It’s been over half a year since XXL and the Roseandblog made our respective picks for the 2016 Freshman Class, a list of the top ten emerging rappers and R&B artists of the year. Every year when the list goes up around mid-June, there is heated debate and sometimes artists you’ve never even heard of get that huge Freshman Class bump. Past Freshmen have included:
But how do these picks hold up? How many of these names are still known? I can’t tackle every name up here on the list, but I can compare our respective lists from 2016. This is Roseandblog vs. XXL: 2016 Freshman Class, Where Are They Now?
A shared pick, there wasn’t anyone who was as all over music in 2016 as Anderson .Paak. Presenting his unique sound and catch-phrase “Yes Lawd!” on his sophomore album Malibu, Anderson toured the popular, R&B, and hip-hop worlds changing everything he touched into a groovy hit as if he was King Midas creating pure gold. His record with Knxwledge titled Yes Lawd!, “Dapper” with Domo Genesis, “Glowed Up” with Kaytranada, “Dang!” with Mac Miller, and “Blank Face” with ScHoolboy Q were just a handful of the best of Anderson .Paak this year. He was Roseandblog’s pick for Artist and Album of the Year for Malibu in 2016, which was featured on XXL’s Year End Top 50 as well.
21 Savage (XXL) vs. Mick Jenkins (Roseandblog)
Most of this list is probably going to come down to taste, but this pick is pretty close. I for one, can’t stand 21 Savage, but I can’t argue that I didn’t give Mick Jenkins’ following record a pretty scathing review as well. At the time of the pick, all I had from Mick were his two EP’s The Water[s] and Wave[s], and a great verse on “Grown Ass Kid,” the Chance the Rapper song that never made it onto Coloring Book due to sampling issues. 21 Savage on the other hand hooked up with Metro Boomin for their joint EP Savage Mode, which included “X (feat. Future),” a track that went platinum and got him signed to Epic Records just last month. I’d rather listen to Mick Jenkins any day, but as far as success goes, 21 Savage wins there.
Kodak Black (XXL) vs. Rapsody (Roseandblog)
Kodak Black was one of those “who is that, why are you here?” picks. Currently, when he’s not facing weapons charges or cases on sexual assault, he’s calling out rappers like Lil Yachty and Lil Wayne for no reason, stating he’s the best rapper in the world, and releasing little to no music to back it all up. Rapsody on the other hand, had two great verses in her pocket at the time of the pick, with Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar respectively, and just dropped her fantastic EP Crown just last November. Easy pick: Rapsody’s going places, and Kodak Black is probably going to jail again.
Lil Uzi Vert (XXL) vs. Domo Genesis (Roseandblog)
Here we have another case like ’21 Savage vs. Mick Jenkins.’ As much as I’d rather listen to Domo Genesis’ album, which I really enjoyed and was what earned him a spot on the list, Lil Uzi Vert is the one that is actually taking off, especially after getting the Migos bump from “Bad & Boujee.” The main difference here however, in comparison to ’21 Savage vs. Mick Jenkins,’ is that Lil Uzi Vert records pale in comparison to the success of 21 Savage, and Domo Genesis, since being a member of Odd Future, had a pretty big following to begin with, especially since his debut record got him on Jimmy Kimmel performing his song “Dapper” with Anderson .Paak. As much as I wish Domo shot up more, I’d say it’s pretty even here.
Lil Dicky & Dave East
A shared pick, Lil Dicky hit it off great with his debut record Professional Rapper back in July. Since then however, he hasn’t really been up to anything… as in like nothing. Where is he? On the other side, a third shared pick came with Dave East, a Harlem rapper who signed to Nas’ label Mass Appeal before getting picked up by Def Jam. His latest mixtape Kairi Chanel was mediocre, but the young rap traditionalist showed room for improvement.
Denzel Curry (XXL) vs. Noname (Roseandblog)
Here we have some successful artists. Denzel got a huge bump after landing the XXL Freshmen Class and then got his album Imperial re-released through Lomo Vista with a new track produced by DJ Dahi and two tracks with features from Rick Ross and Joey Bada$$. Noname, on the other hand, released her critically acclaimed record Telefone, which was one of the most original sounds of the year, featuring production from Cam Obi and Saba, two big players in the Chicago scene, guest vocals from Eryn Allen Kane and Raury, and a spot on Year End lists for Consequence of Sound, Noisey, Pitchfork, and Stereogum. I’d say this round goes to Noname.
Desiigner (XXL) vs. D.R.A.M. (Roseandblog)
At the time, Desiigner seemed like a really odd pick for XXL. Sure, he was sky rocketing as “Panda” hit #1, but it was only because of the bump from Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. In all actuality, “Panda” had already been out for months. His second single “Timmy Turner” sent fans every which way, his mixtape New English was un-intelligible, and his single “Outlet” which dropped just this week is pure nonsense.
D.R.A.M. on the other hand was a risky pick as well for the Roseandblog. He had some great features with Chance the Rapper and the Social Experiment, which is what got him the pick in 2016, as well as his hit “Broccoli” with Lil Yachty, but he really came through with his fantastic debut record in October. “Broccoli” was also recently nominated for a Grammy for “Best Rap/Sung Performance” just this past weekend. D.R.A.M. certainly wins this round, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up on XXL‘s list for 2017.
G-Herbo (XXL) vs. A-F-R-O (Roseandblog)
These two were the most completely unknown of the bunch, so much so, that they both keep taking pictures with their names next to their faces. Although I’m pretty sure no one listened to G Herbo’s record Strictly 4 My Fans which came out late last November, I’m certain that no one listens to A-F-R-O, which is a real shame because he was so goddamn dope. While I pretty much think it’s sadly a losing battle on both ends, I do have to give this one to XXL. Not because G-Herbo is successful by any means, because I’m pretty sure no one can name one song by him, but only because he was more successful than A-F-R-O.
Lil Yacthy (XXL) vs. Casey Veggies (Roseandblog)
You know it’s a weird place in music when you start thinking, “damn, I should have picked Yachty.” Casey Veggies, another Odd Future affiliate, had a record with Live & Grow that the Roseandblog just straight up panned. Yachty on the other hand, had the absolutely horrible Lil Boat mixtape, which I can’t believe got him as popular as he is today. Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean saw it, but I didn’t, and I still don’t. Regardless, nothing really happened with Casey Veggies and just about everything is happening for Lil Yachty so, XXL gets the pick. Do I regret picking Veggies? Yeah, maybe, but I still never would have thought Yachty’s trajectory would have been so high.
Well there you have it, folks. I’m a little disappointed that my list wasn’t really any better than XXL‘s when it came to how successful the artists became, but I’d still way rather listen to a playlist of my artists than XXL‘s picks any day. What do you think of how it all turned out and who do you think will make XXL‘s or even the Roseandblog’s list for 2017 come June?
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