In summer 2007, the MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust sat down and had another controversial roundtable debate. Unlike previous discussions, the trustees devised a list of not the greatest ever, but the Hottest MCs in the Game right then. The rankings were based on lyrics, flow, impact on the game, success and swagger. The roundtable recently reconvened and came up with a brand-new list of Hottest MCs. Our experts used the same criteria, but only judged on the past year of hip-hop.
Flame Thrower: Andre 3000
Why He’s Hot
No album, no single, only two guest appearances — Andre did even less this year than he did in 2007. There’s not even a handful of verses to judge him on. Should the Hip-Hop Brain Trust members be found guilty of treason for giving Andre a slot in the top 10 despite minimum output?
Tres Stacks has illustrated natural bravura over brainless bravado, dropping judiciously dope couplets laced with gentlemanly swagger that brew to a crescendo and shed every note in their way.
Splendidly subtle N.W.A reference here, magnificent drug metaphor there — before you know it, this legend has had more impact in about 40 bars than many peers can boast on their entire long-play discs. 3000 may be the most inspiring MC right now, because everything we’ve heard from him in the past several months has been methodically dead-right. His album isn’t slated to drop until later this year, which could be 2009 in Andre time. It’s all good, as long as all this teasing of his excellence results in another classic opus.
Co-Signer: Rick Ross
“I just heard a verse Andre did today on the radio that I never heard. He’s just incredible. He’s a pure lyricist. And I think a lot of us as fans, we grew up to Outkast’s music. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik made such an impact where we was at. If he only put out one disc, you respected him as a lyricist. He just keeps blossoming. Andre has swagger and lyrics. I think to be the best, you’ve got to have both. This game is so competitive, you got to be on top of your sh–.”
“She said, ‘Why in the club, you don’t make it precipitate?/ You know, make it rain when you could make it thunderstorm?’/ I’m like, why? The world needs sun/ The ‘hood needs funds/ There’s a war going on and half the battle is guns/ How dare I throw it on the floor/ When people are poor/ So I write like Edgar Allan to restore/ The ‘hood be requesting my services/ Oh, don’t get nervous, it’s step-your-game-up time/ These ain’t them same old rhymes/ Designed to have you dancing in some club.” — From DJ Drama’s “The Art of Storytellin’ Part 4.”
Key Guest Appearances
UGK’s “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You),” DJ Drama’s “The Art of Storytellin’ Part 4,” Big Boi’s “Royal Flush.”
Building his brand in Hollywood with films like “Semi-Pro” and “Battle in Seattle.”
Now that you’ve checked out our “Hottest MCs in the Game” show, we want to know what MCs you’re feeling! Keep the debate rolling by submitting your own top-10 list below or heading to YouRHere.MTV.com to upload your video reaction. And the hotness continues: You can check in on last year’s top 10 and see this year’s complete list on our “Hottest MCs” page.