The 2012 XXL Freshman Class, a yearly compilation of artists the hip hop magazine deems “next to blow,” has been finalized and the cover for the annual XXL Freshmen Issue has been revealed. New York’s typically anemic representation continues, with only French Montana making the cut.
The XXL Freshmen class (which technically is called the Freshman class, even though the magazine itself can’t seem to keep the branding consistent, alternating between Freshman and Freshmen on the cover and website), creates an annual feast of discussion throughout the hip hop world. This year should prove no different, as fans and industry insiders will certainly disagree with the choices made. Despite the fact that such lists are conceived purely to bask in the controversy they create, as well as to push the affiliated products (XXL helmed mixtapes, industry showcases, etc.), the buzz around this year’s selections is already palpable throughout social media platforms, as evidenced by some examples culled from Twitter:
I’m not mad at the XXL Freshmen list if you look at it from a manufactured industry buzz perspective and not good music.
— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) February 28, 2012
ASAP rocky should have made the XXL list flat out…
— Amazing (@Evy1HatesLiciaG) February 28, 2012
Evry yr,fewer than a third of the artists selected to b on the XXL”Freshman”list become commercial or critical successes in the following yr
— Vash! (@VashtiNYC) February 28, 2012
Recipients of this year’s dubious honor include: French Montana, Macklemore, Don Trip, Future, Kid Ink, Danny Brown, Machine Gun Kelly, Hopsin, Roscoe Dash and Iggy Azalea.
Of the list, only French Montana represents the Big Apple region, despite the strength of other up and coming contenders such as A$AP Rocky (thought he reportedly turned down his nomination), Action Bronson and Homeboy Sandman, among others.
For their part, XXL stated that “in the past five years that XXL has been picking Freshman classes, never once has making the list been easy.” We’re sure it’s not. And this year, the 10th selection was supposedly chosen by popular vote (although the logistics of such a process were illogical at best).
In any event, it will be interesting to see if an artist’s inclusion on the list continues to be something of a career non-starter, as few of the picks from previous years have gone on to achieve significant success in the music business.
Peep the cover below, and stay tuned for exclusive content to be released by XXL starting March 5.