I’ve been noticing a lot of “Best of 2011″ lists popping up over the past week. I’m not quite there yet. December has already produced two of my favorite projects of the year (The Roots’ undun & Young Jeezy’s Thug Motivation 103), so I’m gonna let that shit sink in, and take my sweet time. Here, we’ve got the best 80 hip hop songs that dropped in October & November, and top to bottom its simply a dope ass playlist. Making a top 10 was especially tough this time, because full bodies of work (such as Camp, Take Care, LiveLoveA$AP, The Cold Corner 2, EPIC, Blue Dream & Lean, etc.) really stood out to me over the past few months rather than individual singles. Finals suck so use these songs to distract yourself for an hour, or just throw them on as background music for your studies.
1. Kissin’ Pink (Featuring A$AP Ferg) – A$AP Rocky
-For all of the love that “Purple Swag” and “Peso” have received, I think that this is easily A$AP Rocky’s best track to date. Bump this a few times and I guarantee you’ll know every word to A$AP Ferg’s weirdly awesome sung verse.
2. When I Was High (Remix) Featuring Tech N9ne & Rittz – Nikkiya
-I first heard Nikkiya on Yelawolf’s “Speak Her Sex” (which might be the best song he’s ever made), but clearly what made me check this song was the pairing of rapid-fire spitters Tech N9ne and Rittz. If you’re into double-time rap over horror movie style beats, this will be your jam.
3. Heartbeat – Childish Gambino
-Took me a while to take Donald Glover seriously as a rap artist, simply because I’m such a big fan of his acting. Camp has turned out to be one of my favorite releases of the year, though, with “Heartbeat” being the highlight. Great dubstep inspired production, plus a surprisingly impressive singing performance from Gambino.
4. Look What You’ve Done – Drake
-The best rap song on Take Care. 40 kills the production throughout the album, but on this track Surf Club’s Chase N Cashe provides a nice backdrop for Drake to drop one of his best lyrical performances to date.
5. Stoner’s Night Pt. 2 (Featuring Wiz Khalifa) – Juicy J
-I really don’t know why a southern rap legend like Juicy J would sign to a 24-year old pop-rapper’s label. Probably because he’s way too trippy to care. If they keep pumping out songs like this, though, I won’t complain. Oh, and this song’s producer, Harry Fraud, is about to have a huge 2012.
6. Ambition (Featuring Meek Mill & Rick Ross) – Wale
-An epic MMG showcase. In 2011 we learned that these 3 can compliment eachother extremely well, especially over a beat like this.
7. Wonderwall (Featuring Big K.R.I.T.) – Mike Posner
-I was ready to give up on Mike Posner after his terrible debut album, but his new mixtape The Layover quickly shifted me back to fanboy status. How does an R&B singer pull off a successful remake to the classic “Wonderwall”? Make a beat as crazy as this one and enlist Big K.R.I.T. to drop a guest verse.
8. Make It Stack (Featuring A$AP Rocky) – Lloyd Banks
-The Cold Corner 2 is one of the best projects of the year. When Banks is on his gritty NYC tip, he’s very enjoyable.
9. Lord Knows (Featuring Rick Ross) – Drake
10. Slight Work (Featuring Big Sean) – Wale
-Diplo REALLY needs to do more Hip Hop.
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