Biggest Star: Lupe Fiasco
Honorable Mention: Lil Boosie
Lupe Fiasco is the only rapper on XXL's first Freshman list to really break into the mainstream beyond one single (shout out Rich Boy), though its worth noting that his debut album, Food & Liquor, was already out at the time of the shoot.. After his dalliance with pop peaked with the divisive LASERS (an album Lupe himself has denounced), he's since retreated entirely into the dense rap traditionalism he's always kept one foot in. Even without the hit potential, he's held on to a loyal fanbase will support him regardless. Boosie comes the closest to Fiasco's star status on the list, becoming a regional icon through his prolific, influential, and unapologetically southern output. He's still an underground artist by most measures, but he's at the top of his class in that category.