Don't panic: We're not changing our format. We're just scaling back this week.
Why? To devote more coverage to our "Hottest MCs in the Game" list. Elsewhere on MTVNews.com, you can see the full 2008 list — and the debate it's sure to incite.
Next week, we're back big, bold and with a loud bow-wow. Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound will be giving us the ins and outs of their new mixtape with DJ Drama.
This week, we won't leave you totally in a lurch: We have Nas talking about a young artist who's motivated him, and DJ Kay Slay is working with one of the great legends.
Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
» DJ 31 Degreez and Plies - My World
» DJ Messiah , Jim Jones and Max B - The Blues Brothers (The End of the Wave)
» The Empire - Southern Slang 10
» The Hitmen and 50 Cent - This Is 50
» J. Period, Skillz and Don Cannon - Design of a Decade
'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
» Bun B (featuring Lupe Fiasco) - "Swang on 'Em"
» Lil Wayne (featuring Kanye West) - "Lollipop" remix
» Lloyd Banks - "Top Five"
» N.E.R.D. (featuring CRS and Pusha T) - "Everybody Nose" remix
» Quan (featuring Lyfe Jennings) - "Baby I'm a Star"
» Raekwon and Ghostface Killah - "Necro"
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
Nas and Jay are working together tough — newcomer Jay Electronica, not Roc Boy Jay-Z. The Queens legend is giving the upstart a chance to shine on Nas' controversially titled LP Nigger.
"When I met Jay Electronica, he handed me a CD and said, 'You gotta hear this one song,' " Nas recalled. " ... I put it in the car, and he did 'The World Is Yours' over. The way he flipped it was crazy. I called him immediately and was like, 'Where you at?'
"Jay Electronica is the future," he added. "He's what rappers are trying to be or what they are aspiring to be. He's the whole package. He has visual ideas for videos, and he could show you what he's been working on. He has a whole different take on his production. The guy's an incredible writer. I like his music. He was like, 'Let's go. Let's get in the studio.' He gave me a lot of his time." ...
LL Cool J is almost done with his first-ever mixtape, The Return of the G.O.A.T., and DJ Kay Slay is assisting him in making that happen. The Drama King says L will also have guests such as Busta Rhymes on the street CD. "Anybody that's featured on the mixtape has to be on a classic LL beat," Kay said.
The Harlem street figure also told us that Cool J wanted to heat things up in advance of his Exit 13 LP. "LL's got an album coming out," Slay continued. "I think he's just aware that he has to have that street presence and make people aware he still is the G.O.A.T. and he can still spit. A lot of people are under the misconception that LL is making those grown-and-sexy records, that he ain't with the street vibe anymore. I think he wanted to step back and let people know he's still the G.O.A.T."
Slay — who also helped Ray J put together All I Feel — is working on his next hip-hop compilation, More Than a DJ. The lineup includes, of all people, Uncle Murda. Everyone knows there's been a long feud between Murda's faction and Slay and Papoose's camp.
"At the end of the day, their camp has a lot of individuals that got common sense just like me and my camp," Slay said of how the beef turned peaceful. "Wasn't nobody gonna benefit from the situation. We already know where situations that spill from music into the streets could go at."
Slay said Hood, his former partner and Murda's current manager, reached out so they could cease all the nonsense.
Cool J's mixtape is dropping in a couple of weeks. Slay's album will be out before the end of the year.
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.