^ Wale, B.o.B aka Bobby Ray, Asher Roth, & Charles Hamilton
So I'm really trying to catch up. I know it's been a minute since xxl debuted their freshman class of 2009 (notice anyone missing?), but I honestly haven't sat down and actually listened to all of them. I will say this though, those I have listened to offered something refreshing with their music. that's not to say I liked it but at least most of them are trying to pave their own way, without falling under the typical industry trends.
Ace Hood - Never really listened to dude unless his video was on tv. From what I heard, dude CAN rap (alil lol). Honestly, I try to stay as far a way from that "WE THE BEST!" guy as I can, but I'm going to give him a try (pause).
Curren$y - How many "diehard" Lil Wayne fans remember Curren$y? If I'm not mistaken he was on Tha Carter II right? Anyway Curren$y is nice on the mic. My only gripe with dude is his content. Weed, Shoes, Girls, repeat. I've heard his mixtapes, and his under the radar album he released and I didn't think it was bad at all. The test is going to be when I go back and listen though.(which I'm currently doing with all of these artist for part 2 of this post)
Kid Cudi - Day N Nite! lmao I bumped the hell out that song. Let's be honest though, how well can Cudi really sing? Ok, now how well can he actually rap? Probably my biggest disappointment out of this whole group. Not because of his lack of skill (to me), but because of the hype that came with it. Kanye co-sign? Check. Which almost ensures that whatever he sings/raps on will be whip worthy, but I'm real with this. If you can't sing or rap that well, I'm going to notice, and Cudi needs to step it up. With all that said, he does know how to make good songs so no disrespect intended. Just my opinion.
Cory Gunz - This kid can spit! no doubt about it. I'm wondering what the hold up has been with his career as far as him gaining recognition on a major scale. For those that don't know this is the son of legend (Peter Gunz most notable song Deja vu (uptown baby) and Shaq is his Godfather ). Cory Gunz isn't new to this rap sh*t though, he's been ripping 16's and freestyle's for years now. My guess, is some kind of label trouble whatever though it hasn't stopped him from putting out music. (New track every Tuesday on Nahright.com "Tuesdays with Cory") Want proof? here..
^ ^ ^ Was SUPPOSED to be on tha Carter III.. So what's my issue with Cory Gunz? It's the opposite of Cudi. You can rap, now make a SONG! lol no shots though. His upcoming Gangsta Grillz with DJ drama (Heir to The Throne) is one of the most anticipated projects of the year (on my list).
Blu - Cali stand up! What can I say about this dude he really is the complete package. A throwback lyrcist, that can paint a picture with the best of them. He's released a number of critically acclaimed projects most notably his collaboration with producer Exile Below The Heavens. I appreciate Blu because for awhile if it was Westcoast hip hop, it was going dumb on cars and gangster rap. Most people I listen to out here are much more cerebral, and thought provoking. So its nice to see that actually get some recognition.
Mickey Factz - Do I get a pass when I say I haven't heard dude spit? Well that's not entirely true, I've seen him in some online freestyles but that's about it. He never came off as someone that couldn't rap though, so my interest in hearing more is definitely there. Can anyone help me out and give me some mixtapes of his to listen to?
Wale - I first heard of Wale via a growing buzz on the internet. Ok, that's how damn near all these guys were discovered. The catch? He was promoting his upcoming mixtape (the mixtape about nothing). A Seinfeld themed mixtape that actually featured my girl Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine.. peep the earlier entries lol). Seinfeld being one of my favorite shows of all time, instantly made me interested in this project. Wale didn't disappoint at all. It was pretty much fire all the way through.. Fast forward to today with a new mixtape (Back to the Feature)and singles picking up momentum (Chillin ft. Lady Gaga) Wale is doing what he's supposed to be doing. My problem with him is this, he dropped the mixtape about nothing. Great! That doesn't mean become the rapper about nothing lol.. I am probably going to be listening extra close now to make sure that claim isn't untrue, but whatever, he's good. Definitely interested to see how things pan out for him.
B.o.B aka Bobby Ray - I wasn't sure with Cudi, or Drake (the one NOT recognized in xxl freshman class of 2009. Ouch.. for them I mean lol). However, after seeing this guy's "transformation" from rapper to "guy who finds melodies comes to him more easily than rapping" I knew what was up. These labels are pretty smart. Signing bad singers and marketing them as rappers is a great idea! Cross marketability lol.. Let me chill, I never really got too much into dudes music. You can hear Andre 3000's influence in B.o.B's flow, yet he still sounds original. He CAN rap, I don't know about his singing though. His music is infused with that Atl bounce, which makes it all the more interesting when he finds ways to branch out from that box. I'm not sure if I like him or not, so I'm going to keep listening until I find out. Backed by T.I. and his Grand Hustle label B.o.B has released quality mixtapes (who the F*ck is B.o.B, and B.o.B vs Bobby Ray) <<-- Wonder where I've heard that concept before lol.
Asher Roth - I respect Asher's passion for music. Actually most of these artist have displayed a passion for their craft that has propelled them forward with their music. Asher for obvious reasons has had to defend that passion as if his life (career) depended on it. The sad part is it probably did lol. Anyway Asher Roth or Eminem 2.0? I'll be the first to admit that the kid sounds a lot like Marshal, a young Marshal at least. That shouldn't stop people from actually LISTENING to him. Everything leading up to his debut album (asleep in the bread aisle) was pretty much good. I watched him actually freestyle (no Drake) and hold his own in countless cyphers, despite the hate he would get for being a fake Eminem. It wasn't until his album dropped that I had a problem with him. Even saying problem might be taking it too far. He has room for improvement, but he has my ear (kind of), so I'm going to be checking for him. Hopefully he gets another shot, and comes with a better album in the future. Oh, and upon the release of Eminem's Relapse I learned there's no way he and Eminem should be in the same sentence. That's not a diss towards Asher, just saying there's only a few people that can f*ck with Em period.
Charles Hamilton - What to say, what to say. It's already been stated that he is my favorite rapper of today. So let me try to explain why. If we take every artist on this list and compare there sounds, you won't find one that comes close to Charles' unique sound. Rapping? Yeah dude can definitely spit. Freestyle or written and it's going to be lyrical every time. That's not to say it isn't going to be weird, but come on somebody loves weird out there (or did Lil Wayne not get 'A Milli' in a week?). I've always been a fan of talent and passion. Charles is seemingly endless in both those categories. What makes him my favorite today, may have more to do with the current climate of music then anything else (turn the radio on, every song has autotune in it.. WTF?). What I DO know, is his music sounds like nothing I've ever heard before. He samples.. A lot. Almost every song you hear him on is produced by him, and has a rare or extremely creative sample. Chopped up and looped, backed by an assortment of instruments (which he plays himself too)giving validity to his claims of being a musician not a rapper. Gripes? His singing probably will hurt your ears, I'm not a big fan of it, but when I respect where someone is coming from as an artist, I can deal with it(Kanye, Lil Wayne are great recent examples). Also if he would focus on music and hold his tongue every once in awhile, things might be very different for him today. Maybe he'll learn to do that in the future, but as far as music is concerned keep doing you. He's released probably the most music out of all these guys on the list (around 11 mixtapes in the last 6 or 7 months), and has an album on the way ("This Perfect Life")
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ Part 2 is coming soon. Get familiar and catch up!
Why would I respond? I'm glad people are on my blog more than I am lol. Enjoy! Gone!