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XXL Freshman Class Of 2007: Where Are They Now?

Updated on September 21, 2015

In 2007 XXL created the annual Freshman Class. While the series itself has been successful, not all of the original alumni have had the same fate. Who graduated? Who dropped out? Where are they now?

Source

XXL Freshman Class Of 2007

As the very first class of XXL Freshman, these ten dudes set the standard for all future classes to come. So how well have each of them fared since then? Did they use the platform to continue building their fan-base or did they peak and slowly fade away into obscurity?

Young Dro

Since 2007 Young Dro has released new music here and there.

Commercially his last album didn't do too well, although he must still have a fan base. He made most of his fortune at the peak of the "Ringtone Rap Era."

Who knows maybe he is just chillin' somewhere living off of that one song? Anyway he hasn't really showed up to class since that day in 2007.

Young Dro Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
F
Participation
C
Relevance
F
Ability & Improvement
C
Final Grade
D-
Status
Drop Out
"Voted Most Likely To Be A Reality TV Star"

Crooked I

The artist formerly known as Crooked I now calls himself KXNG CROOKED. One of the most lyrical XXL Freshmen of all time, has done well for himself since landing on the XXL cover.

He continued his "Hip Hop Weekly" venture where he released a new verse over another artist's beat every week.

A year or so later he formed the hip hop super group, Slaughterhouse, with Royce Da 5'9, Joell Ortiz, & Joe Budden. With Royce's connection to Eminem, the group found themselves signed to Shady Records shortly after. He has been on two of the best BET Hip Hop Awards Cyphers.

Since the cover shoot he has barley left the studio. Two Studio Albums, a compilation album, two collaboration albums with Slaughterhouse, six Extended Plays, and four mixtapes including one with Slaughterhouse, He recently released Sex, Money, & Hip-Hop, an LP that for the first week was not easy to find on the internet which is unusual to say the least.

Crooked only sold physical copies at first and asked his fans not to distribute the material online. He wanted to give the fans the euphoric feeling of buying a new CD and riding down the road bumping it that no longer exists for most people due to digital downloading. Of course it was only a matter of time before it found it's way online but a week is still impressive.

Crooked is working with fellow Slaughterhouse members on their second major label LP Glass House. He also announced a joint album with Static Selektah, Static KXNG. Keep an eye on KXNG Crooked in the future. Although he has not had too much mainstream success, the KXNG has been on his grind long before XXL and will be for a long time coming.

Crooked I Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
A
Participation
A
Relevance
C+
Ability & Improvement
A+
Final Grade
A-
Status
Graduated
"Voted Biggest Over Achiever"
Source

Joell Ortiz

Yaowa!

A few months after flying to New York for the first ever XXL cover shoot, Ortiz parted ways with Aftermath Entertainment. He has admitted he was disappointed at first, but it ended up working out for him.

Joell put his nose to the grindstone and has been steadily releasing music ever since. After appearing on Joe Budden's Halfway House, the Hip Hop super-group Slaughterhouse was formed.

Since 2008 Joell has released two studio albums, three extended plays, and nine mixtapes. Hopefully we will be hearing more from Joell and the rest of Slaughterhouse soon.

Joell Ortiz Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
B
Participation
B+
Relevance
C+
Ability & Improvement
A+
Final Grade
B+
Status
Graduated
"Voted Biggest Class Clown"

Lil Boosie

Since 2007 Boosie (Now known as Boosie Badazz) has spent most of his time in prison. He was arrested in 2008 and spent most of the next six years in prison.

Being locked up didn't stop him from releasing music though; his studio album Incarcerated was the first one he had released from prison.

He was eventually released on March 5th, 2014. This is much better than the original 2018 release date. On top of that, the courts returned his hard drives to him which are said to contain a large amount of material from before his incarceration.

According to Boosie he feels like a new man. We will see what the future holds for Boosie Badazz.

Boosie Badazz Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
F
Participation
F
Relevance
D-
Ability & Improvement
D
Final Grade
F+
Status
Drop Out
"Voted Most Liked By Parents"

Gorilla Zoe

Gorilla Zoe

Shortly after gracing the first XXL Freshman cover, Gorilla Zoe slowly faded away.

I haven't heard enough of his music to give an opinion of it, but I do remember this song of his playing in a few of my friends cars and I didn't like it.

That being said, I didn't really like most of the rap that was being put out back then. Anyway Gorilla Zoe has gone on to release two studio albums, one EP, and 34 mixtapes since 2007. Pretty astounding right?

How is this guy not huge? Well just ask Gucci Mane, if you release enough mediocre music then eventually someone will like one of your songs.

Quality over quantity people.

Quality over quantity.

Gorilla Zoe Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
F
Participation
F
Relevance
D-
Ability & Improvement
D-
Final Grade
F+
Status
Drop Out
"Voted Most Likely To Crash On Your Couch"
Papoose By Coup d'Oreille
Papoose By Coup d'Oreille | Source

Papoose

Papoose has not made too much noise since 2007, releasing eleven mix-tapes and his debut studio album to keep relevant in a face paced rap game.

Although you do not hear much about the guy, he hasn't completely vanished from the scene. He appeared in the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher along with fiancé Remy Ma to perform an unusual "Duet Verse."

Papoose is a finely tuned, lyrical machine. If he can get organized I believe he could do something great. For now he has been average at best.

Papoose Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
C
Participation
B
Relevance
D+
Ability & Improvement
A
Final Grade
C+
Status
Graduated
"Voted Most Likely To Not Change At All"

Lupe Fiasco

As a XXL Freshman, Lupe already had two amazing albums under his belt. Since then he has released three more studio albums and three mix-tapes. Although he has not released a lot of material, it is all the high quality sound we have come to expect from Lupe.


He has had no problem staying relevant, but Lupe may just be taking his final bow. Then again, rappers say this all the time. In what was supposedly his "last radio interview ever" with Sway, he stated that he is ready to disappear from the music industry altogether.

Is Lupe Fiasco Really Done Rapping?

See results

Lupe Fiasco Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
B+
Participation
A-
Relevance
B+
Ability & Improvment
A+
Final Grade
A-
Status
Graduated
"Voted Most Talented"

Saigon

It took Saigon three years after the first Freshman Issue was released to drop his debut studio album. It was not a bad album at all, but at this point he may have lost the attention of the hip hop nation.

He has given the fans three studio albums and three mixtapes since the cover shoot. This dude has some real talent, unfortunately so do many other artists that go unnoticed.

He formed his own label, Squid Ink Squad Records, in 2014. I hope he can put together more projects before he calls it quits.

Saigon Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
C-
Participation
C-
Relevance
D
Ability & Improvment
B+
Final Grade
C
Status
Graduated
"Voted Most Likely To Be Late To Own Wedding"

Plies

Plies Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
B
Participation
B
Relevance
C
Ability & Improvment
B
Final Grade
B-
Status
Graduated
"Voted Most Likely To Make Millions"

Plies has done a decent job of remaining relevant in an evolving rap game.

Just two years after the first freshman issue, he released three studio albums, a compilation album, and an EP. Since 2010 he has not released a studio album, although his upcoming album is titled Purple Heart and is expected to drop in 2015.

His brand has remained pertinent in the rap game, giving the hungry fans nine mixtapes since 2010. We will see how he maintains in the near future.

Rich Boy

Rich Boy has released one studio album and six mix-tapes since early 2007. I am not so sure Rich Boy will see any success in the future, but who knows? He could be in the studio cooking up some fire right now!

Either way he seems to be more of a one hit wonder than a consistent artist.

Rich Boy Report Card

Subject
Grade
Attendance
D
Participation
D
Relevance
F
Ability & Improvement
D+
Final Grade
D-
Status
Drop Out
"Voted Most Likely To Go Bankrupt"
Lupe Fiasco by Scott Sandars
Lupe Fiasco by Scott Sandars | Source

Top Achievers

Valedictorian:

Lupe Fiasco

Salutatorian:

Crooked I

Graduated:

Joell Ortiz

Papoose

Plies

Saigon

Dropped Out:

Rich Boy

Lil' Boosie

Gorilla Zoe


So What Did We Learn Today Class?

As some of the alumni went on to do great things, others failed miserably.

The lesson learned here today folks, is that the XXL Annual Freshman Cover is merely a platform to help an artist reach major success, not an indicator of having already arrived.

Thank you for reading! Enjoy the article? Leave a comment below!

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    • TristanDoes profile image

      Tristan 2 years ago from Indiana

      Yeah, Lupe is goat. I do not think that he will ever quit. I feel like it is damn near impossible for him to do so when he probably always has rhymes, puns, and flows in his head. He need an outlet for that!

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