When you ask the members of Slaughterhouse — Royce Da 5'9", Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I — what it means to be the Hottest MC in the Game, you'll get four different opinions.
"There's so many different dimensions of a hot MC," Ortiz said. "You gotta be able to do what you do in the booth. Be yourself in interviews. Be a great showman. Be an on-spot rap dude. You gotta have the complete package. If you do records well and get up onstage and you're looking at your shoes, you're not a hot MC. You gotta have every element mastered. You gotta love the art."
Budden (who has ranked very high early on in our Hottest MCs fan poll) has a very gruff relationship with the word "hot."
"Joe Budden is against the word 'hot,' " the Jersey native said, talking about himself in third person. "I don't like it. I don't use it. 'Hot' is not something that comes down to your craft. That's why I despise the word. It's too many other things that come into the equation. The label can make somebody hot. It's to the point now where the artist and the fans don't even decide what's hot."
"I equate the word 'hot' with buzz," Royce chimed in. "Somebody can have a big buzz and be hot. It doesn't make them an MC. 'Hot' to me, I don't use the word either. 'Hot MC' doesn't mean he can rhyme. I can wake up and turn my swag on, doesn't mean I'm a dope MC. It means I'm hot for the moment."
Crooked I had the most optimistic viewpoint when talking about Hot MCs.
"I think 'hot' is a way for everybody putting together the list to create a conversation," Crook said. "You can put so many different things under 'hot' that can spark a debate. I think it's about the debate. I don't think it's about the actual list."
Crooked said if you want to just judge on skills, then you have to put the title 'dope' on the list, then all four members of Slaughterhouse would definitely make the top-10 rankings. But what about our upcoming Hottest MCs in the Game list? (To see what it takes to make the list, check out our Hottest MCs criteria.)
All the members would make it if it were based strictly on lyrics. They all have a huge buzz on the Internet, especially Budden, who has been very forthcoming with his personal and professional life on Joe Budden TV and UStream. Nothing is off limits, from his girlfriend talking about a stranger punching her in the eye to Joey's beef with Raekwon the Chef to studio recording sessions.
But Slaughterhouse have put out albums independently thus far and have to complete with artists who sell hundreds of thousands in one week. Now it's up to the MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust to decide.
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.