“Y’all Anger The Rap Gods”
We already heard Kanye get worked up over it, but now Danny Brown chimes in like a rapper actually deserving to be on such a list should; with a dope track.
Every year, MTV’s list causes drama of a kind, either in the blogosphere, among rappers, or both. Let’s take a second to evaluate this. While we’re all music geeks who love to discuss lists here, it is in itself a bit of a ridiculous exercise. There certainly are reasonable, fairly objective criteria to create such a list, but wether you don’t or do like a certain rapper depends on such hard to ascertain characteristics like flow and stage presence. They contain an individual slant by default, and to ignore personal preference would be as ridiculous as to use nothing but personal preference. For instance, Guru’s monotony might come across as utterly boring to some, while others love how laidback his performance is because it meshes so effectively with jazzy sounds. Another one: A$AP Rocky has very little in the way of lyrical content, which is grating to some, but he has style and flows in a catchy way that others simply can’t resist rapping along with. There’s no right or wrong opinion either way, as long as you can somewhat back up your argument. Personal preference being such a large part of it, debate will inevitably ensue with any list like this, and we love those debates.
Still, to determine who the hottest mc in the game is though, aspects like notoriety and general buzz factor in as well, and coupled with skill and originality, they give you somewhat objective criteria to use besides your own taste. But MTV seems to base the list on nothing but popularity. How else do you explain the inclusion of a guy like Drake, who barely released a song in the past year? Regardless of your opinion on him, what verses are his slot in the list even based on? None, probably. Which isn’t the least bit surprising. It’s not in MTV’s interest to create anything resembling an objective list based on hard to determine criteria and analysis, it’s in their interest to generate web traffic and television ratings. For that, you need the biggest names, sprinkled with some controversy derived from a pretty random ranking which is guaranteed to ruffle feathers in a business with huge egos.
If MTV cared about music, they’d still broadcast music. Instead, they broadcast “reality shows,” scripted and directed to appeal to the lowest of common denominator with the occasional talking head, so they have a semblance of concern for society. Right. The same channel that elevated Snooki to stardom supposedly worries about teen pregnancy. They’ll broadcast whatever brings them paper, preferably with as little investment as possible. Why do you think every show on an actual soundstage disappeared? It costs money to build those. Sending a camera team into the house of a random family of mouthbreathers is much cheaper.
MTV does not care about music. They did not ‘make’ any of the artists on that list. Rather the opposite, the artists on the list ‘make’ MTV by squabbling over it, adding to its undeserved credibility, and we all play along. Meanwhile, a lazy, ridiculous list captivates hip-hop media for weeks and we all give them free publicity by yapping about it. We just did too. Generating content everyday isn’t always easy, so latching onto MTV’s train is seductive. Granting it relevance by pretending the list holds any merit is ridiculous though. Yo! MTV Raps died ages ago and if MTV can’t be bothered with rap the rest of the year, we shouldn’t let them play us like a bunch of chumps whenever their list comes around. Instead, we should give MTV a simple message: This is hip-hop, you have no power here.