Lantern file photo
I fully acknowledge that hip-hop is not on the level it was in its glory years of the mid-’90s. That doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t good hip-hop out there right now. It’s just tougher to find when the radio is filled with the flashy, no-substance music that sells records these days (I’m looking at you, Nicki Minaj).
This is where hip-hop publications such as “XXL” can have an impact. “XXL’s” annual “Freshman Class” list and cover is one of the most important promotions an up-and-coming rapper can receive.
Lists like these help make people aware of the next generation of rappers, who you should start listening to now before they make it big in a few years’ time. This list should be what you show your friends when they ask who the top young rappers in the game are right now. And with an alumni group that includes Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, “XXL” has mostly fulfilled that goal.
With Tuesday’s release of its 2012 Freshman Class, it is quite evident that XXL failed in that duty this time around. Quite frankly, too many members of this group lack the lyricism, lyrical content, flow and mass appeal to be considered the next stars of hip-hop.
Nowhere to be found on the list are A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q, Childish Gambino (also seen on NBC’s “Community”), Jon Connor or Maybach Music Group-signee Stalley.
Instead, we get the recycled sound of Roscoe Dash and Iggy Azalea with her classic song “Pu$$y.” I respect the effort to have a girl on the cover, but let’s make sure their ability actually warrants it. Even with that, it’s not that those that made the cut don’t have some talent and potential.
Kid Ink’s sound is something I can imagine taking the path of top-seller Tyga. Don Trip’s music has real meaning to it and the all-out style of Hopsin has some appeal. This list does have some redeemable qualities. It’s just that a better list could have been made from the group that was left off.
“XXL” missed a chance to make people aware of the next generation in rap. Hip-hop is not dead, it’s just tougher to find good hip-hop. It was not made any easier Tuesday.