MUSIC WORLD: Hottest MCs of 2011 [MY LIST]
Last night, MTV aired their conclusion to round out the list of their “Top 10 MCs of 2011.” Any list that ranks hip-hop artists creates disagreement and controversy. Music is art. Art is open to interpretation. Therefore, these lists are quite subjective. Before the list was even revealed, I decided that I’d create my own. I’ll use the same criteria too: Impact, Sales, Lyrics, Style, Intangibles.
Before I continue, check out MTV’s List.
9. Wiz Khalifa
8. Big Sean
7. Meek Mill
5. Lil Wayne
4. Nicki Minaj
3. Kanye West
1. Rick Ross
To see their rationale, check out their site. Without further ado, here’s my list.
Trasee’s Hottest MCs of 2011
10. Meek Mil: with the endorsement of Rick Ross, Meek Mill’s stock in the hip-hop world rose exponentially. He was listed as part of XXL’s Freshman Class of 2011 while signed to T.I.’s Grand Hustle. While on that label, he didn’t make too many moves. As soon as he got the stamp from Rick Ross, he dropped some memorable verses. Not to mention his mixtape that garnered a lot of positive reviews. Arguably one of the bigger club bangers of the year, “House Party,” was presented by Meek Mill. Check the video below.
9. 2 Chainz: Say what you want, 2 Chainz had a big year. Apparently changing his name from the brash “Tity Boi” (which actually refers to drugs, not the female body part) was the key to blowing the eff up. Making minimal waves while signed to Ludacris’ DTP, 2 Chainz dropped some mixtapes. “T.R.U. Realigion” was enough to get the attention of Def Jam and a guest verse from T.I. on it’s breakout single “Spend It.” The true impact of 2 Chainz can be heard whenever someone yells out “TRUUUUUUUE.” Don’t believe me, you can listen to his entire mixtape HERE.
8. Big Sean: Who said you need to take yourself seriously to be a top MC? Big Sean reminds me of Ludacris when he first came out. After making a name for himself in Detroit, appearing on the G.O.O.D. Music Cypher, and tearing up the BET stage, Big Sean proved he was worth the hype. His album was one of the more listenable offerings from the entire year in music. I can listen straight through and not skip a track. Not to mention how hot “Dance (ASS)” was for him with the inclusion of Nicki Minaj. Check the video below.
7. J. Cole: How dare MTV not include J. Cole on their list? Psh… His album Cole World: Sideline Story is arguably one of the best debut albums released in the last 5 years. It’s coherent, retrospective, and forward-thinking all at the same time. He may not be the most charistmatic. He may not have the most sales. But his album went gold and he gained the respect of the hip-hop community. Check out his video for the first single “Work Out” which he also produced.
6. Jay-Z: Yes, the G.O.A.T. (in my opinion) was still relevant in 2011. He teamed up with Kanye West for the release of the highly anticipated Watch the Throne album. The album produced a CRAZY amount of love/hate commentary and a uber successful tour. I mean, I don’t know a year where he wouldn’t be included in the list. Jay-Z ensures relevancy every year whether he drops an album or not. And let’s not forget about his blog “Life+Times.” Check out the making of Watch the Throne to experience some of his genius.
5. Wale: 2011 was Wale’s year. Wanna argue with me, go ahead and try it. If you didn’t know who Wale was in 2010, I bet you were going back and downloading some of his older material in 2011. After aligning himself with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group, you couldn’t go 10 minutes without hearing his voice on the radio. Between the Self Made compilation album and Wale’s solo efforts, he had a huge year. If you can gauge how successful an artist is by how sick you got of hearing their tracks, “Lotus Flower Bomb” should put Wale at the top of the list. Check out his latest video, “Slight Work.”
4. Kanye West: Not enough could be said about the musicality of Kanye West. Aside from Watch the Throne clearly being a Kanye album featuring Jay-Z, 2011 was a big year for Kanye. His tweets created instant trending topics. His clothing line created a conversation about fashion from people who normally abstain from discussing the subject. That style and intangibility of Kanye’s genius keeps him at the top of the list on ANY year, with or without music. Check the video for “Niggas in Paris” below.
3. Drake: As much as it pains me to put Drake this high in the list due to personal preference, 2011 was a good year for Drake. Anything he did people were checking for. His guest verses stole songs (read: I’m on One, She Will, Round of Applause) and made you forget who’s song they really were. Aubrey Graham has a good year. Take Care was released and polarized the hip-hop community. I love him for that. Who else could rock a cheetah print North Face bubble coat with Nike driving gloves and people STILL rock with him? Drizzy, that’s who. Wanna know what I’m referring to, check it below.
2. Nicki Minaj: Who would’ve thunk Nicki Minaj would’ve been a crossover hit like she is. Her awesome 2011 led her to start of 2012 is a major way also. Since the Superbowl was in early 2012, that’s proof how major her 2011 was. She dropped a successful debut album, was featured on some big hits of other MCs on the list, her fashion is always a topic of discussion, AND she’s aligning herself with some terrific business moves. Beef with Lil’ Kim aside, Nicki Minaj made sure her presence was felt. Is she my favorite, not in the least. But did she have a hot year, yes indeed.
1. Rick Ross: I completely agree with MTV’s placement of Ricky Rozay. I don’t really like him and his music is far from my favorite of the year, but 2011 was his. He signed two of the artists on this (Wale, Meek Mill) and has been featured on tracks with two others (Nicki Minaj, Drake) all in the past year. He made power moves. Rick Ross made sure you heard “Maybach Music” in most of the top hits of the year. His beat selection is so ill, if he continues to keep that up, he’ll be a mainstay on this list for that alone.
Welp, that’s all folks. That’s my list. Nope, no Wiz Khalifa or Lil’ Wayne. I don’t feel like they had a year big enough to be worthy of a spot on my list. There are definitely honarable mentions with Jeezy, T.I., Kendrick Lamar, and Fabolous. But they just did too little too late.
Agree, disagree, indifferent, leave a comment.