Hottest Rapper List: MTV Brain Fart?

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I apologize to

all real hip-hop fans and fans of real hip-hop for my waiting so long to skewer

MTV’s “Brain Trust” – the assembly of new age sharecroppers who host the

network’s hip-hop ranking specials. My

response time to cultural negligence of this magnitude is generally much

faster, so my only real excuse is that I didn’t take installments such as “The

Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All-Time” seriously enough to flip on instinct. I should have reacted when they named L.L.

Cool J one of the “Greatest MCs of All-Time,” or when they put UGK and Salt ‘N

Pepa on the “Greatest Groups of All-Time” list over The Roots and The Beastie

Boys, but I didn’t, and for that I’m truly sorry.

According to the

notoriously mannequin-like MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway, who himself is

a member of the so-called “Brain Trust,” the group is comprised of the

“smartest, most knowledgeable hip-hop minds at MTV News.” I know – that’s on some smartest

retard/coolest nerd shit to begin with – but it gets worse. These are the puppets who smile as Wayne and T-Pain

monopolize airwaves, and who benefit when record labels fill MTV coffers with

payola. They’re the swine who push

deplorable materialistic tomfoolery on near-captive audiences and then claim

that they’re quelling popular demand; not since that painting of dogs playing

poker have so many bitches gathered around one table.

I hate to dig too

vehemently into the individual “Brain Trustees”; as a whole, they’re a team of

shills who shamelessly perpetuate ignorant trends, but as fans, I believe that

most of them, at least at one point in their lives, valued rap music over

hip-hop hype and image.

Senior Producer Rahman Dukes proved his knowledge by nominating Public Enemy, Wu-Tang,

Black Moon, Mobb Deep, De La Soul and Brand Nubian on the “Greatest Groups of

All-Time” episode (only Wu-Tang made the final list); as did MTV Radio Network

writer Bridget Bland, who outsmarted her peers by being the only one to

advocate Chuck D for “Greatest MC of All-Time.” 

Gentlemanliness aside, though, these are some serious sellouts.

The sin that

broke my back fell in the first few minutes of the recently aired “Hottest MCs

in the Game 2008,” during which the “Brain Trust” apologized for Flo Rida and

Plies not making the list. One robot

even went so far as to defend Plies for his originality (I suppose he does call

himself “The One” Plies rather than “Your Boy” Plies). From there, the group actually proceeded to

negotiate whether or not Soulja Boy should qualify. I changed channels, but, according to, Kanye West, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne emerged on top. Shocking.

I understand that

the discussion regarded the current “Hottest MCs in the Game;” I’m not here to

suggest that Immortal Technique, Sean Price, Slug, Qwel and Cormega should have

trumped creative inferiors such as Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and T.I. After all, it is a popularity contest – not a

talent competition. What I will say,

however, is that it’s incredibly sad that these clowns are positioned in such

ways that they consider those latter artists the “Hottest MCs” in the first

place; on their own time do they tap into the underground, or, God forsake, the

international rap scene at all? Or do

they genuinely believe that their narrow tastes better represent hip-hop than

do the millions of young people who reject MTV and embrace originality. It’s like presidential politics; in the end,

it seems that all the worthwhile candidates are condemned to regional destinies

while the phoniest machine-generated frauds enjoy national spotlights.

It’s no secret

that the “Brain Trust” thrives off the controversy that its ignorance stirs;

the web explodes with a rash of traditionalist backlashes (like this) every

time they dumb out. My only problem is

the nature of that controversy; it’s the kind that one would instigate by

claiming that a dog is actually a cat; not the type that one would spark by

claiming that a dog is a better or worse house pet than a cat. It’s unconscionable enough that MTV spawns

unenlightened megalomaniacs like 50 Cent; now they’re building pedestals to

place them on.

I know exactly

how every major label pawn and “Brain Trust” whore will respond to this; I have

friends in comparable positions on commercial radio stations and big imprint

promotion teams who constantly pull defense mechanisms against my vitriol. They’ll say I don’t understand the music

business; that I’m a rap snob; and maybe, just maybe, they’ll accuse me of

being unqualified to evaluate what the streets want. (You know, since the rap videos they play on

MTV (when they actually get around to playing videos) truly reflect street

life). But I’m sure they’ll miss my

point. As a dedicated hip-hop fan and reporter,

I consider myself responsible for discovering and propping new artists who took

lessons from KRS-One, Rakim and Nas and extrapolated on them; not MCs who

disgrace the gods by reducing rap music to ringtones and club anthems. It took me some time to backslap the “Brain

Trust” because in discussing the best rappers, groups and albums in their first

episodes, they performed an honorable service to viewers who needed basic boom

bap history lessons. But while I

commended that, I believe the “Brain Trust’s” collective suggestion that their “Hottest

MCs in the Game” are the artists who carried forth Old School and Golden Age

traditions is an irresponsibility of unforgivable proportions. Kill your television. TO DISCUSS MTV's HOTTEST RAPPER LIST WITH THE ILL COMMUNITY, CLICK HERE