13 for 13: Best Tracks of ’13

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These are the best songs of 2013, as viewed on by me.

13. Big Sean – Control feat. Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica (produced by No ID)

Ah, the verse that had the hip-hop world talking. Kendrick found himself in quite a situation by his verse either receiving praise or disses. Kendrick saluted his competition-slash-friends but point-blanks told them he wants to murder them on wax, when on the same track. For that sole reason, I applaud him for not being afraid to say it. Let’s not forget, Jay Electronica also had a dope verse, it was just outshined by Kendrick’s.

12. Kanye West – Black Skinhead

The controversially titled ”Black Skinhead” was the perfect way for Kanye to re-announce his arrival via his “theme song.” He was backed by a raw, thundering beat filled with bass drums. The beat is dope and catchy, and his verses are simple yet filled with controversy, in true Kanye form.

11. Step Brothers (Evidence and Alchemist) – Step Masters

This is such a fun, hard-hitting, out of this world track from my favorite duo. The hook is dope especially when it’s performed live and especially when each one tries to outdo the other, to see who can hold that note the longest. It’s filled with witty and clever lines and simple-yet-memorable bars like Alchemist’s “flipping like things that flip.” It’s different then the other tracks on this list but that’s what so dope about it.

10. The Alchemist – Camp Registration feat. Evidence, Blu, Domo Genesis and Action Bronson

The definitive example of what’s been happening at Alchemist’s studio the past two years: a rap camp. He linked up with some frequent collaborators and dropped this posse cut along with others this past July. He laced the track with two beats, a soft rock inspired one and a funky, West Coast type-feel one. There, Alchemist is joined by Ev, Blu, Action and the show stealing Domo, who’s verse was ill and thought-provoking. “How the fuck you shit on a nigga who believes in himself?” Word up Domo.

09. Jay Z – FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt feat. Rick Ross

Jay Z delivers a summer anthem for hip-hop. Here, we get Hov and Ross doing what they do best, dropping dope collaborations. Both spit about having the finer things including a bad chick with them and a lot of money. Although they rap about their money, the saying can be interpret in different ways including having a certain white thing.

08. J. Cole – Let Nas Down (remix) feat. Nas

Cole’s ode to his idol Nas. Cole spoke about disappointing Nas with his single, “Work Out,” he felt so terrible that he apologized to Nas, who felt he shouldn’t have gone the radio-hit path, but rather let his lyrics speak for themselves. The dope part was the way Nas responded to the track, providing a verse it. In it, he explained why he didn’t like Cole’s hit, the short answer: he felt Cole could do better. Nas ended his powerful verse by praising Cole for “Born Sinner,” which probably made Cole smile in the end, receiving props from his idol.

07. Pusha T – Nosetalgia feat. Kendrick Lamar

Pusha is rapping from the perspective of drug dealing and what that life endures. He mentions several things such as dealing in a school zone; having multiple ways of communication, two beepers; and coping with death, in which you don’t, you move on. On the flip side, Kendrick gives us the perspective of seeing your love ones affected by it, telling us how he saw his video game system taken away and sold multiple times for crack. Crazy, dark stuff, but it’s the truth.

06. Kanye West – New Slaves

Who names a song “New Slaves”? Yeezy does and he tells us we are modern day slaves to these corporations. The dark feel the track gives off is a perfect example of how “Yeezus” was, although it was different than his previous work, it still had the same result: dope!

05. Pusha T – Millions feat. Rick Ross

This came out in January, along with his “Wrath of Caine” mixtape, and gave us a peek into what Pusha was cooking up for his debut album. The combination of Ross and Pusha on a track has had the same result the past few years, dopeness. Their cocaine-filled referenced verses are ill and that hook is pretty catchy, “choppa choppas in the closet,” not to mention the incredible Southside and ‘Ye production.

04. Eminem – Rap God

Em doing what he does best, rapping his ass off! He reminds us that, when he wants to, can be/is one of the best at rapping. This is the epitome of straight-up lyricism. What else do you want? He gives us three long, I mean long, verses of full metaphors, analogies, wordplay, punchlines, etc. He absolutely destroys the song. These words don’t do the song justice; you have to experience it yourself by listening to it.

03. Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock – U.O.E.N.O. (remix)

A true posse cut by Kendrick, Q, Ab and Rock. They take Rocko’s extraterrestrial banger and destroyed it. Let’s be real, Future made that Rocko song with his hook, but after hearing Black Hippy’s version, people could be saying, “who is Rocko? Black Hippy destroyed it, it’s theirs!” Everyone comes out hard, as if they were boxing and it was the final round. From Kendrick’s stunning-yet-accurate opening line to Jay Rock’s gritty, amazing, song stealing verse, all four made people, me, not want to listen to the original version.

02. Kanye West – Bound 2 feat. Charlie Wilson

Kanye delivered a different type of love song. He rapped from a boyfriend’s point of view and put the pen on the paper and delivered a heartfelt rap about his relationship with Kim. Although he didn’t directly say her name, you can tell the bridge and second verse were about Kim. What other song this year had so many one line quotables? Maybe a few but none like this. Have you ever asked your bitch for other bitches?

01. Pusha T – Hold On feat. Rick Ross

Ross’ verse is arguably the verse of the year. I already spoke on this earlier, and even with these other tracks on this list, it still stands out. The auto-tuned vocals from ‘Ye is a nice touch as it adds additional soul and emotion. A bit gibberish, but you can somewhat understand what ‘Ye is saying and it sounds similar to a harmonized groan. Both rapped introspective verses and absolutely killed it. Amazing stuff.

-(Photo credit to nydailynews.com)

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