In summer 2007, the MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust sat down and had another controversial roundtable debate. Unlike previous discussions, the trustees devised a list of not the greatest ever, but the Hottest MCs in the Game right then. The rankings were based on lyrics, flow, impact on the game, success and swagger. The roundtable recently reconvened and came up with a brand-new list of Hottest MCs. Our experts used the same criteria, but only judged on the past year of hip-hop.
Flame Thrower: Rick Ross
Why He's Hot
Oh, to be loved! Rick Ross' bossin' up is one of hip-hop's most entertaining chronicles right now. Miami's new emperor has been able to coagulate all the right characteristics: unruffled, husky charm seemingly from the B.I.G. lineage, concretely convincing rap elegy and transfixing influence.
In March he went up against veteran friends Fat Joe and Snoop Dogg in a three-way SoundScan confrontation, resulting in a second-straight #1 debut for the Port of Miami representative. Of the hip-hop projects to drop this year, his sophomore album, Trilla — influenced by Michael Jackson's Thriller in title and hopes of impact — is definitely the standard for excellence midway through 2008. "Speedin' " with R. Kelly was the marquee co-sign a top-five MC should have at his disposal, but "The Boss" with T-Pain — Ricky Ross' cigar-smoke-and-champagne-fueled anthem — is what left his inscription on the fans.
As we hit the spring and summer, look for Ross' big-shotting to keep shaking the soil underneath his feet. He's introducing artists on his label, Maybach Entertainment, planning a tour and working on an album and movie with Birdman called "H." And expect to hear more of his untested cameo carnage — Nas, T.I. and DJ Khaled (of course) are just a few people thinking about having him on their albums.
"He comes from an era that I'm familiar with. He talks about things I'm familiar with. He lives a lifestyle that's about the party, the glamour. Maybach music. The truck jewelry, the yachts. That's what I like about Ross. I didn't see that in too many artists. He ain't trippin' about it. It's just him. He ain't trying to show something like it ain't been done before, he's just smooth with it. I see similarities with myself." Blistering Ballistics
"Am I a target for police because I puff weed?/ Not an artist or regarded as a Puffy/ Like a pimp, I'mma skip past a Kim Porter/ Like a pimp order, pimp, I import her/ Every dime you give her known as a pimp quarter/ 'Cause every time she deliver like a pimp taught her/ She ain't married to the game, just a pimp's daughter/ Every Benz that I gain, I get the limp harder." — From "We Shinin' "
"Speedin' " (featuring R. Kelly), "The Boss" (featuring T-Pain), "Here I Am" (featuring Nelly and Avery Storm)
"All I Have in This World (Japanese Denim)," "Money Make Me Come," "Maybach Music" (featuring Jay-Z), "Luxury Tax" (featuring Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and Trick Daddy) Key Guest Appearances
Ace Hood's "Cash Flow" (also featuring T-Pain), DJ Khaled's "I'm So Hood," DTP's "Down in the Dirty" (also featuring Ludacris and Bun B), Danity Kane's "Ecstasy," Rocko's "Umma Do Me" unofficial street remix (also featuring T.I. and Young Jeezy), DJ Khaled's "Out Here Grindin' " (also featuring Lil Wayne, Akon, Plies and more), Flo Rida's "Money Right" (also featuring Brisco)
Founded Maybach Entertainment label (artists include Carroll City Cartel), produced the documentary "M.I. Yayo: The Movie"
Hypnotized Tour with Plies, Lil Boosie and The-Dream in early 2008
Now that you've checked out our "Hottest MCs in the Game" show, we want to know what MCs you're feeling! Keep the debate rolling by submitting your own top-10 list below or heading to YouRHere.MTV.com to upload your video reaction. And the hotness continues: You can check in on last year's top 10 and see this year's complete list on our "Hottest MCs" page.