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The unveiling of this year’s XXL Freshman Class, the publication’s annual “who’s who” of rising hip-hop acts, was largely forgotten about until it abruptly materialized yesterday. Per the usual, there were debates about the artists’ credentials, the list’s validity, and its overall weight at this point. On a local level, the interest went a bit deeper, as two area artists—Shy Glizzy and GoldLink—made the cut.
Glizzy’s penchant for hard-nosed street records and GoldLink’s essential invention of a new genre placed them in the company of Fetty Wap, Dej Loaf, Vince Staples, Tink, Raury, K-Camp, OG Maco, and Kidd Kidd for the 2015 edition. The last time an artist from these parts got the nod was in 2013, back when Logic’s selection (at that point, he was just a recent Def Jam signee) had many asking, “Who the fuck is Logic?”
At this point, there are two realities about the XXL Freshman cover: Does the honor hold the weight it did in 2008 when it was bestowed upon Wale? No, but it’s still a good boost for GoldLink and Shy Glizzy. If nothing else, it’s more reason for people outside of this area to look here for other talent.