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: Lil Wayne
Why He's Hot
Simply a master of brayed bars and audacious approach, Lil Wayne's boundaryless microphone-bogarting has made him hip-hop's most exciting man to listen to. How many times have you felt like Weezy was just going to jump right out of your iPod and fall on your shoulders? How many times have you tried to figure out how he can use so many different patterns, tirelessly bulldozing through any track? Cruel! Just cruel, we tell ya. He works the hardest and has legions (yes, legions) of fans — the same ones who treat the leaked tracks that have flooded mixtapes like precious collectibles — who will tell you he's the most naturally gifted spitter in the universe right now.
Birdman Jr. is still the name on everybody's lips, he's still the guy that everybody wants to work with. After thieving all the attention from everyone he's collaborated with (think Playaz Circle's "Duffle Bag Boy" or that conversation rap he has on Mario's "Crying Out for Me" remix), Weezy has finally pushed the launch button on his long-awaited third installment of Tha Carter series. The libidinous "Lollipop" was Weezy's biggest song ever and came just when some were starting to question whether he could make his own hit record. (Guess they never heard "Tha Block Is Hot.") What made "Lollipop" even more monumental — as if thousands of girls sensually dancing to it at the club weren't enough — was that it marked the end of Lil Wayne the rapper (one who doesn't mind being licked, according to the song) and the beginning of Weezy F. the artist. The record is so rich in melody, it's hard to believe that's really Wayne singing, but he did it again on Usher's "Love in This Club, Part II."
Tha Carter III is unanimously the most anticipated album of 2008, but then again, it was also the most anticipated of 2007. The project's delay and lack of benefits that come with releasing an album — like headlining an arena tour — were the only thing that prohibited the roundtable members from crowning him the Hottest once again. Brain Trust member Tuma Basa wasn't exaggerating when he said Wayne's hold on his fans is approaching messianic stature. All he needs is to deliver the Grail, which is known as Tha Carter III.
"I've seen all the greats. You're not going to shock me. I pretty much look for star quality, and I think after the star quality, you can pretty much work on everything else to see if a person develops. And that's another thing people are not given time to develop anymore. They are expected to be great from the first record: 'You better be great.' You can't be great; you're new, you have to develop. In the case of Lil Wayne, he had years and years and time to develop. He started so young. He had years to develop to who he is now. So I pretty much look for star quality. You're a star if you're a star. On any stage, in any room, if you're a star, you're a star. We'll work on the rest. You can work on songwriting. You can work on finding great songs. You can work on being a better lyricist. Although, if you're great, you're great."
"Unf---ingbelievable, Lil Wayne's the president/ F--- 'em, f--- 'em, f--- 'em, even if they celibate/ I know the game is crazy, it's more crazy than it's ever been/ I'm married to that crazy b----, call me Kevin Federline/ It's obvious that he'll be Cash Money till the death of him/ The ground shall break when they bury him." — From "I'm Me"
The Leak (street CD)
Da Drought Is Over (unauthorized series)
"Lollipop" (featuring Static Major)
"A Millie," "I'm Me," "Gossip," "Outstanding," "Dying," "Lollipop" remix (featuring Kanye West)
Key Guest Appearances
Fat Joe's "The Crack House," Shawty Lo's "Dey Know" remix (also featuring Ludacris, Young Jeezy and more), Wyclef Jean's "Sweetest Girl" (also featuring Akon and Raekwon), Mario's "Crying Out for Me" remix, Lloyd's "Girls Around the World," DJ Khaled's "Brown Paper Bag" (also featuring Fat Joe, Rick Ross and more) and "I'm So Hood" remix (also featuring Ludacris, Busta Rhymes and more), Gym Class Heroes' "Viva La White Girl" remix, Usher's "Love in This Club, Part II" (also featuring Beyoncé), Rick Ross' "Luxury Tax" (also featuring Young Jeezy and Trick Daddy), Playaz Circle's "Duffle Bag Boy," Birdman's "Pop Bottles" and "100 Million" (also featuring Rick Ross, Dre and more), Jay-Z's "Hello Brooklyn 2.0"
Launched new liquor, cultivating Young Money Entertainment label with artists including Tyga, Nikki Menaj and Lil' Chuckie
Headlined his own mini-tour 2007-2008, domestically and internationally
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.