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A Defensive Stance

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June 2016

XXL releases Freshman List

Today XXL finally released their freshman list.  To many peoples delight a lot of their favorite rappers were on the list, while many people enjoyed the list but even more were upset with the candidates.  The list has always been about giving artist recognition and creating conversations about music.  I thought that this years list was very solid, no one really surprised me but lets check out the list.

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Kodak Black: Kodak was one of the young guys that was a shoo-in for the list.  whether it be the buzz of “Skrt” and “No Flocking” .  Kodak also got major cosigns from the likes of Drake to Earl Sweatshirt.  Sadly Kodak is locked up right now but im really excited to see where he goes as an artist .

21 Savage:  21 Savage is a kid from Atlanta and he is currently unsigned.  21 savage has definitely put in the work and has singles that are hot right now, I wouldn’t have put him on the list right now i would have waited a year or two to see where he’s headed as an artist .

Lil Uzi Vert:  XXL would have been a fool to leave Uzi off this year.  As far as buzz goes he is the hottest on the list.  His  most recent project “Lil Uzi Vs the World” was one of my favorites of this year.  Lil Uzi has been working with Big Names such as Wiz Khalifa, Young Thug and many more .

G Herbo:  XXL Finally put G Herbo on the list.  I feel as thought that Herbo should have been on the list two years ago.  G Herbo has proven himself countless times, from his earlier mixtapes to now.  Recently G herbo has signed with a new label and im excited to see what he is going to release this year.

Lil Dicky:  I don’t know why lil Dicky is on the list.  He seems like a cool guy, but I dont take him serious as an artist.  He is one of the most controversial picks in recent memory.  But he’s doing his thing.  Dicky has gotten different endorsements and deals but where will he be at in the next few years.

Anderson .Paak:  Anderson has gotten a lot of buzz in the past few years and i respect the grind and his hustle.  He has gotten major looks from signing with Dr. Dre and being featured on Compton.

Lil Yachty:  A lot of people were upset that Yachty made the list.  probably because he isn’t the best rapper or singer, but he’s just a young kid having fun and making the music he wants to make.  Whether you like his music or not I don’t see how you can hate that.  His buzz was big after 1night blew up on the internet, hes been putting in work and I’m eager to see where he’ll be at in the next few years.

Denzel Curry:  A rapper from Carol City, he has  been buzzing for a while ever since his first album Nostalgic 64.  Nostalgic 64 gained widespread acclaim and hes been going crazy ever since.  Rapping wise he is one of the nicest on the list.  Imperial was a great body of work and its only up from here.

Dave East: Dave is a rapper from East Harlem, I’ve been hearing his name for a minute now but I havent got to check out a lot of his work.  He can definitely rap his ass off.  He’s mixtape got features from some of the greats including nas and Pusha T.  Dave and Dicky actually went to the same college and are now on the list together , what a time.

Desiigner:  After releasing his debut single “Panda” , many people have been questioning where he is going to be in the longterm.  With only one hit song out its hard to see where he’ll be at or what kind of artist he truly is.  But I think that desiigner will be ok with the people around him and the situation he is in.  Plus he’s very young.  i hate that everyone wants to hate on him because he sounds like future.  Yes he sounds like future, but after listening to an interview with him.  That is just his natural speaking voice.  He naturally sounds like that and Panda is a good record.  There are a lot of people who try to sound like future and flop but desiigner actually made a hit record and how many people can say they did that?

Overall its a good list, but there are some people I wish would get the recognition that they deserve.  Whether it be Mick Jenkins or Rich the kid or Playboi Carti or Alex Wiley  But their time is coming and I have no real problems with the list.  The Vanessa Satten Interview with the Breakfast club explains a lot of the unanswered questions about the process of how the freshmen are picked.

But how do you feel about the list? Do you hate it or love it, let me know how you feel.  Hope everyone summer is going well. Bless up

NE

There’s Alot Going On Album Review

Vic Mensa has been very quiet these past couple years, aside from a few features and singles.  His Breakout project, Innanetape was a great project , the diversity on the project and Vics rapping ability made this project stand out to me.  Naturally I wanted to hear more, and three years later Vic has finally delivered a mixtape to hold fans over untill his debut album.  Did Vic live up to the hype?

  1.  Dynasty-Vic starts off the tape shouting out the Roc, rapping about what he has been going through and his mother.  The first half was good not great , but when the beat flips Vic goes off .  Vic’s ability to rap sets him apart from his counterparts and it shows .  The intro was great and set the mood for the rest of the tape.
  2. 16 Shots -A very aggressive and angry track.  Vic is rapping about the injustices happening in America.  Specifically the murder of Laquan McDonald.  Vic is shedding light on the injustices and I love it .  Great track
  3. Danger – Vic premiered this track at Yeezy Season 3.  There’s a rock influence on the track .  This is one of my personal tracks on the tape.  Vic flows effortlessly on the track.  The new verse he added was mediocre to me he could have kept it off .  But regardless still a good track.
  4. New Bae-When I first heard this track I hated it but after a few listens I really enjoy this track .  This record is very smooth and showcases Vic’s record making ability .  My one gripe with this record is the bridge when Vic is trying to sing new bae at a higher pitch .  That one part sounded terrible .  But besides that it was a dope track .
  5. Liquor Locker-Vic is singing on this track.  Vic isn’t a terrible singer , but he’s very hit or miss with me .  I thought it was an OK record.  This record is very Fun and lighthearted.  A break from the seriousness of the first tracks.  The only feature on the tape is Ty Dolla $ign, and he stole the show .  I love the beat , the instrumentation , Vic is decent but Ty stole the show .
  6. Shades of Blue – This is another introspective track speaking on the injustices in America, from flint to the Eric Garner trial, to bias in media coverage .  The best part about all of this is Vic brings all of these things together while floating on the beat.  Nothing feels forced or like Vic is trying to hard to sound deep.  Vic does need to work on hooks and bridges .  They could be much better but the verse are Great and informative .  Very dope track.
  7. There’s A lot Going On- Vic starts off this track sounding like the lead singer of a rock band.  What i really apreaciate about this track is how honest and raw it is.  Vic not only showcases the good times but the bad times through his journey.  It was a great outro to the project.

The first time i hear TAGO i was not a fan, but it has grew on me. Vic can rap his ass off and he really crafted a enjoyable project.  It is a great follow-up to his critically acclaimed innanetape.  Vic has stated that this is something to hold us over untill the album.  I am excited to hear his debut album.  A few things that i think Vic should work on is singing and songwriting ability.  But overrall Vic has a bright future ahead of him

Score: 4/5

Favorite Tracks- 16 shots,  Danger, New Bae

What did you think about this Project? Let me know , God Bless

NE

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