2018 XXL Freshman List Curse
Politics

The Curse of the "XXL Freshman List"

The list that can make or break you.

975
Instagram: @xxl

Rap music is something I have a lot of love for, and something that I love delving into beyond the music. Whether it's the gay presence in rap, the relevancy of Eminem, or how trap music is finding a niche in America; I am always fascinated by how complex the rap game is behind the rhymes.

Yesterday, the powerhouse hip-hop magazine XXL released their annual "Freshman List", a list of 10 (or in this case 9) up-and-coming rappers that the magazine chooses to showcase. During the next month or so, the rappers chosen for the list will be interviewed by XXL, perform in cyphers set up by the magazine, and then have to perform individual freestyles that are set up by the magazine. Being on the list is a great honor, and it's a fantastic way to bring more attention to deserving underground artists. But sometimes the "Freshman List" results in being a curse on some of the featured rappers.

Looking at the history of the list, it's easy to find very successful and, now, mainstream acts. Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Chance The Rapper, Lupe Fiasco, Vince Staples, and many more popular artists have come from the list. But there are also swaths of rappers, like Asher Roth or Fashawn, to name a few, that have fallen out of public view in modern times. I'm not saying that in all of these cases it was because of XXL that these rappers faded away, but there are a few good instances where it was a direct correlation to them being on the list.

There are actually many factors that can cause the list to be a curse; and I'll use the 2017 and current (2018) list to show how this can happen. Each year the "Freshman List" has an unofficial poster boy who is basically used as the head of the group. In 2017 the poster boy was XXXTentacion, and this year it appears to be Lil Pump. This unofficial leader is normally given the last verses of the cypher and is normally the final freestyle that XXL chooses to release; this unofficial leader is also typically the most well known of the group.

In XXXTentacions run on the list, he was obviously the worst of the whole pack. He was the last person to perform in his cypher and it was awful. The dj stopped the beat and let him talk (not rap, talk). This was also exactly how his freestyle went. After the whole thing was said and done, it was obvious that XXXTentacion wasn't delivering like everyone thought her should. He then released the critically panned album "17", and was caught in a storm of abuse charges. XXXTentacion didn't exactly "go away", but he had more fans before the list than he does now.

I see something similar happening with Lil Pump in this coming list, but in a different degree. Where XXXTentacion consciously chose to have a low key cypher and freestyle, I think Lil Pump will accidentally show how untalented he really is.

Lil Pump has mass success already, so there is no real reason for him to be on the list. Even more, Lil Pump has proven time and again that he isn't lyrically competent. Lil Pump is successful because he has great production, great beats, and a team behind him that makes his sound palatable. Other rappers that are on this current list, like Ski Mask and Smokepurpp, actually have the chops to carry on without having to plan out beats or spend countless hours in a studio trying to make themselves sound better. When the cyphers come out I predict that Lil Pump will do okay but he'll probably be towards the bottom of the pack. When Lil Pump is made to do a freestyle I think he will really show how much he doesn't belong next to the other rappers. And then I predict that he will come out on the other side with a lot less fans than he had when "Gucci Gang" dropped.

I don't say any of this to try and hate on Lil Pump, or XXL, or any other rappers that will be or have been on the list. I only say this because I think XXL needs to adjust the way they approach their "Freshman List". I think it's a little unfair to make everything be about the cyphers and freestyles, because some people just aren't creative enough to be put on the spot like that. Maybe in the future they can see ways to improve the function of the list, but as of right now I'm just excited to see how the 2018 list plays out.

Related Articles Around the Web
Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

13 Father's Day Shirts Under $30 To Gift The Dad Wearing The Same Two Every Day In Quarantine

You've been begging him to change it up, and now he won't have a choice.

Let's be honest: most of our dads are wearing the same shirts today that they probably wore while changing our diapers and holding our hands as we learned to walk. Sure, we love them for it. But whether you're quarantined with him wearing the same two shirts on rotation every week, or every time you FaceTime him, you know what he'll be wearing before he answers the phone, he needs to add some new items to his wardrobe rotation.

And you know dads — they'll feel guilted into using practically anything you were to give them. But these shirts are sure-fire ways to get him to switch up his wardrobe, and he'll be more than excited to wear each and every one of them. Plus, most of them are under twenty dollars, so no harm in dropping more than a couple in to your cart and letting Dad have his pick of his favorites.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Hollis Tuttle To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

My Boyfriend Has Changed Since Quarantine Began, And I Don't Know What To Do

"All he says is 'I love you,' which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Dear Swoonie B,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year, which has been the best year of my life (as far as i know). Well we go to different schools and are both very involved in sports and school activities which makes it hard to see each other. During this quarantine it is especially hard. Since we haven't seen each other in over a week things are kind of tense. He won't really talk to me much and I always check in on him to make sure he is doing well and to just see how he is, ya know being a girlfriend. Well apparently that is driving him crazy and I don't understand how. I'm not being controling or clingy, i'm just checking in on him. While this is happening, I also have noticed how he just doesn't really care anymore. I'll leave him paragraphs of sweet love letters to wake up to and I encourage him throughout his day but I just don't get it in return. I love him with all of me and I obviously care about him a lot. Also, I've compared how he talked to me before all of this has happened. He was so sweet and caring, texting me a lot and telling me he loves me and just making sure everything is OK but he doesn't do that anymore. All he says is "I love you," which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him. He is a little stressed at home with trying to find another job to pay for his car, constantly having to do things for his mom, being responsible for his siblings, and managing school. I know thats a lot but im doing a lot too right now and going through a lot of the same stuff he is but It seems to me he just does not care and i don't know what to do. Please help me or give me some advice on what to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do. Anything at this point will help. Thank you!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "these are unprecedented times," I'd be rich. But that's because it's true!

Keep Reading... Show less
Tower 28

On paper, Amy Liu appears to be one of the most intimidating women in the beauty business. Not only did she launch her beauty marketing career at legendary Smashbox Cosmetics, she went on to lead luxury, high-end brands like Kate Somerville and Josie Maran — just to name a few.

But sitting down to meet Liu for the first time in an underground New York bar over a year ago felt like meeting a friend I'd known since childhood. As she walked into the bar in a chic red dress, it was impossible not to feel her immediate warm presence. When she talks about her history as an entrepreneur (and truly, at heart, she always was one), you don't get the sense that she's selling you anything, though with her impeccable taste, I'd use anything that had her glowing review attached to it.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sixth grade was the year that you were allowed to participate in a school sport. This was what my friends and I had all been waiting for since we started middle school. I had already made the cheer team with my friends, but I had to wait to start that in the winter since we cheered for basketball. I really wanted to have some sort of activity in the fall, but I did not know what to do. Somehow, I decided to run cross country. Not really sure how I decided on a sport where it was quite literally just running. A few of my friends were doing it as well, so I knew it was going to be fun.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Working Out Every Day During Quarantine Helps Me Feel A Sense Of Control

Physical activity helps my mental health in a world that feels uncertain.

Before the pandemic, I exercised a handful of times a week at best. In quarantine, I've been exercising every single day. I don't want this article to be another spiel about how exercise "changed my life," and all the other cliches that health gurus use to convince others to work out more. Rather, I want to reveal that exercise is a tool that works for me because it boosts my mental health when I feel like the world is spiraling out of control.

Keep Reading... Show less

To say that 2020 has been a bit of a roller coaster is an extreme understatement. Who knew that this decade was going to start off like THIS!? Not me, not you, and not that sweet old lady who lives down the street. One thing is certain though — while the world may be a mess right now, you can still fuel your body with food that keeps you happy and healthy. Thankfully, as we are all spending more time inside, you can get healthy snacks delivered straight to your front door! Amazon has never been more convenient (and tasty).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments