It’s been more than a year since the XXL Freshman Class of 2014 have made their debut and hit the front page. Since then, the range of these rappers doing certain sorts of work varies. Whether it be hitting tours constantly, to creating new content, to acting like an absolute idiot on social media, some artists have been making their mark and getting active for better or worse. While others, who’ve been doing work for their own sake, have completely gone off the map otherwise.
August Alsina hasn’t been making new content, but that shouldn’t let you stray from how busy he is getting. From being at large festivals like Yahoo’s Wireless, to having his own European and American Tours, you could understand as to why he hasn’t been making new content as of late. After hearing his buttery hook on XXL, it’d be nice to hear new sounds come from the dude.
Chance The Rapper
From tours to talks, Chance has been all over the map this past year. If you haven’t kept up with him since, Chance has been trying to lift the Chicago scene up by lifting the whole community itself through local concerts and helping his friends with their mixtapes. Like Donnie Trumpet’s “Surf,” and Towkio’s “.Wav Theory,” all have been sturdy launches and additions to the hip-hop scene that is growing in Chicago. Amidst all the confusion, many thought that “Surf,” would be Chance’s next solo project. Even if it was Donnie Trumpets Debut album, with no doubt did he have a big hand in it. You could hear every track of the project contrasts from having the up beatedness and summer hype to the somber and deep soul that he usually carries. Chance has also been doing concerts worldwide with his living project, “The Social Experiment.” With crowd favorites like Arthur’s Intro remake, Chance has been living life the way it should be lived and expresses to his fans to live the same way.
Other than touring with Schoolboy Q and across North America, Isaiah Rashad has been working on a follow up to Cilvia Demo and has been a featured artist of The Fader and Sprite’s recent released documentary, Obey Your Thirst. Rashad also talks of raising his son among other personal subjects during an interview with Complex saying, “They know I am a rapper. Luckily enough for me, his moms don’t go about me as a rapper so much. My family life, too, is just to consider what I gotta do. I just try to consider what they gotta take for me doing what I gotta do. I’m like two years deep into it with TDE. This is my job. This is my hobby. This is what I like to do. And they know it. They know the life I was in before. All of this shit is to take care of my kid,” so we could only expect the next album he releases to be just as dark and unique as Cilvia Demo.
Earlier in the year, Jarren Benton released his mixtape titled Slow Motion Vol 1, which was well received across the community. I’m not into his crew but I can appreciate the work that he’s doing, from going on Concert with other famous names to creating new music, he’s definitely not sleeping and treating his fans the well.
Jon Connor has been slept on for a while, and after our lord and savior Dr. Dre (He who will not be forgotten) signed him, he got the exposure he needed and continued to rise. Although the rapper from Flint, Michigan has not come out with any huge releases, don’t sleep on him from releasing singles and freestyles like the recent Beats Freestyle and single, “Take Off.” Jon Connor has also toured across the US this past year.
Other than Kevin Gates having sex with his cousin, kicking a lady out of his house for not sucking his dog’s dick, and acting like a total fuck-ass on social media and being reported by other media outlets, he’s been keeping himself busy by hitting tracks with current popping hip-hop artists.
Lil Bibby, although talented when coming out of the woodworks makes me worried for him. After looking back into him from a year ago, it looks like nothing has ever really changed. Lil Bibby released Free Crack 2 which reached critical acclaim with many media outlets, and is still making tracks with those that he’s comfortable with such as Young Chop. Free Crack 3 is planning to be released with a date that is yet to be announced. While there’s nothing wrong with staying in your lane and making tracks your fans like, there’s going to a point where stagnation takes over in your music even if you’re still creating.
As loyal as this artist can be to Chicago, I have to make a point to those artists that were raised up on the deep end. Once you make it, get out and stay out. Artists like Lil Durk and Chief Keef have made enemies through affiliation before they entered the industry and now that they’re big and noticed world wide, the targets on their and their friend’s backs have only gotten bigger. It’s extremely discomforting to amass a large amount of money and disconnect from the social class that you used to be in, but that’s another discussion for another time. Lil Durk has also been on about his new kids lately, and that’s seen throughout his social media outlets. Aside from his children and his manager being executed in Avalon Park earlier this year, the Chicago artist went on to release “Remember My Name,” with single, “Like Me,” which went on to reach the #14 spot on Billboard’s US charts and the #2 spot on Rap.
Rich Homie Quan
After Rich Homie Quan reached the XXL Freshman of 2014, it was all clear: The Rich Homie Quan can’t stop going in. In fact, if he did stop going in, the world would reach catastrophic conclusions. How would I know this? Other than his single, “Flex,” reaching the #30 spot on Billboards top 200 chart, an extensive analysis on how and what would happen if he stopped going in can be found here: http://noisey.vice.com/blog/what-would-happen-if-rich-homie-quan-stopped-going-in
So Rich Homie Quan, for the love of all this is good, please do not stop going in for the betterment of us all.
What can I say about Troy Ave. What can we all say about Troy Ave. The man as an artist throughout the year has been making headlines to keep himself relevant and that’s proven to not be the best way to stay prominent. Yes, media is media regardless, but bad media is bad media if it affects your sales. From calling successful artists like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and Flatbush Zombies a bunch of weirdo rappers, to releasing a self-destructing single titled “DooDoo,” Troy Ave went on to release “Major Without A Deal,” and even with all the hype and shout outs he got from artists, he’s only gone on to sell 9,000 copies in three weeks, as reported by Billboard. It’s proven that it’s hard for this man to stay relevant and the only way he still can is if he had a spiritual awakening by doing boat-loads of peyote, an explicit amount of cocaine, and hoping to God something good can come out of his drug-induced trance.
Ty Dolla Sign
With spotty word of mouth, Ty Dolla $ign has been constantly announcing dates of release with push backs on when he will release Free TC, with a current date of September 4th, 2015. Even if there isn’t a definite release date, Ty Dolla $ign has been active with his latest release, “Lean On,” a remix originally done by Major Lazer. The artist has continued to stay in the loop by being featured on multiple heavy hitting tracks alongside artists like Future, YG, and Wiz Khalifa.
Some artists have been making moves. Either through touring and brewing up for a big announcement, to making mixtapes and singles to constantly try and hit the radio. Others have been wilding out by acting like total idiots on social media. Whatever it may be, these twelve artists were on the list for a reason. Who do you think has been most active this past year?