Every year I watch these XXL Freshman Cypher and every year I roll my eyes at how awful some of these rappers are. Perhaps I know longer keep my ear as close to the streets as I used to as every year there are fewer and fewer rappers I’m famiilar with.
And then XXL puts them in a room with their peers and a DJ playing ‘Generic Beat #4’ only to make it incredibly clear why I’ve never heard of these cats before.
Here’s the biggest problem: magazines don’t matter anymore. It’s 2019 and the XXL brand is only associated with these wack freestyles at this point. No one is running to the newsstands to read the full-length feature interviews of these rappers.
By the time they are featured on XXL, most of these rappers already have huge fanbases and acclaimed albums. They are not breaking new artists anymore as much as they are capitalizing off of the success these rappers already have before they enter the building while simultaneously including niche locally popular artists like YK Osiris, who doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page so I can’t pretend to know who he is.
The 2013 Freshman Class had Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Action Bronson and Chief Keef, four rappers who were already stars when XXL called them. It was almost disrespectful to call them freshmen at that point.
Everyone and their mothers are talking about Hot Girl Summer, a wave that Megan Thee Stallion created and popularized. It’s no coincidence that she is the first name in the Youtube title for that freestyle.
Because magazines are slow as hell to keep up with trends, Meg is already way too big to be out here having to rap after ‘Lil Mosey’ who appears to know about 8 words and raps like he had a book report due and didn’t open a single page and has to make up shit in the front of the class.
Obviously Megan kills her verse but it’s the shortest verse on the cypher and of course it is. As mentioned earlier, she’s the biggest star there and doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone at this point.
I skipped past YK Osiris’s verse. Tip: don’t sing if you can’t sing.
DaBaby is the only one who did the homework assignment. This is what the cypher should be. Legit rappers bringing their best bars. “the next nigga to come play with me ima send him to go ask Tupac for a pic”. [Funk Master Flex voice] MOTHERFUCKIN BARS.
Unfortunately, he had to rap with a kid who doesn’t even like a rapping, some kid who thinks he’s Chris Brown and Megan Thee Stallion killing time between business meetings.
The 2019 XXL freshman class is disappointing but of course it is. It’ll be disappointing next year too. So it goes.