The 2009 Hottest MCs in the Game rollout is on! As in 2007 and 2008, the list, determined by the MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust, is based on an MC's achievements right now, rather than an entire career. The criteria is based on a combination of rhyme skill, flow and how those things are implemented musically as the main factors. The Brain Trust also considers buzz, impact, commercial success — sales, airplay, business ventures, Web presence, endorsements and helping to spawn other artists' careers — and the intangible, impact: Can an artist not only contribute to the rap game but influence cultural shifts? Are they trendsetters? All of these factors — and the results of our audience poll, which closed last week and gets a vote at the Roundtable during the Brain Trust's debate — contribute to deciding who is the Hottest MC in the Game. We'll be announcing an MC's rank every day this week, with the full list revealed on Sunday at 10 p.m. during "P. Diddy's Starmaker"!

Flame Thrower: Fabolous

2009 Rank: 8

Previous Rankings: 2007 (not ranked); 2008 (not ranked)

Why He's Hot: Fabolous started his Loso's Way campaign by telling the world that it was "his time," and the boy from Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood lived up to his claim. Loso's Way — a concept project inspired in part by the gangster film "Carlito's Way" — became his first #1 LP on the Billboard albums chart, selling nearly 99,000 units in its first week of release. All year, we've been hearing "It's Loso, in case you didn't know, so ..." for a reason: Fab never runs out of ammo with his tireless punch lines and swag!

Right out the gate, he had big radio and club records with "Throw It in the Bag" (and its sweltering remix, "Everything, Everywhere, Everyday") and his latest, "Money Goes, Honey Stay" (He had the pull to not just get the beat and chorus for the record from Jay-Z, but he also scored a rare Hov cameo in the video). The rest of the album is bone-crunching: his unprecedented candor about his newborn son on "Stay," the playful pathos of "Last Time" and the outright audacity on the "The Way (Intro)." He didn't just play on his home field, either: Loso also came with numerous but diverse guest appearances alongside Rick Ross, The-Dream, Red Cafe, Ryan Leslie, Slim from 112, Lil Wayne, Ne-Yo and Jamie Foxx.

Like a lot of our other Hottest MCs, Fab has utilized the Web — but not just to give insight on what's going on with his career, but he's also introduced his followers to Fabolous the comedian. He's a one-man Def Comedy Jam, joking on everyone from Bow Wow and T-Pain to Flo Rida. A testament to Loso's popularity, when he speaks on topics on his Twitter page (such as Lil Mama's VMA stage-crash), they become trending topics.

Co-Signer: Ludacris: "He's doing his thing. He's extremely consistent with it. He does what he does and he does it really good. He knows how to make songs. It's a lot of rappers that just rap; he's one of those individuals that can rap good and, of course, the man knows how to make good songs. You put them together, it's complete. Shout out to Fab, man. Congratulations to that man! My hat goes off to him."

Ignitable Incitement: "You definitely want recognition for what you do," Fab told MTV News on Thursday. "At the same time, even when I'm not on the list or get overlooked for certain things, I use that as motivation to come back until I've proven that, without a doubt, there's no way I shouldn't be on that list. A couple of times I felt that I was overlooked for different things. In front of you guys, I play it cool. At home, I break a couple mirrors and stuff! But everyone loves recognition for what you do. Maybe that's what you do it for, but you love when people respect it; you make music, it's an art form but the way it's received is partially what you do it for. When I'm in the studio creating music, that creation is one process that I love. Then after you create it, you go out there and you wanna see how people receive this creation."

Blistering Ballistics: "These b---hes talk sh-- out the same mouth they kiss you/ These n---as kiss ass with the same mouth that dis you/ Eww! You n---as disgust me/ And they ain't talkin' 'bout sh-- unless they discuss me/ Let's talk about how I'm killin' everything I touches/ Or how I walked in this game with no crutches/ No Diddy, no Dupri, no Dr. Dre/ No Cash Money from Baby and no Rocs from Jay/ And I'm still here!" (from "The Way (Intro)")

Hot Streak:
Albums:
Loso's Way

Selected Mixtapes:
N/A

Singles: "Throw It in the Bag" (featuring The-Dream), "Everything, Everywhere, Everyday" (featuring Ryan Leslie and Keri Hilson), "Money Goes, Honey Stay" (featuring Jay-Z), "It's My Time" (featuring Jeremih)

Street Bangers:
"Throw It in the Bag" remix, (featuring Drake), "Feel Like I'm Back" Key Guest Appearances: Red Café's "Hottest in the Hood" remix, Lil Cease's "Talk Go Through Us" (also featuring Busta Rhymes), Ne-Yo's "She's Got Her Own" (also featuring Jamie Foxx), Slim's "Good Lovin' " (also featuring Ryan Leslie), Ryan Leslie's "Addiction" (also featuring Cassie), Lil Wayne's "You Ain't Got Nothin' " (also featuring Juelz Santana)

Meteoric Metrics (as of September 29)
Twitter Followers: 283,521
MySpace Friends: 485,231
Facebook Fans: 30,146
Loso's Way's first-week album sales: Nearly 99,000 copies; #1 debut

Business Ventures: Endorsement deal with Reebok Classic sneakers; owner of Rich Yung Clothing Line

Tours: Several dates opening for Jay-Z in spring/summer 2009

Monumental Moment: Loso's Way hitting #1 on the Billboard albums chart

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