Ah…the music Top 10, Top 25, Top 50 or Top 100 list.
It’s something that’s been around for a good long while now, probably since the inception of music journalism. And in a sense, even before that, because every die-hard music fan has their faves, and therefore, their own lists. Countless music magazine pages, blog entries, online articles and the like have been dedicated to what has truly become a ritual, and a rite of passage, for so many, from the most casual fan that couldn’t tell you the difference between Kendrick Lamar and Lamar Odom, to the dedicated, damn-near obsessively stalker-ish mega-fan that once figured out that they were born one year, one month and eleven days after Bob Marley died (OK, OK…that was me…but I’m turning a corner, thank you.)
But I’m here today to talk for a bit specifically on a kind of list that has become a major source of debate, rhetoric, passion, infighting, broken friendships, and more four-letter words tossed back and forth like death stars from dueling ninjas with too much time on their hands…the Hip Hop music list, or more specifically, the Top 10 Hip Hop list.
Just last week, mainstream music juggernaut MTV released it’s annual list of the Top 10 Hottest Emcees in the game. A list which includes the likes of young, successful rhymers like Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean and Meek Mill, as well as industry vets such as Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. Topping the list this year was none other than the BAWWSE himself, Rick Ross a.k.a. Rick Rozay a.k.a the Teflon Don. You can check out the full list on the MTV.com website, that is, if you haven’t been able to already.
And, as was expected, MTV’s list had the Hip Hop world in a bit of an uproar. I actually had to count on two hands the number of Top 40 Hip Hop radio personalities that were a bit perturbed by the final list that the bigs over at MTV presented in all it’s glory. And I’m pretty certain that the streets were talkin’, just as they always are, when all was said and done.
I can hear fans from regions abound and places worldwide talking now, both in the affirmative and the negative: “They put DRAKE at number TWO???” “How is MEEK MILL even on the list at all???” “Why is Hova so LOW???” “Ross should’ve been number one YEARS ago!!!” Nicki can out rhyme all of them, why is she FOURTH???” “The list is wack: YMCMB and MMG paid those fools!!” In fact, here’s a video I found from a few years ago that sheds some more light on the subject as a whole and asks a pretty good question at the end:
Do I agree with this list or any other list entirely? HELL TO THE NO!!! Do I think there were some strong omissions and emcees that are totally killing it that were completely overlooked? Of Course! Am I gonna place all of my stock in what MTV, BET, Vibe, The Source, XXL or any other publication/website says about who’s the best and whose not? YES…when flying pigs play air hockey with cows that jump over the moon.
The main point here is something that we all know, but many times we toss out the window in the heat of the moment: these lists are very, VERY subjective, simply because at the core, music fans are always going to be very, VERY opinionated, no matter whether it’s the BET Hottest Rappers of the 21st Century List from a few years ago, to the current MTV joint, to anything that comes afterward. And many times, they may be based on things that we ourselves may not think are all that important, but probably are in terms of mass appeal, mainstream acceptance, and just being and remaining relevant at a higher level, which truthfully isn’t an easy thing to do.
On top of that, though these lists are great for sparking debate and generating fire in the belly of Hip Hop fans all over, when it comes down to it, they are just that and nothing more. Their true nature is to grow sales and page views, generate web traffic, and to get people to buy more of a certain publication. I’ve got all the respect in the world for all of the publications I previously mentioned, because at one point or another, I’ve been a HUGE fan of each. But their word is NOT law, and they are not the be all to end all.
So when it comes down to it, there are a few questions that I think every Hip Hop fan should ask themselves when lists like this pop up: What does it mean to be HOT? What’s the criteria that’s used? Does the fact that an emcee has SOLD the most records, singles, tickets or merchandise automatically mean that they are the HOTTEST? Does being the HOTTEST automatically translate into being the BEST?
I think I’ll just leave it there for now and let you be the judge in the end. And yeah, I know I say it all the time, but on this topic especially, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts, opinions, gripes and conflicts…so as a call to action, be sure to read, share, post Tweet and ReTweet as much as you possibly can. OK? OK!
As always, thanks for following and I’ll try to do better next time!