Presented by Ben
1. “Racks (Remix)” – YC feat. Young Jeezy, Wiz Khalifa, Waka Flocka Flame, CyHi da Prynce, Bun B, B.o.B., Yo Gotti, Wale, Cory Gunz, Dose, Cory Mo, Nelly, Twista, Big Sean, Trae The Truth & Ace Hood. Note that this is NOT the original version of “Racks on Racks” by YC and Future, the track that epitomizes the autotune & dumb it down movement of hip hop. This is the mega-remix that dropped this May, running almost 13 minutes long, featuring everybody and their cousins, or so it seems. 17 different verses, all with different feels, from rappers of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds and styles makes for one supertrack that is gold to the ears of a real hip hop fan. While none of these verses would be in the running for verse of the year, the fact that they all come together on one beat in one song make it a rare treat, and the unsung hero of the year in rap. Verses are in the order listed above.
Racks (Remix)- YC feat. Young Jeezy, Wiz Khalifa, Waka Flocka Flame, CyHi da Prynce, Bun B, B.o.B., Yo Gotti, Wale, Cory Gunz, Dose, Cory Mo, Nelly, Twista, Big Sean, Trae The Truth & Ace Hood [Link]
2. “Fast Lane” – Bad Meets Evil (Eminem & Royce da 5’9″). These two combined for the song “Bad Meets Evil” on The Slim Shady LP and got back together for Hell: The Sequel this year. “Fast Lane” was the first single from the EP, and definitely the most impressive work on it. They say in sports that you often play up to your competition if your opponent is definitively better than you, and I think that theory can apply to the rap game too, as (especially demonstrated in this song) Royce keeps up with Em in all facets. This song shows off their incredible chemistry together, as they build off each other’s verses and continue rhyming as if the only thing that changed was the mouth it was coming out of.
Bad Meets Evil- Fast Lane [Link]
3. “Worldwide Choppers” – Tech N9ne feat. Yelawolf, Twista, Busta Rhymes, Ceza, JL B. Hood, Uso, D-Loc & Twisted Insane. From Tech N9ne’s album All 6s and 7s, this song is a roller coaster ride, traveling through different countries and regions of the US (Turkey, Denmark & Alabama, to name a few) and showing off the chops of the fastest rappers in the game. Words fly by like shells from a machine gun for five and a half minutes, and this song demonstrates some of the best technical skills of the year. Twista shows off the quick vocal tricks he’s famous for, and Busta absolutely DESTROYS his verse, one of the best of the year. Busta got tons of publicity for (and attempts to imitate) his verse in “Look At Me Now” (#29 on this list), but this one is definitely his most notable to date.
Tech N9ne feat. Yelawolf, Twista, Busta Rhymes, Ceza, JL B. Hood, Uso, D-Loc & Twisted Insane- Worldwide Choppers [Link]
4. “Wanna Be Right” – DJ Kay Slay feat. JR Writer, Jon Connor, Reek Da Villain & Jae Millz. Kay Slay produces a sick beat here with a nice sample, and gets the perfect (although random) assortment of rappers to accompany it and deliver 4 rock hard verses. These four definitely seem like an oddball group from different cliques, with Dipset’s JR Writer, Reek Da Villain from Busta’s Conglomerate, YMCMB’s Jae Millz and the heir to the hip hop throne, Jon Connor. The total package, beat plus four perfect verses (and Connor’s is extra perfect), make this a top track of the year.
DJ Kay Slay feat. JR Writer, Jon Connor, Reek Da Villain & Jae Millz- Wanna Be Right [Link]
5. “Wait For Me” – Big Sean feat. Lupe Fiasco. These two rappers had very interesting years in 2011, with Big Sean climbing to center stage faster than his rapping skills could keep up with, and Lupe’s “Lasers” fiasco, but this track from June’s Finally Famous: The Album was a keeper and showed the good qualities of both of them. The beat and chorus are awesome, Sean’s verse is catchy as hell, and Lupe’s wordplay shines in his verse. Definitely the catchiest song out of the top 5, and the sample from Wilson Picketts’s “It’s Too Late” is one of the coolest of the year, so props to No I.D. and Exile for producing this one.
Big Sean feat. Lupe Fiasco- Wait For Me [Link]
6. “Strange Clouds” – B.o.B. feat. Lil’ Wayne. Easier said than done, but try to block out Wayne here. SICK chorus on a SICK dubstep-influenced beat, and B.o.B.’s verses are mighty good. Forget the middle part happened.
B.o.B. feat. Lil’ Wayne- Strange Clouds [Link]
7. Yelawolf feat. Gangsta Boo & Eminem- Throw It Up [Link]
8. Tech N9ne feat. Hopsin & B.o.B.- Am I A Psycho [Link]
9. Urban Mystic feat. Jadakiss, Styles P & Bun B- Money Is My Wife [Link]
10. “Outro” – Lil’ Wayne feat. Bun B, Nas, Shyne & Busta Rhymes. This was the best track from Wayne’s Carter IV and, no surprise, Wayne isn’t actually on it! Nas’s verse in this song gets my vote for the verse of the year- he absolutely murders it from start to finish.
Lil’ Wayne feat. Bun B, Nas, Shyne & Busta Rhymes- Outro [Link]
11. Kanye West & Jay-Z- Gotta Have It [Link]
12. Marcus Manchild feat. Travis Porter & Big K.R.I.T.- A Million [Link]
13. Drake- Headlines [Link]
14. “Assassins” – Pharoahe Monch feat. Jean Grae & Royce Da 5’9″. Pharoahe Monch’s W.A.R. was one of the most underrated albums of the year, which is fitting because Monch is one of the most underrated emcees of all time. Nobody in the history of rap has come close to rivaling Monch’s creativity in terms of complexity in rhythm and lyrics. “Assassins” was one of four singles from this album, with Royce tearing it up like always and Jean Grae proving that female rappers with actual talent do, in fact, still exist.
Pharoahe Monch feat. Jean Grae & Royce Da 5’9″- Assassins [Link]
15. Yelawolf- Everything I Love The Most [Link]
16. Common feat. Nas- Ghetto Dreams [Link]
17. Maino feat. Roscoe Dash- Let It Fly [Link]
18. “Running The Streets” – Freeway feat. Jakk Frost & Free Money. A nice old-school feel to this one, produced by Statik Selektah. Freeway’s high voice and Jakk Frost’s low voice are a great combination as they both have the same rawness in their styles.
Freeway feat. Jakk Frost & Free Money- Running The Streets [Link]
19. J. Cole feat. B.o.B.- Pass Me By [Link]
20. “Time For Some” – Action Bronson & Statik Selektah feat. Lil’ Fame. This one is from the album Well Done, Action Bronson’s second album of the year and just as impressive as the first. Produced entirely by Statik Selektah, the beats were incredible and Bronson shined like no other. This one features Lil’ Fame (of M.O.P.) on the hook.
Action Bronson & Statik Selektah feat. Lil’ Fame- Time For Some [Link]
21. Lil’ Wayne, Drake & Big Sean- All Of The Lights (Remix) [Link]
22. Lloyd feat. Andre 3000 & Lil’ Wayne- Dedication To My Ex (Miss That Pussy) [Link]
23. Kanye West & Jay-Z- Murder To Excellence [Link]
24. Eminem feat. Slaughterhouse & Yelawolf- 2.0 Boys [Link]
25. M.O.P.- Back At It [Link]
26. Emilio Rojas feat. Rittz, Laws & Voodoo- Champion (Remix) [Link]
27. “We Go Off” – Phonte feat. Pharoahe Monch. After churning out albums and mixtapes with Little Brother, Phonte finally released his first solo album and he didn’t skip a beat at all. Charity Starts At Home was one of the best albums of the year, with Phonte demonstrating why he, too is one of the most underrated rappers.
Phonte feat. Pharoahe Monch- We Go Off [Link]
28. Kanye West & Jay-Z- Otis [Link]
29. Chris Brown feat. Busta Rhymes & Lil’ Wayne- Look At Me Now [Link]
30. AWAR feat. Joe Budden- Standout [Link]
31. Big Sean feat. Kanye West & Roscoe Dash- Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay [Link]
32. Machine Gun Kelly feat. Ester Dean- Invincible [Link]
33. “Ima Boss” – Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross. 2011 saw a rise of Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group, signing, among others, Wale & Meek Mill. The group has collaborated with one another a lot and tends to use beats that usually sound the same (from producers like Jahlil Beats and Lex Luger), meaning every song by them sounds exactly the same as the last. “Ima Boss” was an exception, as the beat is one of the best of the year, and Milly actually flexes some rap muscle on the track. Bonus points because rappers coast to coast did freestyles over this.
Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross- Ima Boss [Link]
34. Yelawolf feat. Slaughterhouse & T.I.- Hard White (Remix) [Link]
35. “Freaks And Geeks” – Childish Gambino. Actor-turned-rapper Donald Glover shook the entertainment industry by flexing his rap muscle, and his debut album Camp did not disappoint. He mixes clever funny lines with a surprisingly hard flow, the perfect balance to listen to.
Childish Gambino- Freaks And Geeks [Link]
36. Lupe Fiasco- The Show Goes On [Link]
37. The Dean’s List- Dear Professor [Link]
38. A-Trak feat. Donnis, Pill & Danny Brown- Ray Ban Vision (Remix) [Link]
39. Fabolous feat. Red Cafe & Trey Songz- Sicker Than Yo Average [Link]
40. Asher Roth- Common Knowledge [Link]
41. Drake feat. Nicki Minaj- Make Me Proud [Link]
42. “Say It (Remix)” – Termanology feat. Joell Ortiz, Bun B, Saigon & Freeway. Nice features on this track here from the Massachusetts rapper, known better as the rapper of 1982 (with Statik Selektah). Saigon spits fire on this one, in the year that his looooong-awaited debut album Greatest Story Never Told finally came out and absolutely did not disappoint. Termanology has teamed up with Sai and Freeway before, and the new additions of Slaughterhouse’s Joell Ortiz (yaowa!) and the Trill OG himself make this a great song.
Termanology feat. Joell Ortiz, Bun B, Saigon & Freeway- Say It (Remix) [Link]
43. Common feat. John Legend- The Believer [Link]
44. DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Lil’ Wayne & Rick Ross- I’m On One [Link]
45. Young Jeezy feat. T.I.- F.A.M.E. [Link]
46. Kirko Bangz feat. Big Sean, Wale & Bun B- What Yo Name Iz (Remix) [Link]
47. Young Jeezy feat. Jay-Z & Andre 3000- I Do [Link]
48. Big Sid feat. Killer Mike & Big K.R.I.T.- Born On The Block [Link]
49. B.o.B. feat. Big K.R.I.T. & Bun B- 5 On The Kush [Link]
50. “Unfair” – Tech N9ne feat. Krizz Kaliko, Ubiquitous & Godemis. And there you have it folks. The top 50 hip hop songs of the whole year. Tech N9ne wraps this one up, a fair way to end a year that Tecca Nina dominated. This song is off of the latter of his two albums in 2011, Welcome To Strangeland.
Tech N9ne feat. Krizz Kaliko, Ubiquitous & Godemis- Unfair [Link]
A couple songs barely missed the cut this year, some J. Cole, Gilbere Forte, Slaughterhouse, Ace Hood and Trae The Truth. The DSTHH train keeps rolling in 2012! Happy new year to everyone!