MTV News’ “Hottest MCs in the Game VII” countdown kicked off on Monday February 13, revealing the #10 MC on the list, and by Friday numbers 10-6 had been announced. The top 5 MCs will be unveiled during a special “Hottest MC” airing on MTV2, Sunday at 10:30p.m, but before the final 5 are presented, let’s take a look back at the list so far.
Wale's sophomore LP, Ambition, debuted at #2 on the albums chart in November, and the title couldn't have been more appropriate. The Washington, D.C. rapper reinvented himself in 2011, claiming a new space in the hip-hop stratosphere after a sound, but commercially disappointing, debut two years earlier. Wale's tireless work ethic, along with a deal from Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group, were the keys to his success and his #10 slot on MTV News' Hottest MCs in the Game VII list.
9. Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa stays high, so as expectations for his debut album, Rolling Papers, shot through the roof, the Pittsburgh rapper made good by delivering a gold-selling LP last March — with multiple hit singles to back it. That success and more was enough to take him from MTV's 2010 Hottest Breakthrough MC to the "Hottest MCs in the Game VII" list. Not only did the Taylor Gang general snag the #2 spot on the Billboard 200 in his first week out — behind Britney Spears — he also dropped a collaborative album with Snoop Dogg (Mac & Devin Go to High School), blessed fans with the Cabin Fever mixtape, and sold out shows around the world on his Rolling Papers Tour. When it was all said and done, the Kush and Orange Juice spitter clocked in a reported $11 million and snagged the #11 spot on Forbes' Hip-Hop's Top Earners list.
8. Big Sean
The biggest part of Big Sean's rise over the past year has been the unwavering support of his fans. While he's signed to a major label (Def Jam) and one of the brightest stars on Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music imprint, it was those fans mobbing him at the Adidas store in New York and superstar supporters like Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj hopping on his debut album, Finally Famous, that propelled Sean to #8 on MTV News' Hottest MCs in the Game VII — his first appearance on the list.
7. Meek Mill
Album sales aren't the only measure of a hot MC. Meek Mill doesn't have a solo LP on the shelf, but the Philadelphia flame spitter has made his presence felt in a variety of other ways. Thanks to "Ima Boss," his inescapable single with Maybach Music CEO Rick Ross, Meek has maintained a deafening buzz on the streets and impacted the game like no other MC in his class. Meek Milly meets all of the criteria to be considered one of the "Hottest MCs in the Game." His in-your-face lyrical delivery and fresh-off-the-block style have all helped earn him the #7 spot on the "VII" edition of the list.
Jay-Z's legacy in rap is unparalleled. Hov probably best summed up his career on 2003's "What More Can I Say" when he spit, "There's never been a n---a this good for this long/ This 'hood or this pop, this hot or this strong." But were the God MC's past accomplishments enough to rest on in 2011? Over the past year he continued to raise the bar, teaming up with "little brother" Kanye West to drop the groundbreaking Watch the Throne album and earning himself the #6 spot on MTV News' Hottest MCs in the Game VII list.
Tune in to MTV2 on Sunday, February 19, at 10 p.m. ET/PT to catch "MTV2 Presents: Yo! MTV Raps Classic Cuts," then watch "Hottest MCs in the Game VII" immediately after at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT before capping the night off with "Sucker Free Certified" at 11 p.m. ET/PT.