MTV's annual Hottest MCs In The Game list and debate is underway and Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, Meek Mill & Future have already made the cut. Although there should be no question that they make the list, where they landed chronologically has already caused drama since Pusha T and French Montana didn't make the top 10.
Meek Mill kicked off the list at the #10 spot:
While he prepped his debut album, Dreams and Nightmares, the MMG rapper kept busy early in the year with features on Rick Ross' Rich Forever mixtape, in addition to appearances on remixes of tracks like Wale's "Slight Work" and Tyga's "Rack City."
By spring, he delivered a brand-new body of work on his Dreamchasers 2 mixtape, which included the smash "Amen" (featuring Drake) and other notables like "Racked Up Shawty" with Fabolous. Even Jay-Z took notice, signing Meek to a Roc Nation management deal while his tape was still in heavy rotation.
Just over a month later, MMG dropped their Self Made Vol. 2 album, which found the Philadelphia rapper spitting hard on tracks like the eight-minute posse cut "Power Circle." His audience was primed and ready for Meek's debut, which finally dropped in October, debuting at #2 with 165,000 copies sold.
After Meek, Future landed at #9:
What began as a strictly underground run began to take off in 2011 with Future's "Tony Montana" single and its Drake-assisted remix. During 2012, however, Future sky-rocketed to new heights with high-powered pop hooks, while still keeping his hold on the streets. His mix of melodic arrangements and raspy rap bars were a sure-shot formula for some of the year's biggest hits.
Harlem's A$AP Rocky came in at #8:
From the Rick Owens leathers to the Balenciaga finery, there's no denying A$AP Rocky is a certified fashion killa (you can check his influence in other rapper's closets). But the Harlem upstart spits more than designer labels from that gold-plated mouth. He followed his lean-drenched mixtape, Live.Love.A$AP, with a chart-topping debut that shows off his versatility and a penchant for crossing state lines when it comes to flow.
And while that helped Rocky to earn the title of #8 Hottest MC in the Game, Pretty Flacko's buzz and his grasp on the intangibles also put him in contention for our list. RapFix Blog Editor Nadeksa Alexis laughed, "I don't even know if we're still using the word 'swag,' but that's all him, and everyone sees that."
Hey probably won't agree, but at #7 is Kanye West:
In 2012, Yeezy hit the stage to embark on the European leg of his Watch the Throne Tour with partner Jay-Z. He also showed off his in-studio expertise with tracks like G.O.O.D's double-platinum, #1 rap hit "Mercy," the venomous "Cold" and the top-five hit "Clique," proving he could deliver on our criteria for sales.
But West was also unstoppable when it came to impact. He extended his hand to upstart Chicago rookie rapper Chief Keef when he remixed his breakout single "I Don't Like." He did the same for 2 Chainz, appearing on the Atlanta rapper's "Birthday Song" and somehow managed to find time to jump on a remix of Rihanna's "Diamonds," "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" references included.
Lastly, for now, was Big Sean in at #6:
Already known for his catchy ad-libs, Big Sean really established himself as a cultural fixture in 2012, beginning with his verse and hook on G.O.O.D. Music's Grammy-nominated single "Mercy," which made the word "swerve" a fixation in the process. A few months later, he surprised fans when he appeared alongside — and held his own — the Throne on "Clique."
Before you get all emotional about these picks, keep in mind that the criteria is based on impact, lyrics, sales, buzz, style and intangible.
With that said, let us know what you think of the list so far in the comments. The #1 spot will be announced on Thursday, March 7 during the Hottest MCs In The Game VIII special that airs at 1o p.m. ET on MTV Jams.