MTV put out honorable mentions for those who did not make the list, check it out:
J. Cole had a phenomenal 2011. His debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, has gone gold and yielded a platinum single with “Work Out.” Cole, who was once an underground favorite, broadened his fanbase by touring with Rihanna on her Loud Tour.
Tip might have gotten off to a late start, since he was released from prison at the very end of September, but the King of the South wasted no time getting back into the swing of things. Immediately after finishing his bid, Tip jumped on some of the hottest songs in rap, creating his own remixes to 2 Chainz’s “Spend It,” Future’s “Magic” and the Throne’s “N—as in Paris.” Tip capped it all off on New Year’s Day when he dropped his F— Da City Up mixtape.
Last year, Eminem stood as the #1 Hottest MC in the Game. It was hard to deny him after 2010’s Recovery dominated the charts. Em’s lyrical ability is never a question, and in 2011, King Mathers once again proved that very few (if any) can match him on the mic. Rather than churn out the commercial smashes he is known to make, Em took things back to the underground and hooked up with Royce Da 5’9″ for their fan-favorite Bad Meets Evil EP Hell: The Sequel.
It may have taken the Snowman a minute to put out his long-awaited TM 103: Hustlerz Ambition album, but Jeezy wasn’t just sitting around twiddling his thumbs. While fans salivated for his major-label release, Young fed the streets with a pair of DJ Drama-helmed mixtapes in 2011. (The Real Is Back and The Real Is Back 2). By the time Jeezy finally released his latest installment from his Thug Motivation series in December, he had earned himself a #1 rap album.
A little artistic reinvention never hurt anybody. The MC formerly known as Tity Boi broke out from his group Playaz Circle and embarked on a solo mission that paid huge dividends. As 2 Chainz, the ATL standout fired up the streets with mixtapes like Codeine Cowboy and T.R.U. Realigion. With street bangers like “Spend It” under his belt, 2 Chainz stood as the poster child for rap’s underground and then cashed in when he signed his major-label deal with Def Jam this month.
With or without an album, Brooklyn’s Fabolous consistently slays his completion. Fab didn’t release his Loso’s Way 2 LP, but he did serve his fans a dose of that raw with his Christmas Day mixtape There Is No Competition 3: Death Comes in 3’s. On the tape, Funeral Fab goes in, freestyling over beats made famous by Tyga, Travis Porter and, of course, 2 Chainz. By the end of the 15-track ride, Fab proved that he is eternally hot no matter what his competitors may throw at him.