Professors have to walk a fine line when it comes to giving praise to their students. Not enough positive reinforcement and the student becomes resentful, frustrated that the work is not being recognized. Too much and the student can get cocky, feeling like they’ressomehow owed special treatment and no longer needs to prove themselves. So maybe it was a bad idea to bestow so much worship on the 2009 freshman class. As soon as their images graced the cover of XXL, they were each anointed saviors to the rap game in his own way. For the most part, the music has been stellar. But overall, the attitudes; the “respect-me-or-else” mentality has been the Achilles’ heel to most of the rookie camp.
Since the Mid-Year report, productivity and enthusiasm has waned, with some artists even falling off the map entirely. And those that did stay in the public eye, remained there through Twitter rants, concert flubs and public relations nightmares. Unfortunately, this is reflected in the final grades.
Sometimes a student is so talented and shows so much potential that he doesn’t need to show up for the final exam for you to know he’s going to ace the course. Bobby Ray is that student. Though he didn’t drop an album (through no fault of his own), Bob had a near-flawless 2009. He’s only gotten better since the mid-year exam, dropping a stellar mixtape and being in the public eye as the house music for the ESPY’s. If you’ve watched any college football over the last two weeks, you’ve seen him on the intro video. All that is well and good, but what about the music? Never better. His new single is fire and a song with T.I. and Coldplay on the way sounds like a surefire success.
If this were a couple of weeks ago, Cudder would have gotten an A+ easy. Instead, Scotty has decided to fill his boss’ shoes in every bad way possible by tossing a soft left jab at a fan before getting kicked off leaving his tour with Lady Gaga. However, the Kid did drop a dope album that has topped many a year-end list and his stock continues to rise as G.O.O.D. Music’s top star until Yeezy makes his return.
At the middle of the semester, all Wale was missing was an album. He had an Internet buzz out of this world and a Twitter account that made him Mr. Popular. What could go wrong when the album drops? Well, a lot apparently. A mediocre effort that Interscope had no idea how to market leaves Wale in a sophomore year with shaky financial aid. While being the house music for the VMA’s was a big look, completely tanking a pop quiz in the form of a BET Hip-Hop Awards cipher was a groan-worthy effort.
By the mid-term, Asher was one of the few freshmen to drop an album. This, combined with the creditable quality put him above the pack. Since then, others closed the gap by dropping their own projects while Asher has essentially fallen off the map. Maybe it was the return of star student Marshall that caused Asher to miss so many classes. Whatever the case, it’s time for Asher to raise his hand more often in lecture or else we may forget he was even enrolled.
We’re a liberal school, so we can excuse the fact that some students always smell like marijuana and eat Doritos® in the back of class all day if they make good work. Curren$y has hustled his ass off all year and it’s paying off. His album may not have made as much noise as it should have, but it was a solid project and a move to New York has seen a few collaborations and new music almost daily. Just don’t smoke in class, son.
Mickey and I had a teacher conference after he got his mid-term grade and though, Brother Factz thought his grade should have been higher, he vowed to make more music to raise his GPA. He answered the call with…well…not much of anything. No mixtapes and barely a handful of songs from Factz all year. His claim to fame so far was being a bystander in a fight between two older students. Hopefully this #Alpha album he’s currently campaigning…ad nauseum…will usher in a better sophomore year.
Teaching is frustrating. The worst part is seeing a student with so much potential only to fall short at every turn. Cory will probably always be one of the best lyricists in his class, but when the spotlight is on him to show his talent, he doesn’t seem to come correct. He’s a celebrity over at Room WSHH, but it’s time to matriculate over to MTV Hall with the videos. His mixtape was mostly overlooked and that’ll continue to happen until Gunz is able to capitalize on his skills. You can only be the next big thing for so long.
One thing we don’t tolerate here is truancy. For too long, the world wondered where Blu’s been. The anticipation for his newer efforts gave way to anger at his seeming disinterest in performing. Can you name one Blu song you’ve heard since June? Don’t worry, the class can wait. If grades were given on skill alone, this student would be on the honor roll. But no matter how talented Blu is, it doesn’t help if we never get to experience it. Blu did ring in the new year with low-res quality; one MP3 mixtape that showed he still pays attention in class. But a few more homework assignments are necessary to bring his grade up.
Where do we start? Right after Charles got his grade, he went off and named J Dilla as an executive producer to an album that never saw the light of day because his record label pulled the plug right before they dropped benched him. The album in question blew chunks and 93% of our Detroit students wanted to murder Sonic. All of this led to a welcomed hiatus. Recently, Charles has been outside of the school rapping bars from a new mixtape. Most of us just closed the windows and pretended he wasn’t there. Maybe it’s for the best.
“Started off local/But thanks to all the haters/I know G4 pilots on a first name basis…”