Does the XXL Freshmen List Even Matter Anymore?

Every year, XXL selects ten up-and-coming prospects and dubs them as the new crop of “Freshmen,” regardless of how many years they’ve actually been sending mp3s to sites and getting their name on whatever bill they could. To be selected, it definitely helps to have at least two of the following:

- already be signed to a major label – This automatically means you can’t be a total flop, since the major label that cops ads for the magazine will benefit from the partnership of having their new signee appear credible. More Freshmen selected from a label, more ads from the label.

- hype – You don’t have to actually be talented to be selected as next. How else can you explain artists like Machine Gun Kelly, Yelawolf, Iggy Azalea, Lil’ Twist, and OJ Da Juiceman getting an honor that artists like Stimuli, Skyzoo, and Vado couldn’t get?

- come from a hip-hop family – Sorry, Diggy Simmons, but this goes for you. While you’re not a terrible rapper, there’s also nothing besides your bloodline that separates you from everyone else. Oh, and that Atlantic deal.

- don’t be a chick – Out of 50 rappers selected as up-and-coming, only one female has been selected, and it is the untalented and nowhere-to-be-found Iggy Azalea. Nicki Minaj? Nope. Drake? Nope. If XXL had been doing their job, they would have featured those cats before they got as big as they did. Nitty Scott? Nope. Boog Brown? Nope.

- don’t be a producer – For some reason producers don’t seem to count, even though they’re, in my opinion, the most essential element in creating quality hip-hop. No Lex Luger or Harry Fraud takes away from whatever credibility these lists are supposed to have.

XXL also plays it incredibly safe in picking ten new artists each year. It’s pretty hard to pick the one or two artists that will really blow, but when you take ten and hope that one or two of them blow up on a national level and the rest can be mildly successful, which in 2013 terms seems to be dropping a couple of free mixtapes that get picked up by a couple of blogs, then everything worked out.

This year they’re also giving fans the illusion of helping to choose the 2013 class. Some obvious choices this year include Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson, but seeing as how neither one will probably be copping any ads this year from a major album, I would be shocked if they made it. They need a white guy, so Action’s got the best chance, plus they’ll probably have him holding a spatula or some other kitchen utensil. If they pick both, it would be great for hip-hop and blow my whole theory to shreds.

In order for these lists to have credibility, a few things need to change. First, stop selecting so many. I’d say no more than four rappers and two producers. Second, don’t base it on major label affiliations or co-signs, but on actual talent. No one from G.O.O.D. Music has dropped an album I’d consider worth copping, yet every act Kanye signs gets the nod. Base the selections on actual talent and doing that will require them to do a little more homework and a little less catering to the major labels and relying on the safe options.

Everyone Can Relax Now, Drake And Common Won’t Be Bodying Each Other


If you’re like me, this beef  cry for publicity has had you up at night highly anxious with cold sweats. Thankfully we can all breath a collective sigh of relief as things seem to be copacetic now. Thank goodness! This one could really gotten crazy!!

Hip-Hop Wired has learned that Common and Drake actually squashed their beef at the Grammys, clearing up previous reports that the two rappers almost got into a violent altercation.

Apparently, both Drake and Common’s entourages happened to be in the same area at the end of the Grammy red carpet, near where artists were being distributed their VIP credentials to enter the Staples Center, according to a source in the latter’s camp. Common felt it was awkward for two men that had exchanged words in song to be in the same vicinity without saying anything to each other. With the two eyeballing each other intensely, Common asked Drake, “What’s up?”

Drake responded with a “What’s up?” of his own, and Common tried to approach him with the intent of speaking to the Toronto rapper one on one. However, Drake’s security and other members of his entourage defensively intervened in his progress. Allegedly Drake said, “Yo, I grew up listening to this dude, what’s the problem?,” while his security was telling Common, “We respect you, this isn’t necessary.” But Common wanted to talk to Drake “man to man,” angered that two rivals would cross paths and just not speak.

One of the members of Drake’s crew turned out to be his father, Dennis Graham, who told Common the two artists “need to cut this out, y’all are better than this.” According to the source, the elder Graham’s intervention made Com change his approach, with cooler heads prevailing and the two rappers eventually going off to the side and speaking to each other alone. Holding true to the words he said in an interview moments before, Common and Drake exchanged pounds, and told everyone in their respective camps the beef had been squashed.

Police did arrive after hearing about a commotion, however they did not need to intervene with the situation already having been settled. Also, according to our source, no other YMCMB artists were present, which could have aided in the situation not getting out of hand.

Via Hip Hop Wired

Willie The Kid- Waste Not. Want Not [Video]

Willie The Kid releases a visual for Waste Not. Want Not, produced by The Alchemist. This is one of the songs Drake recently mentioned in an MTV interview, when citing Willie as one of the best bar for bar in the game….if you care about that sort of thing. Regardless of co-signs, dope video. 5iveit

You can catch Willie live at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids, MI this Friday. Details HERE.

5 @ 5 January 17, 2012 Edition


5. Common and Drake beefing – I know, I know, they’ve supposedly squashed it or whatever. As soon as they admitted they’re both dope at rocking ribbed turtlenecks, the beef was gone. Fellas, there’s enough ribbed turtlenecks for both of you and you both could pull off Gap ads if you wanted to.

4. Forkast – Check our audio page for this cat if you don’t know about him. Dude is the truth!

3. Copywrite’s God Save the King – Finally got around to listening to Copy’s new album. Love the original sound it has. Dope beats, really dope rhymes and a surprisingly more spiritual side of Copy. I spoke to him over the weekend and one of the things he said that stands out is that he’d like to squash his beefs with Apathy and Cage, not to make music but just to squash it. God Save the King is definitely the most mature and spiritual Copy we’ve seen, but not to worry, he’s still killing it on the mic.

2. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – It’s over, rappers. Please stop acting like you care and go back to doing whatever it was you were doing before January 16th. Being “conscious” one day a year and dropping a song with the word “dream” somewhere in the title does not a revolutionary make.

1. Pay your bills – If you’re a record label that owes money, pay your bills. Unfortunately, it sounds like that’s the nature of the business.

Drake Is For The Kids!

Word to Drake inspiring a stutterer. Wheel Chair Jimmy is for the kids.

Like a lot of 12 year-olds, Jake Zeldin is a fan of Canadian rapper Drake. But unlike other 12-year-olds, Jake has actually had the chance to rap with him. Impressive enough; but what’s more impressive is what rapping does for Jake.

Jake Zeldin has struggled with a significant stutter all his life. But when he starts to rap, that stutter disappears.

Communicating has been a struggle for Zeldin since he first started to speak. But ask him to rap one of his own written songs, and the sentences and rhymes tumble out easily, one right after the other.

Zeldin’s mom Robyn says her son figured out how rap relaxes him fairly recently.

“He discovered about two years ago that he has this ability – that when he raps he has fluid speech, which is incredible because sometimes it’s a challenge to speak,” she told CTV’s Canada AM Monday.

“Rapping has really helped. He’s incorporated it in with book reports at school and with talking, so it’s amazing for him.”

Robyn says people often don’t know what to make of her son when they first hear him speak. But she says he’s a normal 12-year-old boy; he just has more of a challenge communicating.

Two weeks ago, Jake went with his brother Cole to a concert by rapper Tyga, where Drake and fellow rapper T-Pain were special guests. The brothers decided to see if they could get backstage, where they ran into T-Pain who they had met the previous summer at another concert.

T-Pain gave them a hug and introduced them to Drake. The next thing Jake knew, he was showing off some of his rhymes to one of his idols.

So why is Zeldin able to “speak” easily when he raps?

“I’m not sure, but it’s funner,” Zeldin replies.

He has been in speech therapy since his preschool years, but with none of the therapies working, he and his mother decided to stop for a while.

“We haven’t done any therapy for the last two years. We decided to take a little bit of break. But we may visit it again,” Robyn said.

Stuttering remains largely a mystery to brain researchers. For some reason, most childhood stutterers recover with no help at all, with as many as three-quarters outgrowing the condition.

Some stutterers find they can speak perfectly well in one language but stutter in another. Others find they don’t stutter when they sing, or when they speak to young children. And for still others, the condition clears up when they act on stage and take on a different persona.

While stuttering was once thought to be psychological condition caused by anxiety issues, it’s now recognized as a neurological condition stemming from an as-yet undetermined brain wiring issues.

The long-held suspicion of a genetic link is bearing out: in recent years, a number of genetic mutations involved in stuttering have been identified. But since these mutations account for only about 10 per cent of cases, more still wait to be identified.

Robyn says for now, she and her son are working on using singing and rapping to help Jake communicate. Jake has been writing songs, putting his music and videos online under the stage name “Lil Jz,” and dreaming of becoming a professional rapper.

Why rapping helps, his mother Robyn doesn’t know. But she says they’re going to use it as best they can.

“He has this gift; he has a different way to communicate. I think it’s amazing and we’re just going to try to keep it up.”

Via CTV News

Most Bogus Claim Ever


Rappers are known for making outrageous claims like driving Bentley’s and taking out whole city blocks with bazookas, but those sound downright realistic compared to the claim that an individual “invented sex.” I’m calling bullshit!

Dondria feat. Trey Songz and Drake- Invented Sex Remix

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Drake Raps With People We Don’t Know


Ummmm. Yeah…. My suggestion is immediately listen to M.O.P. after polluting your ears with this to try to cleanse the memory of it.
Richie Wess feat. Drake and Yung Dred- Play Ball

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The Greatest Trick the Devil Pulled Was Making Us Think He Retired


I love that the Children of the Corn member the Bad Boy the minister the guy who won’t go away says, “It’s Mase and Drake, I promise you’ll remember this.” Actually, it’s you and an mp3 file, because Drake hasn’t gotten desperate enough to record with you yet. Give him a few years and we’ll probably have joint street albums featuring Mase and the lethargic Drake. Props on being right on time three months late with this too.

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Drake feat. Mase – Best I Ever Had (Jacking)

P.S. That hottie is not holding a bedpost. It’s actually a mace. What a mace is, from

1. a clublike armor-breaking weapon of war, often with a flanged or spiked metal head, used chiefly in the Middle Ages.
2. a ceremonial staff carried before or by certain officials as a symbol of office.