Welcome. It’s that time where everyone starts doing yearly best of lists. No exception here. This is roughly my fourth year doing this blog and the fourth time I do an end of the year list. Rather than give you more jargon, I’m going to shut up and give you my favorite songs from this past year. A lot of great music came out, so coming up with this list was difficult but I was satisfied with the end result.
Here we go.
Riff Raff – Rookies of the Year feat. Action Bronson
When this song came out, I didn’t know what to expect. But Riff Raff made me a believer. I fucked with this.
Blu – Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop feat. The Alchemist, Evidence, Tristate, Planet Asia, Donel Smokes, Chance Infinite and Krondon
An amazing ensemble of West Coast rappers helps Blu out on this funky posse cut. It reminded me of this jewel—thanks to Evidence—from a few years ago.
15. Rick Ross – The Devil is A Lie feat. Jay Z
Backed by a terrific horn-filled beat from Major Seven and K.E.—I love horns on beats—Ross and Jay showed that their chemistry is impeccable. Every time they collaborate, they provide a dope song. I have yet to hear one of their songs that I didn’t like.
14. Prhyme (Royce Da 5’9 and DJ Premier) – Dat Sound Good feat. Ab-Soul and Mac Miller
DJ Premier with a funky beat. Royce does what he normally does: rap. I have to say: Solo stole the show with his clever wordplay. Mac Miller – I don’t dislike him like I used to. I thought he was a gimmicky (wack) rapper. He’s cool now.
13. Slaughterhouse – SayDatThen
The four-headed monster took over an eerie Nottz production and spoke their minds. Budden, who doesn’t shy away from speaking on personal matters, gave us an almost-too-personal story in the first half of his verse. Crazy!
12. G-Unit – Nah I’m Talking About
THE UNIT IS BACK!!!! I figured they were going to reunite when 50 Cent had a major announcement. This was the second freestyle/song they released after reuniting, rocking over Hit-Boy’s extra terrestrial beat. Both 50 and Banks killed it. Know what I’m talking about?
11. Schoolboy Q – Break The Bank
Q is a fan of The Alchemist. He always wanted a beat. This is his second. I’m glad Q got this banging beat, Alchemist provided Q a certified “get-fucking-crazy” beat. I can’t help but want to smash shit or drive recklessly whenever this song comes on.
10. Dilated Peoples – The Bigger Picture
9th Wonder gave Dilated a dope “joyous” beat. I can’t help but feel…happy, excited when the song comes. A smirk shows up on my face, that’s the feeling I get when I hear the beat. Plus Rakaa and Evidence verses are dope too.
9. Joe Budden – Only Human
I don’t know how he does it, but Budden always manages to share, (maybe over share?) very personal stuff. At times, I feel guilty. I shouldn’t be hearing this from him. But this is more than music for Budden, its therapeutic. Just listen to the second verse.
8. Vince Staples – Nate
The year’s breakout artist? Dude impressed me. He’s dope. This standout track from his EP shows Staples rapping about wanting to be just like his drug dealing father. The content is so real and vivid; you could picture the images Staples painted with his raps.
7. Fashawn – Dreams feat. Evidence
This song…great beat by Alchemist. It’s mellow as fuck. The chemistry between Fash and Ev is great. They compliment each other. They both match the beat’s slow tempo with matching slow flows. Evidence kills it.
6. Rick Ross – Sanctified feat. Big Sean and Kanye West
An anthem, an ANTHEM! Or just wishful thinking on every guy’s part. All three rappers brought it, but c’mon, you know they weren’t going to outshined Yeezy. Who else was going to provided the “aggressive line?”
5. Slaughterhouse – Y’all Ready Know
This was a nice surprise, Slaughter over Premier. This song is hip-hop. No hook, just some cuts and bars. All four members provided dope verses but I’m going to go with Budden’s verse (surprise) as my favorite. Those high school lines: ill.
4. Joe Budden – Alive
Another song off the Some Love Lost EP, he gets on and spits about his personal life, touching on Tahiry, the alleged assault, fake friends and fans. The hook caught my ear when I first heard it, its dope, but the verses made me stay.
3. Freddie Gibbs – Robes feat. Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt
My favorite cut from arguably the album of the year. All three provided memorable opening lines that I always, always recite. This record solidified Domo for me and made me check out his music. Plus, it made me an Earl fan, who I followed on Twitter afterwards.
2. Jeezy – Seen It All feat. Jay Z
Like Ross, Jay has amazing chemistry with Jeezy. Their collaborations are always dope. First off, Cardo provided a heater. Both spoke on seeing it all while hustling. Jay raps an incredible verse—might be the year’s best. He went into details about his former hustler life. Dope shit.
1. Step Brothers (Evidence and The Alchemist) – More Wins
The first time I heard this song, I went nuts. The beat was instantly contagious. I couldn’t stop bobbing my head. The album’s intro is such a great opening track and sets the tone for an expectation-met album from two of my favorite rappers. The beat is so fucking dope! This came out in January and outlasted every release.