The wait is officially over. XXL Magazine finally debuted their 2017 Freshman Class, dubbed “Generation Next.”
This year’s Freshman Class includes Kamaiyah, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, PnB Rock, Madeintyo, Playboi Carti, Aminé, Kap G, Kyle, and Ugly God. The fan-voted 10th Spot winner went to XXXTentacion.
In this year’s 10th Anniversary list, XXL did a very good job of representing nearly every coast and section of hip hop. The class goes from Portland to Miami, then all the way north to New York. Half of these artists on the class already have singles that are blazing the radio charts, which shows their reason for being on the cover.
For me, that’s when the positivity gets a little hazy.
In my opinion, it feels like XXL has been getting it wrong for the past couple of years. It seems like they don’t take a chance on artists who don’t have as big of a buzz as most. Their slogan is “Hip Hop On A Higher Level,” but they still choose emcees, and in some cases R&B artists, that don’t represent that slogan. No disrespect to XXXtentacion, but “Look At Me” doesn’t represent that brand.
Let’s go back to 2010. That year included J. Cole, Big Sean, Jay Rock, Wiz Khalifa, and Freddie Gibbs. These emcees were at the very beginnings of their career. Yes, they had a buzz, but it was in the beginning stages for most of them. The only one they really got wrong in hindsight was maybe OJ Da Juiceman and Pill. This freshman class has Grammy winners, fashion icons, and underground kings. These artists represent “Hip Hop On A Higher Level.”
It seems like the XXL staff wanted to see who was either hot already, or who has the most Soundcloud plays to even get a chance at the cover. The list leaves a lot of unanswered questions as to who is and who isn’t on the cover. Where’s Don Q? Where’s Young M.A.? Where’s Tee Grizzley? Where’s Westside Gunn & Conway? A lot of music heads are even trying to figure out the whereabouts of Famous Dex.
Granted, some artists do decline the offer of doing to the cover, which is also a possibility. You never know.
This list is just the beginning for the class. You never know where some of these artists could end up. 2016 freshman Desiigner has a triple-platinum single. Lil Uzi Vert has two platinum singles under his belt. Dave East even has a deal with Def Jam. XXL may have a method to the madness.
At the end of the day, XXL isn’t the end-all when it comes to who’s hot in rap right now. If you don’t like the list, don’t subscribe to it. This isn’t going to make or break your favorite new rapper’s career.
ALL we really want to see now is how good or bad the freestyles and cyphers going to be. Stay tuned.