Every year hip hop fans around the globe argue, guess, bet and complain about XXL’s coveted 2011 Freshman Article. For those of you who are still in the dark about this issue, essentially it is a showcase and platform for ten new hip-hop artists. Debate always follows this issue as many people argue that spots are undeserving, planted or paid for in advance. In the past individuals like Wale have been omitted from the list, causing major publicity stunts and lashes against XXL. Rather than the usual 10 artists, this years crop of hip-hop up and comers numbered 11; Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T., CyHi Da Prince, Lil Twist, Yelawolf, Fred the Godson, Mac Miller, YG, Lil B, Kendrick Lamar and Diggy Simmons. In an MTV article Andrew Barber of Fake Shore Drive states, “There were a handful of artists that I thought would make the cut, that were nowhere to be found i.e. Chip Tha Ripper, Vado and Danny Brown. However, there is some serious talent on here, so I'm excited to see what becomes of the Freshmen over the course of the year. It's been a gift for some and equally a curse for others.” One of the main problems with this list is that no one really knows how it is generated so in reality it could simply be a matter of XXL’s taste, which to many is considered sour.
The 2011 XXL Freshman issue is currently in its 4th edition and individuals are now questioning how accurate its picks are. When looking back this edition has featured three artists, which have truly ‘blown up’, these being: Wiz Khlaifa, J. Cole and Lupe Fiasco. In reality three out of thirty is not terrible, being that we are lingering in the super saturated hip-hop industry, yet this still begs the question; If such a small quantity of these rappers are actually making it, what is the point of this issue? To answer this question Brad Wete, staff writer at Entertainment Weekly says, “Like all the other years, some of the artists will continue on and become great. Others won't. What XXL does is give all these local favorites and rappers with cult followings validation. That stamp of approval from one of the top magazines in the culture is huge in the beginning. Now Fred is more than just a NY rapper. And Meek is more than just the guy next to Ross. And so on. Obviously it'll take more than a cover to take them to the next level. But this shine sure doesn't hurt.”
As I look through this list I must say that for the first time in four years I am content with XXL’s picks. Granted, I don’t feel like indidivudals such as Lil Twist or YG should have made this list, as they really have not proved themselves. On the other end of the spectrum, I have been telling everyone and their mother about CyHi, Yelawolf , Big K.R.I.T., Diggy, Meek and Mac Miller for about a year now, so I am thrilled they finally got their platform to achieve massive success. Finally, I am going to leave you with my superstar pick of 2011. Drum Role please…DJ Dolph’s superstar pick of 2011 goes to: the one and only Good Music’s CyHi Da Prynce. CyHi has been on the seen since 2005 but just recently stroked success when finalizing a deal with Kanye West’s Good Music Label in September of 2010. He just recently released his critically acclaimed mixtape titled Royal Flush, which can be found on Datpiff.com. This weeks fresh jam goes to CyHi for his infamous track Sideways. As always, stay fresh my friends. Dj Dolph
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