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The Rap Power Rankings, January 2015

Hip-hop is a competitive sport. Country singers don’t battle each other and then intensely debate who had the better verse (we’re assuming—we don’t really follow country), but as long as there’s been hip-hop there have been rappers trying to prove they’re the best. So in the same way ESPN keeps a running Power Rankings tracking a NFL’s team place in the football hierarchy week-to-week, we’re launching the Green Label Rap Power Rankings.

Every month we’ll survey the hip-hop landscape, and rank the ten artists making the most powerful moves. The first-place getter gets 10 points; the last-place getter gets only one. Frankly, our exact formula’s a secret—a complicated secret, and it has to be complicated. Sports is a pure numbers game, but music is about so much more.

The most important thing is that we’re only considering what that rapper did this month. Is Jay-Z a more powerful all-time rapper than Joey Bada$$? Of course—but who had the better January? This allows hungry young talents the chance to upstage their elders, who might’ve gotten fat and comfortable on success.

It also means these rankings have the potential to change dramatically from month to month, so you’re just going to have to stay tuned to who stays and who goes. Got it? Good? With all that said, we present the inaugural Green Label Rap Power Rankings for January, 2015.

For other rap artists who had a good month, stay tuned to hear more from our Green Label Sound Open Call winner, Kelechi.

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