P. could help if they didnt sell out wit G-Unit even tho they old

  • StillNyce

    Ay Latino Heat,
    That shit kanye did to taylor swift aint gonna turn his appeal away from white people im white but anyone of any race can see kanye west is just a lil bit retarded. that shit was comedy though.
    he can do numbers and make some decent ass music but at the end of the day i couldnt fuck with him he just dont generally seem genuine hip hop
    Fuck with Jay Electro
    Fuck with Sean Price and Jada the dude above me got it perfect
    Fuck with Pac Div

  • R2j

    My 1st pick is…
    B.O.B.

    Why?
    Potential and he’s well rounded. The comparassions are alike in many ways. He brings in the most upside. He’s not a John Wall or an Evan Turner, he’s someone that people don’t respect and he can surprise everyone that he can actually rhyme.

    My other picks would be…
    2.Kanye
    3.Lupe
    4.Drake
    5.Guru or E-40. (That’s right,OUGHHHH!!!)

    Undrafted MC I would pick up:
    Chaundon (Little Brother I see ya!!!)

  • oskamadison

    If I’m a label looking to make a quick buck like every other label, Drake, of course. If I want to emphasize a standard of quality, Lupe. If I want to split the difference, Kanye, plus I’d get first crack at his beats.

  • bangin785

    you dumm niggas drake was discovered by J-prince’s son….. founder of rap-a-lot…… thats why he always reppin some texas shit…. yeah he throws up that fake ass slob shit.. and yeah he makes them slicc comments… but he’s definitely came in in his own lane… and wayne is definitely biting his shit toooo

  • jamdanguz

    I’d pick anyone from Slaughterhouse to rip the dudes off this list a new one! Joell Ortiz or Royce would, for lack of better word, Slaughter ‘em!

  • Pikachu

    I’d draft Black Milk.

  • jon

    Kanye for sure, he is one of 4 true superstars of rap (kanye, eminem, jay z, lil wayne). By far the most talented overall. oh and Jay electronica will never gonna sell any albums, shouldnt be on this list at all

  • Anonymous

    id pick kanye or jeezy