Some music fans might think of B.o.B as a guitar-strumming pop star, thanks to breakout hits "Nothin' on You" and "Airplanes," but he is also an MC who struggles to make sure he includes just the right amount of hip-hop in his songs.
His selection as the #9 Hottest MC in the Game, as voted by MTV News' Hip-Hop Brain Trust, certifies that he's striking just the right balance.
"For me, you know, you always run into that risk of not having enough balance in your music when you're trying to make a wide variety of music," B.o.B told MTV News on Tuesday (October 19) about his inclusion on the list. "My career has been something that's begun with Cloud 9 to what's coming out now, and my sound, you can't hear it in one body of work. You have to follow it and build. And that's what it's been to this point, where I can do songs with Hayley Williams and Rivers Cuomo and still have a hip-hop foundation."
He's certainly run the gamut this year, from his performances at the MTV Video Music Awards and President Obama's Gen44 event to the BET Hip-Hop Awards. But while the upstart has ascended the pop charts with his hits, he still has a hunger to return to his rhyming roots. He was grateful for his Hottest MCs selection, because he said he has more to offer in terms of raw rhyme spitting.
"My personal challenge was to put an album out that was well-received," B.o.B explained. "And to be able to do that and still get the lyrical crowd to pay attention shows me a lot. Because I have so much more energy that I can put into the content. It depends on the time and what the focus is. 'Cause I really want to show everything, and there's only so much you can show lyrically, with the amount of lyrics in an album. I feel like there's still a lot more that I can do, and to let me know that people are checking for me let's me know that it's still there."
The 2010 Hottest MCs in the Game rollout is now under way! As in 2008 and 2009, the criteria is based on a combination of rhyme skill, flow, buzz, commercial success, business ventures, Web presence and cultural influence. Upload your comments, reactions, arguments and/or your own list to Your.MTV.com or send tweets with the hashtag #hottestmcs — the best responses could be on TV or our hip-hop blog, RapFix!
Stay locked in each day as we count down #10 to #6 on our MCs list. Then tune in to MTV2 for the entire one-hour "Hottest MCs in the Game" special on Sunday, October 24, at 1:30 p.m. ET, where we'll reveal who will be crowned 2010's Hottest MC.