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.

Make Up Your Mind Nicki, We Are All Waiting On You!




Reports of Nicki Minaj’s endorsement of Mitt Romney have been greatly exaggerated.

“Ha! Thank you for understanding my creative humor & sarcasm Mr. President, the smart ones always do. *sends love & support,*” the singer/rapper tweeted Monday.

She added: “Awesome! Now I can tell my grandchildren that the 1st black President of the United States took the time to address a Nicki Minaj question Expand”

President Obama was asked in an interview with a Florida radio station if he had any reaction to Minaj rapping a seemingly pro-Romney line. “I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney, you lazy b——s are f—— up the economy,” Minaj rapped on a recent Lil Wayne mixtape — prompting stories that she had endorsed Romney and embraced conservative economic principles.

“She likes to play different characters. So I don’t know what’s going on there,” Obama told Power 953.

It’s a reminder that the lyrics of any musician cannot necessarily be taken literally — Johnny Cash, after all, did not in fact shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

Via Politico

Best Endorsement EVER!!


On Lil Wayne’s  just-released mixtape “Dedication 4,” rapper-singer Nicki Minaj seems to endorse GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The twentysomething Minaj, who was born in Trinidad but grew up in Queens, can be heard rapping this line on the track “Mercy”: “I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney, you lazy b—-es are f—ing up the economy.” But, in the same rap, Minaj also mentions hanging out with zombies, so it’s hard to say exactly what it all means. Regardless of her political affiliation, it is kinda funny how she somehow rhymes “Romney” with “economy.” A representative for Minaj didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Via The Wall Street Journal

Nicki Minaj Advises President Obama To Commit Political Suicide

This is just a terrible terrible idea. I don’t’ think Nicki has a future career as a political consultant lined up.

Nicki Minaj has a request for President Obama.

“I’m gonna ask him to sing one of my songs from my old album,” the hip-hop artist said on “LIVE! with Kelly” on Wednesday. “It’s called ‘Did It On ‘Em.’” Minaj, known for her envelope-pushing style, later tweeted that she’s “on a mission” to get Obama to perform the number, which features a techno beat and very provocative lyrics.

Minaj appeared with singer Ricky Martin on the daytime show, and both stars were surprised to learn that Obama has a decent voice.

“He can sing?” Minaj asked when host Kelly Ripa gushed about Obama’s rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”

Martin wasn’t aware of Obama’s singing skills either, but he has seen the president’s list of campaign songs, which includes his new ballad “The Best Thing About Me Is You.”

Playfully brushing his shoulders off, Martin bragged, “That’s on President Obama’s playlist.”

Via Politico

Catholic League Gets Their Panties In A Bunch Over Nicki Minaj

Yup, this is about as predictable as the sun rising.

In what should come as zero surprise to anyone who watched Nicki Minaj attempt to reenact “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” during her performance at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, the Catholic League has issued a statement condemning the actions of the “Superbass” star.

As predicted by our own Maura Judkis, the faith-based organization whipped up an angry news release written by Catholic League president Bill Donohue as a response to Minaj’s rendition of her song “Roman Holiday.” Donohue mocked Minaj but primarily blamed the Recording Academy for allowing the number to air, a notable fact given that the executive producer of the Grammys and Minaj have told conflicting stories about how the performance got approved. More on that in a moment. First, the angry press release.

After describing Minaj as “fresh off looking like a fool with Madonna at the Super Bowl,” Donohue’s missive provides a somewhat accurate recap of the hip-hop freaktress’s performance.

“Minaj’s performance began on stage with a mock confessional skit,” he writes. “This was followed by a taped video depicting a mock exorcism. With stained glass in the background, she appeared on stage again with choir boys and monks dancing.”

Yep, there are the boys, monks and the stained glass.

He continues: “Perhaps the most vulgar part was the sexual statement that showed a scantily clad female dancer stretching backwards while an altar boy knelt between her legs in prayer. Finally, ‘Come All Ye Faithful’ was sung while a man posing as a bishop walked on stage; Minaj was shown levitating.”

As visual confirmation, here she is levitating.

Donohue then blames the Recording Academy for allowing this purportedly offensive stage show to proceed. “Whether Minaj is possessed is surely an open question, but what is not in doubt is the irresponsibility of The Recording Academy,” he says. “Never would they allow an artist to insult Judaism or Islam.”

While not everyone may have been offended by Minaj’s performance based on religious grounds, many have panned the number for being a musical trainwreck.

Ken Ehrlich, the aforemention executive producer of the Grammy telecast, doesn’t sound like a huge fan of what Minaj did, but noted during an interview Monday on “CBS This Morning” that he and his fellow Grammy organizers don’t like to limit the creativity of their artists.

“I looked at it and said, ‘Okay,’ ” he said of Minaj’s exorcism-related piece of performance art. “I knew about her alter ego. I was kind of aware of what that was. I definitely had some questions about it.”

Minaj, however, tells a different story.

“First of all, the Grammys chose ‘Roman Holiday,’ ” she said during an interview this morning on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show. “The Grammys came to the studio — the producers of the Grammys came to the studio — and they heard ‘Roman Holiday’ and I could not play them another record after they heard that. They went crazy … so I could have chosen to do a no-brainer pop song, but I can’t do it anymore. I have to stay true to what I am doing.”

She also explained that the Roman alter ego is part of a movie she has been writing and developing for two years.

So far neither the Recording Academy nor Minaj has issued a response.

Via The Washington Post

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Manager Scorned

Big Fendi (The Man Who Discovered And Brought You Nicki Minaj) Goes In On Her! [


Love the line “I told her to talk about p****.” In all honesty, without Fendi and Reggie at Dirty Money, Nicki never would have gotten any HipHopGame love, which was her intro to the online world. Fendi’s a great example of why you have to have airtight contracts when you’re doing real business. Also goes in on Jordan Tower here. This is a classic interview for anyone paying attention to the mixtape scene in the mid 2000s.

L.A. Times Calls Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj Cartoon Rap

Hahaha, cartoon-rap is a great description and shouts to the L.A. Times for putting me on to it.

Live Review: Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj at the Staples Center