Last year, as part of our annual "Hottest MCs in the Game" rollout, we asked the audience — the passionate, informed fans of hip-hop — to vote for their pick. More than 100,000 people voted and comments came in by the thousands as well. The audience's winner was Eminem and the votes were factored into the final tally.
For our next big project, "Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010," you, the audience, will determine the winner — we've selected the 20 candidates, but you will decide who it is!
Over the next few weeks, we want you to cast your vote for the "Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010." Please bear in mind that we are talking strictly up-and-coming talent: artists cannot have released a major-label album by June 21, 2010, or been voted into a previous "Hottest MCs in the Game" top 10, so MCs like Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Andre 3000, Eminem, Kanye West and even Drake — our #3 Hottest MC last year — and chart-topper B.o.B are not eligible. We'll have the 2010 "Hottest MCs" rollout later in the year.
You should cast your vote based in the following factors: The MC's musical skill (rhyme ability, flow and songwriting) as well as their buzz on the street and the impact they've had on the game so far. All of those factors should be taken into consideration when casting your vote — and if you think we've missed anyone, let us know in the comments!
The poll is open until midnight on July 16, and the five MCs with the most votes will be unveiled starting on July 19. All five will be featured on the "Sucker Free Summit" awards show July 25, and then the winner, chosen by you, will be announced.
As you'll see from our list below, plenty of up-and-coming MCs have made their names known in recent months, so take a look, consider carefully, and cast your vote!
"Hottest Breakthrough MCs of 2010" Candidates
One of Kanye West's newest recruits to G.O.O.D. Music, Sean reps Detroit and has released a slew of underground mixtapes.
This New Orleans MC is known as "Spitta" for a reason: He has rhymes galore. Formerly signed with Lil Wayne, Curren$y now runs with Damon Dash and the new Roc-A-Fella Records.
With his "Gone" single bubbling, this ATL native has a much-hyped mixtape, Fashionably Late, coming later this summer — and look out for his side gig in T.I.'s Akoo fashion ads.
Fred wants to be the biggest artist from Gary, Indiana, since Michael Jackson and his family — Gibbs' "Ghetto" video was filmed in the city. Fred has been working out of L.A. and continuing to show his hometown love while recording his debut.
Cole is so cold on the mic that Jay-Z signed him to Roc Nation. His "Who Dat" single is making waves and his debut album is slated for an August release.
Jay is from New Orleans but his words are resonating all over the world. "Exhibit C" is one of the biggest street records of the year, and of course he and Erykah Badu observed their daughter Mars' first birthday earlier this year. Diddy has been trying to lure Jay to Bad Boy, but nothing official has been signed yet.
His flow is vicious, his content is insightful: Rock is part of the new wave of MCs repping Cali.
The first lady of Young Money is the current face of female hip-hop. She's a hit with the ladies because of fashion style and personality, and the guys love her because she's sexy and can hang with the big dawgs lyrically. Even with Lil' Kim calling her out, accusing her of copying her steez, Minaj has forged her own lane, stayed focused on continually killing guest appearances and building anticipation for her debut LP.
Hussle in the house! The young Cali MC reps the new generation of the west and has been co-signed by the likes of the Game and Snoop Dogg. His debut LP is expected later this year.
This Southern California group likes to gang up on the mic like a pack of wolves. Their Church League Champions mixtape made waves last year, and they're bound to make a big splash when their Grown Kid Syndrome LP drops later this year.
The Atlanta MC's medicinally themed mixtapes have earned him kudos from fans and peers such as Andre 3000. He dropped 1140: The Overdose, his first Gangsta Grillz mixtape, earlier this month, and his debut LP is in the pipeline.
With Run-DMC's Rev Run as his dad, fly rhymes are in this upstart's bloodstream. His First Flight mixtape got him love on the Internet, kudos from MCs such as Nas and Kanye West, and a record deal with Atlantic Records. The young'n is a fashion savant as well — just check his Life of a Jet Setter blog.
Trae Tha Truth
Trae might not get much airplay in his hometown of Houston but his music rules the streets — no lie. He currently has the "Inkredible" single with Lil Wayne and Rick Ross and his upcoming album Tha Truth features Jadakiss, the Game, Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, Ross, Wayne, Plies, Scarface and Gorilla Zoe.
This unsigned trio from ATL are tearing it up with their Proud to Be a Problem mixtape. "At the moment we are an independent problem," the group's Quez told Mixtape Daily, but their music and energetic stage shows promise that won't be the case for long.
One of Lil Wayne's Young Money artists, Tyga has been keeping busy on the mixtape scene with solo tapes and his Fan of a Fan team-up with Chris Brown.
Cam'ron's latest find from Harlem recently dropped the Boss of All Bosses 2.5 mixtape with Cam and DJ Drama. He's known for his energy and lyrics, and Vado is the cornerstone of Cam's new clique of artists, the U.N.
Waka Flocka Flame
This Atlanta MC blew up with the street anthem "O Let's Do It," and currently has another monster with "Hard in the Pain."
The biggest thing to hit Pittsburgh since Big Ben Roethlisberger crushed the Internet with his recent Kush & Orange Juice mixtape, and he's got a swell of supporters called the Taylor Gang that love his laid-back music.
This MC from smalltown Alabama (Gasden, actually) has a rapid-fire flow and an unlikely set of classic-rock influences on his latest mixtape, Trunk Music.
Cast your vote for the "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2010" right here! The top five will be revealed beginning on July 19, and the winner will be announced on the "Sucker Free Summit" July 25!