Hottest MCs Debate Hasn’t Cooled Off: DJ Drama, Jermaine Dupri, Timbaland Give Us Their Picks

DJ Skee, Just Blaze, Danjahandz, RZA, DJ Green Lantern also keep the fire going with their lists.

Ah, life on the hot seat. Since the MTV hip-hop brain trust’s list of the top 10 Hottest MCs in the Game came out, we’ve had to defend and debate our collective choices. Seemingly, everybody has had a bone to pick with us, from 50 Cent to the person in row five at Beyoncé’s recent Madison Square Garden concert in New York to a fellow straphanger on the NYC subway to security guards at the Viacom building to our cousins, aunts and nieces to … the list goes on and on.

No, for real: The list goes on. Since the reaction has been so prolific, we opened up the floor and asked some of the hottest producers and DJs in the game to tell us who they have on their lists right now. Remember, it’s all opinion and — in the case of the brain trust — it’s a democratic process. Please don’t think we want to hurt your feelings.

Sink your teeth into the spankin’-new “Hottest MCs in the Game” feature right here.

DJ Drama
Top 10

1. T.I.: “It feels good to see him come so far and to really say truly that he’s the hottest dude out. All around, he’s the one. At the end of the day, Andre and Kanye ain’t drop albums yet. Tip has his album out [T.I. vs. T.I.P.]. When it comes to being relevant with hit songs, every song he’s done has been a part of a movement, from [R. Kelly's] ‘I’m a Flirt’ to the Justin record ‘My Love.’ Then his swagger, the respect he has across the board, [and] you gotta give it to him for the movies [too]. He’s all-around. Tip really has graduated from the Jay-Z school of hip-hop.”

2. Lil Wayne: “Yeah, this is what the streets tell me — just as many people ride to The Dedication as they do to Wayne’s album. He dissed me in an interview he did with MTV News. He should have been one of the first people to come stand up for me just because of [what] The Dedication meant to the streets. But I can’t take away what he’s accomplished in the booth. Nobody can take that from him. You haven’t heard his album yet. I think that hurts him though, because at the end of the day, that’s the edge I give Tip. Tip is relevant, he’s spitting, and at the end of the day, when he drops, he sells. Wayne has yet to drop his [next] album, but he’s had such a passion for the game, he’s on everything, and it’s all quality. … I like Da Drought, and I like all his verses, but when I put [the] Dedication [mixtape] together, it sounded like an album.”

3. Andre 3000: “When it’s all said and done, he might wind up second on my list of greatest of all time. Two years ago, [people were asking] if Andre will rap again. Every time he comes, he murders it. Everything he’s on, he crushes. His verse on Devin the Dude’s ‘What a Job’ is one of the best verses of the year for me.”

4. Kanye West: “His sh– is crazy. The first two songs he came out with, ‘Stronger’ and ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing,’ were strong. Looking at this list and thinking about all the MCs, hip-hop is on fire right now … Kanye’s remix game has also been phenomenal. I love the remix of ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ when he says, ‘After all the drama, K slayed ‘em.’ Kanye is that guy.”

5. Jay-Z: “Hov, in my book, is the greatest of all-time. I personally believe when people look back on Kingdom Come, it’s gonna be [considered] a classic album. His remix game is incredible, and the songs he’s choosing to get on with guest appearances are incredible. Like Andre, the song selection is phenomenal. And you know Hov. Every time I hear him spit, I get excited. He still has been able to stay relevant and on top of his game in the position he’s in. I don’t know if it’s out of contention because of the time frame, but [Nas'] ‘Black Republican’ [featuring Jay-Z] was so overlooked. If they would have shot a video for it, it would have gotten timeless club play. You can’t really bang that in the club everywhere nationally because it didn’t have a movement behind it, but that song was phenomenal. He’s a prime example that at every level of the game, we are fans and have passion.”

6. Common: “He’s another person that has been consistent time and time again, except for that little drop-off period we all know about. ‘The People’ is one of my favorite records right now. Common … may not [have] the biggest singles, but his albums are always so anticipated. He always comes with a banger. It feels like he does it to please the people. The OGs f— with him, the girls f— with him, people who love true hip-hop love him. Everybody respects Common.”

7. Young Jeezy: “Jeezy dropped the USDA album; it got a really good response. He was on my song, ‘Takin’ Pictures,’ and Khaled’s remix to ‘We Takin’ Over.’ … He keeps making the streets happy. He’s also [keeping] himself current. Jeezy always has the streets in the palms of his hands, and he’s to the point now where you’re starting to see his swagger in other [rappers]. Some people are redoing his style. He’s a fan favorite among other MCs even if his lyrics aren’t the most super-complicated.”

8. 50 Cent: “50 is just 50. Even at a time when people speak on 50, ‘Can he do it? Will he do it? He’s not as hot,’ he’s still on [the tip] of everybody’s tongue. His first two singles were good songs, but people were just used to 50 dominating when he comes out. Just when people were concerned about him, especially after the BET Awards performance, he drops a bomb like ‘I Get Money,’ which is classic 50. With all the other [business ventures] he has his hands in, you can’t deny 50 with his power and presence.”

9. Cassidy: “His freestyles have been crazy. ‘My Drink N My 2 Step’ is just starting to heat up. But as far as consistency as a MC, Fab is a problem when he’s spitting. I think he’s in a good setup position. Out of everybody on my list, he probably has the least new material out, but his anticipation and potential level is great.”

10. Fabolous: “Fab has been quite consistent in the last couple of years. The ‘Diamonds’ song, it was a good street record, and then he killed it straight Fab-style with ‘You Make Me Better.’ Recently, he’s been heating up the remix side of things, poppin’ up with Swizz and Eve and [elsewhere]. Fab also has the swagger. When people say New York is suffering, he proves when you make a banger, it’s a banger everywhere. The ‘Brooklyn’ record was crazy too. He was the middleman between an OG, Jay-Z and a new n—a, Uncle Murda.”

Just Blaze
Top 10

1. Kanye West
2. Jay-Z
3. T.I.
4. Lil Wayne
5. 50 Cent
6. Nas
7. Game
8. Lupe Fiasco
9. Saigon
10. Jay Electronica

Jermaine Dupri
Top 10

1. Andre 3000
2. Lil Wayne
3. T.I.
4. Jay-Z
5. Bun B
6. Fabolous
7. 50 Cent
8. Kanye West
9. Young Jeezy
10. Jadakiss

Dre of Cool & Dre
Top Five

1. Jay-Z: “He embodies all of what it means to be a rapper. Only two names should be mentioned in the same breath as him. He stayed on top longer than any rapper has done in the history of this rap sh–, pushin’ the boundaries of what young black men can accomplish, ‘From Marcy to Madison Square!’ ”

2. Game: “He makes records with a purpose, and his charisma is crazy. You don’t want to end up beefing with this guy — he’s a hell of a chess player when it comes to that. And he makes great music.”

3. Lil Wayne: “What else can you say that no one else [has]? ‘We are not the same, I am a Martian!’ This dude is ahead of his time.”

4. Rick Ross: “This dude is Ice Cube mixed in with Biggie, throw in some Pac, Scarface and Jigga, and there you have it: Rick Ross. My favorite rapper right now. ‘Trilla.’ One day the world will see what I been seein’ in this dude — greatness.”

5. Young Jeezy: “He took an artistic and creative approach to his already-signature style on [The Inspiration]. I appreciate when artists push the envelope. He’s inspired many, many rappers in a short two years with his unique flow, and he makes street music.”

Honorable Mention:

2Pac: “I have to list him because his music is still relevant to this day, more so than many current artists. All Eyez on Me, [The Don Killuminati] and Me Against the World are in constant rotation in every one of my cars. If he’s not alive, prove it to me.”

DJ Skee
Top 10

1. Lil Wayne: “No one is more anticipated or in more [guest] spots than Wayne.”

2. Andre 3000: “This dude would be #1 if he was on more stuff or his album was out! No one is spittin’ like him right now — he’s killing the few remixes that he’s been on.”

3. Game: “Dude can straight-out spit. People get too caught up in the outside drama sometimes to give him a fair shot. Game just straight merks records, hate him or love him.”

4. Kanye West: “I feel he should be higher (and that any of the top four artists on my list could rotate between #1). The buzz when he drops a snippet alone is crazy, and I just heard a couple joints off his album, like ‘Good Life,’ which is outta here. ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothin’ and ‘Stronger’ are [crazy].”

5. T.I.: “Although I personally was a little disappointed in [T.I. vs. T.I.P.], he still sells and is everywhere — and always comes with smasssh singles, so he deserves to be #5.”

6. Jay-Z: “Although in the twilight of his career, anytime he jumps on something, people notice, even though it isn’t as exciting hearing Jay as it used to be.”

7. Common: “He has the best album to come out this year so far [Finding Forever], in my eyes. Common is just amazing and so consistent throughout his career. He still is slept-on, which is why I had to put him at only #7. I personally think he is up there with the best.”

8. Young Jeezy: “The impact Jeezy had two years ago still is around (although faded a little), but his charisma (ad-libs only on Kanye’s single ['Can't Tell Me Nothing'] prove this) and overall street music keep him in the top 10.”

9. Jim Jones: ” ‘Ballin!’ alone says it all.”

10. Chamillionaire: “Just listen to the last Mixtape Messiah CDs he’s put out in the last year … [That] solidifies his spot on its own.”

Danjahandz
Top Five

1. Jay-Z
2. Kanye West
3. Lil Wayne
4. T.I.
5. 50 Cent

The RZA
Top 10

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

“Right now, I ain’t even gonna front: I don’t remember nobody’s lyrics. That’s when it gets bad. Hip-hop, when you remember somebody’s lyrics, that’s when a n—a got some sh– on you. I can’t quote nobody’s rhymes right now. I couldn’t tell you who it is.”

DJ Green Lantern
Top 10

1. Andre 3000: “I literally have been talking about Andre 3000′s lyrics all day. I had a straight conversation today about 3000′s verse on ‘Int’l Players Anthem.’ Lyrically, he’s two or three levels above probably anybody right now. … Not [his] following in the streets, I’m talking lyrically — how he paints a picture. I really enjoy listening to Andre from the UGK joint to [DJ Unk's] ‘Walk It Out’ to Lloyd’s ‘You.’ ”

2. Lil Wayne: “How do you explain that Wayne has been around for a good seven years and he’s just now reaching this iconic status? I’m not gonna say the whole ‘best rapper alive’ thing, but put together the swag, the image, the lyrics — he’s coming close to the complete package. The hunger. He’s rappin’ his ass off. It’s a lot of people that rap their ass off, but it feels like he’s having so much fun with it. I’m a fan. I’m not a super-duper die-hard fan, but I appreciate what’s coming from Weezy.”

3. Kanye West: “Kanyeeezeee! Did you hear his freestyle over the ‘I Get Money’ beat? It’s effortless. You could tell it was off the top [of the dome]. As a rapper, he got so nice. His flow is fluid, it’s nothing forced about it. It’s a whole lot of swag with Yeezee. And he’s saying sh–, ‘I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven.’ I’ll say this: You can’t tell me when you heard ‘Throw Some D’s’ you wasn’t pleasantly surprised he flipped it on a whole ‘nother joint. He’s clever.”

4. Uncle Murda: “The streets … let me tell you something: I’m on satellite radio taking callers and people will just call up saying, ‘I wanna hear some Murda. I’m coming from Tampa, Florida.’ It’s not even any bias. The fact I got involved with his project to begin with is that I saw the streets was gonna eat it up. They love it. He taps a certain chord in you.”

5. Jay-Z: “Hovie is perennial. If you listen to Freeway’s ‘Big Spender,’ and just when you think the dude has cashed out with $200 million from this, doing all this extra curricular sh–, he’s still slaying you lyrically. Trust me: That #5 is because he’s been killing it effortlessly. He could easily go to #1.”

6. Swizz Beatz: “Swizz has New York on his back, and he’s a producer! I DJ all across the country and there’s only a few current New York records that get played across the country, and 85 percent of them happen to be a Swizz record or produced by Swizz or featuring Swizz. He’s entertaining. It is what it is. It’s the new era of hip-hop, and he’s entertaining. If you set the criteria for your list with swagger and entertaining, Swizz should be on your list.”

7. Young Jeezy: “For the mere fact that the USDA album, as a crew album, people were expecting it to be some throwaway sh– was haaarrrd bod-deee! Jeezy is a movement. Understand? The streets live and die by Jeezy. Jeezy for the influential factor alone. You got people from the North and South trying to make Jeezy records. That’s undeniable. The USDA album was crack on a stick. Beautiful.”

8. Cassidy: “He has a certain way he puts his words I don’t think anybody else can mess with. He was probably one hit away and the car crash and jail happened. Probably put a hindrance on his momentum. But I like Cassidy; that’s why he’s there. … ‘My Drink N My 2 Step’ is crazy though.”

9. T.I.: ” T.I. vs. T.I.P. was dope. T.I. is taking the whole T.I. vs. T.I.P. to the next level — he’s taking it to where it needs to go. I love his joint with Jay, I love ['We Do This'], ‘You know we be ridin’ fly.’ For him to have the biggest first-week sales of everybody is a [crazy] accomplishment … 456,000 for the record is the new 856,000. The game is crazy. The game is on its head.”

10. Styles P: “He’s perennial too. He laid the groundwork for being hard for this generation. He set the precedent for the Uncle Murdas and Hell Rells. Can’t nobody deny S.P., the Ghost.”

Timbaland
Top Five

1. Kanye West
2. Lil Wayne
3. T.I.
4. Common
5. Andre 3000

“I didn’t say Jay-Z because I consider Jay [to be one of the greatest MCs]. He would be #1. Kanye is #1 now, because that dude be busting, man. He don’t say the average stuff. He says everyday real-life situations.”

DJ Khaled
Top Ten

1. Lil Wayne
2. Rick Ross
3. Young Jeezy
4. T.I.
5. Kanye West
6. Fat Joe
7. Jay-Z
8. Juelz Santana
9. Bun B
10. Trick Daddy

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