"Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010" Candidate: Waka Flocka Flame
It only took Waka Flocka Flame about 10 minutes to compose the song that changed his life and, consequently, catapulted him into the league of up-and-comers vying to be our "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010." The success of Flocka's debut monster single, "O Let's Do It," has been well documented, leaving the streets smoldering since it first dropped several months ago.
Flame — with his iced-out Fozzy Bear chain — resonated with the youth for his wild-man style: shaking his dreads and getting the stage crunk whenever he's on the mic. But Flocka was also at the center of controversy in February when he said he didn't put too much emphasis on lyrics. Recovering from a gunshot wound to the arm he'd suffered a month earlier, Waka called in to DJ Whoo Kid's radio show — and ignited a firestorm.
He wouldn't, however, be counted out of the game. The ATL-by-way-of-Queens, New York, rapper buried any thought he would be a one-hit wonder. He came back a few weeks later, this time bringing a banger that reverberated even more than the last one: the Lex Luger-produced (no relation to the former WCW wrestler) "Hard in Da Paint."
Flocka lives up to his lyric "Waka Flocka Flame, one 'hood-ass n---a," with unfettered bars like "Gotta main bitch, got a mistress/ A couple of girlfriends, I'm so 'hood rich ... / When my little brother died, I said, 'F--- school'/ I picked the burner up, and I grabbed some marijuana/ Two years later, screaming, 'Now I'm here, your honor!' "
"Whatever the fans grab," Waka said about how he decides which records will be singles. His first two records originated from mixtapes and they proved to be what the streets gravitated to.
"Whatever they grab, I'm running with it. They grabbed 'O Let's Do It,' so I feel like they can grab the next one. I don't go to the studio like, 'Oh, this is a hit. This is a hit!' Nobody in this world know what a hit is. When I dropped 'O Let's Do It,' nobody knew it was a hit. The only person that knew it was a hit was my mama. All the music I ever did, she was like, 'I like that one.' I was like, 'That commercial song? Heck no. I hate that song.' "
Flocka's mom, of course, is Deb Antney, head of Mizay Entertainment and former manager to Nicki Minaj and Gucci Mane. Despite his mother's broken business ties with Gucci, Waka said he remains close to Gucc and down with the 1017 Brick Squad. (Gucci appears on the remix of "Hard in Da Paint.")
"Folks be like, 'You aggressive,' " Flocka said, addressing his lyrical content. "But I can't help it. If I grew up in Beverly Hills, I'll be rapping about palm trees. I think as my environment change, my wordplay will change. I'mma be better."
Waka has no concrete plans for when he'll put out his debut; he's content to drop mixtapes and feed his core fanbase.
"I don't know what 'album' music is bro," Flocka said. "I don't know why people do that: They try to distinguish their album from their mixtape when people fell in love with your mixtape. That's like me trying to go get somebody stupid huge [for a guest feature]. They be like, 'Bruh, you don't do that on your mixtape.' I ain't finnin' to leave my fanbase. I'm not trying to get another fanbase. I'm not finnin' to leave my genre. I want to grow, but it's not gonna be too different.
"I really go hard on the mixtapes," he continued. "I go hard on mixtapes. I feel folks deserve free music. I don't go, 'Hey, buy this.' When they feel like, 'Waka stop mixtape, we wanna hear the album,' I'm dropping it."
Waka Flocka Flame and 19 other up-and-coming MCs are in the running to become MTV News' "Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010" — and the winner will be decided by you!
Cast your vote for the "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" right here. The top five will be revealed beginning on July 19, and the winner will be announced on the "Sucker Free Summit" July 25.