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2012 XXL Freshman List: Where Are They Now?



Yearly, hip-hop magazine XXL does a freshman cover, showcasing nearly a dozen rising stars. Sometimes, these lists are underwhelming, leaving obvious choices out (Drake, Young Thug, Tyler, the Creator, A$AP Rocky, etc) but sometimes they can also be packed with to-be stars (2011’s issue).

Now that a couple years have passed, it would definitely be interesting to observe how well some of 2012’s freshman have fared, because frankly, the gap between superstars and unknowns is huge.

Let’s begin.

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration


The autotune crooner was already known by the time this cover was released and he’s done well for himself. While his record sales are mundane for someone at his status, his singles are still popular. Future Vandross has went completely¬†left from his original trap persona to dive into writing for R&B artists and defying the odds, as most wrote him off to be a one hit wonder since his hit ‘Tony Montana’.

Kid Ink

Back in 2012, to the general public, this guy was just a Chris Brown look-a-like with an overly simple rap name/aesthetic. But to the mixtape circuit, he was moving around and grinding heavy. The grind finally paid off once he scored two Chris Brown features and DJ Mustard produced hits. The sad thing is he’s only known for singles.

Danny Brown

Detroit MC Danny Brown was known by 2012 but he’s only worked harder since the cover has passed, dropping a critically acclaimed album, opening for Eminem and touring worldwide. He has no plans of stopping and is fully satisfied with sacrificing radio spins for quality music.

French Montana

French’s album flopped. But he didn’t let that stop him, he instead continued to release hits as well as linking with Khloe Kardashian the goddess, solidifying his pop culture relevancy. Let’s see how he responds to the break-up.


Who would’ve thought? The seemingly random white rapper Macklemore, independent, corny and somewhat conscious, went on to release his Grammy award winning album in late 2012 and ran 2013 as the biggest pop artist. I still don’t get it.