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 1. Jay-Z



  50 Cent, Nas, Mary J. Give Their 'Greatest MCs'



  MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust 2006



  Honorable Mentions



  Back to Intro


Have a problem with our choices? Got a better list? Let us know, and check back later for our readers' hip-hop top 10 lists.

Kanye, 50, Diddy, Jay-Z, Tupac? Think your list is better than ours? Make your voice heard in our Greatest MCs poll.




  The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time



  The MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust 2005




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In 2005, we brought you "The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time," as determined by a raucous voting session of MTV's hip-hop brain trust. Since then, we've been inundated with your thoughts, your criticism and your own top 10s. Seemingly everyone has had something to say — even Jay-Z told us what he thought about our list.

But when you're arguing about hip-hop albums, there's no way to avoid a debate over who the top MCs are.

The Great Debate
MTV's hip-hop brain trust battles over the Greatest MCs of All Time. Watch as this melee gets as heated as a lyrical throwdown.


MCing is one of the essential elements of hip-hop: The best MCs can make the world move with just words and flow. They don't just entertain us — they teach us about life; introduce us to new styles, regions and slang; and act as our counselors in times of need.

We play their records when we first wake up in the morning. We listen to their songs when we're on the way to that job we hate, when we're heading out to the most jamming club, when our girlfriend or boyfriend aggravates us to the point of exhaustion, when everything is wrong with the world — and in the good times, too. These are the people we have grown with.

With that said, the brain trust reconvened, this time to devise a list of the greatest MCs of all time (focusing on solo artists, with a couple of hotly contested exceptions in the "Honorable Mention" section). Once again, we are not claiming that the list is perfect, but we do claim that it was devised by people who love and live this culture we know as hip-hop.

 
YOU TOLD US

"Congratulations. With this list, you have undoubtedly initiated a firestorm of controversy that will rage for a long time. And I love it!"

Will, 37
Mobile, AL

"Tupac better be coming in above Biggie. Pac is the #1 MC of all time. So what if I'm from Brooklyn?"

Lisa,
Brooklyn, NY

"MTV News' list of the best MCs started out good with 10 through six, but putting Nas way down at #5 is a slap in the face. He's #2 and Tupac is #1 on the real list."

Compton, 18
Wilmington, NC


 Submit your own top 10 hip-hop list.

 What do you think, You Tell Us.

 See more "Greatest MCs" reaction
There was a mathematical formula involved at the start — everyone submitted a top 10, with each #1 pick getting 10 points, the #2 pick getting nine points and so on — but when we added all the lists together and did the math, the resulting list, while mathematically accurate, did not correspond to what many of us felt in our hearts. So we took that list, analyzed it and argued about it. Then we argued some more and made some controversial, hotly contested adjustments that not all of us agreed upon, but all of us respected.

The debate became so heated that we had to come up with an "Honorable Mention" list to augment our Top 10 MCs.

Whether you agree or disagree with our rankings, we want to hear from you — your comments, your own top 10s, ranked by all-time, regional, current, height or any way you want to do it — You Tell Us!

Here we go again ...


NEXT: Nelly says of MC #10, 'He kept his versatility to the max and he always sustained that. When needed, he can put the gloves on or take the gloves off.' ...
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