UPDATE: The 2012 XXL Freshman Class has been revealed.
The XXL Magazine Freshmen Class has become a buzz-worthy yearly event in hip hop, a perceived rite of passage for up and coming artists, presumably to reward the efforts of their achieving notoriety on the upswing of their career. Though the long-term predictive ability of the list has been questioned by many as being less-than-clairvoyant, and in recent years, the lack of viable New York artists (rectified only slightly by last year’s nomination of Fred The Godson, and to a much lesser degree, Diggy Simmons), it appears as if XXL, feeling the heat of their own selective process, has introduced a new way to include, but not include, many other candidates.
XXL has opened up voting for a “Reader’s Choice,” and allowing for 50 of the “most mentioned names” among their deliberations to be voted on by the public in an online poll, the results of which will be added to the magazine’s 9 official picks.
That’s cute and all, makes the public feel involved, but it also doesn’t make much sense. Are the actual 9 official choices also going to from the same pool? If that’s the case, isn’t the likliehood going to be that the public will also choose one of the official 9? If THAT’S the case, then is XXL going to have one of their official 9, ALSO be the Reader’s Choice? Or (more likely), they will pick either the highest voted, non-top-9 pick to fill that “Reader’s Choice” slot, or, just pick their own anyway, in either case, rendering the actual voice of the people, unheard.
Whatever the outcome, the result is obviously simply a play for online page views and to encourage spreading the Freshmen Class word among social networks, and will do little to offer any real addition to a list that already exists largely simply to create controversial discussion among hip hop debaters. That being said, we noted a couple of New York-area representatives in the mix (Action Bronson, A$AP Rocky, Emilio Rojas, French Montana, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, Neako, Outasight, Reek Da Villian, Smoke DZA, The Kid Daytona among them), so we’ll see if any of our hometown folks make the cut.
If you feel like playing the game in advance of the April 2012 cover issue, swing on over to http://www.xxlmag.com/XXL-freshmen-2012/. Voting ends January 1st.
(And hey, vote for some New York cats just for the hell of it, even though we all know only A$AP Rocky and French Montana have any real shot.)