Over the next ten days, with one rapper from the list being revealed each night at 10 PM, we will be rolling out The Masked Gorilla's 2011 Freshman Class. The list will be compiled of the ten new school rappers (excluding the previous XXL 20) who have the highest potential to gain the most amount of mainstream success in 2011. Nothing else.
Lil B The Based God
Courtesy of a complete social media takeover, former member to The Pack, Lil B, gained a considerable amount of mainstream attention in late 2010. With a relentless dedication to releasing new songs and music videos daily, Lil B, also known as The Based God, has his finger on the button with regards to using the internet to ones advantage. This internet networking has amassed an almost surreal cult following for The Based God. The cult following translated into a recent two album record deal with Amalgam Digital. With everyone from P.Diddy to Kanye West "cooking", 2011 looks like Lil B's year.
It took the Wichita, Kansas native twelve mixtapes to gain major attention, but with that twelfth mixtape, XV struck gold. That mixtape, ‘Everybody’s Nobody’, propelled his career to new heights and subsequently landed Vizzy a record deal with Warner Bros. Records a year later. In early 2011 XV made his cable television debut by appearing on MTV2’s Sucker Free program. The Kansas native is now located in New York City, which will drastically broaden his media exposure. With his major label debut coming later this year, 2011 could very well be the Year Of The Squarians.
Although he had four mixtapes and a Wiz Khalifa co-sign under his belt, it took a fifth mixtape from the 19 year old Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native to gain mainstream attention. Mac Miller’s ‘K.I.D.S.’ mixtape was released in August of 2010, and went on to be downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. Thanks to Rex Arrow Films, Mac now has multiple music videos from his ‘K.I.D.S.’ mixtape with over one million views. His “Knock Knock” music video even landed on MTV2. Currently on a country-wide, sold out, headlining tour, Mac Miller could very well be a household name in 2011.
Don’t tell this to Nipsey Hu$$le, but if you’re a new school west coast rapper, the general conscious is that you need a Dr. Dre co-sign to rise to the top. Although he’s been putting out material since 2006, in September of 2010 Kendrick Lamar released his ‘O(verly) D(edicated)’ mixtape to critical acclaim. It was after this release that Dr. Dre stated he wanted to work with Lamar on ‘Detox’ and Lamar's upcoming debut album ‘Good Kid in a Mad City’. With support from the old west, Kendrick Lamar has a high chance of becoming the leading force of the new west in 2011.
Haling from Ohio, Stalley is looking to take the throne of a hip hop kingless state. His late 2009 mixtape, ‘The Autobiography’, propelled his relationship with Damon Dash’s DD172 collective. 2010 saw the product of this relationship for Stalley with Creative Control music videos, DD172 concerts, and collaborations within the collective. One of these collaborations, “Address” with Curren$y, landed Stalley all over MTV. From his clothes to his lyrics, Stalley is clean cut. It’s this unique style that has Stalley in the clean cut lead to explode onto the mainstream scene within 2011.
Son to Run DMC front man Rev Run, and nephew to hip hop pioneer Russell Simmons, Diggy Simmons signed a major label record deal with Atlantic Records on his fifteenth birthday. It's clear Diggy’s lyrical ability is well beyond his years. Along with his natural music skills, Diggy has a fan-base of hundreds of thousands, with 250,000 Facebook “Likes” and 500,000 Twitter “Followers”. No matter how Diggy emerged onto the music scene, he is clearly here to stay. With a devoted fan-base, and major label support, Diggy Simmons will be known in 2011 for his musical ability, rather than his reality show past.
At 31 years old, the Gadsden, Alabama native is far from a rookie. In 2005 Yelawolf competed on the reality series The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott. In 2007 Yelawolf signed to Columbia Records and was released the same year. It wasn’t until the 2010 release of his ‘Trunk Muzik’ mixtape that Yelawolf regain mainstream attention. In early 2011, Yelawolf signed to Eminem’s Shady Records. With his first studio album in six years, 'Radioactive', scheduled to be released this March, it’s looking like Yelawolf will finally recieve the mainstream attention in 2011 that he has deserved for years.
CyHi Da Prynce
It wasn’t until early 2010 that CyHi Da Prynce received notable mainstream recognition. This recognition was just about as good as you can get within the hip-hop scene, it came in the form of a Kanye West co-sign. In September of 2010 that co-sign turned into a record deal with Kanye’s GOOD Music label. After appearing on Kanye’s album: ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, Cyhi released his highly anticipated ‘Royal Flush’ mixtape. With another mixtape, ‘Allies’, to soon be released and a debut album nearing, 2011 will be the year Cyhi steps out of the GOOD Music shadow, and flourishes within the mainstream music scene.
Hailing from Meridian, Mississippi, Big K.R.I.T.’s music has a personal feel and realness to it, which could be directly attributed to his small town up-bringing. However, the summer of 2010 saw this small southern town rapper, majorly exposed by inking a record deal with Def Jam records. K.R.I.T. was signed within the same month that he released his critically acclaimed ‘K.R.I.T. Wuz Here’ mixtape. Guest appearances on Curren$y’s ‘Pilot Talk’ album, and Wiz Khalifa’s ‘Kush & Orange Juice’ mixtape followed soon after. With his own album dropping early 2011, it's looking like K.R.I.T. will finally be here.
Tyler, The Creator
Releasing music since 2008, 19 year old Tyler, The Creator self-produces nearly all of the music he raps over, along with directing and filming nearly all of his music videos. This work ethic and DIY mentality paid off big time in early 2011. Tyler released a grotesque and gruesome self-directed music video for "Yonkers," the lead single off his upcoming 'Goblin' album. The music video received over 1,000,000 views on YouTube within the first week of being uploaded. With everyone from Kanye West to Justin Bieber recently praising Tyler and his music, it's my opinion that Tyler, The Creator will make the biggest impact on mainstream music in 2011.