March 14, 2013

Deen’s #11, 12, 13, 14 & 15 is Dylan.

I imagine that if you read this site or anything even remotely connected to the rap internets on a regular basis you’re aware of the fact that MTV dropped their 8th annual “Hottest” “MCs” in the game list. Obviously, folks have had an issue with this list since its inception, given the fuzzy ranking criteria and weighting towards the more frivolous ranking factors, such as sales, radio and “buzz.”

Yesterday, Jeff posted the full list and his own ballot.  Because you’re obviously wondering how I voted, here’s my ballot:

10. Curren$y: He just keeps churning it out. “It” being dope ass music, all under his own idiosyncratic banner. I’ve written so much about him and his various projects over the last few years that writing more in this space feels a bit redundant. Let’s just say he’s been great for a long time – including last year.

9. ASAP Rocky: What this kid did over the last year was really impressive – especially the album. He basically willed himself from nothing into a major mainstream rapper in about 2 years flat. He also gets credit for his live and radio appearances in which he consistently delivers off-the-dome freestyles. We don’t show enough love for that shit anymore.

8. Grande Marshall: Left-field pick. I know. It’s just that rappers this young shouldn’t be this good this early in their careers, unless they’re named Nasir. Not to say that he’s anywhere near as dope as the Gawd is/was, but you’d be hard pressed to hear his ‘800’ tape from last year or any of his loosies and not come away impressed by this calm Philadelphian. Unless you’re a fuck-nugget.

7. Juicy J: A lotta folks are making the kind of socially irresponsible rap that the Juiceman is making, but he’s the best doing that shit right now. He steals the show on every feature and has become a bonafide hitmaker. All without really changing a damn thing about himself over the last 20 years.

6. Pusha T: Lowkey, Push was everywhere last year. Dropping the most technically impressive (if not necessarily the most tweetworthy) verses on a slew of rap pop songs. As well as the harder shit I appreciate, then he topped if off with a very strong mixtape in the ‘Wrath of Caine‘. Color me impressed. I think his album is going to be great – he just needs a solid single or two.

5. Action Bronson: Over the last 13 months or so, he’s released two of my favorite full length projects for free and he’s done more to differentiate himself from the shadow that loomed over him at the start of his career. He can only get more interesting and I plan to keep paying attention.

4. Roc Marciano: He does ONE thing and he does that ONE thing exceptionally well. It’s really fun to listen to an artist single-mindedly attempt the same trick over and over again and hear him succeed over and over again. ‘Reloaded’, like ‘Marcberg‘ before it, is certain to go down as a classic in my book.

3. Kendrick Lamar: I still harbor reservations about Kendrick (and the rest of TDE, but I’m coming around on Schoolboy Q as well – pawse), but I’m utterly impressed by his success, given the kind of music he makes and his still underdeveloped pop instincts. My barbershop folks barely know who he is, but he’s what you’d call an important artist. In addition, he kinda takes Drake’s spot on this list for me. Wanna read more on that last point, then bug me later.

2. Nas: He’s my all time favorite, but he generally doesn’t belong on these lists because the ridiculous absences he takes from the scene. Well, Kelis and IRS put his ass to work last year and he fucked around and delivered what was arguably the best rap album of 2012. That’s enough for the #2 spot here.

1. Freddie Gibbs: He’s been my favorite rapper since I first heard his stuff back in 2009. Simply put, there’s no one better – whether it’s straight gangsta rap, poppier efforts or the most random collaborations you haven’t thought of yet. Freddie hears that shit, then slaughters it. Bar for bar, he’s the best and most consistent rapper working today. I still haven’t heard a weak verse from this man.

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