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Revisiting XXL Freshmen 10 of the Past | 2009’s Class – Where Are They Now?

Revisiting The ’09 XXL Freshmen 10 – Their Success & Where Are They Now?

Kid Cudi

What can we say about Cleveland emcee Kid Cudi. The GOOD Music signee and Kanye West constant collaborator had many things going for him early in his career. His debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day was met positively in 2009.  Then his starring role on HBO’s How To Make It In America was supposed to propel him into triple threat lanes. That didn’t quite manifest itself.

He’s released five solo albums, his last 2015’s Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven was a rock album, something he had been moving towards for years. He also released WZRD as a member of an alternative rock duo of the same name.  Every release has seen his buzz decrease but his spot on GOOD Music keeps him in the discussion.

Where Are They Now?
Cudi has a role on Empire, which is a great look for him.  His return to Hip-Hop titled, Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ was released in 2016. In 2018 he teamed up with Kanye West to release the joint project, Kids See Ghosts.

Cudi partnered with Netflix for his forthcoming album, Entergalactic.  The album will serve as the soundtrack for a new series that Cudi will be executive producing for the network.  The series will serve as a sort of visual album for the project.  Both projects will premiere in 2020.



Ace Hood

Ace Hood came out the gate fast! The rapper released his debut project Gutta in 2008 riding the wave of his debut single “Cashflow” featuring T-Pain and Rick Ross.  His collaboration with DJ Khaled also had him featured on several of the DJ’s early projects, which only increased his stock in the industry.  Seven months later he dropped his follow-up Ruthless.  Two more . albums would come in the 4 years following Ruthless.

Where Are They Now:
Mixtapes and DJ Khaled features aside, Ace has been pretty quiet since 2013. He’s noticeably missing from DJ Khaled’s albums since Major Key, because he and Khaled decided to part ways. Ace released his mixtape Starvation 5 in 2016. The hope was that he would get to release his new album, his first without Khaled on Republic Records.  But it was a tall order considering he’s out here by his lonesome.  The album never came.

He released two more mixtape, Trust The Process and Trust The Process II: Undefeated, but the buzz has not been able to rebuild.



Curren$y

The hot spitta snuck onto this list, but by 2008 he was almost a rap veteran. Emerging in the scene in 2002 as a member of the 504 Boyz and again as a solo artist in 2004 on Master P’s Good Side,  Bad Side, Curren$y was a focal point of No Limit Records in the early 2000s.  He later signed to Cash Money Records but suffered several delays, eventually leaving the label with only a couple singles and a feature on Tha Carter II to show for it.

After the XXL Freshmen 10 mention he signed a deal with Amalgam Digital. He released two projects with the label, which helped set the table for Pilot Talk, which became his most successful release.  From 2010 to 2015 he released 6 solo albums on 3 label deals and launched his own Jet Life Recordings, releasing another 2 albums with his Jet Life crew. Additional collaboration albums have been released with The Alchemist and Wiz Khalifa.

In 2015 the hot spitta released Pilot Talk III in April. Curren$y’s latest album, Canal Street Confidential was released months later in December.

Where Are They Now:
He’s turned his cult following into serious success and since the Freshmen cover he’s gone from under the radar to one of the biggest success stories on this list.  He’s putting out several projects a year and is constantly performing.  He may actually be the biggest artist of this class when it is all said and done.

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Revisiting The ’09 XXL Freshmen 10 – Their Success & Where Are They Now?


B.o.B

The rapper didn’t necessarily come flying out the gate after the XXL 10 Freshmen mention, and many were confused about what kind of artist they were getting from B.o.B‘s early music, but when “Nothing On You” dropped he was well on his way to being the valedictorian of this class. The rapper followed the lead single up with another banger in “Airplanes”. When his album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray was released in 2010 it went number one on the Billboard chart. Still flying high, his 2012 release Strange Clouds reached number 5 on the charts. This time he collaborated with Taylor Swift on the song, “Both of Us”. Nicki Minaj, Trey Songz and Morgan Freeman were also featured on the project.

By his third album, Underground Luxury his sound had changed from a mainstream Hip-Hop/Pop sound to a more gritty/drug influenced version of Hip-Hop. The move left his wholesome fan base confused.  While Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift were trending up, B.o.B seemed to be losing his way.  Underground Luxury didn’t quite find the same success as his first two albums.

Where Are They Now:
B.o.B released a surprise album last year called Psycadelik Thoughtz. The album didn’t fair well on the charts and was treated like a mixtape.  Weeks later B.o.B was challenging Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson saying that the world was flat, which made him look… crazy!  He’s since released a series of EPs, WATER, FIRE and most recently EARTH in April. He’s also had some harsh words for his label Atlantic Records so unless T.I. can somehow patch things up, it’s unlikely he’ll get another album release there.

B.o.B’s latest project is a mixtape titled Southmatic. All the music sounds like it should have been released in the 90s, but that was the goal here from the mixtape artwork on.


 

Wale
Mr. Folarin went from a ‘mixtape about nothing’ to an ‘album about nothing’, but the play on words does little to threaten his hold as the most impressive career of this XXL  Freshmen 10.  His debut album, Attention Deficit dropped in 2009 via Mark Ronson’s Allido Records/Interscope.  Despite features from Gucci Mane, Pharrell, Jazmin Sullivan, Chrisette Michelle and Marsha Ambrosius the album fell well below expectations. Nonetheless Wale never looked back. The following year his More About Nothing mixtape helped garner a new fan base for his witty lyricism and ability to match artists of all Hip-hop circles flow for flow. Then things reached a fever pitch when Wale announced that he had signed to Maybach Music Group in 2011.

Wale would be featured on the group’s Self-Made Vol. 1 that year and it helped him push his sophomore album, Ambition later in year. The album jumped to Number 2 on the charts.

Continuing his elevation Wale went number one with his third album The Gifted. He’s been featured on MMG’s Self-Made Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.  His last album The Album About Nothing featured Jerry Seinfeld, an artistic accomplishment for the artist to tie in his favorite show Seinfeld to an album and not just a mixtape.


Where Are They Now:

DC Chilling I would assume. Wale is set to executive produce MMG’s Self-Made 4 album. A buzz single was recently released “Make It Work” featuring a Wale, Meek Mill and Rick Ross, a positive sign considering the issues Wale and Meek were having. This project may never see the light of day however.

Wale’s 5th album SHINE was released in 2017.

He has since released his first single for his forthcoming 6th album.  The song is titled, “On Chill,” another collaboration with Jeremih.  Wale was also featuring on Rick Ross’ Port of Miami 2 album first single, “Act A Fool.”


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