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.

When Harry Fraud Speaks We Listen

La-Musica-De-Harry-Fraud

Harry Fraud has quickly risen as New York rap’s go-to producer since helming French Montana’s anthemic “New York Minute” featuring Jadakiss (and later, Nicki Minaj and ostensibly every rapper in the Tri-State Area) and “Shot Caller.” He’s also produced tracks for everyone from Action Bronson and Rick Ross to Riff Raff. His “La Musica de Harry Fraud” sonic signature vies for one of rap’s most recognizable drops, though he’s not much of an outward showman himself. Fraud prefers to be in the studio, working. Sometime after 2am, in a hazy, weed-laced room at Premier Studios in Times Square, the quiet Brooklyn native put finishing touches on his upcoming EP and talked with Sound of the City.

Check The Dopeness Here

Heads Still Ain’t Messing With Mao

The New York based art collective known as Shoe Box Business release their self produced ode to being unstoppable…

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Awkword Reps For The Greatest Man On Television

Per the homie Awkword, “I just felt like going free association with it. I wanted it to be notably different from the type of music I am known for making… It starts out inspired by all the times spent in HarryFraud smoked-out studios and then just unravels from there.”

Eddie B. Interview

For those not yet up on you, how would you introduce yourself?

I would say I’m Eddie B. Get used to me because I’m never going to stop.

Two things that definitely comes across in your music is you insane lyricism but also your flow which you can switch up pretty effortlessly. Does your writing affect the flow you use, or is it the beat, or a combination of both?

The beat always tells my flow what to do. If you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone than all your music will sound the same so its important to let the beat speak to you. I can’t imagine flowing the same on every track to me thats just boring bullshit.

You and underground legend Shabaam Sahdeeq are linking up for a joint project, “The Wolves.” How did that come about and what can you tell us about the album?

One day I was at D Block studio kickin it with my homie and Styles P and my phone rang. I picked up and Harry(Fraud) told me he had Bam in the lab. I was always a supporter of Shabaam’s music so me and my homie left Yonkers and went to the studio. We ended up making a very powerful song. Next thing you know we had banger after banger being made and an album to release.

You are also working a lot with Harry Fraud who is blowing up crazy. How did you two link up and how important is your musical chemistry together? You’re on some Guru and Preemo shit!

First and foremost Harry Fraud is my best friend. We came up together and to see him accomplish his goals makes me very proud. We have been making music together for 10 years and everytime we go into the lab together the end result is always epic. I guess because we’ve been doing it for so long. Its funny you say Guru and Preem because we are both huge Gangstarr fans.

I know you rep for Jersey as do I. Who are you some of your favorite Jersey MCs?

Move from Bk to New Jeruz y’all know the rules Biggie Amalls already told yall fools. My favorite artist from Jerz is Redman nobody’s fuckin with Reggie Noble. Lets not forget Lauryn Hill as well. She’s just amazing even though she only dropped one album it’s still one of the greatest LP’s of our time.

You recently got down with Man Bites Dog Records who have been putting out seriously quality music for some time now. How did you link up with them and what can you tell us about the project?

The album is called Paper Piff and Polo. It drops in Vovember and people need to have it in their life because its quality music that isn’t disposable or watered down. It’s just banger after banger. Alot of the homies are featured on this album. It meant alot to me that everyone was down to collab with your boy. The artists featured on my album are Smoke Dza, Sean Price, Action Bronson, Termanology and Mistah Fab.

What else is on the horizon for Eddie B. ?

The only thing on the horizon for me is more music. After we release this album we will start the next one. Can’t stop won’t stop gotta keep grinding.

Any final words?

Surf School… Fool

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The Big Pony Mixtape

Eddie B, Shabaam Sahdeeq, and Maffew Ragazino Have Good Genetics

Eddie B and Shabaam Sahdeeq drop the second cut off their free LP “The Wolves” which drops Sept. 5th. This song features Maffew Ragazino and is produced by Harry Fraud.

Eddie B and Shabaam Sahdeeq feat. Maffew Ragazino- Born To Win (prod. by Harry Fraud)

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Smoke DZA and Harry Fraud Speak!

Mixtape Download: Curren$y and Harry Fraud- Cigarette Boats EP

Curren$y and Harry Fraud team up to release the much anticipated “Cigarette Boats” EP. The project boasts 5 new cuts with guest appearances by Styles P and Smoke DZA.

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Keep Your Eyes On R.I.P. JOSAMA PALABRA…

“HAMBRE” by R.I.P. JOSAMA PALABRA, Produced by HARRY FRAUD (la musica de HArry Fraud…) Fet. MONICA WATKINS Directed by ROMULO SANS.

Surf School TV Episode 1

Mixtape Download: Eddie B- The Big Pony Mixtape

One of the truly illest cats out right drops his new mixtape presented by super producer Harry Fraud. Support the Eddie B movement!!

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Bars And Hooks Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Awkword Takes Us Behind The Scenes

Listen to the biggest single to date off World View while getting behind-the-scenes access to the Bars & Hooks video (coming soon) shoot, starring the full cast of characters, including AWKWORD, Harry Fraud, Sean Price, The Kid Daytona and The Incomparable Shakespeare.

Adrian Lau Dreams In Color

Surf School artist Adrian Lau drops his visual for “Blue Dreams” produced by Harry Fraud. More music from this duo coming soon…

Interview- Awkword

 

 

For those who aren’t yet up on you, how would you introduce yourself?

I’m a writer, a Hip Hop/rap artist, an activist. I represent the people, the 99%, the working man and woman, people who struggle, people who cop new fashions or do drugs to cope with their problems. Real humans. To me, that’s what this culture is all about. I rap about shit I know, shit I been through, shit I see, shit I fear and shit I dream about. I’ve wanted to die, been in trouble with the law, graduated from college, worked my ass off. I hate the man, I love my people. I’m sarcastic, self deprecating, brutally honest, passionate, compassionate, sensitive, super-lyrical. I want peace, but I aint afraid to knock somebody head off. I’m anti-arrogance and I don’t give a fuck if you swag. I do me, and that’s exactly why they feel me.

Your “World View” project is scheduled to be dropping soon. Can you explain what it is, who’s involved and your motivation behind it?

World View is dropping in 2012, presented by DJ Booth, End of the Weak (EOW/EODub) & The Morgan Stanley Foundation. The first-ever 100% for-charity global Hip Hop project, World View features contributions from every continent, approximately 20 countries and every United States region. The album boasts production from Domingo, Harry Fraud, The White Shadow, Tranzformer, ATG and many more, as well as guest emcee appearances from the likes of Joell Ortiz, Sean Price and KRS-One. All proceeds are being donated to Guns 4 Cameras (a.k.a. Aim to Live), a 501c3-registered nonprofit dedicated to eradicating street violence through the Hip Hop-inspired education and empowerment of our at-risk youth.

Your music is very influenced by your social views and your activism. How important is it for those passions to be conveyed in your music?

My mother was an activist. I was raised an activist. I have a bachelor of art’s degree in Sociology from Vassar College. I’ve led protests all over the country as well as worked in maximum security prisons, alternative to incarceration centers, teen centers and soup kitchens. And I do feel strongly that politics are important because they affect us at the street level, in our day-to-day lives, even if we can’t always see or feel it. But politics aint everything. And ideas and songs can be political without being blatant, in-your-face, Democrat-vs.-Republican political.

Of course, my political opinions and passions are important to me and play a significant role in my music, my message and my movement, but this doesn’t mean every song is intended to be or going to come off as political.

Do you see your music as having a particular goal or is it more about communicating what’s inside you?

I make music to release, for myself. I make music to relate, for my listeners. And, less often, I make music to educate, for those who can learn from my experiences or education. I am not just a political rapper, or a Jewish rapper, or an underground/indie rapper. I am complex, just like my fans and followers. On World View and other projects, I:

Go in on current events (e.g., “Mr. President” w/ Y-Love; or “Imperialism” w/ C-Rayz Walz & Reks).
Speak revolution right to the 1% (e.g., “The People’s Champions” w/ Shabaam Sahdeeq, Punchline & Beretta 9 [of Killarmy]).
Comment on the state of Hip Hop (e.g., “Radio 2.0″ w/ KRS-One et al.).
Talk that gritty, grimy street shit (e.g., “Bars & Hooks” w/ Sean Price, The Kid Daytona & The Incomparable Shakespeare; or “Metal Music” w/ ILL BILL, El Gant, Tenacity & Blame One).
Embody other objects (e.g., blood in “Stay Spittin Stay Flowin”; or drugs in “Requiem” w/ SoulStice, Ess Vee & CuzOH! Black [coming soon!])
Share my secrets and insecurities (e.g., “Doctor Doctor” w/ GuessWho?).
Divulge on relationships (e.g., “Thank You (A Tribute To My Mommy)”; or “The Dating Game – Revisited” w/ Jade Foxx).
Celebrate with my peoples (e.g., “Cheers” w/ Whatzisface).
Attempt to inspire (e.g., “The World Is Yours” w/ Sha Stimuli; or “All My People” w/ Josh Martinez et al.)

You’ve done a number dope joints with Harry Fraud who is blowing up crazy. How did you two initially link up?

Fraud and I met about a decade ago, before anyone had heard of either of us. We met through mutual friends Various, Werdplay and Fafu of BLESTeNATION, an Interscope-signed group that only a few years ago seemed destined for stardom. Fraud produced a couple records on my solo debut LP “See the Light”. In 2011, he and I both took big steps forward, and I am very proud of and happy for him. And, good news, we got more hot records in the works and coming soon, including one with Voli and me that is already finished, stupid crazy dope, and POSSIBLY destined for Fraud’s album and/or World View. For more on this, look out for a forthcoming feature on RefinedHype.com.

Who are some of the artists who have inspired you and who you look at as role models in the game?

As a ‘Tough Jew’ growing up, I was inspired by artists with similar backgrounds, such as ILL BILL and Remedy. As a politically minded emcee, I have been inspired by Immortal Technique and Chuck D. And as an artist, I learned a lot about the writing, recording, production and performing processes from friends Harry Fraud and Whatzisface. But truthfully, I am much more inspired by what goes on inside my head and in the world around me, as well as by philosophers, social theorists and political activists.

Any new artists that you’re feeling lately and are looking to work with?

Production wise, I would love to work with DJ Premier, Alchemist and the Snowgoons. As for fellow emcees, I don’t want to give anything away because, at this point, with World View, anything is possible, and some crazy collaborations are already quietly being cooked up.

What’s on the horizon for 2012 for you?

I’m almost finished with World View. Just a few more records to complete, and then I’ll be dropping this multi-year effort via DJ Booth later this year. After World View, I am going to spend a lot more time writing and a lot less time networking and promoting. Since I didn’t start taking this rap thing seriously until December 2009, I’ve had a lot of catching up to do. But once my foothold is fully established with World View, I plan to work on more solo records, with some of the most creative producers in the game. I plan to push boundaries and inspire these geniuses to go even further left field with me. We all know that’s where I belong.

Website

twitter.com/awkwordrap

Eddie B. and Shabaam Sahdeeq Spit Live Fire

Eddie B and Shabaam Sahdeeq go in on a cut on the upcoming “Crossfire” LP produced by Harry Fraud.

Eddie B Gets Heavy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzr_QuhaOSE&feature=related

The homie Eddie B drops the aptly named “Heavy Bars” for the people. If you’ve been sleeping on him, wake up!

Bars And Hooks Have Never Souded Better

Word to this joint and shouts to all my peoples involved!

AWKWORD ft. Sean Price, The Kid Daytona & The Incomparable Shakespeare – “Bars & Hooks (Keep It Moving)” (prod. Harry Fraud)
Bars & Hooks ft. Sean Price, The Kid Daytona & The Incomparable Shakespeare (prod. Harry Fraud) by @AWKWORDrap

Lil Cease, Black Rob & Peedi Crakk Just Dont’ Know

Lil Cease, Black Rob & Peedi Crakk spit some fire over the homie Harry Fraud’s dope beat!

Vast Aire Reps For The Future

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHVf9Jgx4-Y

Off Vast’s latest LP OX 2010: A Street Odyssey. The video was shot during his recent trip to South Africa. Track produced by Harry Fraud.

Chinx Drugz, Stack Bundles (RIP), and Harry Fraud Get Their Mack On

New fire from Chinx Drugz, the missed Stack Bundles and Harry Fraud. A good way to start the day!

Chinx Drugz & Stack Bundles – “Tap That” produced by Harry Fraud

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Lil Cease Shows Us How It Is

Shouts to our fam H. Fraud on the beat for this banger!

Eddie B. Shabaam Sahdeeq, and Harry Fraud Instruct Us To Curb Our Velocity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9aHR2G0i4A

Here is some absolute fire from our man Eddie B featuring the consistently dope Shabaam Sahdeeq produced by our fam Harry Fraud. This is the realness.

French Montana And Harry Fraud Call Shots

New fire from French Montana and our fam Harry Fraud. Bump loud and enjoy!

French Montana – “Shot Caller” prod. Harry Fraud

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Maffew Ragazino Makes Banger without David Spade

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Maffew Ragazino – Black Sheep (Prod. by Harry Fraud)

Bonus points for the Clay Davis reference!

Harry Fraud And Friends Drop Song Filled With Hot Fire Napalm Bombs

Hot Damn! This just made my afternoon. Peep this and bask in the hot fire flames that is this joint.

Sean Price x Eddie B. x Maffew Ragazino – “Don’t Try It” prod. Harry Fraud

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Chinx Drugz and Harry Fraud Get High… Literally

Here’s a dope new video and EP from our fam Harry Fraud and Chinx Drugz. Dopeness all around so download, bump loud, and rep the real!

Chinx Drugz & Harry Fraud present ‘FLIGHT 2011

Duss Smitto, R.H. Bless, and Harry Fraud Link Up For A Banger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKmNAo75b2k

This is just an ill combo. Recognize the real!

Harry Fraud Continues Dropping Napalm

Here’s an ill new joint produced by Harry Fraud assisted by Lil Cease and Chinx Drugz. Everyone does their thang proper.

Lil Cease & Chinx Drugz “Own Man” prod. Harry Fraud

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Various and MCEO Drop Bucks Like Hunters

Word to the Yoda puppet who makes a cameo in this joint!

Lil Cease Asks A Deep Philosophical Question

I Dont Know Why Artwork 1

This is the new joint from Lil Cease produced my man Harry Fraud. The beat is ill and Cancun and Cease do their thug thizzle. Word to getting more head then a hair salon.

Lil Cease feat. Cancun and MCEO- I Don’t Know Why

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