Once again, MTV decided to rank the rap game's hottest MCs and once again the blogosphere has erupted with criticisms of the list. And for once, they have a point. Without further ado, we will parse through MTV's choices and show where wrongs should be righted.
#10 MTV's choice: Fabolous Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: Jadakiss
Fab certainly should have been in Top 15 consideration, but to put him on is to completely forget the year that Jadakiss has had. The Last Kiss far outperformed Loso's Way and Jada has been on a tear in the cameo/mixtape circuit. With appearances on records for everyone, including Busta Rhymes, Red Cafe, Capone-N-Noreaga, Cam'ron, G-Unit, French Montana and Raekwon, 'Kiss has solidifed his spot as the go-to NY guest 16 spitter.
#9 MTV's choice: 50 Cent Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: Young Jeezy
While 50 has dropped 2 quality mixtapes, he hasn't dropped an album in 2 years, and his various attempts at a hit single have fizzled. Jeezy dropped one stellar tape (Trappin' Ain't Dead) and has murdered the cameo circuit, lending his raspy tales to Jadakiss, Birdman, Drake, Lil' Boosie, Jamie Foxx, Jay-Z, Maino and Rick Ross. Talk about a diversified portfolio. Mr. 17.5 also rode the residual buzz for The Recession, dropping online videos and issuing a Jay-Z remix for "My President Is Black". Jeezy also struck a blow against his rivals Gucci Mane & OJ Da Juiceman with the scathing "24, 23" diss.
#8 MTV's choice: Raekwon Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: Rick Ross
MTV including Ross in its Top 5, and omitting Eminem & T.I. from its list are probably the most asinine aspects of it, but who can be certain? If this list had been made a few months ago, Bawse might have cracked the top 5, but now, no cigar. As it is, Ross has had quite a run, making an album that may possibly crack the year's top 10 and flooding the underground with occasionally impressive freestyles and remixes. Deeper Than Rap was the rare album that nearly lived up to the unbelieveable hype. While Ross didn't fare too well in his war of words with 50, the public perceived Deeper Than Rap a success, despite the fact that it sold about half as much as Trilla and a third of Port Of Miami. With the release of the highly enjoyable double disc White Sand mixtape and the upcoming Triple C's album, Bawse might just be able to rise up this list yet, but for now, its #8 for the Bawseman.
#7 MTV's choice: Young Jeezy Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: Lil' Wayne
Jeezy was a tad high on MTV's list, but Wayne was astonishingly overrated. A #2 spot for a guy who hasn't released an album in almost a year and a half and has spent a good chunk of this calendar year either singing or half-assing the few raps he's bothered to record, way to go, MTV. That being said, Wayne derserves a spot on this list because he's managed to maintain a presence on the marketplace through his work with Young Money (read: Drake) and the few people still calling him for a cameo verse. Most of the same calls he would have gotten last year have since gone to Gucci. He's also accidentally breathed some life into the female MC game by bringing out Nicki Minaj, who is god-awful. She's been dangerously close to getting her own post, "Itty Bitty Piggy" nearly being the song to make me pull the trigger. If someone can explain her appeal to me in a way that has nothing to do with her T&A, I'm all ears.
#6 MTV's choice: Gucci Mane Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: Gucci Mane
Finally my opinion and MTV's intersect. Gucci derserves to be slotted ahead of the fray, but not in with the superduperstars. With countless mixtape hits and guest slots for Black Eyed Peas, Mariah Carey, Lil' Wayne, Busta Rhymes, Cam'ron, Ludacris, Mario, Nelly, Soulja Boy and Wale, Gucci was damn near inescapable this year. (Believe me, I tried.) He also followed in Lil' Wayne's footsteps and unleashed a horrible protege & clique on the world with this OJ Da Juiceman character and these Brick Squad fools. Waka Flocka Flame? Really? As I've always maintained with Gucci, he's not half terrible and does have a penchant for the catchy refrain, but will his style ever translate into good albums and a real (non-ironic) following? I'm very doubtful that will he will ever be much more than he is now, a flavor of the moment.
#5 MTV's choice: Rick Ross Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: Kanye West
It seems appropriate to slot Kanye here, being that he hasn't dropped an honest to goodness rap album since Curtis has, but has managed to maintain a certain buzz level through producing and ripping any guest 16s that come his way. Just ask Jay-Z, Clipse, The Dream, Jamie Foxx, Rick Ross, Keri Hilson, Q-Tip or Kid Cudi. He also manages to stay in the conversation, real album or no real album. 808s & Heartbreaks, despite being not all that great, managed to scan almost 2 million copies and spawn several radio hits. The beat for "Say You Will" also made its rounds on the mixtapes, with Drake & Big Sean both blessing the track with some of their finer lyrics.
#4 MTV's choice: Kanye West Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: Drake
Very tenatively do I place Drake here. But, getting co-signs from Eminem, Jay-Z, Lil' Wayne, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, and everyone else who matters helps the process. It doesn't hurt that So Far Gone has several moments worthy of the hype, and even more impressively, is on track to scan at least 200,000 legitimate copies. Low numbers for an album release, yes, but for a mixtape that has been Zshared & Sharebeed to death for almost a year now, extremely impressive. As for whether the kid can rhyme, sure he can, but is he worthy of the hype bestowed upon him? Not really. All he's done is distill the qualities people like best about Eminem, Kanye West, and Lil' Wayne and streamline them for mainstream audiences. When you're taking from three of the most mainstream rappers going and still watering it down even more, that's quite an accomplishment. But, by using Eminem's willingness to go into his own self doubts, in tandem with a rhyme style/flow that goes back & forth between being a descendant of Kanye & Wayne, he will certainly be cashing large record label & Hollywood royalty checks for years to come.
#3 MTV's choice: Drake Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: T.I.
I guess T.I. being in jail is MTV's excuse for not including him. By squeezing out Tip & Em, they made room for Raekwon & Fabolous, two guys who made the best album they possibly could this year, but are in no way hot or relevant in a national sense. Possibly Fabolous, due to his tendency to show up on at least a few R&B remixes a month. T.I. could have had a case for the top spot if not for his incarceration and subsequent failure to put out the Paper Trail reissue. Though it was released in the tail end of 2008, many of the songs played well into 2009. T.I. also kept his name hot doing guest verses for Mary J. Blige, Bobby Ray, Jamie Foxx, Ludacris, Rick Ross and Young Dro. If his last stint in the pokey was any indicator, Tip will come back with a vengenance.
#2 MTV's choice: Lil' Wayne Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: Eminem
This entry corrects two of MTV's biggest mistakes, the overrank of Wayne and the omittance of Marshall. Not only did Em drop a quality album just a few months ago, but he has also been hard at work on a follow-up, due to drop later this year. He also took time out to give Mariah a lyrical beatdown for her depiction of him in the "Obsessed" video and gave Alchemist a classic freestyle to use for his Chemical Warfare album. With the news that Em got some Just Blaze beats in addition to his usual stash of Dre tracks for Relapse 2, anticipation is at an all time high. Not many rappers can claim fans want a whole new album from them just months after they dropped their last one.
#1 MTV's choice: Jay-Z Bang Bang Skeet Skeet's: Jay-Z
This is a slam dunk choice, given the time in which this poll is being released. Of course Jay is the hottest out right now. If this poll is done in March or even July, Jay might not even crack the top 5. With The Blueprint 3 (massive post comparing and contrasting it with OB4CL2 coming soon, almost halfway done) solidifying his place at the top of the food chain, the only question left is what next for Jay? He has been quoted as saying his next album will be an experimental effort, which is necessary, but how will he experiment? If my gut feeling is right and the album turns out to be Hov doing his best Grizzly Bear or MGMT rendition, it could be dope or it could be the worst thing rap's ever seen.
So there you have it, a fairly unbiased view of the actual hottest MCs out. You can also make an argument for Fabolous, Kid Cudi, 50 Cent, Raekwon, Cam'ron, Wale, Ghostface Killah, Lil' Boosie, Plies, or the MC of your choosing, but who do you bump? If a #11 had to be chosen, I suppose it would be 50, but that's more to do with what he's done than what he's about to do.