More than any other genre, hip-hop is a competition. Rappers are constantly fighting for position, battling for the top spot in a sport whose season never ends, and hip-hop fans are just as feverish about arguing for their favorite rappers as they are about their home NFL team.
But unlike sports, music doesn't have any playoffs, no easy points system to firmly determine the rapper hierarchy. Sure, there are sales and stream statistics, but they only tell a fraction of the story. Kendrick Lamar drops a new song everyone's talking about, should that one song count for more than an album by someone else with less impact? Jay Z fends off an angry sister-in-law in an elevator, lighting the internet on fire in the process; is he now more powerful or less?
So figuring out a constantly-shifting Rap Power Rankings is a nearly impossible task, but we welcome the impossible. Every month, we'll be joining forces with Green Label to apply our trademark and very secret formula to determine the top-ten spots in hip-hop from the month before. That means that, for example, while Drake came in at the number five spot in January [spoiler alert] dropping a surprise mixtape/album/mixalbum in February will likely mean Drizzy climbs at least a few spots next month. How will Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise affect his ranking next month?
So enjoy the inaugural edition, and stay tuned to see how the game's mic-holders rise and fall each month. From Kanye to Kendrick and eight other spots, the game is on....