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Vince Staples, Lil Herb And K Camp Show & Prove For The XXL Freshmen 2014 Issue

Show & Prove is our section in the magazine where we highlight which rappers are hot in hip-hop now. Many who have appeared in S&P have gone on to launch successful music careers. With the goal to bring our hand-picked selections online, here are the stories from Vince Staples, Lil Herb and K Camp, as well as their entire mixtape discography. Our June/July issue featuring 2014′s XXL Freshman Class is available on newsstands now.

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Vince Staples

Twenty-five years after legends like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube put California MCs on the map, hiphop is experiencing a serious West Coast revival, and Vince Staples is rhyming his way into this next wave.

The Long Beach native is only 20 years old, but his resume is already stacked. Staples has toured and released a mixtape with Mac Miller (2013’s Stolen Youth), recorded with Earl Sweatshirt, ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul, and collaborated with Jhené Aiko. His most recent mixtape, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2, which dropped in March, has propelled him even further into the spotlight; an as-yetuntitled debut album on Def Jam Recordings is up next, hopefully, before the end of the year.

Growing up navigating the streets and in an unstable home environment, Staples dropped out of high school at age 16 and picked up rapping because his friends were doing it. Those friends introduced him to Syd Tha Kyd of Odd Future, which led to his guest appearance on “epaR” from Earl Sweatshirt’s breakthrough 2010 mixtape, Earl, when Staples was just 16. He released his debut mixtape, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1, in January 2012 and met Miller through Earl later that year. The two dropped Stolen Youth the following June.

The tape caught the attention of No I.D., executive vice president and co-head of A&R of Def Jam Recordings, and Joie Manda, the former president of Def Jam, and Staples was signed the summer of 2013. “Since he signed, he has grown leaps and bounds, probably faster than anyone I have ever seen,” says No I.D. “He’s gonna be one of the special ones. He has it all: lyrics, intelligence, street savvy, storytelling, charisma, a voice, a perspective.”

The superstar hopeful just wrapped up ScHoolboy Q’s Oxymoron Tour, and his Def Jam debut is his biggest project on deck. “I really got everything I need [for the album],” Staples says. “I’m able to take my time and make it exactly what I believe it should be… We’re going to make sure this moment is perfect.”

The real is back, and he’s just getting started. —Ernest Baker

Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1

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Winter In Prague With Michael Uzowuru

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Stolen Youth With Larry Fisherman

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Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2

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Lil Herb

Chicago’s been on fire lately with new talent, and now 18-year-old Lil Herb is fanning the flames. Herb exploded onto the scene after releasing his debut mixtape, Welcome To Fazoland, this past February, which led to a feature on Nicki Minaj’s“Chi-Raq” in April that showcased his rapid-fire flow to a mainstream audience.

A newbie to the game, Herbert Wright’s musical heritage runs deep. His grandfather was a member of 1960s R&B group The Radiants, while his uncle Kay- Tone was one half of hip-hop pioneers D 2 Tha S. Herb would occasionally hit the studio with Kay-Tone, rhyming for fun.

In 2011, the then-15-year-old Hyde Park Academy sophomore quit his school basketball team to focus on hip-hop full time. He recorded freestyles on his Samsung flip phone over YouTube instrumentals with his friends— including fellow Chi-Town MC Lil Bibby—until he eventually got real time in the booth from a local studio owner.

Herb’s rap dreams gained traction in July 2012 when he uploaded “Gangway” to You- Tube and quickly accumulated a million views. The following month Herb and Bibby dropped “Kill Shit,” which drew fans to their truth-telling rhymes and has racked up over five million views. As the two rappers’ popularity rose in the Chicago drill scene, they began to get taken more seriously by hip-hop fans. “A lot of people in Chicago did not like drill,” says Andrew Barber, creator of Chicago hip-hop blog FakeShoreDrive. “They thought it was negative, repetitive, [with] no originality. But when Herb and Bibby came along, they kind of silenced that. They’re street rappers in Chicago that are at the top of the game as far as rapping goes.”

Now major labels are knocking on Herb’s door, but he’s holding out for the right opportunity before signing a deal. And with a new mixtape, Ballin Like I’m Kobe, in the works, plus a guest spot on Common’s Nobody Smiling, the free agent is focused on making a lasting impact. “I’m not just trying to rap to have fun,” he says. “I’m trying to make a way for me and everybody else around me to be in a better situation.” —Emmanuel Maduakolam

Welcome To Fazoland

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Atlanta has produced its share of rap stars over the years and Interscope Records’ latest signee, K Camp, seems to be next in line. The 24-year-old MC, gov’t name Kristopher Campbell, first grabbed hip-hop’s attention with his hit “Money Baby,” featuring Kwony Cash, off his 2013 mixtape In Due Time. Uploaded on YouTube in June of that year, “Money Baby” had a life of its own, gaining heavy play on radio throughout the South and in the clubs of ATL. With the momentum pushing forward into 2014, K Camp is hoping to take his movement national. “Most have been sleeping on my campaign,” he says. “Now I got the perfect time to wake they ass up.”

The groundwork for his hiphop ascension started when K Camp was 15 years old and was linked with a 10-man rap crew called the Head Bussa Clique. The group split after two years of posting songs to Myspace due to a lack of motivation. With dreams of making it big, the A-Town upstart decided to pursue a solo career while briefly attending the University Of West Georgia.

In 2009, Camp found early success with party anthem “All Night,” his first regional hit that got him recognition. Backed by Keep It Pimpin’ Entertainment (K.I.P.), a local promotion team, Camp’s music increased in popularity around the city. “It was hitting all the clubs around, and next thing you know, that’s what took off,” he says. Camp had some promise again in 2011 when he was featured on Mykko Montana’s “Do It,” which landed at No. 26 on the Billboard Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart and ignited the fire for his Become A Fan mixtape that same year.

But it was “Money Baby” that broke Camp’s music career and earned him his deal with Interscope this March. “His talent as a songwriter gives him the potential to make hit after hit,” says Joie Manda, president of Urban Music at Interscope. “We are excited to help him take over the game.”

Camp’s eight-track EP, In Due Time, dropped in April and features Yo Gotti, and Camp wants listeners hear it and catch up on him. “Interscope is one of the top labels—they make stars and icons,” K Camp says. “I don’t want to just make music. I want to do all kind of shit.”

Hustle hard.—Eric Diep

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In Due Time

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