Why the 2016 XXL Freshman is a Perfect Example of the Vast Shift in Rap Culture

As we all know, XXL magazine releases an annual issue that displays a ‘crop’ of 10 promising artists on their grind to the top. The cover feature creates a buzz for the selected artists and has awarded many of them in the game previously and currently with successful careers in the increasingly competitive industry of music. 

This year’s cover sparked controversy, as many debated on the credibility of the magazine’s choice of victors. Obviously this is not a surprise, considering people will become distraught because their personal favorite may have not banked a spot on the cover. Social media roared once the cover was released. Positive feedback was delivered and many people were content with it, while those who think of music as sacred and supposed to exclusively sound a certain way took to social media with their negativity. Each artist on the cover took some type of hit. Individuals were dissatisfied with a specific artist, an all too familiar situation faced each year the Freshman are showcased. XXL is well aware that not everyone will mutually agree on the cover and it will spark up a debate. However, as the magazine mentioned before, their selections are not based on the material in which an artist delivers, but instead how much hype they have received.

What people continue to misunderstand is that the music industry is constantly changing. Hustling mixtapes and making deals with major record labels is no longer necessary. We’re in a time period where anyone can make a song and become notable over night.   The rap/hip-hop industry is not as exclusive as it once was. The internet has broken that barrier long ago and upcoming artists are creating a new sound that would have been dissed and deemed as trash a couple of years ago. Rap is no longer based on who has the best lyrical flow. Rap’s poetic foundation is not vital anymore. The cover itself represents that shift in the industry. Unfortunately, many are not taking this harsh reality as well as others.

Of course artists that we thought deserved a spot on the cover more than others didn’t and we’re upset about that. The quality over quantity idea does not apply to who gets picked. As long as people can turn up to you, your lyrical inclination doesn’t guarantee you a spot.

With that being said, congratulations to the XXL Freshman 2016!

Kodak Black
21 Savage
Lil Dicky
Anderson .Paak
Lil Uzi Vert
G Herbo
Dave East
Denzel Curry
Lil Yachty



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