XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten Explains Rapsody's Exclusion From 2014 Freshman Class
Exclusive: Vanessa Satten says that XXL is not "trying to fill any quotas" when compiling it's signature cover and that those not selected should hopefully feel inspired to prove its staff wrong.
XXL Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa Satten explained why North Carolina emcee, Rapsody was selected as one of the publication’s “20 Best Female Rappers Of All Time” but was excluded from the 2014 Freshman Class. In an exclusive conversation with HipHopDX (May 6), Satten says that she wasn’t happy with the best female rappers list.
“You know you are 100% right on that in a sense that, you know as an editor, you don't look at every piece of content that goes up,” she says. “So you know, they put together a female list with some staff members. I wasn't so happy with the female list. I think that something with our female list is that there was a generational thing. There were slots that could have been filled there that just as young guys covering Hip Hop might’ve missed.”
Satten also says that Rapsody and Jamla label head, 9th Wonder were aware that she would not be selected to XXL’s 2014 Freshman Class, and that the publication’s signature cover is not about filling quotas.
“Rapsody knew that she wasn't going to be a Freshman,” she says. “9th Wonder sent us a very nice thank you for even supporting her and giving her the opportunity. She was up here. She knew it. It wasn't a surprise to her. She already knew what was going on. Her getting in the studio last night is a response to something but it's also a press move and it's also a smart move. You should do that. Hopefully we’re inspiring you to go out there and make better music and prove us wrong. That'd be great, you know. I think it's kind of interesting that we are putting her on that list and leaving some other people off and she's not on our Freshman [list] because I would’ve probably approached that a little differently.
“At the same time, do we have respect for what Rapsody's doing? Definitely,” Satten continues. “Was she in our top ten for rappers? No. Do we have to do females? Do we have to do White rappers? Do we have to do Asian rappers? Do we have to do Latino rappers? No. We aren't trying to fill any quotas. We are trying to pick who we believe in that’s gonna blow up in the next couple of years that are hot right now. And women have a harder hill to climb definitely, but they can still do it. It's not fair for us to say, ‘Hey this spot is going to a woman no matter what,’ and not give it to someone else who maybe should have it if we believe in them because we had to fill a lane. And if we went and filled the lane for the Bay Area dude and we filled the lane for the New York dude and we filled the lane for the [Los Angeles] dude, and we fill the lane with the White rapper or fill the lane for the Asian rapper then we wouldn't have the cover that we have. We have a cover that comes from a different perspective.”
XXL 2014 Freshmen class includes Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Lil Bibby, Lil Durk, Troy Ave, Ty Dolla $ign, August Alsina, Kevin Gates, Isaiah Rashad, Rich Homie Quan, Jarren Benton, and Jon Connor. Next week, XXL plans to release exclusive cyphers from this year’s class.