As we approach the half way point of 2010 we decided to take a look ahead and project who we felt had the best chance of being selected for the coveted XXL Top Freshmen Issue of 2011. We have some bad news for most indy artists, unfortunately the list is already 90% full according to our calculations. However, every year there is always a dark horse that comes out of no where and a strong 3rd and 4th quarter run definitely outweighs a January-June, so there is still hope for you indy’s out there but your gonna have to move fast. Anyway here is the projected list with a couple of dark horses included as well. Check it out and let me know if you feel like we left someone off.
DOM KENNEDY- Dom Kennedy is a guaranteed selection for next years top freshmen list. He could take the rest of the year off and he would still be on there. XXL is definitely paying attention to him as shown by his recent feature in the Show and Prove Section of the magazine
Like Dom, Yelawolf is money in the bank. Through in his recent signing with Interscope, dope music videos, solid features and an iconic live show there is no doubt he will be a top freshmen in 2011
Cyhi Da Prince
With a Kanye West co-sign and an ever growing buzz, Cyhi Da Prince is in there like swim wear. Maybe just to solidify his spot another mixtape would be good, but it will take pure laziness and a major let down on his part to not make the list.
Shawn Chrystopher has a strong chance of making the 2011 Top Freshmen, not as strong as the aforementioned names for a couple of reasons. The biggest threat to Shawn Chrys is the self-imposed diplomacy of the Top Freshmen list. It seems like they place a premium of having all regions covered so the chances of them selecting multiple artists from L.A. two years in a row seems unlikely. However many feel Shawn deserved a spot on this years list so he just may be the winner in the L.A. sweepstakes. I think another mixtape and some A list features will strengthen his case though.
Grip needs some things to go his way but he has a chance of making the list. Like Pill in 2009, Grip is positioning himself to make a strong 3rd and 4th quarter run which will be fresh in people’s minds when it is time to make that decision. Grip has one of those methodical buzzes that keeps growing slowly but surely. With some strong music videos and features he could find himself as a Top Freshmen selection.
The list of Dark Horses represent many artists who are buzzing but need a lot of things to go their way to have a shot at the list. Being a dark horse is nothing to be ashamed of as we saw this past year with Drake, sometimes the Dark House wins the race by a landslide. Don’t be surprised if someone from this list has a bigger 2011 than all of the aforementioned artists. Nothing is predictable in this game. Anyway here are some artists that have a small chance of making the 2011 XXL Top Freshmen List: Outasight, XV, Hollywood Floss, Kendrick Lamar, Nero, Rob Jay, El Prez, Copywrite,
The Groups sections is a lot more wide open then solo artists. So far this year one hip hop group has separated themselves from their contemporaries.
THE NICE GUYS
The Nice Guys have put together one of the best indy marketing campaigns of recent memory. With 4 music videos slated for release this summer. They are on pace to be the premier new hip hop group in 2011