2012 was a great year for Hip Hop. Every demographic of the genre had an abundance of content from several of talented artists. This shows that music is out there. Hip Hop is far from dead, you just have to look. However, as I selected the top ten songs of the year, I was left with Hip Hop heavyweights who commanded multiple slots. Here is my list:
Honorable Mention: Jay-Z – Glory (Blue Ivy)
#10 Rick Ross – “Hold Me Back”
Somehow this song became the hustlers anthem. I guess many can empathize with feeling like they’re being held back. Very simple song and hook yet very powerful. Ross captured a feeling here. One of empowerment for those playing the game of power.
#9 Nicki Minaj – “Freedom”
Nicki at her best. Far from a Minaj fan, but I love an introspective artist who is able to capture the essence of their inner-self. This is what Nicki does on “Freedom”. Very reminiscent of “Moment For Life”, which in my opinion is her best song to date.
#8 Kanye West ft. R. Kelly & Teyana Taylor – “To The World”
Finally! A Kanye/Kels collab. Both Chicago heavyweights were yet to release a song together until “Cruel Summer”. This is by far the best intro of the year. Sonically, sounds identical to “All Of The Lights” (uses same drums) but this song is nothing short of epic. IT’S A MOVIE B!
#7 Rick Ross ft. Dr. Dre & Jay-Z – “3 Kings”
This song leaked right before the album dropped, and personally it got me excited for its’ release. Jay-Z bodies this record. Ross does his thing, while Dre holds his own. I love the sample the beat uses. All around great song. Jay-Z rambling at the end is classic!
#6 Kanye West ft. Big Sean, Pusha T, & 2Chainz – “Mercy”
Now, I must say. I HATE THIS SONG! Simply because it was overplayed. It’s even the menu music for NBA 2k13 so I can’t escape its’ reach. However, this song is probably the biggest Hip Hop record of the year. Everyone did there thing. Even 2 Chainz. Classic record, could have been possibly higher on my list. Hope to never hear it again..at least not in 2013.
#5 Kendrick Lamar – “Cartoons & Cereal”
“Cartoons & Cereal” is simply dope. I love this record. Crazy samples and vocal automation. Kendrick tells a story of his youth and how he was raised by television. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the album due to sample clearances.
#4 Pusha T – “Exodus 23:1″
Can you say ethered? Pusha was so vicious and authentic in this record. This song shows that he has a lot to offer as a solo artist. Great flip on the Biggie vocals. I would go as far as calling this a classic diss record.
#3 Kendrick Lamar – “Don’t Kill My Vibe”
Everybody’s favorite “Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City” song it seems. “Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Kendrick Lamar is an amazing song. I love the hook and the flow of the verses. Great beat, and the breakdown of the strings towards the end of the song are stellar. This was a tough battle for #1.
#2 Nas – “Stay”
Nas killed this song lyrically. Speaking real life and story telling at its’ best. Great, jazzy production where “less is more”. Nas complimented the beat flawlessly. When the horns start in the intro you can feel it in your soul. Best song on “Life is Good”
#1 Rick Ross ft. Andre 3000 – “Sixteen”
This is Dre 3000′s song. The beat, the course, and the verse of the year. Ross definitely holds his own. “Sixteen” has an simple, yet amazing chorus. Andre’s harmonious bridge at the end is dope. This is simply a classic hip hop record that did it everything it set out to do.
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