So in the past 3 years, XXL magazine has done 2 groundbreaking, yet controversial covers that give shine to up and comers. For some oddball reason, the Hip-Hop community, mostly frustrated artists, complain about their respective choices. I think that 1) the publication should be applauded because no other mag has done something so avant garde, and 2)the staff shouldn't be crucified for their choices because there must be a definitive criteria for consideration. Granted, they dropped the ball with the notable absence of Drizzy in '08, but the truth is, homie's buzz grew exponentially towards the later half of the year which could explain why he missed it. However, to put thing in perspective, I've compiled my Top 10 Draft for what many consider one of the last seminal years in Hip-Hop; 1994. The results may surprise you.
1: No SOLO releases prior to 1994 (Sorry Common & The Roots)
* Rank is based on overall buzz, hype, and relevance
1: Method Man - his team was unquestionably the biggest thing going in Hip-Hop at the time and everyone was anticipating his solo release after the gargantuan single based on his moniker
2: Nas - the underground rallied around him, mainstream hailed him the new Rakim to a post Das EFX/Onyx era, and he had the co-sign of every super producer of the time
3: Notorious B.I.G - The star power of Bad Boy captured the hearts of Hip-Hop fans with underground gems like "Party & Bullshit", "Dreams" and guest appearances alongside the Queen of R&B/Soul, Mary J. Blige
4: Jeru The Damaja - after countless appearances alongside Hip-Hop mainstays, Gangstarr, Jeru was set to release a classic produced exclusively by Preemo. Not to mention his single "Come Clean" sent waves through Hip-Hop
5: Warren G. - yup, we seem to have collectively forgotten that "Regulate" was one of the biggest records of the year, and it didn't hurt either that he was affiliated with Dr. Dre, Snoop, and Death Row.
6: Da Brat - Jermaine Dupri was set to prove that Kris Kross and TLC were no flukes, and he sure did with his female Snoop. Between "Give It To You" & "Funkdified", homegirl's debut was set to establish a new precedent for females.
7: OutKast - with a single whose title is too long to spell out, I'll just say that ATL's premier group brought an entirely new sound that hadn't been heard on a national level in Hip-Hop yet. Thank goodness for these 2 southern boys..
8: Craig Mack - Project Funk Da World may not have had the impact that he anticipated, but it produced 2 hits, 1 bonafied classic, and 1 of the best remixes ever in Hip-Hop. I'd be lying if I said that the Easy Mo Bee produced track "Flava In Ya Ear" still isn't DOPE as hell
9: Keith Murray - The Def Squad must have sure been proud when their fellow member broke out the gate with a classic like "The Most Beatifullest Thing In The World". Though he used words out of context, made little to no sense, his rhymes sure sounded ill.
10: Smif N Wessun - Though their debut wouldn't drop until '95, they sure rode the momentum of Black Moon. The singles "Bucktown", Wreckonize" and "Wone Time" were already certified underground classics, and the group would further penetrate the mainstream with the memorable back and forth on Mary's "I Love You"
So there you have it. Notice anything? For one there are some noticeable absences like M.O.P, who began making noise. There was also Mic Geronimo, who's single "It's Real" was smashing NY. AZ's appearance on ILLMATIC generated a similar buzz to Nas' on "Live at the Barbeque", but wasn't enough to qualify. Most notably is the man that would basically define the next 12-14 years in Hip-Hop, Mr. Sean Carter. Although he had singles that made noise, he wasn't THAT dude at that moment, and couldn't crack the top 10.
Just as in the NBA, it doesn't always pay to be "numero uno" or in the Top 10 at all a la Glenn Robinson, Kwame Brown, and "Mr. Ether" himself, Sam Bowie. Take note folks. You can get your panties in a bunch, but nobody can predict the future, not even XXL.
Go ahead and debate...........