"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not A Blogger Vs. XXL’s 10 Freshman MC's

In the embryonic stages of my glorious monument to the halcyon genius that is my blog, I took serious umbrage with what Elliot Wilson and the crack team over at XXL Magazine had seemingly arbitrarily decided were the the ten most elite members of hip hop’s next generation. It was filled with such future “kings” of the genre as Gorilla Zoe, Plies and the immortal Papoose. Needless to say, one year later, their choices have only gotten more laughably awful as only
Lupe Fiasco has managed to do anything truly of note that wasn’t a shitty mixtape.

You would think after such an abortive performance that XXL perhaps would shy away from making such predictions but alas, you just don’t know
Harris Publishing. This year, XXL has decided to name their “10 Freshman MC’s” and release a trifecta of covers to commemorate and like last year, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to savagely hate on each of these rapper’s career prospects. I hope you shall enjoy.


Sounds Like... Kanye West, Andre 3000 and Lupe Fiasco gang raping Lil’ Wayne in the Backyard Band’s backyard and if that act produced an offspring

Best Case Scenario: I get to triumphantly say I told you so as he sells one million copies of his debut album

Worst Case Scenario: Do you have any clue who the Backyard Band is? Is your name noz? No? Exactly…

Doc’s Take: For those who are avid reader of my blog know how big a fan I am of Wale. I personally think sky’s the limit for this kid. “The Mixtape About Nothing” remains one of the few bright spots in an otherwise, holocaust barren year for hip hop albums and Wale’s slowly been making a name for himself off the notoriety of that album. Wale bridges the elements of D.C.’s famed Go-Go scene and brings a warm, hip hop spin to it. The kid’s a star in my opinion.


Sounds like... Cee-Lo Green before he got his "Soul Machine" on

Best Case Scenario: He becomes the next Devin The Dude

Worst Case Scenario: People continue to confuse him with that one Outkast song about blowing the living bejeezus of urban Iraq

Doc’s Take: B.o.B.’s a talented dude but I can’t imagine he’s going to have much of a successful career. He seems bound for permanent underground status and if he’s lucky, he’s going to be a perennial “You-Should-Be-Up-On-This-Dude’s-Shit” status. I’ve pretty much enjoyed every solitary thing this guy has released lately but it seems too esoteric and smart to catch on with the mainstream and not “avant-garde” enough to catch on with the hipster crowds. His sound just isn’t quite original enough to carry him. He seems like another Trae. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Asher Roth

Sounds Like… Eminem if you gave him Jay-Z’s post-retirement flow and forced him to only rap about being in college… so basically just Eminem with way less talent really…

Best Case Scenario: He gets to fuck an Olsen Twin.

Worst Case Scenario: Seriously, did you see that Dallas Penn video? Dude is doing the backstroke in pools of pussy… I don’t think there’s a worst case scenario.

Doc’s Take: It seems that there is irrational element of hip hop blogdom that loathes this guy with the fires of a thousand suns. It seems as if my fellow brethren feel that Mr. Roth is the second coming of the Anti-Christ and is single-handedly ruining hip hop in it’s entirety. Personally, I’m running a check on this particular branch of bullshit because while Asher Roth isn’t exactly my taste, he’s not that wack. I personally kind of enjoy his kinda great Weezer-sampling “I Love College” and the dude seems to display some energy and passion so as far as I’m concerned the wanton hate derives from the fact a bunch of white bloggers are pissed that they didn’t come up with the idea of being “The Upper Middle Class White Rapper Who Raps About Being White And Upper Middle Class” first and now he’s all up in the high heel set and you’re not. I’m onto you people and you gots to chill. Don’t hate.

Charles Hamilton

Sounds Like... what Urkel would sound like if he rapped and had a Sonic the Hedgehog fetish

Best Case Scenario: He becomes the black
Asher Roth

Worst Case Scenario: Well…he was once on an episode of “The Real”

Doc’s Take: I’ve written about Charles Hamilton in the past and basically everything I’ve written applies here as well. Charles’ flow is kind of awkward and forced but his skills as a producer and the esoteric nature of the samples that he uses makes his music interesting and diverse. He probably should stick to producing other acts because he’s not the world’s most talented emcee but he creates some material that is actually pretty dope. I’ve been enjoying his “Hamiltonization Process” series of mixtapes that he’s been dropping. I kind see him and Asher Roth as artistic cousins in both style and the audience they seem to be after. They both seem obsessed with girls and nerdy things so I can only really see one of them becoming a star. I’m betting on Charles’ paler brethren, though.


Sounds Like… the Okayplayer Message Boards

Best Case Scenario: Kanye West decides to produce his album and leaves the auto-tune firmly at home.

Worst Case Scenario: Electric Circus… That’s all I’ve got to say… And don’t think that isn’t coming? Did you hear that “C.R.A.C. Knuckles” album? Tell me, I’m wrong.

Doc’s Take: I don’t really know how I feel about Blu. He’s a truly talented emcee as his words flow easily from his lips and he projects the kind of soul soaked warmth the Okayplayer crowd is know for but I can’t say I really dig his music/ On one hand, I remember I thoroughly enjoyed “Below the Heavens” last year the one time I listened to it but I definitely felt like I did not need to hear that record again. The “C.R.A.C. Knuckles” he put out this year with Ta’Raach was extremely disappointing but I really love “Pop Dem Boyz.” Personally, I feel he destined for Little Brother status as one of those rappers that you either love or loathe on general principle for attempting to be “conscious.”

Mickey Factz

Sounds Like… what Lupe Fiasco looks like

Best Case Scenario: He inexplicably makes the cover of XXL Magazine… Oh wait…

Worst Case Scenario: He cons a couple of models into thinking he’s the dude who wrote that “Superstar” song.

Doc’s Take: I do not care for Mickey Factz at all. He’s a completely, generic and boring hipster rapper with a completely indistinctive voice or personality and he hasn’t even made anything as remotely good as “Drivin’ Down The Block”, “Black Mags” or “Cappuccino.” Plus, he friggin’ looks like Lupe Fiasco. Why is he on this list? Did XXL Magazine need to meet a quotient of black coffee shop dudes in horned rim glasses? This should be Krispy Kream’s spot from the KnuX.

Cory Gunz/Curren$y

Sounds Like… Aren’t these guys the same rapper?

Best Case Scenario: I mean seriously aren’t they both Lil’ Wayne’s former baggage handlers?

Worst Case Scenario: Seriously?! I’m not making this up aren’t these guys both “proteges” of the late, great Dwayne Carter. I could swear this is true.

Doc’s Take: I’m not wasting any more of my energy writing about Cory Gunz and Curren$y. I have better things to do with my life. Just, no… Please explain this to me, though. Why not just put Blood Raw on this list if we are choosing weed carriers now? Ugh… This offends me on so many levels.

Ace Hood

Sounds Like… DJ Khaled’s payola game is waaaay strong!

Best Case Scenario: DJ Khaled dies in either a fiery, multiple car accident, a long extended torture by one of the rich sadists in the movie Hostel, or gets drawn and quartered by four tractor trailers driven by the ghost of Biggie Smalls…thus we never have to hear this guy rap, anymore….

Worst Case Scenario: Ace Hood inexplicably falls ass backwards into a “This is Why I’m Hot?” and thus, I can’t escape his voice even when I’m on the J Train and some douches cell phone blows up. There really is no worst case scenario. There is no bottom to his limits.

Doc’s Take: Why? Just why, XXL?! Ace Fuckin’ Hood is going to be a future star?! You know what? I was being too hard on Curren$y and Cory Gunz because this is just too egregious for words. What exactly does DJ Khaled have on the industry that he continues to foist his music and his artists upon the world? What did we do to deserve such a grisly fate? I’m beginning to think that DJ Khaled is God’s revenge on the human race for the Holocaust? What the fuck?!?!

Kid CuDi

Sounds Like… somebody decided it was good idea to bring hip house back… I’m looking at you, Baby Bam…

Best Case Scenario: He becomes the second, most successful rapper out of Cleveland thus supplanting Ray Cash.

Worst Case Scenario: Actually, I’m not actually sure that above isn’t the worst case scenario. I kind of like Ray Cash. You should probably own “Cash On Delivery.” It’s actually pretty dope. Can we get Ray Cash on this list instead of Ace Hood? That would make me happy.

Doc’s Take: I saw Kid CuDi in concert at an overpriced club in the West Village a few weeks back with Jeff Weiss and a couple of other bloggers and his live show was pretty good. I was actually pretty shocked that so many people knew the words to a bunch of obscure ass Kid CuDi songs. I also happened to meet Naledge from Kidz In The Hall and to my absolute shock, homebody is Prodigy-sized,. No joke. As for Kid CuDi, I can’t say I’m the word’s biggest fan. His music is kind of the sonic cousin to old Hip House stuff of the early ‘90s and I can’t say I’m really behind that kind of movement. “Day-N-Nite’s” pretty catchy, though.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I’m definitely more pleased with this year’s version that last year’s version of this list. I approve of about half of these rappers on the list and those that I think outright suck aren’t quite as awful as those who I thought absolutely sucked last year. Personally, if I had my druthers I would replace Ace Hood, Mickey Factz, Curren$y and Cory Gunz with the Knux, The Cool Kids, Bishop Lamont and Elzhi but yet again, if I had my druthers than Jim Jones wouldn’t have a career. Here’s to hating, folks! L’Chaim!


Christopher said...

Issue: Cory Gunz is actually great, and Curren$y said a few cool thing on "Where The Cash At". (Vids actually decent, on youtube)

Also, The Knux and Kidz In The Hall are kind of garbage. Cool Kids, also, in their vapidity, but they actually have 3 or 4 choice beats on that EP so dlsajdlkajldkajdla.

But yeah, these "Future Stars" lists are further signs of how bereft of good music and art we are in this latter portion of the decade. Just mediocrity, everywhere.

DocZeus said...

The Knux just dropped one of the best albums this year. They are definitely not wack. I actually feel weird about equating them with Kidz in The Hall and The Cool Kids earlier this year because they are in a completely different league. I'm talking waaaaay better.

Jordan said...

See I think other than Wale, B.o.B's got the best chance at mainstream success. I mean, yeah he's kind of a knockoff Andre, but he can write hooks and a lot of his shit is ridiculously catchy. Also he sounds absolutely nothing like Cee-Lo, unless by that you mean that he both raps and sings and is from Atlanta.

Isn't Cory Gunz the son of Peter Gunz? Doesn't this make him awesome?

DocZeus said...

"Also he sounds absolutely nothing like Cee-Lo, unless by that you mean that he both raps and sings and is from Atlanta."

Yeah, that's what I was getting at. Plus, I didn't want to make the obvious allusion that he sounded like Andre 3000. Vocally, they sound completely different but they have that same sort of vibe. It's very Goodie Mob.

Dart Adams said...

The Knux album was 10/16 to me. That's 63%, in school you'd get a D. I was waiting to read your take on this whole deal. I laughed, I cried. *Looks around real quick*

Don't be surprised if Eskay shows up here to defend his magazine because apparently he actually reads our blogs.



Christopher said...

Actually, on second note I take back everything I said about the Knux.

I think I got put off by all the MtvU airplay.

Natan said...

how come everybody has "remind me in 3 days" and i don't?

good rundown Doc.
tho i gotta mention i never heard Ace Hood until like an hour ago, in that BET cypher, and.... he kinda killed it, didn't he?

good choices for the replacements too, tho Bishop Lemont never got to me, i listened to the last Warren G album (he was all over it) and some of his new stuff, he kinda sounds (and looks) like another Fiddy....

i don't think we can find another Lupe Fiasco here, well... maybe Wale...

tray said...

Could you just do a B.O.B. discography with rapidshare links and whatever? I'm way too lazy to figure out where his shit is at. I too think Cory and Curren$y are nice. I've decided to hate on the Knux on principle. That Asher Roth video is the best thing in rap blogging this year. And Ace... I mean, he has a little talent for a Khaled protege, you've gotta admit. I mean, look. Rappers like Ace Hood aren't supposed to be good. They're a canvas on which producers like Shawty Redd paint their beautiful pictures. Like you've gotta realize, the more untalented Southern rappers there are to receive those monolithic Southogoth beats for them to rap over, the better off we all are. Because the world needs more Shawty Redd. Jeezy and Rick Ross can't put out 20 albums a year, you know. As long as these guys aren't as bad as Plies or Gucci Mane, we're better off.

Dart Adams said...

@ tray:

I picked B.O.B as one of my "12 Emcees To Watch In '08" back in February. His whole discography is available for download through his MySpace in the post. Here it is:



Jay (d)eff Kay said...

pretty on point review doc. equating currensy and cory gunz to wayne weedcarriers is a tad bit unfair. and calling them proteges would be wrong too since they sound nothing alike stylistically. corey gunz for starters -i personally dont really know how much of a link he has w/ wayne aside from that verse on a milli. plus, you have seen that crazy verse he dropped on the green lantern show right?http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=jhfglOre_qI . and currensy's been on the mixtape grind for awhile now. He's sort of a poor man's fabulous imo. he's not that bad.

i agree w/ the consensus that wale and B.O.B are most likely to shine

also @ natan - I've only heard one ace hood song and it was pretty meh, but yeah he really did hold his own against heavweights on that BET cypher http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=vQGApZ9dPGY

Badmon3333 said...

He's been around for a couple years now, but Black Milk should have been on that list. His work with Guilty Simpson and Fat Ray in '08 has shown flashes of brilliance ("Lookout," "The Real Me"), and 'Tronic,' which drops Tuesday, is THE SHIT. Kid is definitely heir to the Dilla Detroit producer throne, and he can hold it down on the mic as well.

Raoul said...

The Knux album is really good. 10/16 Dart? I give 4+ bonus pts for innovative beats, that's a B+ in my gradebook.

One Up.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

"“The Mixtape About Nothing” remains one of the few bright spots in an otherwise, holocaust barren year for hip hop albums"

maybe so, but it has been a great year for singles, same with '07 really. and badmon is right, the songs i have heard from tronic so far are pretty sick.

"Sounds like... Cee-Lo Green before he got his "Soul Machine" on

i'm probably alone in saying this album, while inconsistent, has quite a few really good songs.

africanorigins said...

OUt of all of them Wale is the most likely to shine in the Mainstream. Blu might could. Same as Asher Roth. And I'm not so sure bout the rest of them. But the rest of them are pretty good. This list is 50(X) better than last years. That's all that matters. Improvement.

PS Black Milk can't be on the list because he isn't a freshman. He's already semi-established so...

africanorigins said...

Oh yeah I gotta big up BOB too. He reps GA. After Wale, he has a great chance of blowing up. He does walk a fine line of being influencing and 'swagger jackin.' But you haven't seen all out dickriding unless you come to Atlanta and see some of our up-and-coming artists. There's like 13 of them and they all sound alike and they all want to be Andre 3000. It's nauseating.

Jordan said...

Africanorigins- that's interesting, I always thought everyone up-and-coming in Atlanta was attempting to be Jeezy, and BoB was bucking a trend by biting Andre. What would you say the percentage for Jeezy/Andre biting are?

Guy Fawkes said...

Sample Asher Roth lyrics... pretty indicative of his whole lyrical game.
I expected more Zeus.

That party last night was awfully crazy/I wish we taped it/I danced my ass off and had this one girl completly naked/Drink my beer and smoke my weed/But my good friends is all i need/Pass out at 3 wake up at 10/ Go out to eat then do it again

DocZeus said...


But that song works. And it completely works because he's able to channel a certain type of nostalgia for college with specific accuracy and he works in little details that resonate with people that went with college. Like on the song he mentions the unwritten rule of college that if you pass out with your shoes on, it's open season to do all types of horrible shit to you while you sleep. Those little details bring a warm feeling to me for that era of my life and so the song works as good ol' fashion nostalgia trip. It's a goofy and completely stupid novelty song but it's fun and warm and completely likable. It's sort of a "Stacy's Mom" of hip hop in a sense.

Now I agree with some of the criticism that when he gets political it comes across like some liberal arts coffee shop talk aphorism but when he rhymes about stuff that is in his wheelhouse like getting drunk and chasing slutty sorority girls he's perfectly serviceable.

Is Asher Roth a great emcee? Of course not, he's not even remotely close but it bothers me that a bunch of writers have written this guy off for completely specious reasons with a tone that's completely unwarranted. It reads to me like personal attacks and begrudging the guy for doing what he does. His music is completely harmless. You can hate but hate because you think his music sucks not because he's a white, upper middle class dude who rhymes about being a white, upper middle class dude. You don't have to be poor and have a fucked up life to make art.

Guy Fawkes said...

That's completely spinning it though. There's countless underground hip-hop artists that stray away from topics like guns, hoes, weed, and money. And they explore unconventional topics. I personally feel that listening to Deltron 3030 is just as much breaking a hip-hop cliche (talking about space, and outer worlds) as Asher Roth is. And there's countless other examples... Cannibal Ox, The Busdriver.

So really I'm not hating on the subject matter, rap about whatever you want.
But I enjoy creativity and lyricism. His rapping skills are nearly non-existent... and he has partly become embraced just because of his resemblance to Eminem.
And that's wrong.

Also, there's been rappers before Asher that were from the "burbs". That's a really unoriginal claim:
"hate because you think his music sucks not because he's a white, upper middle class dude who rhymes about being a white, upper middle class dude"

Wale is a upper middle class dude, and no one hates on him. Why? Because he is actually genuine.
The Cool Kids are upper middle class dudes, Mic Terror is an upper middle class dude.
DJ Skee is an admittedly upper white middle class dude.

All of them don't sound like gimmicks though.

I hate Asher more than your Plies, Ace Hood, or DJ Khaled because he really is the face of today's ignorance in the mainstream hip-hop culture.

He's white and entertaining? Let's sign him to a record deal.

What happened to the days where you had to prove your worth? I'm sick of seeing average Joe Schmo MC's succeed because they either use a formula, create a dance or just make an entertaining jackass out of themselves.

Just me though.

Guy Fawkes said...

And his music is harmless. Further proving that he is a gimmick of a rapper, and should never be considered a hip-hop artist.

tray said...

"I hate Asher more than your Plies, Ace Hood, or DJ Khaled because he really is the face of today's ignorance in the mainstream hip-hop culture.

He's white and entertaining? Let's sign him to a record deal."

Why isn't Plies the face of ignorance? Plies is a whole lot more ignorant. I mean, you could say the same sort of thing about Plies. "He sounds like a guy who really has a criminal record and makes disgustingly lewd songs with T-Pain? Sign him up!" I haven't heard much Asher Roth, didn't really like what I did hear, but still, we'd be way better off with more of his shit and less of Plies's on the radio. One day studies will find that people lose a point of IQ for every hour of Plies they hear. Seriously, the guy's just shameful.

Guy Fawkes said...

The difference between Plies and Asher Roth is simple.

Plies is downright terrible, and most people will acknowledge that he's horrible.

Asher Roth is a straight-up gimmick, with no discernible talent. Yet he is mentioned in a list called "Top 10 Freshman MC's".

Note that Plies was in last year's "Leader Of The New School", but still no one really took his shit seriously. No one will work with Plies for any reason but the pursuit of money.
Yet Asher Roth has got the respect of the hip-hop world.

That's my only problem with him.
Crank out your wack shit for as long as you want. Just don't claim that it's hip-hop and that your "the king of the burbs".

tray said...

But there are people who do take Plies seriously. Not very bright people, obviously, not people who blog or write reviews, but there are a lot of them. People love Bust It Baby. People type out ungrammatical odes to Plies's realness on youtube every day. As for Roth, I'd argue he has a little talent, but however untalented he is, he's not making his listeners dumber and encouraging guys to grab female strangers' asses in public.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

"Seriously, the guy's just shameful."

with song names like "Ms. pretty pussy" and "get you wet," shameless is a more appropriate description of his music. i don't know if plies is popular b/c he gets realer as the days pass, his love of women's bodies, or some mix, though it seems like all his singles/most popular songs are... for the ladies.

africanorigins said...

Jordan that's a great point. There are more Jeezy biters than there are Andre biters in Atlanta. But I think because Andre is so unique and talented, at least in my eyes, his perpetrators stand out more. Because they have half the uniqueness and half the talent(a quarter of the talent, not hating just stating facts).

Jeezy, I think has some talent as far as being really swaggerific. And he has found new ways to say 'I sell coke' and 'stop snitching,' in mainstream rap. But when you bite him it's not as outrageous to me because he doesn't stack well as an MC. But it's fairly obvious when u imitate jeezy. When you say yeaaaaaaaa and use his simplistic rhyme patterns along with his laugh and voice; we can tell you're swagger jackin.

Example of Jeezy jackin: 'Uma Do Me' by Rocko.

DocZeus said...

"Wale is a upper middle class dude, and no one hates on him. Why? Because he is actually genuine.
The Cool Kids are upper middle class dudes, Mic Terror is an upper middle class dude.
DJ Skee is an admittedly upper white middle class dude"

Yeah but nobody's questioning their credibility. It's already a given.

Jordan said...

Did the Beastie Boys take this kind of shit back in the day? My guess would be no, in part because hip hop was just developing this idea of exclusivity, but also because everyone recognized they were creative and interesting and doing their own thing. They also weren't really into their own whiteness and privilege, (didn't deny it either) so that probably helped.

Anonymous said...

Yo Kid Cudi and Cory Gunz are actually cool tho. Can't really vouch for the other ones but at least they ain't the same old rappers.

Joe Budden "Halfway House"
Available Now!

BoBo said...

issue: i' going to have to disagree with your analysis on Mickey Factz. I do agree with Wale being the best of the class, but Mickey is right behind him. To say Mickey is a Lupe wannabe is just far fetched. I say that because listening to Lupe's Fahrenheit mixtapes and compare them to Mickey's The Leak mixtapes and his other mixtapes, he stands out on his own. When I listen to him, I hear only Mickey and not a bitter. It seems to me that because of his style, you saw him as a copy cat, but I know people from New York and that is they way they dress (supras, skinnys, etc). And to say none of his tracks can be compared to "Driving Down the Block" or "Black Mags," tells me you haven't taken the time to listen to any of his mixtapes. Here are a few "Naturally," "Incredible," "Factz vs. Naledge," "Run to the Sun," "Robot Rock" just to name a few. I'm not beefing or nothing, just disagreed with your analyses on one of hip hop bright, up and coming stars. Other than that, the post was on point.


Anonymous said...

These 10 freshmen are fresh. I've known of Charles Hamilton for a while. The L word is a dope mixtape with the works of DJ Skee. I'm not sure if he's old or not but how about Luckyiam? Heard some of his stuff and was impressed.

If your familular with Slug, from atmosphere, Zeus, you know if he's got any independent work comin out?

Asher Roth is fresh. He's not all about the hardcore beats like other rapper's. He's funny, more of a modern day Emienem, but I think he could be bigger, evenually.

Zeus you got anymore underground people?

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