Can Andre 3000 become one of the few MCs to make three consecutive Hottest MCs lists? Make no mistake about it, Andre always epitomizes all the main criteria the MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust analyzes: massive skills, impact — he has that covered. Andre 3000 is one of the names that fans and rappers alike continually count among the best.
You'll have to go back to the George Bush — Herbert Walker, that is — era to find the last time Three Stacks kicked a verse that wasn't amazing or somewhere in that neighborhood (OK, maybe the very early Clinton years). His words are always nourishing and keen, rich with bluster and insight, stylistically separating him from the pack. And when he expresses himself, the entire hip-hop community applauds his efforts. Off the mic, Dre is one of the most unique, staying ahead of the curve in the fashion realm and keeping that enigmatic star quality.
No question Andre has just about all of the credentials to reign on the Hottest MCs list — except one. To say we caught him between cycles is an understatement. The ATLien hasn't dropped an LP since 2003's The Love Below (OK, the "Idlewild" soundtrack if you want to get technical — but even that was three years ago). But making the list has never been about putting out albums — the roundtable talk is always about how he makes his guest appearances an event. Dre certainly lit up the airwaves late last year on John Legend's "Green Light," but his verses since then have been tougher to find. Stacks hasn't been too prolific, so will the handful of gems be enough to get a ranking this year?
In a rare interview, Andre talked to us about the past Hottest MCs lists, the concept of them and where he'd like to see himself stacking up against the competition.
"The thing about these hip-hop lists ... it's like, 'How can you make a list because it's so many people you leave off that a lot of people may disagree with?' " Dre wondered. "If you have 10 guys in a room [debating], that's their list. It can't be a world list, 'cause it's a lot of people ... I'm surprised Ludacris is never on there — he's one of the dopest. Black Thought ain't on there — he's killin' a lot of people.
"Then you got too many opinions," he added. "You have people that come up to me in the streets and say certain things. I'm like, 'Well, that's their opinion.' I just say, 'Man, everybody do your thing.' I'd rather be #2 and everybody know I should be #1, than to be #1. Then I have somewhere to go."
Who do you think is the Hottest MC in the Game? Don't forget to vote from now through September 21 to have your voice heard.