Don’t Believe The Hype: After The Freshmen Class

Written by The Rap Up. Posted in Lists, Spotlight, TRU Brain Trust


Published on June 06, 2011 with 13 Comments

Within the modern climate of the music industry the hype machine can move at a relentless, breakneck pace. Some emerge victorious, others are gobbled up just to be spitted out without anything to show after their seemingly meteoric rise. TRU takes a look at those that were once hailed as ‘the next big thing‘. Now that they’ve had a few years to prove their worth, how did they fare? We’ve divided them into four categories and try to answer the question should you believe the hype?

Should you believe the hype? Yes.

Judged strictly on commercial merits Fashawn has a long way to go, but ask anyone who’s actually listened to his tape with Alchemist and his retail album with Exile and they’ll tell you Fashawn isn’t nearly being hyped enough yet. He chooses the beats that complement his delivery, choosing a tight-knit circle of collaborative partners over going with the producer du-jour or releasing a barrage of blog-ready ‘freestyles’ over every hot beat out their. More important yet, he has already found his own voice. Now if people would actually start paying attention to the guy…

Should you believe the hype? Yes.

Does Blu actually still have any hype? It seems like he just doesn’t give a flying f**k wether anyone is actually checking for his stuff. It’s probably appreciated if you do, but he’s not gonna go around begging for your attention for a single second. In stead, he spends time in the lab, creating projects at his own pace and leisure, and occasionaly letting them loose online without any promo campaign. Still, fans clamor for the stuff, release compilations of his various loose tracks, and patiently await the next full-length. Blu cares about music, which is evidenced by his consistent quality output. Besides, a little mystery in this digital age of highly approachable pop stars might not even be that bad as an unintentional marketing tool anyway.

Mickey Factz
Should you believe the hype? No.

Mickey Factz is no stranger to the grind. His song-a-week strategy (eventually resulting in The Leak Vol. 2: The Inspiration) made blogs take notice and he held his own next to many of his peers like Lupe and Drake. However, that was mostly in 2008 and 2009. Last year, Lupe announced that Mickey was too be considered a member of the All City Chess Club, a supergroup with approximately zero releases so far. His unability to rise to public acclaim like his some of his contemporaries like the aforementioned Lupe and Drake may have something to do with media outlets lumping him with the ‘hipster-rap’ subgenre, an ambiguously described genre everybody denied to be a part of, regardless of the tightness of their pants. But don’t count Factz out yet, if he does manage to create a niche for himself he might just grab that elusive spotlight again.

Should you believe the hype? No.

It pains me to type that ‘No’ there. Please prove me wrong Mr. Folarin. The original ‘Mixtape About Nothing’ was one of my favorite releases that year, retail or online, and still is a great piece of work. Anticipation for his debut ‘Attention Deficit‘ quickly reached a fever pitch and then the whole thing collapsed like a weak soufflé. It wasn’t that the album was bad, it had several hot joints, but it lacked the focus and cohesiveness of the earlier tape. So Wale did what emcees nowadays do when they want to recapture old glory; release a sequel to his finest hour. But Wale is not Raekwon and retreading the same path a mere two years after the original and not even coming close to the original’s greatness is not a good look. Now he’s got a deal with hip-hop’s number one cop. That’ll at least ensure he has dope beats but his conscious swagger and cerebral double entendres seem to stick out amongst Maybach Music Group‘s roster like the Kardashian sisters at a rally for chastity vows. The future does not look promising, but I still hope I’m wrong.

Words: Jaap van der Doelen

Freddie Gibbs
Should you believe the hype? Yes – Could still be a bust, but I doubt it

The thing about Gangsta Gibbs is that his star is still on the rise. He is a bona fide celebrity on the Hood Internet (see what I did there?) but in the world that knows not the awesomeness of us, he probably still gets carded anywhere that isn’t Gary, Indiana. It’s safe to say that lots of people are still unaware of his music, but my observation on his stranger to fan conversion rate is thus: Once a person hears him, they like him. I will concede that not everyone loves him. In fact, some people are bored by him, which is completely understandable. But no one really dislikes Freddie Gibbs, and that has to mean something.

Joell Ortiz

Should you believe the hype? Yes.

The initial buzz around Joell Ortiz was massive for its day. Being part of the final generation of rappers to garner fame through what would be considered the traditional method of freestyle competitions, ghostwriting, and waiting in desperation to be noticed by a magazine or A&R, Joell was featured in the Source magazine’s Unsigned Hype section as well as being the XXL Chairman Choice. Most folks came to know him through his being featured on the NBA Live 2005 soundtrack. Since then, he’s gone on to release 4 mixtapes, 2 solo albums, 1 group album and many-a-freestyle which add up to a catalogue of pure fire.


Should you believe the hype? No – Motivation to keep your day job

Papoose, Papoose, Papoose: Where does one begin? Remember Alphabetical Slaughter? (No? Well it was kinda crazy back in the day) What many people may not know is that there is a remnant of New York rappers who will never be anymore rich or famous than they presently are, but there are usually a few people who will swear by their talent. What many people may not know is that some of these rappers have serious co-signs from giants of the rap game and they will occasionally drop face-melting bars in a freestyle somebody Youtube’d one time. What many people don’t know is who the hell Papoose is. For those people, career highlights include a marriage to Remy Ma (in prison) and a short cameo in the movie ‘Righteous Kill‘ as well as several grimy mixtapes and many squandered deals.


Should you believe the hype? Yes – Better at rap than he is at life

The Saigon story had a question mark on it until very recently. The Greatest Story Never Told had become akin to Detox in the most obvious ways and Saigon always managed to seem a bit unstable. His buzz on the net was strong a few years ago and he seemed to be rubbing shoulders with all of the right people from Jay-Z to Vincent Chase. But without the album that he had allegedly poured himself into, no one could say where to put him. On the subject of buzz, he definitely knew how to make waves but after selling only around 25,000 copies of an album that he couldn’t pay Atlantic Records to release, it may be time to reconsider whether all press is good press.

Words: Nahshon Landrum

Should you believe the hype? Yes.

Bobby Ray’s an interesting character; one might remember him getting loads of exposure early. XXL had features on him, and he had a nice buzz on the Internets. Once he got signed and was taken under T.I.’s wing, many spoke on how diverse his output might be, but who was ready for the huge explosion that was “Airplanes”!? The power of a hook can be a mother, but he was able to parlay the groundwork he laid and keep a nice grip of more underground fans, as well as add on with the mainstream love. He went gold with his debut by the end of December, and has gotten some nice international love as well.

Rich Boy
Should you believe the hype? No.

Rich Boy had a MONSTER with “Throw Some D’s” – when Kanye
West drops a freestyle to your track, you know it’s major. Sadly, more people might remember Kanye’s rework than anything else Rich Boy did since. You might even say that Rich Boy’s ascension and rapid decent were part of the Polow Da Don trend at that time. Rich Boy has gotten some critical acclaim for how heavy some of his content could be, thematically, but none of that hype has turned into proper success since – although heads are bumping his recent Gold Kilo$ mixtape.

Should you believe the hype? Yes. I’d say it was undeniable.

Wheelchair Jimmy might be the best example of hype turning into gold (and later platinum) sales, but he had the deck stacked. He got the major co-sign from Lil’ Wayne very early, and had the massive hit “Best I Ever Had”, which blew up all over. After the So Far Gone mixtape became an EP, he dropped Thank Me Later, which spawned a number of hits; add that to his charm and natural ability, and you obviously had a major figure in the industry. Thank Me Later went platinum in January of 2011, and with the recent love “Dreams Money Can’t Buy” has received, Take Care (Drake’s sophomore album) is poised to do just as well.

Kid Cudi
Should you believe the hype? Maybe (I’m 50/50).

Cudder’s hype has been interesting – he got love from the Kanye West set, but it was the undeniable “Day n Nite” that saw his stock rise. Oddly enough, it was a Club-bangin’ remix that really pushed the track’s success internationally, and fed the fire that was Man on the Moon: The End Of Day album. Oddly enough, aside from the “Make Her Say” single (which featured West and Common), not too much has been said, single-wise, about the album. You might be able to hang that on Cudi’s self-destructive tendencies, but now that he’s back on track, we’ll see how his third album, on his own label, will be able to do…

Words: Khal

Asher Roth
Should you believe the hype? No.

Asher Roth came to us as a cutely packaged potential prodigy. Yes, at times his flow sounded reminiscent of Eminem (which is interesting that one man’s flow is used as a loose yardstick of talent) and though his content was hilariously random, and concurrently infuriating in its half-full-of-Miller-Lite-red-cup-at-all-times, sorority swashbuckling collegiate diction, Roth promised much and delivered little. He really fell off the social radar after his fumbled attempt to roast Don Imus resulted in some bad PR after a Rutgers concert. I know Roth loved college, but for him to have kept his hype he needed to step up to grad school and stop putting his allowance towards hot boxing his parents’ pool house.

Wiz Khalifa
Should you believe the hype? No.

He’s stylish and tattooed and his name has an Arabic meaning. Aside from that I don’t see anything that impresses me about him as an artist. His flow is smooth, he keeps a lively, bouncy cadence in his back pocket, but his beat selection, lyrical content, or delivery hasn’t propelled him into being a ‘must.’ He’s a great example of an artist who is popular because they make music, not popular because of the kind of music they make.

Should you believe the hype? Yes.

Curren$y = Wiz Khalifa + Vision. The Beat selection, which is heavily influenced by Scarface-era melodies and orchestral pieces; delivery, an off-tempo at times syncopated flow that manages to seamlessly reintegrate with the music behind it; creativity, illustrated time and time again with motifs and allusions in songs and music videos, Curren$y has proven that not only is he continually stoned, he’s continually tapping his THC-infused mind to create music with purpose.

Charles Hamilton
Should you believe the hype? No.

Charles Hamilton was a really tough artist to give a ‘NO’ to because I think his style of rap is sorely needed to diversify the genre’s musical style portfolio. Chuck Ham came up as a quick witted, arrogantly intelligent emcee with a penchant for pushing buttons and a sharp flow. Problem was the “genius” that was C. Hamilton imploded after his sense of entitlement didn’t match up with his street cred and RIAA counts. He’s got a lot of talent but his lack of composure probably means he’s Andy Roddick and should have been more like Roger Federer.

Words: Andrew Schweizer



There are currently 13 Comments on Don’t Believe The Hype: After The Freshmen Class. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. what about kendrick? odd future? pill?

    •  Too new. Body of work too thin. Give them time to show and prove. Wait 3-5 and we’ll see.

  2. Folarin Swag.

  3.  list is  almost tight knit… but yall know what i rep. but the fact mofos got a maybe on kid coochie and not a “f’ing hell naw mayne” makes me hate Currensy’s raps even more.

    • RALSO, Saigon overly hyped album….mmmmmmmmmmno. 

    • meh meh meh

  4. Completely disagree with the poor prognosis of Wale. Dude resuscitated his career by stealing the show on that MMG album

    • Really? Wow. That’s unexpected, I’ll have to check that out then. I honestly couldn’t be bothered to check a whole Ross project but you have me interested.

      • Really depends on how you see it. If you liked that 100 Miles & Runnin’-era Wale, you’ll probably like him on Self Made 1. The whole album jams, even if the production is a bit monochromatic.

  5. Wale is an under averaged rapper. Every time I hear him he bites on other popular lyrics and put it in his songs. “Chillin'”, “That Way”, “World Tour” as examples. His AD album was below solid and this guy is becoming the person he describes on his best song “Nigger” when he joined Maybach. This guy had mad  potential too but he’s too lame in my opinion. 

    Chuck Hamilton had so much potential but he shot himself in the foot not once but several times.

    Asher is a one hit wonder.

    Wiz will smoke and play pop music.

    B.o.B is a guy that has tremendous production in his work but at the same time one of the blandest lyrical talent I’ve ever heard. I never quoted this guy, I probably give him props for his good hooks tho.

    Saigon is probably the best lyricist in this list. Though GSET is kind of late he needs to ride on his buzz and make a better sophomore album by the end of this year and release it in 2012.

    Kid Cudi had mad potential now I’m wondering is he’s a one hit wonder as well.

    Anyways Fashawn, Blu, Saigiddy, Drake, Wiz, B.o.B, and Joel should have pretty decent careers in the game.

  6. Sooooo… That’s about 1/3 of the overall freshmen featurer artists…

  7. great read. agreed with some, shaking my head on some too. 

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