Ahem, allow me to brag real quick: I said last June that this dude Macklemore was going to be an XXL Freshman in 2012. Not that it took any great vision or foresight to see that. Paying attention and not being a fucking hater probably could have told you that. But those are two things many can't manage to pull off without pulling a muscle—me included half the time. But damn, the sodium I've seen thrown over Mr. My City's Filthy on the cover of the biggest hiphop magazine in the world is enough to make these miserable March skies rain pure salt water. If you need corporate magazines (which still suck, as you might remember Kurt telling you, fuckin' poseurs) or MTV/BET to tell you when something is official, that's when ya lost. If you still gotta talk out the side of your mouth when somebody from your zip code happens to satisfy these myopic conditions, at least be creative! But it's always the same shit. There are several textbook examples of hate I've seen when somebody from around here gets an opportunity to bust out. There's the classic: "Why isn't it me, or my homie?" Which, you gotta admit, is at least honest. Every other example is just a diversion from this. Also popular: "Now the rest of the country thinks we're all like that artist/group." (Quite popular to say about the Blue Scholars for a minute back there.) So, first: No, they don't. (Real recognizes that real can be found anywhere.) And if they do, who cares? Have some fucking pride in your city, dog. What, you got a little-brother complex about what LA or NYC thinks of your town? And finally, there's the guy who blames "politics." Understand that, a good deal of the time, when you hear a rapper talk about politics, they're simply referring to their own inability—the inability to get over one's self and talk to another person like a human being. (For extra credit: Try doing this with people who cannot help you "professionally.") Were there probably some politics involved in the XXL 2012 Freshman cover—the world's biggest rap mag (for better or worse), a high-profile list (for better or worse), a near-unavoidable spiderweb of managers, agents, publicists, and such, and a bunch of rappers? Yeah, dog, probably some politics in the air. So? Cut the shit—one person's success is not your loss, duh. But when you feel the need to downplay people you barely know, it only exposes your own insecurity. A local rapper wrote a great song about it called "Ego" on his 2005 album The Language of My World. And for the record, I know it was dumb of me to focus on hate when there's so much good going on that's so desperately in need of love today—I just had to get some shit off my chest. Of course Seattle is standing up. You can't really climb while sitting down. recommended