Every year, around February, MTV announces their annual Hottest MCs in the Game list. It ranks the top ten hottest rappers of the last year.
It’s always wrong.
So, I’ll preempt them, and give you the real top ten Hottest MCs of 2012.
To be clear, this is the hottest MC from January 1, 2012 to December 27, 2012 (today). No prior works will be considered.
By my calculations, there were 58 “relevant rappers” in 2012. So, let’s start cutting it down.
If you’re not played on Hot 97, you don’t really matter (think, “if a tree falls in the woods and no one sees it” maxim), That immediately cuts 18 rappers off the list, leaving 40 remaining MCs.
If you didn’t do anything substantial in 2012, you’re disqualified. This eliminates another 15 MCs which includes gods like Jay-Z (sorry Glory and one verse on Cruel Summer doesn’t count as “substantial”) and Three Stacks (Dear Andre, Anyone who’s started listening to rap music post-2006 thinks your name is “Featuring Andre 3000,” you’ve sort have become irrelevant to an entire generation of rap fans, sorry but it’s true).
This leaves us with 25 surviving rappers. If you’ve been hanging out with Maroon 5, you can get the hell off this list. That goes double for anyone who’s featuring Paramore or Taylor Swift on their records. Which leaves us with 23 rappers.
Cutting four more rappers that released decidedly disappointing albums or mixtapes (Jeezy, Lupe, Big Boi, Waka) this year leaves the number at 19.
If you stole your whole sound from 808’s and Heartbreaks and never credited your sources, I have no respect for you. (If anyone doesn’t know who I’m alluding to, I’m alluding to Future. Fuck Future.)
If you routinely have the worst verse on any posse track you appear on, you’re out (looking at you Big Sean).
If you’re name consists of a European nation and a mid-western state, I can do without you.
If you only had one really good song of 2012, and it was about strippers you’re also out (cough-Tyga-cough-Juicy J).
If I can’t stand you, you’re out. That’s you Wale.
That leaves 13. The last three cut, for no really good reason, are Earl, Tyler and Nicki in that order.
That leaves us 10.
The Ten Hottest Mcs in the Game (according to me).
10. Meek Mill
Meek dropped Dreamchasers 2 (one of the better mixtapes of 2012) and then released his debut album Dreams and Nightmares (which was very sneaky good). He may or may not have gotten with RiRi and he may or may not have thrown a champagne bottle at Chris Brown’s head (coincidentally, these are #2 and #6, respectively, on my 2013 New Year’s resolutions list). He’s also become one of the best “shout rappers” out right now.
9. Pusha T
Pusha went all Omar Little on Young Money in 2012, making it his mission to just be a pain in their ass, which shook up Wayne enough for him to release a terrible response diss track (like really terrible). There was four good tracks on Cruel Summer, Pusha was on three of them, that was not a coincidence. Good year Pusha.
8. A$AP Rocky
With Kendrick Lamar being old news, A$AP Rocky has now officially taken the perpetual rap mantle of “Next Big Thing.” He toured with Drizzy this summer, overtook Kanye as the consensus best dressed rapper and got Iggy Azalea to tattoo his name on her – so you know it’s real – (he then subsequently broke up with her). He’s debut album is set to release next month (although it’s already been leaked), he’s got a ton of internet buzz behind him and now he’s starting to get a real radio push behind him too.
Drizzy didn’t release any of his own stuff this year, instead he just jumped on every other rapper’s Summer jam, did his thing, then ghosted. He’d be much higher on this list if I hadn’t seen him be so terrible live (which I had heard before, but didn’t want to believe.) Also quick thing about Diced Pineapples, is there any other song that that sounds so perfect for a Drake verse that doesn’t have a Drake verse? Why only a hook, Ross? There is no doubt in my mind that Drake recorded a verse so out of this world that Ross and Wale just looked at each other and knew if it was ever released Drake would become an unstoppable mammoth, leading to Young Money taking over the world. Then Rick Ross, in his ultimate wisdom, decided to take the tape of Drizzy’s verse, lock it in his favorite Maybach and drive it off the Venetian Causeway, giving it a water burial off the coast Miami Beach to ensure it will never be heard. Thereby, saving us from a second slew of #YOLO Facebook statuses, “OVOXO” being screamed on college campuses across the country and an entire Drake-ification of America’s youth.
6. Chief Keef
In 2012, Keef released four mixtapes, an album, caught a charge, and had a kid. He’s only 17. He’s also the scariest rapper on this list. All Facts.
Nas stayed relevant into his 40th year, which is an accomplishment in itself. Life is Good was one of the better hip-hop albums of the year receiving universal acclaim and even grabbed a XXL rating. I’ve personally never been a huge Nas fan, but I got to give one of the greatest ever his props.
4. Kanye West
A down year by Kanye standards, but Mercy and Clique alone put him somewhere on this list and delivering us 2 Chainz puts him on the top half of this list. My opinion, I think Kim is killing Kanye the artist and this will probably be his last time this high on this list. It’s just my opinion, but it’s also a fact.
3. Rock Ross
It should be noted that the top three on this list are so high above the rest it’s not even fair. One collab album, two mixtapes and one solo album, 2012 was a busy year for the bawse. From best to worst it goes, God Fogives, I Don’t, Rich Forever, The Black Bar Mitzvah, Self Made Vol. 2. That’s over four solid hours of rap music, to put that in perspective, that’s nearly double all the music in Dr. Dre’s discography.
2. 2 Chainz
Best Moments of 2012: All of them.
Tity Boi has officially replaced Lil’ Wayne as the “hardest working man in hip-hop.” Tauheed Epps is the best dancer in hip-hop, right now. 2 Chainz is also the tallest goofiest rapper in hip-hop, umm, ever. That’s all I got to say about that.
1. Kendrick Lamar
Best Moments of 2012: Everything on Good Kid, Maad City
I made a massive, three hour, 50+ track, genre spanning 2012 playlist. It was an all encompassing soundscape of the year that was.
Then I edited down. Trimmed the fat and got it to a tidy 20 songs. A smorgasbord of my favorite songs of the year. Spanning from Jack White to Ke
s$ha, from A S$AP Rocky to Passion Pit, from Action Bronson to Sleigh Bells.
Then I got rid of all the extraneous stuff. (I’ll leave it to Pitchfork and Spin to make the super pretentious playlists of songs that don’t really matter, filled with a bunch of stuff no one outside of Williamsburg actually listens to.)
Seven Tracks. Thirty minutes. These are the only songs that truly matter of 2012.
T h e M a g n i f i c e n t S e v e n
Pop That – French Montana, Rick Ross, Drake, Lil’ Wayne
If a year ago someone told me that I would be putting a French Montana led track on this list, I would punch said person in the face. So why is Pop That on the list? Well, first off, it thrust twerking into the national consciousness. Second off, and most importantly, it gave America this. The most perfect music video of all time. Complete with Drake making weird Drake faces, Lil’ Wayne trying to skateboard, Rick Ross being a complete bawse and French Montana trying his hardest to not look awkward as fuck (spoiler: he fails).
Bandz A Make Her Dance – Juicy J, Lil’ Wayne, 2 Chainz
Hold Me Back – Rick Ross
Could have went with Stay Schemin’. Could have gone with So Sophisticated. Could have picked Diced Pineapples. But all those would have been disingenuous cop outs. Maybe it’s not BMF, but I wholeheartedly believe that God put William Leonard Roberts II on Earth to make this song. Sooo fierce (One quick minus, the amount of self-censoring I have to do when this comes on is absolutely ludicrous.)
Clique – Kanye West, Big Sean, Jay-Z
Most people will tell you that Mercy is better. Most people are wrong. There are exactly four non-terrible moments on Cruel Summer. Three of them are on this track. One, the Hit-boy beat. Two, Jay’s verse. Three, Kanye comparing Maybachs with George Tenet. (If you were wondering, the fourth is the first 18 seconds of Mercy.)
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
I want to make this perfectly clear, this is a TOTALLY SERIOUS inclusion, I repeat, there is not a drip of sarcasm in this choice. It’s just a really, really good song.
Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar
Poetic Justice has a better beat. Sing About Me and Swimming Pools (Drank) are more socially conscious. Backseat Freestyle gives me an excuse to yell, MARTIN HAD A DREEEEAAAM. But, B,DKMV is maximum – well – vibe out music
Thinkin Bout You – Frank Ocean
If someone ever released a video of me singing-along to this in my car, it would be the most embarrassing moment of my life (like being caught masturbating-type embarrassment levels). I don’t know if this song technically qualifies for a 2012 list (wasn’t it leaked in 2011?), but every music publication seems banded together in their assertion that it is a 2012 track. I could have just as easily put Pyramids on this list, but how many songs about strippers can I have before every one of my female friends calls me a sexist, objectifying, asshole? I mean did you watch the Pop That video (yep, double-linking it)?
T H E P L A Y L I S T
(to be listened to in this order for maximum enjoyment, no shuffling, thank-you and enjoy)
November 24, 2012 will go down in history as the day I finally accepted the world’s fate. 2 Chainz is a national treasure and will most likely be President 2 Chainz by 2016.
I spent my entire weekend trying to save the world as 2 Chainz by collecting sneakers and chains and jumping over zombies and garbage cans. Yeah, it’s as weird as it sounds and it makes total sense.
(stupid WordPress won’t let me embed the game, so click here to play)
When Bandz A Make Her Dance first came out and started gaining some heat I thought: “Why do people like this garbage?”
Then after hearing it on the radio a few times I thought: “I like this in a strictly ironic way, like the same way I watch Walking Tall whenever it’s on TV. It’s unintentionally AMAZING.”
Then I started going out of my way to listen to it and thought: “This is the BEST song of 2012 (no saracasm intended).”
Then I saw the music video and thought: “WOW. So many questions.”
Why is there a marching band in a strip club?
Why is Juicy J wearing a helmet?
Why is 2 Chainz relevant?
Now it’s clear, Bandz A Make Her Dance is NOT a song. It’s a MOVEMENT. And it’s just about the greatest thing to ever happen. I repeat: GREATEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN.
Thank You Juicy J. I’m sorry for ever doubting you.
So while I was in New Jersey with the family (the very extended family) this weekend, eating copious amounts of Italian food, Philly was going H.A.M. Jealous.
Top 5 Reasons I Wish I Was At Made In America
Rev Run Angela Simmons
4. A Giant American Flag
3. Eve Still Looking Good
2. GOOD Music (surprise set)
1. Pearl Jam + Jay-Z = 99 Problems (gah)
So I did this a while back. In the time since, Kanye has released three more videos. Let’s see how they stack up.
LOST IN THE WORLD directed by Ruth Hodben
It features three Kanye music video staples: black and white composition, strobes and models. Very avant-garde or at least Kanye’s idea of avant-garde. It’s undeniably Kanye. Solid effort, but nothing spectacular.
Score: 23 / Rank: 28
NO CHURCH IN THE WILD directed by Romain Gavras
I guess it’s playing up the whole Occupy Wall Street movement. It does look cool, but I feel like it tries to hard to “make a statement” or something. Also it’s sort of boring/one note. It doesn’t progress in an interesting way. I guess it’s a more serious version on Run this Town, but I like Run this Town more. I mean you got Kanye, Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, and none of them even make a cameo, c’mon.
Score: 24 / Rank: 26
MERCY directed by NABIL
Easily the most enjoyable video of the crop. Which is ironic considering it’s just a bunch of guys rapping in a parking garage, but sometimes all you need is just a few guys rapping (see Ni**as in Paris). Nearly the whole GOOD MUSIC crew shows up on set (even if they’re not on the track). Simple black and white, but it’s also sort of menacing. There’s a parent trap thing going on, which is pretty cool. Some oddly entertaining jumping around/swaying/dancing by the crew is pretty dope too. SWERVE.
Score: 26.75 / Rank: 19