Freshman 10 -2012

So every year XXL magazine comes out with it's top 10 freshmen to watch for the next year in hip-hop. The results are often a mixed bag, two years ago Nipsey Hussle was in the top 10 and has yet to see a major label release and his buzz has quieted some, Wale took a label move to finally blow up, and while Big Sean and Mac Miller both released albums last year from their class, the results are mixed with Sean's album being garbage even though he had plenty of singles, and Mac moving a solid number but not breaking out as expected. The list is always worthy of debate and is a mixture of styles and overall experience levels. Let's get into it.

1. French Montana - French has been around for over 8 years now dropping mix tapes and cocaine city dvd's to be considered a freshman to me. He is currently signed to Bad Boy and MMG with a previous Konvict Musik deal to his credit. French is all about "swagger" talking about his jewels, moving weight, and generally balling. Pretty much the same thing as Ross only with a sleepy, nasally delivery. In today's climate, French keeps it simple and does the same thing over and over and apparently is successful. Personally his music is old and boring already because there is no real substance to it.

2. MGK - Also signed to Bad Boy, I noticed Kelly a few months back because of his passion and huge following. While, I wouldn't have suggested he sign with Puff, and most people believed, which is why he did it. Hopefully he isn't enjoying the fame too much and can focus on recording material that is more like "Stereo" from the Bad Boy preview mix tape and less like the raucous but rambunctious bunch of noise what was "Wild Boy". With the trademark midwestern speed flow, it's up to MGK to slow things down so his songs don't get repetitive and boring.

3. Roscoe Dash - I'm not quite sure how Roscoe made this list either as he has been on major songs for two or three years now but apparently he hasn't had any serious releases. As it stands, he doesn't really need to and he should stick to beats and hooks in my opinion. Roscoe makes party music but it's all the same and has the annoying auto tune added to it. While he can get the women twerking, Roscoe isn't a good rapper, more like a Kid Cudi of the South who specializes in strip club anthems.

4. Kid Ink - So I first listened to Kid Ink this week and I can compare him to B.O.B., Roscoe Dash, and Chris Brown or Tyga or something all rolled into a ball. He raps better than Roscoe but still tries to do the harmonizing thing using auto tune and he is young so he has a lack of subject matter overall. He also is yet another West Coast hipster skater types which is the trend right now. Actually he is more like a better Wiz Khalifa. What is left to see is if he can really delve and create subject matter or if his songs will remain superficial and on the surface about partying and getting paid.

5. Future- Another Atlanta rapper who has more of the party vibe than the traditional hip-hop skill set, Future is the latest in what I feel is a lineage of the title "Worst Rapper Alive". I have heard three or four songs from this guy and they all sound the same and all use auto tune...I really thought Jay-z had killed it and that Wayne sucked whatever little bit was left in it and eaten it all. I guess not, because this guy also uses it and it sounds fucking terrible and even more annoying than before. This goes to show you if you have the right beats, money, and promotion behind you anything is possible. This is the type of shit that makes me sad for hip-hop and rap in general for those who think of them as two different things.

Out of these five freshman (half of the class) I would only say that Kid Ink and MGK actually have a chance to be remotely decent but with the industry so crazy that Roscoe and Future can actually have careers, I can't really call it. I just hope that people will really be critical when listening to some of this stuff. What do you think about these five rookies?


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