When it comes to ranking a hot MC, every artist, fan or music critic weighs premiums differently: Some demand a rapper with chart success, while others want an act with lyrical acumen.
Other factors include the same criteria our MTV News hip-hop brain trust turns to during the Hottest MCs debate, which includes artistic execution (lyrical ability, flow), commercial success (charting hits, radio spins, album sales), cultural impact (business acumen, putting on other big artists), digital metrics, buzz and intangibles.
According to famed director [movieperson id="87648"]Spike Lee[/movieperson] — who has helmed videos for Naughty by Nature and Public Enemy — what he looks for most in a hot MC is simple: what the MC says, not just how they say it.
"For me, I don't think it's just lyrical flow, I think it's content," Lee told MTV News last week before he emceed the Blue Gala, a Spelman College benefit that honored Mary J. Blige, among others. "I put a high premium on the words. What are you saying?"
The 2010 edition of Hottest MCs is set to begin October 18, as the 10th hottest MC will be revealed on MTVNews.com. Numbers nine through six will be announced at the rate of one per day through October 22. On October 24, tune in to MTV2 to find out the top five.
[artist id="2000082"]Rick Ross[/artist], who is coming off back-to-back top-five appearances on the list, suggested his past 12 months should place him back in the mix this year.
"I'm thinking I had a dope year," he told MTV News, citing the song "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)," the album Teflon Don and his mixtape offering The Albert Anastasia EP. "I'm gonna keep it real."
Who do you think should make our list of Hottest MCs? Tell us in the comments!
Come back to MTVNews.com next Monday, October 18, when the Hottest MCs in the Game will start to be revealed. And until then, talk about your picks in the comments below.