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 Music Main

 Lil Wayne Reacts

 10. Jim Jones

 9. Common

 8. 50 Cent

 7. Jay-Z

 6. Young Jeezy

 5. Kanye West

 4. Andre 3000

 3. Game

 2. T.I.

 1. Lil Wayne

  Back to Intro

  The Brain Trust Speaks

  Where's Nas?

  Honorable Mention

Watch the gloves come off as the brain trust wrestles over who is today's flyest MC!

  The Greatest Hip-Hop Groups Of All Time

  The Greatest Hip-Hop MCs Of All Time

  The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time

I gotta give my top 10: Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, T.I., 50, Fat Joe, Kanye, Ludacris, [Juelz] Santana, Yung Joc, Young Dro.

Yams, 29
Asheville, NC

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The members of MTV News' hip-hop brain trust wouldn't have been chosen if they weren't passionate about music — and you see both in the TV special and below just how passionate one of them is about a certain MC not appearing in the top 10.

Jim Jones over Nas: Are we crazy? That's been the topic of discussion coming from everyone who took a glimpse at our "Hottest MCs in the Game" project. I'm talking urban-music Web sites, rap artists (some on this list), mixtape DJs, childhood friends — everybody disagreed with some aspect of our list, but by far the most consistent were the rants about Jim Jones outranking Nas. Real talk: My partner Shaheem Reid and I warned our brain trust counterparts that we made a big mistake — a Titanic-size one at that — after we finalized our top 10.

Don't get it twisted: Jim Jones is a very dope rapper (not lyricist), someone I've had the pleasure to know personally and respect — but as mentioned in the show, he doesn't belong in this top 10 list. Honorable Mention, yes — but not top 10. In my opinion neither Jay-Z, Nas, Common nor Andre 3000 belong there either. Originally the concept for this project was to focus solely on the new lions (yeah, yeah, we know: Lil Wayne's not "new"), but we couldn't ignore the level of impactful music these gentlemen were putting out. So we included them.

When we tallied up the brain trust members' individual votes going into our debate, Nas made the cut. Traditionally we bring our final top 10 to the table, as well as three or four honorable mentions to make for good conversation. Alongside Ghostface, Fabolous, and Ludacris, Jim Jones' name was thrown into the mix. Without directly putting anyone on blast, a certain individual sitting at the table suggested we take Nas off and replace him with Jim Jones; clearly the homie was dabbling in some sort of a deadly mixture of potent drugs to even put the two in the same category to start with. We're talking Nasty Nas, the king from Queens who reigns supreme as arguably the finest rapper to ever squeeze a pen. His last effort, Hip Hop Is Dead, lit a fire under a host of rappers, with some of them still talking about the controversial title months after its release (sorry Tip, freestyle ciphers are hip-hop!). And don't forget about the various "Where Are They Now" remixes, when Nas brought back legends Redhead Kingpin, EST, Positive K and Rob Base, just to name a few.

Jim Jones, on the other hand, had an undeniable hit record with "We Fly High" — and the Diplomats movement behind him as well. But one hit single and 300-something units cannot hold a candle to the real Mr. Jones' passionate lyrical displays. When we caught up with Jim two weeks ago, he was even taken aback by the fact that he'd made our list. So what does that tell you?

Part of the confusion about our debate was folks actually thought we were putting Nas against Jim Jones, when that really wasn't the conversation. The question was asked who should be added to the list, and some felt Jim Jones. When asked who should be taken off the answers ranged from Nas to Common to Jay-Z. In the end Nas was the victim, which if you saw the expression on my face, at that moment I could have agreed with Esco that hip-hop is dead if this is what things have come to.

I feel it is my duty, as an avid listener of hip-hop music since the early '80s (that's right, critics/bloggers: Shaheem and I do this for real) and as a representative for the borough of Queens, New York, to send an official apology to Nas. Clearly the other seven members of that panel are not fans and even worse, didn't pick up your latest opus, Hip Hop Is Dead. It'll be very interesting to see how Nas will address all the hoopla surrounding our list — that is, if he's even paying attention to it. After all, one of the points the brain trust was making is that Nas has a habit of going off into his own world, disappearing from the spotlight. But that shouldn't matter: As long as the music is on point, I'm riding out with the god. And expect that to be represented as long as my natural life will allow me to.

To set the record straight: My unofficial #10 artist is Nas. And also, 50 shoulda been #1. Rest in peace Stack Bundles! I'm out!

— Rahman Dukes

NEXT: Think any other MCs were robbed? Take a look at the Honorable Mention page, then tell us what you think!
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