Grades For XXL’s 2011 Freshman Class

So it has almost been a year since XXL Magazine released the list of their selections for 2011’s upcoming artists. I called the list they released the worst list thus far, but was I right? Maybe these grades will determine if XXL was right with these selections. Since the ‘Fro Awards are right around the corner, it is time to give these freshman a grade.

Meek Mill  At the end of last year I could have walked past Meek Mill and not have known who he was. He signed with MMG and all of a sudden this guy is on 106 & Park every other week, and is arguably the rookie of the year. He showed his talent on Self Made Vol. 1 with multiple hits including “Tupac Back” & “Ima Boss”. He then turned around and gave us a mixtape that has the certified hit with “House Party” featuring Young Chris. Meek Mill has been everywhere this year, and I think his album in 2012 will probably sell more than Wale’s album.
Grade: A-

Big K.R.I.T. – At the beginning of the year he released a Mixtape/Album called Return of 4eva. I didn’t think he had the talent to duplicate the quality that he had on Krit Wuz Here, but I was wrong. He is quickly becoming the go to guy for production that reminds you of 90’s Southern Hip-Hop. He has hits with T.I., Ludacris, and Bun B. He may not have released his debut like I wanted, but he still had a great year.
Grade: B

CyHi The Prynce – This one of the few artist who I agreed that should have been highlighted on XXL’s freshman list. After seeing him in 2010 on a BET Hip Hop Cypher and heard some of the versus he dropped on Kanye’s album, I thought his 2011 would be much bigger.He dropped two mixtapes this year that only slightly bubbled and didn’t have any real crazy features. I know Big Sean was G.O.O.D. Music’s top priority this year, but grind Cyhi.
Grade: C-

Lil’ Twist – I was shocked that this guy was even on the list. He did have a few hits though and his XXL “freestyle” did shock me. Although I won’t say that he won me over as a fan, I will say that Young Money has another artist that they can push. Still his album has been as elusive as Detox.
Grade: C+

Yelawolf – I still say he should not have been on XXL’s list. Not because he isn’t talented, but he has been hot for awhile. He probably should have been on the same list as J. Cole. Still he did elevate to a new platform after Eminem signed him with Slaughterhouse. He also had a great verse on BET’s Hip Hop Awards and a good album. He elevated!
Grade: B

Fred The Godson – Before I get into how good of a year this cat had, let me acknowledge that although I support new upcoming rappers, this cat doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. How is he supposed to be a rapper on the come up. He didn’t accomplish anything out of XXL’s list.
Grade: F

Mac Miller – I’m shocked that he turned around and went the independent route. He seems like he is going to be a star. He put out an EP and a debut album that sold over 100,000 copies in the first week and debuted at #1, independently. He has also been on TV and seems destined to be a star.
Grade: A

YG – Another nigga with no Wikipedia page. One hit, and nothing since.
Grade: F

Lil’ B – I’m not even sure how to grade this man and his work. I know he has more fans than most of these freshman somehow, but I don’t know how?
Grade: C+

Kendrick Lamar – He came out of nowhere and has become one of my favorite artist of the year. Section 80 is easily one of the best albums of the year. He has gotten cosigns from J. Cole, Dr. Dre, and even Pharell. Now with rumored label bidding wars going on between YMCMB and Aftermath plus a few other labels, K.Dot may be even bigger next year. He may be the best lyricist the West has ever had. That’s my word.
Grade: A

Diggy Simmons – I felt like he should have been on 2010’s list. This year he has been pretty quite. Aside from a couple of features he hasn’t done anything.
Grade: C-

So I was wrong about some of the people on this list like Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, & Meek Mill. Still there are plenty of artists who shouldn’t have been on this issue, but still it looks way better than next year’s rumored list.

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