MTV’s Hottest MCs 2013: The Full List
Another year, another Hottest MCs list and like it or not, it’s always a good source for debate. Check out MTV’s full list as well as the videos after the break.
#1: Kendrick Lamar
“K-Dot earned the #1 spot in a unanimous decision, while 2 Chainz landed in the #2 slot. While both MCs made indelible marks in the last year, it was Kendrick’s artistry and commercial appeal that helped him earn the title. Lyrically, Lamar is an expert spitter who weaves complex rhyme patterns around soul-drenched beats, with as unique a style as rap has seen in years. And while verbal depth isn’t usually a marker for rap success, the Compton rapper moved major units when he dropped his debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city”
#2: 2 Chainz
“Suddenly, we find him not only as the honorary G.O.O.D. Music member, but then he put out B.O.A.T.S., and on that album are songs that carried 2012, from ‘Birthday Song’ to ‘I’m Different,’ to ‘No Lie.’ “
Name an awards show in the past 12 months and 2 Chainz was there. He performed solo at the BET Hip-Hop Awards and joined Lil Wayne at the VMAs before rocking Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival. “He may not be a lyricist like Kendrick [Lamar], but he knew what worked for him, and he took what worked for him and was able to apply that to the masses,” MTV News Segment Producer Steven Roberts said of Deuce’s success.”
#3: Rick Ross
“When you talk about some of these cats, it’s a quantity-versus-quality thing, and that’s not the case with Ross — he has both,” said MTV‘s VP of Music & Talent Programming Strategy, Yomi Desalu. “Ross is out there putting in work.” Not only did Rozay drop his gold-selling, #1 Billboard album God Forgives, I Don’t, he also rallied his Maybach Music troops to release the compilation Self Made, Vol. 2. Of course, who can forget that he gave out a pair of mixtapes for free: Rich Forever, at the top of 2012, and the jacking-for-beats-style tape The Black Bar Mitzvah, in October. Combine all of that with a string of features on hit records like Usher’s “Lemme See” and French Montana’s “Pop That” and it becomes increasingly difficult to deny the MMG mastermind.
Not only did Nas drop potent stick-to-your-rib singles like “Daughters,” “The Don” and “Bye Baby,” he went to great lengths to craft memorable story-driven videos to match. ” ‘The Don’ was a great visual, ‘Daughters’ was a great visual, ‘Nasty’ was great and I think with this record coming off of Distant Relatives, nobody expected this,” pointed out MTV Programming VP Yomi Desalu while referencing the mixed reviews surrounding Nas’ Damien Marley collaboration album in 2010.
As MTV News’ Senior Hip-Hop Writer Rob Markman said, Drake dominated rap features all year long, and that was underscored when you realized that every artist on his lineup had at least one big collab to perform with him on the cross-country jaunt. “He strategically had features with people he was going on tour with — so it was Waka with ‘Round of Applause,’ 2 Chainz with ‘No Lie,’ A$AP with ‘F—in’ Problems’ and Kendrick with ‘Poetic Justice,’ ” Markman explained. “Anything he touches is a guaranteed smash.”
#6: Big Sean
When the members of MTV’s Hip-Hop Brain Trust sat down to discuss the year’s rankings, the Detroit rapper initially had the #8 spot. But no one could’ve predicted how much he would progress on the list. Indeed, the same could be said for Sean’s influence and impact on hip-hop over the past year.
#7: Kanye West
Kanye West has proven time and time again that as a soloist, he can single-handedly shift rap’s sonic focus, but over the past year Yeezy made sure that there wasn’t anybody messin’ with his clique. So even during a period when he put out G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer compilation, ‘Ye was enough of a force to land him at #7 on the ”Hottest MCs in the Game VIII,” MTV’s hip-hop power ranking.
#8: A$AP Rocky
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.
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.
#10: Meek Mill
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 the 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.