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Hip-hop’s evolution front and center

David Goodson | 9/15/2016, 1:52 p.m.
Judging by the talent at the 2016 Made in America Festival, aside from the talent curator, Shaun “Jay-Z” Carter, it’s ...
Chance the Rapper

Judging by the talent at the 2016 Made in America Festival, aside from the talent curator, Shaun “Jay-Z” Carter, it’s probably safe to say that the entity proudest of the new lions set to bounce on the music industry is XXL magazine.

For the past nine years, 10 artists have been selected for the XXL Freshman Class cover feature, and since its inception, it has become one of the most coveted slots a new artist can hope to achieve. The cover feature not only grants instant gratification but also indicates that the recipient has a shot to become a game-changing artist from here on end. A little over half of the team from this year’s ninth annual edition of the publication (Lil Yachty, Kodak Black, Lil Uzi Vert, Denzel Curry and, representing Brooklyn and Harlem, respectively, Desiigner and Dave East,) were given opportunities to stake a claim in a significant fan base.

Check out the highlights that further boost the legitimacy of the publications eye for talent. First, there’s Travi$ Scott. Slated for a late afternoon set, his fans set up shop as early as four hours to assure a decent position. Scott hit the stage with boundless energy, although he didn’t care for his time slot. “I’m NOT an opening act,” he voiced to his fans, yet that didn’t affect his dedication to giving his fans what’s expected of him and more. Even if he had to literally rock two songs, from a tree. A tree! Needless to say, all his fans, including Malia Obama, were impressed. Scott made sure to remind the audience of other project plans, a new line of merchandise around his latest album release, “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.” He told the crowd, “I got pillows, comforters, tees, hoodies, jackets, du-rags, socks, underwear, condoms, toilet tissue, and I’ll give things away for free if you purchase my album from my website.”

As the fest is drawing to a close and the Day Two headliner, Coldplay, is approximately an hour and a half from gracing the stage, what master of ceremonies from the nine freshman covers would you choose to keep the full-on attention of the peak audience and push the headliner to their performance limits? Historically, we’re looking at the likes of J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, French Montana and Future. In 2016, there’s a chance the rapper would be—Chance the Rapper. Without a major machine backing his movement, Chance has, as an independent artist, taken the world by storm—organically. He has maintained who he is as a personality and translated that reality, honestly, to his music. With that, his connection to his millions of fans is under his control. An artist with his career in his own hands. What a concept. Chance the Rapper will next be in New York Sunday, Oct. 2, as part of the Meadows Music and Arts Fest. The two-day event features The Weeknd, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Pusha T and Kanye West. Check out themeadowsnyc.com for ticket information.

Over and Out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.