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: Young Jeezy
Why He’s Hot
He can dominate the show on a posse cut with some of his most mic-savvy peers, then successfully facilitate requests from mainstream mainstays like Mariah Carey and Usher, who call him to sanctify their #1 albums and songs with his seamless street swagger. Young Jeezy is at his pinnacle. Don’t misconstrue the ranking: He’s #8 with a bullet. We fully expect the Atlanta hustler to rank higher next time. After the release of USDA’s LP Cold Summer in mid-2007, Mr. 17.5 shut down publicly to work on his top-secret third album and “count all that money.”
Even with a break, the ’hood’s loyalty toward him has remained, and when he re-emerged on records like Shawty Lo’s “Dey Know” remix and Rick Ross’ “Luxury Tax,” it was evident he was setting himself up for a run at the crown. His placements of late — the actual songs he’s chosen to get on — have been flawless, ranging from chart hits to club anthems. The Snowman’s rhyme-dispensing on these records has also been stellar. He’s improving as a lyricist, and he has so much swag that you can tell he’s inspired a whole brood of new southern MCs to bite his style.
Apathetic to his clones, Jeezy is ready to go all the way over the top with it on his next album. Three years since the release of his classic Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, he feels that the experience he has under his belt has made him a better artist. Not a hustler who raps, but an artist. Young is dedicated to his craft, as his new collaboration with Kanye West, “Put On,” proves. Don’t pack your heavy coat away yet. The Snowman will keep the summer on frio.
Co-Signer: Kanye West
“When I say good rap voice, that’s Jeezy. … When he hears the track, his voice is so signature, he can just say whatever he wants. But then he don’t even just say what he wants. He was one of the people post-Andre 3000 to gain that respect for the South lyrically — Wayne, T.I. and Jeezy — post-Scarface and 3000 and Trick Daddy, that era of rappers.
Me and Jeezy are the exact same artist except from a different place. I’m inspirational, he’s motivational. The lyrics push you to do something in a way. My thing is maybe there is some hope, maybe there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. ’Keep your head to the sky’ type sh–. His thing is, if there ain’t no light at the end of the tunnel, dig your way through it. Get up and do something about it.”
“This n—a’s insane, yeah a straight fool/ A half-a-million-dollar car and some house shoes/ Call the dealership, like why y’all trick me?/ Then why the hell you put my engine where my trunk be?/ I’m throwing Franklins, I don’t need ones/ I smoke a pound every week like I don’t need lungs/ … I said I’m so hot, but my house cool/ So many rooms it looks like a high school.”
“Put On” (featuring Kanye West)
Key Guest Appearances
Usher’s “Love in This Club,” Rick Ross’ “Luxury Tax,” Mariah Carey’s “Side Effect,” Rocko’s “Umma Do Me” remix, Shawty Lo’s “Dey Know” remix, DJ Khaled’s “Brown Paper Bag,” DJ Drama’s “5000 Ones”
8732 clothing line, the self-titled debut of Blood Raw on Jeezy’s CTE label
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.