Revisiting XXL Freshmen of the Past | 2012’s Class – Where Are They Now?

2012 XXL Freshmen Cover

– Revisiting The 2012 XXL Freshmen –
Their Success & Where Are They Now?

The 2012 XXL Freshmen cover was at the time a very low key cover, with a number of talented artists but very little certainty of upside.  This was truly all about potential because at its release there was no way of knowing for sure who would actually find success.

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Since 2012 a number of these artists have proved to be well worthy of the praise that was the 2012 XXL Freshmen cover and there’s even been a Grammy winner for Best Rap album among this list.

As we’ve done with every XXL Freshmen cover before this: 2007, 2009, 2010 & 2011, we revisit the 2012 XXL Freshmen, evaluate their success and tell you where they are now.

Don Trip
Honestly, we had forgotten about this guy. He created a buzz with 2011 single “Letter To My Son”. Cee-Lo was having an amazing year and his guest appearance on the track and in the video helped set up the XXL co-sign. He’s released several mixtapes and buzz singles as well as a project with Starlito, but nothing has given him the juice to duplicate 2011.

Where Are They Now?
He actually just released a project a couple months ago, The Head That Wears the Crown.  His mixtape In The Meantime 2 was also released this Summer.  I think we can all agree he hasn’t lived up to the hype of being declared a XXL Freshman.

The man behind the “Ill Mind” series is originally a skater straight out of Panorama City, a neighborhood lying with in LA’s San Fernando Valley. The guy started out as a Youtube sensation, later to release multiple well critiqued studio projects over that last few years. His Ruthless Records debut, Gazing At The Moonlight was released in 2009.  Hopsin is known for either speaking the truth or getting on everybody’s nerves, it just depends who you ask.

Where Are They Now?

He founded his own label, Underground Prodigy and released “Ill Mind of Hopsin 8” earlier this year.

Machine Gun Kelly
The Cleveland, Ohio native, Machine Gun Kelly or MGK was signed to Bad Boy/Interscope in 2011 following the release of several well received mixtapes. The first ever rapper to win consecutive vicyories at the Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night At The Apollo, its no wonder he would catch the attention of execs as his grind had gone nationalm. Very similar in style to 2011 Freshman, Yelawolf, MGK was one of two Bad Boy artists to make this cover.

MGK’s hit 2012 single “Invincible” could be heard on every NBA Playoff video from the time frame that it released. Shortly after that release he would drop his debut album Lace Up.   The following year he released his Black Flag mixtape.

Where Are They Now?

Through what has been a minimal discography from Machine Gun Kelly thus far, he has made the most of his talent. In 2015 he released a mixtape titled, Fuck It and followed it up with his sophomore album General Admission.  With a loyal fanbase the album still performed pretty decently with very little support from Bad Boy.

The Bad Boy relationship may be all but over for him as he isn’t even acknowledged on the Bad Boy Reunion Tour.  But even without the Puff backing MGK should be alright.  He was featured in the 2014 film Beyond the Lights and has roles in several yet to be released films.  He’s also a cast member on the Showtime series “Roadies“.  And he’s still only 26.

Roscoe Dash 
It’s easy to say this guy easily had one of the catchiest hooks of 2011 with his feature on Waka Flocka’s “No Hands”. His 2010 single “All The Way Turnt Up” featuring Soulja Boy was a pretty decent introduction for the Atlanta native. That same year he would “release” his major label debut, Ready Set Go! Roll out issues with the album would short change his success as the album was actually pulled because the retailers had a leaked version. Technically he doesn’t regard the project as his debut. In 2011 he released the EP J.U.I.C.E. but it wouldn’t feature any definitive banger like he found early in his career.

Where Are They Now?

Since being declared a 2012 XXL freshman, he’s released a series of mixtapes that fared pretty well amongst Roscoe Dash fans, the only problem being it hasn’t progressed much from there. His latest, Glitch dropped in March.

Kid Ink
Someone at RCA Records really likes this kid.  An uncanny similarity to fellow California native Tyga, Kid Ink has seen his career hit a steady flow since the release of his 2012 independent album Up & Away.  His major label debut My Own Lane would be the beginning of a run of a number of hit singles ranging from “Body Language” to “Main Chick”, Kid Ink has produced a lot of lackluster music in the past few years consisting of below average albums and one pretty solid EP, but he puts out a lot of music so it’s hard to forget about him.

Where Are They Now?
Kid Ink released a surprise album, Summer In the Winter in December 2015, produced by DJ Mustard.  His latest single “Nasty” features Jeremih and Spice.  A new mixtape RSS2 was recently released as well.

*Additional reporting by Yoni Yardeni

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