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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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hy He's Hot
He's laughing straight to the bank — oh, wait, that's one of the other big-name rappers who made the Forbes list of highest-paid entertainers! Still, the Big Homie continues to be the poster man for hip-hop moguling: Jay made $83 million last year alone according to Forbes, netting him the #9 spot on its list — one above Steven Spielberg! Yes, the numbers don't lie. Maybe that's why we didn't hear Jay jump into battle mode as passionately with Jim Jones and Cam'ron as he did in the past with Nas or even Mase; he feels the Harlem, New York, hot boys are not on his level artistically or financially.

See, Jay is in a way different place now; there's nothing else for him to prove. When you think of the biggest name in rap right now, there's not a performer out there who leapfrogs Jay. Your favorite rapper would love to be where he is.

His spot on this list is another victory lap for Hov — we've already crowned him the greatest MC of all time. He makes big hit records with the hottest chick in the game, who happens to be the same lady he's seen kissing in pictures from exotic island vacations. Despite the talk of how Kingdom Come didn't live up to the hype, if Jay said he was going to drop a new album today or tomorrow, you'd go buy it without having to hear a single song. That, my friends, is the epitome of being hot: when your name alone commands attention everywhere in the world.

Who else but Hov could have generated that much interest by releasing a hip-hop LP? On Kingdom Come, he rapped over a handful of Dr. Dre beats, sprinkled with a little Just Blaze, a last-minute pinch of Pharrell Williams and guest vocals from Chris Martin, Beyoncé, Ne-Yo and John Legend. When Hewlett-Packard, Budweiser, Cherry Coke, Verizon and GMC all wanted to throw millions of dollars his way before the album even came out, expectations for the biggest hip-hop album ever abounded. He started off right, too — with a world tour that promoted awareness of the world's water crisis, a jet-fueled U.S. tour that hit seven cities in 28 hours, and more than 600,000 units of Kingdom Come sold in its first week of release. The album has scanned over 2 million copies with just two singles, one of which — "Lost One" — strayed from many of Jay's club-friendly singles.

And while he may have sacrificed a few million more in sales by not watering down his music or lyrics, he made the album he wanted to make — an LP of grown-up topics and soundscapes that didn't pander to a teen-dance craze or some nonsensical here-today-gone-tomorrow catchphrase.

Co-Signer: Young Jeezy "I think the MC thing is more for the passion — you could make hot records and not be relevant, so you have to stay relevant. You take Ludacris, Jay-Z: They're relevant. They stay poppin'. To me that's what makes a great MC. But I respect the businessman aspect of it, too. To make a good record is cool, but we all know it ain't just about that anymore. I ain't saying it's a money thing, but you got to know where you're going, who you're making it for. You gotta make sure you're up to par. Jay-Z, dude got love for music. So it's like, when you one of the best at it, you might just feel like ain't nobody out there doin' it the right way, so he had to sneak back."

Blistering Ballistics
"Comin' up, though, we thought slingin' raw was the end-all be-all of being rich, didn't we?/ Little did I know, my mo' potent delivery would deliver me/ Kingpin of the ink pen, monster of the double entendre/ Coke is still my sponsor/ Heh, the cola, yeah Hova still gettin' it in with soda/ Diet, no sir, I ain't lose no weight/ Started from the crates, now I'm sittin' on a whole case/ Since they got you sittin' on that old case/ Our dreams is on hold like Tivo." ("Do U Wanna Ride")

Hot Streak

  • Albums

  • Kingdom Come (2006)

  • Selected Mixtapes

  • N/A

  • Singles

  • "Show Me What You Got," "Lost One," "30 Something"

  • Street Bangers

  • "Kingdom Come," "Brooklyn High," "Minority Report"

  • Key Guest Appearances

  • Rihanna's "Umbrella," Freeway's "Big Spender," Fabolous' "Brooklyn," Nas' "Black Republican," Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" remix, T.I.'s "Watch What You Say," Ne-Yo's "Crazy," Beyoncé's "Deja Vu" and "Upgrade U"

  • Business Ventures

  • President and CEO of Def Jam Records, CEO of Roc-A-Fella Records, endorsement deals with Budweiser and Hewlett-Packard, partnerships with Cherry Coke and GMC, sold Rocawear clothing for a reported $204 million (still oversees operations and marketing), has a part ownership with the New Jersey Nets)

  • Tours

  • Water for Life (September 2006), Hangar Tour (November 2006)

NEXT: Our #6 MC owes a lot of his success to a simple T-shirt.
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Photo: Getty Images

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From old-school players like Young Hov to new-school playas like Young Jeezy, these are the biggest MCs running the rap game.

Check out the latest music videos from hip-hop's current crop of superstars on MTV2.com!