– Revisiting The 10 XXL Freshmen of 2010 –
Their Success & Where Are They Now?
Let’s go back to the year 2010. Before Drake was considered the 6 God. The year Akon placed 3rd on Forbe’s Magazine’s Hip Hop Cash Kings list. That year marked the 3rd Freshman XXL cover. The 10 XXL Freshmen of ’10 cover included some of the greatest names of Hip-Hop today such as J Cole, Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa, along with some honorable mentions who include Jay Rock, Pill, and OJ da Juiceman. The other four who shared the most popular cover of up and coming artists of 2010 were Nipsey Hussle, Freddie Gibbs, Fashawn, and Donnis. W
As we’ve done twice before now, with the 2007 XXL Freshman, 2009 XXL 10 Freshmen, 2011 Freshmen, and most recently the 10 XXL Freshmen of 2012, we revisit the 2010 Freshman 10. Here’s a second look at just how successful those artists were and a look at where those artists are now.
After debuting on the freshman XXL cover the Atlanta, Georgia born and raised rapper signed with Warner Bros. Records. Around the same time Maybach Music Group signed to the label and Pill joined the crew, but there was no deal in place. He was featured on the crew’s Self-Made Vol. 1 album only to leave the team the next year abruptly in the middle of stardom. He released four mixtapes from 2009 to 2012, which all showed impressive signs from the young emcee but he didn’t nearly make the impact of some of the other names from this freshman class.
Where Are They Now?
Pill went MIA for a while there. He lost his deal with Warner Bros. and he served some prison time. He’s recently resurfaced with a new single, “Won’t Blame You” and a new mixtape, Over The Counter Drugs.
OJ da Juiceman
The drug trapping emcee from Atlanta, Georgia founded the vanity label 32 Entertainment and signed to Asylum Records before he even got the XXL Freshman acknowledgement. He connected with Gucci Mane and the two were able to create a buzz with mixtapes. His debut album The Otha Side of the Trap was released in January 2009. OJ was featured on the Jadakiss album in 2009 and the R. Kelly album, so things were on fire when the cover hit the streets. Everything was on the upswing for him going into 2010.
In 2011 & 2012 OJ released several mixtapes in anticipation of The Otis Williams Jr Story, what was supposed to be his follow-up album. The project didn’t see the light of day until 2014. By then his buzz had fizzled and he was feuding with his childhood friend, Atlanta emcee brethren Gucci Mane.
Where Are They Now?
It seems he’s patched things up with Gucci Mane. His latest mixtape, Texaco Muzik was released earlier this year with not much fan fare. He still has a fan base though in the trap rap listeners.
Grown in Fresno, California this West Coast rapper has accomplished many notable achievements. It was his 2009 album, Boy Meets World, that helped him grace the XXL Freshman 10 cover. The project produced exclusively by Exile. Fashawn has since collaborated with many rappers such as Wiz Khalifa, Evidence, Murs, Aloe Blacc, Alchemist, Nas, J. Cole and the 9th Wonder in the years.
He dropped his mixtape Champagne and Styrofoam Cups in 2012 and then in the next year of 2013 he performed at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for the WBO welterweight rematch title between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
In 2014 he was signed to Nas’ Mass Appeal Records and ended the year of 2014 by dropping his EP, FASH-ionably Late with The Alchemist. The following year he finally released his sophomore studio album The Ecology. The project is executive produced by Nas and features an all-star line-up.
Where Are The Now?
Fashawn is still signed to Mass Appeal Records. He recently released a song for Street Fighter V entitled “Rise Up” featuring Black Thought, Murs, and Del the Funky Homosapien. He also has a track on the upcoming Madden NFL ’17 video game.
Donnis released his debut project, Diary of an ATL Brave in 2009. That music was so well received that it lead to a single deal with Fool’s Gold to release his hit single, “Gone”. The Japanese influenced rapper from Atlanta signed with Atlantic Records in early 2010. Then came the XXL Freshmen 10 cover.
He released the mixtape The Invitation in June, 2010. His next mixtape Fashionably Late featured artists such as OJ Da Juiceman and Pill. That year he also released his Atlantic Records debut, the Fashionaly Late EP. That would turn out to be his only release on the label.
The next two projects in 2011 would have a different feel Southern Lights being more personal and his EP with the brand Onitsuka Tiger called Nippon Sounds that was produced by Japanese producers DE DE Mouse, Joe Iron, and Taku Takashi. He released another EP through Fool’s Gold called Break Hundreds & Hearts.
Where Are They Now?
Well it depends. His website is down. Looks like he’s going by his real name LaDonnis now. He released a track called “Liar” a month ago on his Souncloud. He’s rportedly working on his debut album entitled, Basic Training. He’s still signed to Fool’s Gold, so he has more going for him than a lot of other artists.
West Coast rapper of Watts, California, Jay Rock was signed to Top Dawg Entertainment in 2005 and then later earned a recording contract with Warner Bros and later Asylum Records, but ultimately ending with signing a recording contract with Strange Music because of mergers and at the original label. His debut single, “All My Life (In the Ghetto)” featured Lil’ Wayne and Will.I.Am was released in 2008. He locked the cover in 2010 and the buzz continued to grow. He was the first mainstream member of the Black Hippy crew which features other TDE artists.
In 2011, he produced his debut album, Follow Me Home, and featuring his single “Hood Gone Love it” featuring Kendrick Lamar. The song became the theme for Grand Theft Auto V. Jay Rock became the only Black Hippy member featured on Kendrick Lamar’s debut album, good kid. mA.A.d city on “Money Tree”.
Where Are They Now?
Last year, in September Jay Rock released the critically acclaimed sophomore album, 90059. The album was his first since leaving Strange Music. Still signed to TDE, the album features the Black Hippy family. This year Jay Rock was in a motorcycle accident early in the year. He has since recovered. No new music announcements, but I’m sure it’s coming soon.
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