#YN The Best Freshman From Every XXL Class . Written By @RePete617

We are in prime freshman season people...

XXL 

XXL 

Photo Via - XXL Mag

and with that being said it is time once again to take a look at the XXL freshman class over the years. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, making the XXL freshman class is a true honor and can really propel an artist's career. Starting back in 2007, the XXL freshman class has seen the likes of J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Future, and Chance the Rapper. Those are some of the greatest rappers today and this year new up and comers look to make their names heard. Let’s examine each class and determine who was the best rapper out of each class.

Reminder: I will be determining who is the best by only two elements, talent and success. If you don’t agree with my picks then kindly tweet me your opinions! (@RePete617)


2007 Best Freshman: Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco

Photo Via - Pitchfork

Not a lot of people remember the very first XXL freshman class but it included some well known names including Piles, Lil Boosie, and Gorilla Zoe.  The one guy who remained constant throughout the years was Lupe Fiasco. Lupe most recently released an album named “DROGAS Light” and while it wasn’t one of the best Lupe albums, it certainly was better than what most of the other guys in this class put out. “Lasers” out does a lot of what these other guys did as well. "Lasers" is legendary with songs like “Words I Never Said”, “Letting Go” and of course the most famous song “The Show Goes On”. Lupe’s lyrics on that album are pure fire and they touch on a lot of deep stuff. Lupe has remained successful over the course of ten years without falling off but today you don’t really hear from any of the other rappers that made the 2007 class.


2009 Best Freshman: Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi

Photo Via - EveryDejaVu

This was a hard decision because the runner ups were Wale and Ace Hood but Kid Cudi beats them out as the best rapper from the 2009 class. B.O.B made this class as well but he hasn’t really put out anything good since around 2013. Wale is a really good rapper but isn’t a better lyricist than Cudi. Ace Hood is also a very talented lyricist but also hasn’t put out any well known albums in a few years. Cudi dropped his long awaited album “Passion, Pain & Demon Slaying” last year and it was a hit. Of course, he also has his classic throwbacks like “Pursuit of Happiness” and “Day and Night” which are some of the best songs of the last decade. Cudi’s features are also better than most of this class features as well and his career is well chronicled in his music.


2010 Best Freshman: J. Cole

J Cole 

J Cole 

Photo Via - Business Insider

With no disrespect to Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean, J. Cole was the best freshman from this class by far. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of both Wiz and Sean but we consider J. Cole to be one of the best rappers of all time and it is with good reason. Whenever he puts out an album it is automatically a classic. His bars are about wisdom and everything that goes on in a person’s mind is manifested into lyrics that prove J. Cole is one of the best lyricists ever. All of his albums are certified platinum which even furthers the fact that Cole is one of the best rappers we have ever seen.


2011 Best Freshman: Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

Photo Via - MTV

This was an easy pick. This freshman class actually had some well known names and for the most part was a pretty stacked class. Meek Mill, Mac Miller, YG, Lil B, and Big K.R.I.T are just a few names on this class but the crown goes to Kendrick Lamar for pretty obvious reasons. Kung Fu Kenny has been called the 2Pac of this generation and when you have that comparison, you know you will become of the best all time. His albums are all better than pretty much the entire classes discography and that point was further proven with the release of “DAMN” this year. Again, no disrespect to anyone in this class but K-Dot is by far the best rapper to come out of the 2011 class.


2012 Best Freshman: Future

Future

Future

Photo Via - Jet

Now there weren’t many good lyricists in this class but that doesn’t matter because most rappers made absolute bangers. Every album Future creates is mostly bangers galore. I can’t even begin to describe how I felt when I first heard classics like “Mask Off”, “Thought It Was A Drought”, or “Jumpman”. You just know off the bat these songs are bangers and will be classics for years to come. What separates Future from the rest of the rappers in this class was his ability to make an R&B album while also making trap music. “HNDRXX” was an absolute classic, honestly it was one of the best albums to come out this year. It was a side of Future we haven’t seen before but wouldn’t mind getting again. Future will go down in history as one of the best rappers of this generation.


2013 Best Freshman: Travis Scott

Photo Via - Triller Than Most

This was a tough choice because the 2013 class was the most stacked class ever. Along with Travis Scott, Logic, Schoolboy Q, Chief Keef, Ab-Soul, and Action Bronson. The decision to go with Travis Scott was because he has the most mainstream success and is one of the hottest rappers out right now. His albums have developed cult like followings based on the sales and fans often have a different type of attitude when Travis is in the house. “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” was one of the best albums of last year with hits such as “goosebumps” “through the late night”, and “biebs in the trap”. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Travis Scott’s momentum will ride on with no end in sight.


2014 Best Freshman: Chance the Rapper

Chance The Rapper

Chance The Rapper

Photo Via - Hip Hop DX

Another class where the best rapper is pretty obvious, Chance the Rapper was the best rapper of 2016. He basically owned 2016 and that is surprising considering he was going up against some good competition for album of the year at the Grammys. The fans can get behind Chance because one, his mixtapes are legendary and two, he just has a natural connection with his fanbase. The fact that Chance accomplished so much without being signed speaks volume to the type of artist he is. Coloring Book had hits like “Mixtape”, “Juke Jam”, “No Problem”, and “Smoke Break." Overall, that album outdoes whatever work anyone from this class has put out. Chance keeps rising to legendary status and he won’t stop until he is considered the greatest rapper of all time.


2015 Best Freshman: Shy Glizzy

Shy Glizzy

Shy Glizzy

Photo Via - Karen Civil

The 2015 edition of the XXL freshman was probably the weakest of all time. I’m not even going to consider Fetty Wap being the best because his music is just weak. You can barely understand anything he is saying and his beats make all his songs better. This was proven in the freshman cypher and freestyles where you literally cannot understand a word he’s saying. Shy Glizzy was the best freshman out of this class because his music is more complete than others. He has the best flow and the way it perfectly goes with his beats. “Young Jefe” was a great album and the same goes for “Law 3”. I would like to see Glizzy get more in the mainstream because he is a severely underrated rapper.


2016 Best Freshman: Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert

Photo Via - Kanyetothe

Now when you take a look at this class, the talent may not be all there but this is one of the most revolutionary classes in history. Really all of the artists who were a part of this class went on to find more success than expected. This class really elevated all the rappers to superstardom. Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, Desiigner, G Herbo, Kodak Black, and Dave East all thrived off being included in the class and basically all of them went on to collab with some of the hottest names in hip hop which in turn made THEM some of the hottest rappers in hip hop. But the one who stood out the most was Lil Uzi Vert. His different approach to rap propelled him to rock star levels of stardom. His fans are some of the most rowdiest in rap and his music has a different flow to it that is both likeable and vibe worthy. XO Tour Llif3 has quickly become a hot track and it’s still climbing the charts. Lil Uzi Vert is really a special talent out of a very special class.

Who will be the best rapper of the 2017 class? We will just have to wait and see!

#YN Dear Mr. West . Written By @KNGCRSN

Kanye West

Kanye West

Kanye West - Photo via Complex

Dear Mr. West, 

You probably won’t remember me, but I remember the day I met you as if it were yesterday. It was 2004, I was 10 years old. We met in my grandmother’s 2 bedroom apartment in Atlantic City. You probably won’t remember our conversation but I remember listening to every word you spoke and being inspired with every sentence. That conversation lasted almost an hour and a half but that’s all it took to change my life for the better.

You taught me that the drug dealers weren’t the bad guys. Drug dealers just try to get by because the system isn’t designed for the black man to win. You taught me not to care what people said about me because my future was my own. You taught me it’s okay to be a self-conscious individual and that it’s okay to splurge for self-satisfaction. Shit, just last week I spent $400 on an Apple Watch, just to show nigga’s they weren’t up on it. You taught me God never forgets about his children, no matter how long it’s been.

At that point I thought I knew it all but then Hov stepped into the room and I was starstruck. Y’all schooled me on how we need to focus more on actually winning, rather than looking like we’re winning. Y’all SHOWED me racism was still alive, they’ve just been concealing it. Y’all never let me down when it came to that. Then we had discussions on family and for the first time, I felt like somebody knew what I was going through. You taught me keep the family close, that no family is ever perfect, and if my brother said he didn’t do it... then he didn’t do it. You taught me minor setbacks only set you up for major comebacks and I understood every gem you dropped through that wired jaw.

Kanye you taught me how to be a man at such a young age. You made me feel like I had someone to relate to personally. Over the next three years, I knew I could count on you to know the right thing to say in my time of need. I knew I could rely on you to help lessen the load. You made me proud to call you a friend.

Kanye West

Kanye West

Kanye West - Photo Via Blickers

In 2005, you were there when my great-grandmother passed, and once again, you showed just how much we had in common. By the way, I never got a chance to thank you for those roses you sent us, they were greatly appreciated. I don’t think I could ever repay you for what you did for me in those troubling years. You taught me how to reach for the sky and that message uplifted me. You reminded me to keep moving forward and I took heed to it. You taught me that even though they’ll try to bring me down, I have to keep pushing past them. I remember these words vividly as well, “There’ll always be haters, that’s the way it is, hater niggas marry hater bitches & have hater kids”. That quote alone got me through a lot.

Long story short, you’ve always been there. You’ve walked me through depression by teaching me that failure is more of a lesson than a mistake. Kanye you’ve done more things for me emotionally and mentally than my own father. But this letter is more than a walk down memory lane, I want to know how’ve you been. I see photographs of you online and you don’t look happy. I see you being awarded for the accomplishments you’ve made and you don’t look proud. I hear the music you’ve been making lately, I haven’t missed a song, and you don’t sound at peace. Kanye, with all due respect… What happened? Why are you so angry now? Where has your smile gone? What is it that’s changed? Your music used to make me feel warm. But now I don’t know what to feel anymore. It makes me sad literally watching my idol fall to his death mentally. I’ve been praying for you. Hoping for a paradigm shift in your life. I pray you find the happiness your soul so desperately needs. I want to see you blossom from this dark place that you’re in and become a beacon of hope once again.

You’re a genius, there is no doubt. You’ve earned that. But I’d sacrifice never hearing another Kanye record ever again if it meant I could read a tabloid about you and see a picture of that genuine smile. Kanye, you’re the voice of an entire generation but you’re also human. I hope this letter reaches you… for everything you’ve done for me, for all the times you’ve been there in my time of need, I just want to say, Thank You. Thank you for being a role model, thank you for being a hero, but more importantly, thank you for being a friend.

Be well Kanye, I wish you the best,

DeShawn Carson / @KNGCRSN

#YN Predicting The 2017 XXL Freshman Class . Written By @Repete617

The XXL freshman class is kind of like the NFL or NBA draft...

YN Blog . XXL 2017 Freshman List.JPG

Those rappers selected to the class are the next big thing in hip hop and this year’s class is going to make an impact on the industry. A lot of names have blown up this year with their bangers, lyrics, and beats and those names now look to take the next step in their careers. Some former XXL freshman include J. Cole (2010), Kendrick Lamar (2011), Future (2012), and Chance the Rapper (2014). So when the artists are chosen to make this class, they are in some elite company. A normal XXL freshman class usually goes through three big stages: a cypher, a freestyle, and a huge concert with all the newest freshman. A total of 10 rappers will make it this year, so who will grace this year’s cover? Let’s take a look at the potential class.


Rich The Kid

Rich The Kid

Rich The Kid

Rich The Kid - Photo Attribution

He isn’t even an option to vote for when voting for the 10th spot in this year’s class so you know he’s a lock for the cover but he deserves that big adoration. Rich the Kid is becoming another big rapper out of the city of Atlanta and his songs with the likes of Migos, Kodak Black, and Young Thug have propelled the young artist to the stratosphere. His songs absolutely bang and you can’t really say he has a bad song. Rich has been unbelievable since being released from prison and he will certainly bring star power to the 2017 XXL freshman class


Famous Dex

Famous Dex

Famous Dex

Famous Dex - Photo Attribution

Rich the Kid’s partner in crime should also be considered a lock for the freshman class this year. Famous Dex is certainly a new breed, his songs flow very nicely and his lyrics are interesting to say the least but his songs bang regardless. I would like to see Dex get on a cypher with just him and Rich the Kid because the two have such great chemistry that the whole thing would flow together perfectly. This time next year, I expect Dex to be in a much bigger spot than he is currently.


XXXtentacion

XXXtentacion

XXXtentacion

XXXtentacion - Photo Attribution

He has gained an enormous cult following since being in prison and releasing his song “Look at Me”. XXXTentatcion draws a lot of comparison to Lil Uzi Vert based on his music and looks but trust me, he is a different breed of rapper. He isn’t scared to say his true feelings and really has no filter but his songs, in their own way, are very unique. Yes the beat in “Look at Me” may be a little ridiculous but the song is still good in its own way. XXXTentaction is one of the most popular rappers of the last year and will hopefully make the XXL freshman class of 2017.


Cousin Stizz

Cousin Stizz

Cousin Stizz

Cousin Stizz - Photo Attribution

This man had one of the best albums last year and not a lot of people took notice. Boston’s own Cousin Stizz dropped Monda last year and it was an absolute classic. Stizz is a lyricist but raps about trap related things which is a rarity in today’s rap and his different style really sets him apart from other rappers. Stizz would be an excellent choice for the freshman class and who knows, maybe if he gets the nod we can get collabs from him featuring names like Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, and Logic. All of these artists would make great collabs with Stizz.


Young MA

Young MA

Young MA

Young MA - Photo Attribution

This may seem like an out of left field pick but the bottom line is this, Young MA is very underrated. She gained superstardom with her hit banger OOOUUU and quickly gained the attention of some of the biggest names in rap. The Brooklyn native is best known for her lyrics and has drawn comparisons to Nicki Minaj but I believe she has some better bars than Nicki. She has a great flow as well and is a good freestyler. Young MA should be picked for the freshman class as she has proven time and time again that even though she is different, she can still be as good of a rapper as anyone.


Montana of 300

Montana of 300

Montana of 300

Montana of 300 - Photo Attribution 

Out of everyone on this list, Montana of 300 has the best lyrics bar none. This man is a rap machine (or as he likes to call himself, Rap God) and can go for hours on end freestyling. This would be Montana’s last year on the ballot for the freshman class but he really should of made it last year instead of Lil Dicky or Anderson Paak. Another rapper who is lowkey slept on for no reason, Montana of 300 would absolutely kill his part in the freshman cypher. Cyphers are really his bread and butter. His label FGE has around four cyphers and Montana’s parts in those are all unbelievable. His albums are very good as well but what he most kills is remixes. His remixes to songs like White Iverson, Milly Rock, Panda, and Trap Queen are better than the originals and he spits bars on those beats. Montana of 300 would really explode in popularity if he is selected to this year’s class


Playboi Carti

Playboi Carti

Playboi Carti

Playboi Carti - Photo Attribution

The newest member to A$AP MOB is one of the best trap stars of today. Playboi Carti had fans waiting a long time for his debut tape but the wait was worth it. Songs like New Choppa and Kelly K are bangers, Dem Callin is a great feature of his, and if you mix him with Rich the Kid or Famous Dex that has all the makings of an absolute classic trap song. Carti is one of the more creative names of the potential class but his star power should propel him to make the freshman class this year.


A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie - Photo Attribution

A Boogie Wit da Hoodie has quickly become a popular artist amongst the teenage population. He has hits like “Jungle”, “Timeless”, and “My Sh*t” not to mention his hit single “Drowning” featuring Kodak Black. A Boogie has that soulful flow and his lyrics really speak a clear message. He reminds me of a more in depth version of Drake in the sense he talks about deep stuff but it all flows together perfectly. A Boogie would be another big name added to the potentially stacked freshman class.


Kembe X

Kembe X

Kembe X

Kembe X - Photo Attribution

Kembe X may not seem like a household name at the moment but just give his album “Talk Back” a listen and you’ll see why he should make the freshman class this year. He is also potentially TDE's next signee as his producer is in TDE so Kendrick and Schoolboy may be getting a new running mate soon. His flow and lyrics sound like he is already apart of TDE. Kembe X isn’t the biggest name at the moment but if he is to make the freshman class then it is only up from there.


Pnb Rock

Pnb Rock

Pnb Rock

Pnb Rock - Photo Attribution

If you combine soulful lyrics with great beats, you get PnB Rock. The Philly native dropped his album “GTTM: Going Through the Motions” and it is a very well put together album. His hit single “Misunderstood” gives a lot of people a relatable song about relationships and the lyrics really hit home. PnB Rock is a special talent that deserves the nod to be an XXL freshman.


So that is it, the predicting is done and now its time to see if XXL will pick these artists to be in the 2017 freshman class. Some other potential picks for this class include Nav, Smokepurpp, Ugly God, Maxo Kream, and Trill Sammy. Nothing is guaranteed with picking the freshman class so it will be interesting to see how XXL mixes up this year’s class. In the end, there will be a few snubs but who those get picked really deserve that honor.