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: Jay-Z
Why He’s Hot
Obviously Jay-Z is not cupid, but it feels like he’s indirectly responsible for this recent rash of semi-secret celebrity weddings . (Thanks Jigga.)
Who are we to doubt love? But once Jay and Beyoncé were reported to be married, look how many other celebs have “quietly” gotten hitched. That’s influence, baby! It’s just one aspect of being a hot MC. Jay’s the “biggest star in the world” Kanye West made an entire song about. You wanna speak success, do you? Last November Hov’s American Gangster became the 10th #1 album of his career , tying Elvis Presley as the solo artist with most #1s. Only the Beatles have more, with 19.
Since the 2007 list — the same list Jay said he doesn’t need to worry about because of his “Greatest MC of All Time” coronation by the MTV News Brain Trust — Jay-Z continued to make the music he was inspired to create, except American Gangster was a little more palpable to the public .
You hear his d-boy dreams on songs such as “Pray” and “Hello Brooklyn 2.0,” while his trumpeting of affluence on “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is …)” still reverberates universally.
No one in the game knows the art of capitalizing on their appeal better than Jay-Z. He has more endorsements than an all-star athlete and just a few weeks ago, inked a reported $150 million deal with Live Nation to start a new record label, go on many more tours (his two recent tours sold out faster than the length of an album interlude) and make at least three more LPs. Only U2 and Madonna have gotten contracts so momentous. Jay is obviously in a different realm from his peers, but it hasn’t affected his drive to be the best. There still isn’t a more exceptional lyricist today and, let’s face it, when it come to swag, Hov sits in the pole position. His outlook for the rest of the year? More millions, probably another album, and let’s hope his appearance on Tha Carter III is the lyrical slugfest between him and Lil Wayne that will spark a heated argument during out next round table. A video with Jigga and Rick Ross for “Maybach Music” wouldn’t the worst thing in the world either!
Co-Signer: 50 Cent
“The new joint he got out with Pharrell ["I Know"]. I enjoy that record, because I made that record. It’s ‘A Baltimore Love Thing,’ my favorite record on The Massacre album.”
“Own boss, own your masters/ Slave’s the mentality I carry with me to this very day/ F— rich, let’s get wealthy/ Who else gon’ feed we?/ If I need it, I’mma get it however/ God help me … And I don’t need no hook for this sh–!/ I’m so fa sho, it’s no façade/ ‘Stay outta trouble,’ mama said as mama sighed/ She feared her youngest son be a victim of homicide/ But I gotta get you outta here, momma, or I’mma die inside/ And either way, you lose me, momma, so let loose of me.”
None, but his “Blow The Whistle” freestyle was talked about everywhere from the streets to ESPN News.
“Roc Boys,” “I Know,” “Blue Magic”
“Ignorant Sh–” (featuring Beanie Sigel), “Fallin,” “You’re Welcome” (featuring Mary J. Blige)
Key Guest Appearances Rick Ross’ “Maybach Music,” Mariah Carey’s “Bye Bye” remix, 50 Cent’s “I Get Money” remix
Signed a $150 million dollar deal with Live Nation that includes touring, marketing, starting a new label called Roc Nation and three albums.
Opened up another 40/40 in Las Vegas, NV in late 2007.
Headlined his own “American Gangster” tour in late 2007. Co-Headlined “Heart of the City” tour with Mary J. Blige in Spring 2008.
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.