Aight now as everyone eagerly waits every year to bash on the XXL Freshmen cover each year we gotta agree that XXL used to be sorta okay at this. From '08 to '11 they seemed to be genuinely trying to pick hip hop's next breakout star. Some notable names to be chosen for the cover that were able to break on through to the mainstream were Wale, J. Cole, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, and the most notable of them all Mister Wiz Khalifa. They even were able spot dudes who continued to put out ill shit like Freddie Gibbs, Jay Rock, Nipsey Hussle, and the homie Big KRIT. Then they just got some duds like OJ Da Juiceman, Fred the Godson (still don't know who he is), and Mr. Forgettable himself Cyhi the Prince. So they weren't terrible in their choices but then i don't know what happened in 2012. They just put out the people who had the most buzz with the exception of Don Trip. Does anyone think French Montana, MGK, Hopsin, Future, and Kid Ink are going to be the next wave of superstars. I admit to thinking Iggy would go in the way of Nicki Minaj in terms of coming up as a rapper than switching to appeal to the pop audience because of her look but for the time it seems like she just going to make shitty rap. Macklemore surprised me and i have no idea why Roscoe Dash is on there. If they follow that pattern i got $10 saying Mikey Rocks is on the next one.
Since i have no idea how XXL chooses their list, i'm going to make my own that makes sense to me. My criteria is rappers who have buzz but have yet to break through. Because i consider artists like Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson and Schoolboy and Ab Soul to have already broken through they won't be on here (they're headlining their own tours so they're not exactly on the come up). So it's pretty much the best known unknown artists out there. It was tough because i don't feel like anyone really separated themselves from the pack and i don't see any game changers aka it's just another year in music. Without further adu, Slim's 2013 Breakthrough Artists.
Rockie Fresh- First off we got the newest MMG member Rockie Fresh. Now i don't like dude's music like that but its cool and i could see him getting mainstream love this year if he releases an album. His release all depends where he is on the MMG pecking order so who knows when he gets his stuff out (shout out to Stalley). The good thing about being on Ross's label though is the artists do put out their albums and Ross for the most part lets them do them. Considering Rockie Fresh's two mixtapes Diving 88 and Electric Highway had a mainstream type of sound he should be able to make a fairly seamless transition. So if i had to put my money on someone breaking onto the radio this year, it would be this young cat right here.
Into The Future
Dizzy Wright- This dude surprised me right here. Because he rolls with Hopsin and Swizzz i completely expected him to have a style like them and boy was i wrong. Not as in your face as the other two but definitely is as nice and can hold his own when the situation calls for it. He has a good outlook on life as you can see in his music. He's not going to change the world or nothing but is a good complement to the Funk Volume crew.
Fuck Your Opinion
Iamsu!- First off, i really hope he drops the ! from his name. All rappers with $ or ! and whatever need to just stop that (curt@!n$ i'm looking at you). not only is it extremely annoying to type that shit in to youtube but i just automatically think they suck. Now that's out of the way we got Iamsu out of Rich What, Richmond California. Now he not conscious or nothing but the most important thing i learned from him is that apparently Richmond is not part of the Bay. I don't know if that is official seeing as Richmond is on the Bart map or just his view but he said it. He brings that bay party rap back into the game and if you don't know who he is you definitely have heard him on Function, Who Booty, and he wrote the hook and laid a verse down on Up. He makes his own beats too (shout out to 1 O.A.K. for teaching him how to) which is always a plus in my eyes. Suzy 6 Speed was dope and hopefully he can get nationwide love rather than the regional love.
Phil Ade- I don't like this dude because he making people pay for his mixtape now but whatever. Other than that i don't have anything bad to say about Phil Ade (pronounced Odday). Lyrical dude who is a throwback in terms of his choice of beats. Love the samples that his producers flip and how he rides the beats. He doesn't tear them up but he definitely does it justice. I have no idea where he's from but definitely gunna try to see him live if he comes to the area.
Dee-1- The first time I ever heard of this cat was on the GGN Network (shout out to Uncle Snoop). I did a little more archaeological research and found out the dude is from New Orleans and doesn't sound like a typical Hot Boys/Cash Money rapper. I peeped his mixtape and he was just telling us what it's like to be him. Dee is the news reporter out of whatever New Orleans hood he's from and isn't afraid to call out local legend lil wayne on his shit.
The Garden of Eden
(aka J. Cole with dreads)
Rapsody- Now this girl has been getting a lot of love recently and is the next great hope for female emcees, sorry iggy. I still think jean grae still holds the crown but rapsody can close the distance even more if she continues to put out quality projects. She has appeared at Paid Dues and laced tracks with fellow North Carolinians Kooley High. Other North Carolina legend 9th Wonder sees the potential and has worked with her as well which pretty much legitimizes her as a talent. Be on the lookout for her this year.
J. Pinder- Alright i admit that i do not know much about this cat right here other than he shot a couple videos in san francisco. i don't know if the guy is from san francisco but he definitely has some talent. He is a story teller and not only do his songs pay attention to his craft but he tells the story through his videos as well which has become a lost art recently as well. I'm actually surprised he is not more well known because he has that young person growing up in the world sound trying to find himself that relates well to the youngbloods, shout out to Uncle Drew.
A Learning Game
Young Gully- Gully is that dude out of Oakland who is finding a way to blend the Bay sound with a Conscious sound. He has a couple well received projects under his belt already such as The Oscar Grant Project and The Definition of Gas to name a couple. He also released a retail album David that was available in stores around the Bay Area and available on iTunes so if you like his free projects definitely cop David and support a local artist on the come up. I feel like he needs to diversify his flow up a bit but he is still a young artist who has gotten love from legends already. Pep Love of Hieroglyphics even blessed Gully's remix of '93 Til' which in my opinion along with Freddie Gibbs' How We Do are the two best remixes of the original. HM5 mixtape coming soon.
Still YH feat AB and Lil Chris
that's oscar grant's pic if you didn't know. if you don't know his story you will see how blacks and whites are treated differently indeed. in short a white cop got one year in prison for killing oscar grant. RIP
Team Backpack-Now i don't know how many people nationwide about the Bay Area Collective known as Team Backpack but if you want something different definitely check them out. I really hope they prove me wrong on this but i do not feel they will appeal to the mainstream but at the same time i don't think they really give two shits about that. They wanna expose their up and coming artists to the world and most effectively do this through their cyphers. They show love and get love from notable artists like Erk Tha Jerk, Iamsu, and even Funk Volume has spit for them a couple times. Shout out to Armani, Jedi, E-Money, and everyone else in the Team Backpack movement to keep doing what you're doing. Check out their website for info and all that good shit.
There you have it. The people i feel you should be listening to and not necessarily the biggest stars for the upcoming year because honestly only like 2 people on the xxl cover actually make hits so odds are for the magazine to actually get some predictions right. Point i'm making here is that xxl can't take credit for calling that 2 artists break through when their other 10 predictions flop harder than vlade divac. make sure all three of you reading tell me about anyone else on the come up. peace.
Adele- He Won't Go