Prospects are Bullshit: Breaking Down the Last 10 XXL Freshman Lists

Zilla tells you which XXL Freshmen you need to pay attention to.
By    June 13, 2017

2017-xxl-freshman-cover

Zilla Rocca got drafted in the 22nd round of the MLB draft.

Prospects are bullshit. Every magazine and website knows this, even if they pretend they don’t. Since the dawn of blog rap in the mid 2000s, prospecting has grown into a full-time job for rap writers, who are now Prospect Writers. Much like sports, you get maybe one or two real rappers in a class of ten potentials. But they have to overstate their claims, to see something that isn’t there, to justify their existence. It’s really hard to be good at rap for a long time, and excellence is boring. Hence, the Prospect Writer is needed because who the hell wants to read about another great Aesop Rock album, or Snoop album, or Scarface album? New new new new.

XXL was smart enough to patent Rap Prospecting 10 years ago. And their results match up with how most NBA draft experts are wrong within three years of any draft (never forgot Jimbo Fredwreck was drafted before Klay and Kawhi.) For further proof, let’s break down the XXL Freshman list year by year. Pay close attention to the names of people who were actually on the cover of this publication at one point and don’t forget that #ProspectsAreBullshit:


2007


Saigon – Duck Down Records should’ve signed him over Atlantic.
Plies – Gone.
Rich Boy – One hit wonder who was spoofed by Pete Rosenberg and got him hired at Hot 97.
Gorilla Zoe – Fake West Coast Biggie.
Lupe Fiasco – The best of this group career wise, Twitter meltdowns aside.
Crooked I – Was a quadruple-A prospect at the time.
Papoose – The original “Deadass, B” meme.
Young Dro – He was good. He always rapped about the color of his whip.


2009


Wale – If I say anything here, 28,000 strangers on Twitter will blast me for days. That’s his impact.
B.o.B. – Flat earther who maximized Lupe’s rejected demos into radio hits.
Charles Hamilton – Serious mental health issues. Rap battled his pregnant girlfriend and got punched in the face by her.
Asher Roth – The original Plant the Rapper.
Cory Gunz – Ended up better than his pops.
Blu – Too many releases but genuine heatrocks from ’06-’10.
Mickey Factz – I think he did a commercial for Honda once.
Ace Hood – Had that Bugatti song.
Curren$y – Still going strong. A star who didn’t fade from being prolific.
Kid Cudi – Kanye’s blood boy for 808s & Heartbreak.


2010


J. Cole – Inexplicably thriving.
Pill – Huh?
Nipsey Hussle – Another quadruple-A prospect at the time. Sold a bunch of $100 mixtapes.
Freddie Gibbs – The last gangsta rapper left.
Big Sean – My uncles who watched him perform during halftime of the Thanksgiving game did not run to Best Buy to grab a CD.
Wiz Khalifa – “Black and Yellow” was cool for the Batman Lego Movie trailers. He’s a star.
OJ Da Juiceman – Come on son.
Jay Rock – Settled in as the Kendrick Perkins of TDE.
Fashawn – Still don’t think he’s peaked yet.
Donnis – I’ve never heard of this person.


2011


Meek Mill – I knew of Meek when he was 18 in Philly spitting on street DVD’s in 2003.
Big KRIT – Rap game Joe Johnson, like “did you know Joe Johnson made 7 All-Star teams?”
Cyhi the Prince – Writer of the one and only Matt Lienart punchline in rap history on “So Appalled.”
Lil Twist – I don’t know this guy.
YelawolfSons of Anarchy rap. Had some serious jams.
Fred the Godson – The New York rapper everyone in New York keeps telling you is the Truth but no one outside of New York ever heard of.
Mac Miller – The Trump co-sign…Eesh.
YG – Made the #1 album of 2016 according to this website, which was a bit of a reach, but he’ll be around for a long time.
Lil B – The original manipulator of YouTube search topics.
Kendrick Lamar – Okay, he’s an all-timer.
Diggy Simmons – New Lil Vicious.


2012


Future – You all love him. He’s a star.
Kid Ink – Sounds like a Sega Genesis game from ’92.
Danny Brown – The first rapper who loved Björk and Keith Murray and wasn’t a total cornball. He’s a star.
French Montana – Still think he should DJ my high school reunion.
Macklemore – The rapper who loved Björk and Keith Murray and was a total cornball.
Don Trip – I think you all love him.
Machine Gun Kelly – Does he still hang out with Dan Gilbert and his kid?
Hopsin – I think he retired. All rappers must threaten to retire before they’re 27.
Iggy Azela – Allison Williams from Get Out.
Roscoe Dash – I don’t know his music.


2013


ScHoolboy Q – The Lennon to Kendrick’s McCartney. Complete star.
Trinidad James – I don’t know anymore.
Joey Bada$$ – The best part of Mr. Robot season 2.
Ab-SoulControl System still goes.
Logic – I heard his new song last weekend on pop radio in New York. I have no words.
Action Bronson – If G Rap and Cam grew up wanting to be Anthony Bourdain. Even JackO from the Bill Simmons podcast adores him. Total star.
Kirko Bangz – Kurt Cobain?
Travis Scott – No idea’s original. Rap game Mystique.
Angel Haze – Don’t know her.
Chief Keef – The first “problematic” think piece rapper under 20.


2014


Chance the Rapper – Your reverend’s favorite rapper. “Indie” like how Napoleon Dynamite was an indie flick.
Rich Homie Quan – I don’t know.
Isaiah Rashad – The George Harrison to Kendrick and Schoolboy’s Lennon/McCartney. He’s a star.
Ty Dolla $ign – People like him.
Lil Durk – I’m lost.
Kevin Gates – The best young gangsta rapper who is totally fucking insane. A star.
Troy Ave – He takes more L’s than Vivek.
Vic Mensa – I just want a finalized version of “Wolves” with him and Frank Ocean both on it.
Jon Connor – What if The Game grew up on the East Coast?
Lil Bibby – Surprisingly not related to Mike.
Jarren Benton – I liked this guy. Need to stream his stuff more.
August Alsina – Who the fuck is this?


2015


Fetty Wap – I don’t listen to the radio but I think Fetty is a star.
Dej Loaf – “Fomily.”
Raury – What?
Kidd Kidd – 50 Cent really tried to make this guy happen.
OG Maco – I like that he purposefully tricked the internet into liking the most ignorant song ever.
Shy Glizzy – Okay.
K Camp – No clue.
Vince Staples – He’s an all-timer too.
Tink – Singer I think.
Gold Link – Yeah, I got nothing.


2016


Lil Uzi Vert – He’s from Philly and I know nothing about him. He would probably say, “Fuck outta here, ole head! You nut ass hatin mothafucka!,” and he’d be right.
Lil Yachty – He’s the first rapper I’ve ever heard who couldn’t wait to say he doesn’t want to compete with any rappers. I don’t know if I should be upset or saluting him for destroying the last piece of pride that all rappers were supposed to have
Kodak Black – You all love him. I guess he’s a star.
Denzel Curry – That can’t be his real name.
G Herbo – I like almost all Chicago rappers so I would have to like him.
Dave East – I want to like him because Nas cosigns him but I’ve never heard his music. He played baseball though and that goes a long way.
Lil Dicky – The pride of suburb Philly dads.
Anderson .Paak – He’s the guy who ended up on every album that came out the past six months and I’m good with that. Star musician/singer.
Desiigner – Future insurance.
21 Savage – I like this dude. He’s very nihilistic.