The 2009 Hottest MCs in the Game rollout is on! As in 2007 and 2008, the list, determined by the MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust, is based on an MC’s achievements right now, rather than an entire career. The criteria is based on a combination of rhyme skill, flow and how those things are implemented musically as the main factors. The Brain Trust also considers buzz, impact, commercial success — sales, airplay, business ventures, Web presence, endorsements and helping to spawn other artists’ careers — and the intangible, impact: Can an artist not only contribute to the rap game but influence cultural shifts? Are they trendsetters? All of these factors — and the results of our audience poll, which closed last week and gets a vote at the Roundtable during the Brain Trust’s debate — contribute to deciding who is the Hottest MC in the Game. We’ll be announcing an MC’s rank every day this week, with the full list revealed on Sunday at 10 p.m. during “P. Diddy’s Starmaker”!
Flame Thrower: Young Jeezy
2009 Rank: 7
Previous rankings: 2007 (#6); 2008 (#8)
Why He’s Hot:
Young Jeezy may not yet have a mainstream, marquee name like some of his platinum peers, but the Snowman is an undeniable rap goliath. In hip-hop, his moniker holds just as much weight as the other big dogs. How else could he bring out Kanye West and Usher during the big Birthday Bash concert in his hometown of Atlanta last summer, and then turn around in 2009 and usher out surprise guests Mary J. Blige and Lil Wayne? And by the way, when Jay-Z decided to perform his earthshaking “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” in concert for the first time anywhere on the globe, he came out during Jeezy’s set at the “Summer Jam” show in New Jersey. And he followed that with a prominent slot on Lil Wayne’s “America’s Most Wanted” tour last summer, which ran for six weeks and was one of the most successful tours of the year thus far.
This year the Snowman continued to galvanize his fans with authenticity, riding the wave of his most well rounded album to date, The Recession. Young wasn’t afraid to make a topical LP that confronted many of the fears in a climate of economic uncertainty while still feeding his loyal followers with a slew of bangers that added to his legacy of undeniable anthems. The LP was a milestone in Jeezy’s still-young career, and a bold reproach to any detractors who might have claimed the Snowman is light on lyrics and the mic. Nah! Jeezy continues to be one the game’s most inspiring speakers, levying records like “My President” that resonate from the ’hood to the globe, such as while articulating the common man’s angst as well as his own grief during bangers such as “Crazy World.” Even in the harshest of times however, Jeezy also shines with versatility, parading street anthems that put his commanding savoir faire and ear for speaker-splintering beats right on Main Street. No matter what club you go to across the country, every DJ plays a Jeezy set.
Check out our 2009 “Hottest MCs In The Game.”
|»9. 50 Cent|
|»7. Young Jeezy|
|»6. Gucci Mane|
|»5. Rick Ross|
|»2. Lil Wayne|
Co-Signer: Lil Boosie
“I’mma say Jeezy [belongs on the list] before everybody,” Lil Boosie told MTV News. “He has a new album coming — it’s still a Recession, so he’s got the title. He’s killing everybody’s remixes. He don’t switch up: People know he’s rapping his life. Once you get the people like that, they become fanatics for you. He’s sold 3 million records and he’s still talking birds. He’s street, he ain’t changing and people love Jeezy for that. Me and him got the same fanbase, we got them street kids who don’t even listen to a radio, be on the corner all day. He’s got a big following.”
“We got to stand up,” Young Jeezy told MTV News. “We got to be ’We the people’ — it’s on us. That’s what we got to do. We got to stick together. I really wanted to get me on [The Recession], expressing my feelings, my concerns about what’s going on. I wanted to make good music around this time, but I also wanted to drop a couple gems about what’s going on in the economy and stuff like that. Sometimes we look over it. We don’t tap into it until election time.
“Music is how you feel,” he continued, talking about the motivation behind “My President.” “But if I can say one word, I’ll say ’necessary.’ I felt it was necessary. I never ever paid attention to any election. I’m not really [into] politics or anything like that. It never benefited us. This time around, it’s not a black-or-white thing — you got somebody in there for us that’s well-spoken and gonna handle their business. I just wanted to do my part and let them know we need change, we need help, it’s rough out there.”
“When I was 14, I turned nothing to a quarter mil/ Probably why I never give a f— about a record deal … Light bill, phone bill, plus my granny’s nerve pills/ Feel like I should be takin’ ’em, imagine how my nerves feel/ I want a new Bentley, my auntie need a kidney/ And if I let her pass her children never will forgive me/ God damn, another trap, I think Bush trying to punish us.” (from “Crazy World”)
The Shield Gang; Trappin’ Ain’t Dead
“Put On” (featuring Kanye West), “Vacation,” “Crazy World,” “My President” (featuring Nas)
“Circulate,” “Who Dat,” “24-23 (Kobe-LeBron),” “My President” (remix, featuring Jay-Z), “Biggest Movie Ever” (featuring CTE)
Key Guest Appearances:
Kanye West’s “Amazing,” Jadakiss’ “Something Else,” Busta Rhymes’ “Conglomerate” (also featuring Jadakiss), DJ Khaled’s “Out Here Grindin,’ ” Ice Cube’s “I Got My Locs On,” Lil Boosie’s “Better Believe It” (also featuring Webbie), Birdman’s “Always Strapped” remix (also featuring Lil Wayne and Rick Ross), Jay-Z’s “As Real As It Gets”
Meteoric Metrics (as of September 30):
MySpace Friends: 363,847
Web Site Members: 34,485
8732 clothing; endorsement deals with Adidas and Grey Goose.
“Young Money Presents: America’s Most Wanted Music Festival” six-week summer amphitheater tour with Lil Wayne, Drake, Soulja Boy Tell’em and others.
The release of “My President”
Forecast: Young Jeezy is on the trajectory of sky rocketing into an even more elite class of MC, the pantheon of the greatest career artists. The streets are his kingdom; he’ll rule there for as long as he wants. What is going to make him even more dangerous is that the early word on his next album, Thug Motivation 103, is that he has a few hits that will shake up the mainstream.
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