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Yep, Barbie hijacks the list by becoming the first female rapper to find herself on this list. If my predictions are correct, you’re looking at Drake, Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye West and a wild card (possibly J. Cole) for the final five slots. Like many lists before, folks are trying to make this about the “best” emcees – when it isn’t. If it were, we all know that list would have more emcees than rappers. The final 5 will be reveled on Sunday at 1:30 EST/12:30 Central in an hour long special on MTV2.

Last year, Nicki Minaj was a buzzed-about femcee who was holding her own in the male-dominated rap game. Now, she’s a star in her own right, eclipsing many of her peers and becoming an icon for her Barbiez worldwide.

Her influence — whether it’s through her music and the many lyrical characters she embodies, her fashion sense or speaking out about important issues like child abuse and discrimination — is now strong enough that the MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust voted her the #6 Hottest MC in the Game. And, like the true pioneer she is, she’s the first woman to make the list.

“She showed that not only is she the most talented female right now, she’s one of the most talented rappers,” MTV News’ Shaheem Reid said during the Hottest MCs roundtable discussion. “This girl has star power. She took a little bit of [Lil] Wayne’s blueprint … and she just jumped on records.”

Indeed, aside from the fact that Nicki had a radio staple this summer with the Annie Lennox-sampling single “Your Love” — which hit #1 on Billboard’s Rap Songs chart — where she really made her presence felt was in the company of others, outshining the best of them. Witness her standout verses on songs with Kanye West, Rick Ross and Jay-Z (‘Ye’s “Monster”) and Ludacris (“My Chick Bad”) and her show-stealing appearance on DJ Khaled’s star-studded “All I Do Is Win” remix. She also stood out among her crew on Young Money’s “Bedrock,” while arguably out-spitting Drake on his own song, “Up All Night.”

But Nicki’s appeal wasn’t just limited to hip-hop. Christina Aguilera called on her for “Woohoo,” Sean Kingston recruited her for the reggae-tinged “Letting Go,” Usher tapped her for “Lil Freak,” and labelmate Jay Sean did the same for his pop hit “2012.” And to further cement her status as the top feature artist of 2010, Trey Songz’s “Bottoms Up” is currently #2 on Billboard’s R&B Songs chart. On top of all that, her debut album, Pink Friday, doesn’t even drop until next month.

Nicki’s not without her critics, though. At first glance, with her provocative name and image, she could be written off as just another female MC looking to flaunt her sexuality. But when people actually hear her, the talent is undeniable.

PREVIOUSLY: #7 – Lil Wayne | #8 – Waka Flocka Flame | #9 – B.o.B | #10 – Ludacris

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