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Every year, MTV’s Hip-Hop Brain Trust puts out a controversial list of rappers of whom they deem the “hottest” at the moment, and every year the public chimes in with their own dissenting arguments of who belongs and who doesn’t.

The list, which measures the type of career year an artist is having as well as his talent, ranks the rappers using this criteria: rhyme skill, flow, musical prowess, as well as buzz, impact, commercial success and impact.

This year, MTV says that a rapper who turns 40 on December 4th has reclaimed his #1 spot at the top of the game, right now. Join the discussion. Do you agree with this list?

Note: Check out the video of their debate below each listing.

What MTV said: “He’s had the most acclaimed career in rap history. But even with all that lore, all that respect, all that prestige and all that money, Jay-Z continues to add luster to his legacy with time-transcending music, multiple successful business ventures and his dominant influence over the game. MTV News’ Greatest MC of All Time is 2009’s Hottest MC in the Game. Hov isn’t just an elite MC that pushes the culture, the Brooklyn native is the standard-bearer, the leader, a source of inspiration and aspirations — Hov’s the guy we all look to see how far hip-hop can go. And what a ride Shawn Carter has taken us on this year, from Presidential inaugural balls back his Brooklyn ‘hood (where he was accompanied by Oprah Winfrey) ,and he even found time to take us to the world’s most famous arena — Madison Square Garden — for a charity concert featuring historic gathering of musical guests. He also surpassed Elvis Presley to become the solo act with the most #1 albums in Billboard history with 11.”

What MTV said:2007’s Hottest MC in the Game, Lil Wayne, has been in the top three of the Hottest MCs list three years running on account of his consistently powerful skills on the mic and perennially enormous impact. Even without an album release in 2009, Weezy’s rep and influence continued to grow, owing to his status as rap’s most active and lucrative touring act, the rise of his Young Money crew of newcomers, and his armor-piercing punchlines on guest appearances.”

What MTV said: “Drake proclaims himself to be “the one, twice over/ The new 11.” He’s definitely one of kind. We haven’t seen a single mixtape as universally triumphant as his So Far Gone. We’ve seen guys turn the street-music hustle into instant ‘hood-icon status and get record deals before, like Young Jeezy (who actually got two deals, one with the group Boyz N Da Hood as well as a solo deal), the Diplomats and of course 50 Cent and G-Unit. This kid Drake, however, is a different type of beast. Technology allowed his tape to spread wider and faster than CDs, and So Far Gone’s word-of-mouth buzz made it a must-have download. He toured the country on the strength of the mixtape while songs fromSFG flew from underground to radio rotation.”

What MTV said: “Kanye West is a force larger than hip-hop. He’s turned himself into a global megastar, producing and collaborating with the biggest names in the game, influencing art and fashion, discovering and growing new talent, and consistently pushing musical boundaries with his own albums such as 808s & Heartbreak. Of course, ‘Ye’s occasionally brash behavior — particularly his interruption of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at last month’s Video Music Awards — sometimes distracts from the genius in his music, but he’s always been able to endure because of just how much he elevates hip-hop and pop culture.”

What MTV said: “How did Rick Ross make it to the Hottest MC List’s top five in back-to-back years? Because this top-tier word assassin released what seven of Roundtable members consider the preeminent hip-hop release of the year, Deeper Than Rap.Deeper ceaselessly and seamlessly did its job, entertaining throughout with Ross’ lithe lyrical delivery, which forms a mesmeric marriage with soulfully melodic tracks that play like the score to an Oscar-winning film.”

The rest of the list

What MTV said: “It’s been in the air for a couple of years now. Gucci Mane’s name has been bubbling — no, boiling over — in the underground scene, and he’s been inching his way closer and closer to cracking into the top 10 Hottest MCs in the Game since ’07. The Gucc didn’t just break through this year; he’s been able to leapfrog all the to way to the middle of the pack by having a cult following of pavement dwellers in the ‘hood and charming Middle America with a gold-tooth grin and a gaggle of guest spots on high-charting pop hits.”

What MTV said: “Young Jeezy may not yet have a mainstream, marquee name like some of his platinum peers, but the Snowman is an undeniable rap goliath. In hip-hop, his moniker holds just as much weight as the other big dogs. How else could he bring out Kanye West and Usher during the big Birthday Bash concert in his hometown of Atlanta last summer, and then turn around in 2009 and usher out surprise guests Mary J. Blige and Lil Wayne? And by the way, when Jay-Z decided to perform his earthshaking “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” in concert for the first time anywhere on the globe, he came out during Jeezy’s set at the “Summer Jam” show in New Jersey. And he followed that with a prominent slot on Lil Wayne’s “America’s Most Wanted” tour last summer, which ran for six weeks and was one of the most successful tours of the year thus far.”

What MTV said: “Fabolous started his Loso’s Way campaign by telling the world that it was “his time,” and the boy from Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood lived up to his claim. Loso’s Way— a concept project inspired in part by the gangster film “Carlito’s Way” — became his first #1 LP on the Billboard albums chart, selling nearly 99,000 units in its first week of release. All year, we’ve been hearing “It’s Loso, in case you didn’t know, so …” for a reason: Fab never runs out of ammo with his tireless punch lines and swag.”

What MTV said: “Over the past year, 50 Cent chose not to roam on one of his main predatory terrains, the Billboard charts, by continuing to hold back the release of his long-awaited Before I Self-Destruct LP. Instead, the G-Unit General began to fully realize the potential of another region in which he’d already planted his flag: the Internet.”

What MTV said: “They’ve got him behind the pot again! Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon the Chef came back to cook up one of the most potent offerings of 2009 with Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II, which is the hottest album in the streets right now. And no, the Brain Trust isn’t just overcome with nostalgia — the conceptual Cuban Linx II picks up where its timeless predecessor left off a decade and a half ago. Rae articulates his calm anger and heavy-handed, at times unmerciful underworld regulation with a compellingly clear yet callous delivery. Production-wise, he went for the best: RZA, Dr. Dre, the late J Dilla. The Chef has been able to do what few in his age bracket have accomplished: maintain respect and excitement with their more mature core audience, yet stay current and appeal to newer, younger fans.”

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