Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), Danny Brown, Kid Ink, Future, Roscoe Dash, Hopsin, Macklemore, Don Trip, Iggy Azalea, and French Montana.
This is the lineup for the 2012 Freshman Class, or up-and-coming popular artists, as named by the music magazine XXL. Do you see what the problem with this list is though? I do. There are only four good artists named here, and these are MGK, Danny Brown, Macklemore, and Hopsin. Each of them has unique attributes that make them worthy of Freshman Class.
MGK isn’t the best around, but the kid has talent. What he lacks in lyrical concepts and originality he makes up for with his gravitational energy and charisma. Although not known to have the cleverest of wordplay, MGK can really put together a rhyme scheme unlike most artists can these days. He has a strong following so far with his “Lace Up” movement but without a solid debut album he could easily fall behind.
Danny Brown has been making music for years, but is only now getting in the spotlight. I think the reason for this is man refuses to fall into the typical act of artists these days, which is to make mediocre music and then just over-bask in the fame by doing all types media. He prefers to continue doing what got him to this point in the first place, which is to make music. Give him a listen and you’ll see what I mean.
Macklemore is different altogether. He’s from an area not typically known for their hip-hop presence: Seattle. He has a strong following that enjoys music for its content, not just for its dance and club-music qualities. He’s got depth in his songs such as politics, women, life, and death. He also has a fresh sense of lyrical ability echoing the Golden Era of hip-hop.
Now Hopsin is a little tricky. It’s refreshing for me to see an artist like this coming out these days. A lot of people don’t like him because of his incessant need to expose today’s artists for what they are: terrible. The guy can do a song to any kind of beat and throws together rhyme schemes only seen by a few artists in history.
The rest of these guys are just gimmicky, industry-manufactured wannabes who deserve no attention from true listeners.
Kid Ink is your typical artist containing only a few topics amongst his songs such as weed, women, money, partying, etc. He sticks to an over-used style of rap. I’m over it already.
Roscoe Dash also has been around for a few years, so I think he’s past due for a Freshman Class. Although I admit he’s not a terrible artist, I am waiting to see him do his own songs to display the skills lyrically worthy of being listed in the “good artist” category.
Don Trip is tough for me. He has moments when I think, “Dang this guy is pretty good,” and there are other times when all I can do is roll my eyes and change the song. I’d say he needs to hone his skills and keep putting out songs with good content such as “Letter to My Son” as opposed to the easy-to-produce and overly-mediocre songs such as “I’m a Mess.”
Iggy Azalea needs to stay in Australia… for now. She has some pretty good verbal skills with her lyrical rhyme layouts and abilities, but the lack of good content and terrible overall sound and production just leave listeners hanging.
There’s little to be said about French Montana other than he’s a celebrity, not an artist. I think he enjoys the money, women, cars, and his songs are terrible, with no real skill or depth.
Now, although the Freshman Class this year was disappointing, it still holds potential if some of the artists were to develop more and if the good ones on this list continue to grow and prosper. Stay tuned for next year’s lineup.