Before the album even dropped, this song was a movement by itself. Son! Do you remember how this pass-the-mic, soul sample-packed lyrical exchange shook the rap game up? Over Otis Redding’s “Tenderness,” this nigga Kanye told YMCMB to “tuck their whole summer in.” Crazy! Hov’s callin the paps on himself? This shit still give me chills. Run it back! Maybe Flex likes this shit more than me. But not by a lot. Ha!
2 Chainz’s “Spend It” was already the hottest in the hood. But once T.I. was released from the clink and added a verse for the remix, it was a wrap. Over Drumma Boy’s friendly organs, Tip delivered a sweet 16 that complimented Chainz’s kooky rhymes, “I’m riding around on my side of town/ Wit’ my dubs up, and my wind down”. Don’t forget the similac!
This street anthem set the year off right. Make no mistake, Khaled’s protege had a certified smash on his own. Lex Luger’s sinister track was knocking and Ace’s hook was deadly killer but then Rozay and Wayne hopped on and this joint went national. Weezy’s verse here is his best since life after prison. With a lil help from his friends, Hood proved all the doubters wrong. The third time is still the charm. We The Best be that logo.
The story goes that Trey Songz was originally rapping on the chorus. Thankfully, the powers that be deaded that. Held down by Balla Et Ses Balladins’ tribal sample, Cole creates an irresistible hit with more bounce than an ounce. But it’s not all fun and games, Lightskinned Jermaine still handles his business with smart similes like, “I’m from the ‘Ville where they bang for the money/ And carry 4-5′s like change for a 20.” Good God, that hit the spot!
Interscope didn’t believe. Rozay did. And MMG’s star recruit proved the Warner Bros bosses right. The misunderstood DC MC showed us that he could make hit records. Big hit records. Shit, this one is still heavy on the radio and recently knocked “Niggas In Paris” out the #1 Hip-Hop/R&B Songs charts position. I’ve yet to meet a member of the female species who can resist this one. Miguel hittin’ high notes. Folarin spittin’ game. A-E-I-O-U equals W-I-N.
It almost feels wrong that we didn’t pay for Frank Ocean’s Nostalgia, Ultra. Released for free at the top of the year, Frank turned the tables on traditional R&B and hipster cool. He clipped the Eagles’ wings on “American Wedding” and challenged the status quo on “We All Try”. “Swim Good” was excellent, but then there was “Novacane”. An easy bass and a melodic hook caught everyone’s attention and helped give Def Jam’s red-shirted rookie the push he needed. Ultra magnetic move.
When Meek signed to Maybach Music Group early last year, he proclaimed his goal to be the rap game’s undisputed rookie of the year. With two hits “Tupac Back” and “Ima Boss” locking the streets down, Meek proved he can hang with the best of them on his latest street collection. On this DJ Drama-hosted mixtape, Meek dropped numerous dope freestyles including his version of Future’s “Tony Montana” and probably the best “Niggas In Paris” take to date. Meek even displayed his art of storytelling on the brilliant “Tony Story”. Also with no days off, he put in that overtime flow on “Work” with Rozay and kept the parties all over going with “House Party” which was aided by his fellow Philly native Young Chris. Mill’s debut album is coming this year, but knowing his work ethic, we’ll see more free music. Now that’s a rap fan’s dream.
Previously: #10 Freddie Gibbs Cold Day In Hell l #9 L.E.P. Bogus Boys Now Or Neva l #8 50 Cent The Big 10 l #7 Wale The Eleven One Eleven Theory l #6 Young Jeezy x DJ Drama The Real Is Back l #5 Pusha T Fear Of God l #4 Wiz Khalifa Cabin Fever l #3 Big K.R.I.T. Return Of 4Eva l #2 2 Chainz T.R.U. REALigion
After his very public break-up with Ms. Milian, The-Dream had a change of heart. Dropping the stage name and going with the government instead, Terius decided to release an album independently for free 99 and it was beyond well-received. Def Jam mad? With his swag back, Mr. Nash finally shed his last tear and got back to doing what he does best—make hits. The emotional roller coaster ride begins on his melancholy opener “Wake Me When It’s Over”. He later learns to live with regrets on “Wedding Crasher” and gets straight to the point during “Used To Be”. Hi Christina! But not everything is 808s and heartbreak here. Terius turns this mutha out on “Rolex”, bounces with Pharrell fo’ “Real” and chops and screws his way with Big Sean on “Ghetto”. 1977 was a home run. Word to Reggie Jax.
2 Chainz’s buzz got a new lease on life in 2011. After dropping his Tity Boi alias, he rebuilt his fanbase and released last year’s most entertaining recording, T.R.U. REALigion. Much of Chainz’s popularity can be traced to his infectious remix with T.I. for his local ATL sensation, “Spend It”. What he lacks for in skill set, he makes up for in charisma. In fact, it’s his presence that anchors cuts like, “Letter To The Rap Game”and “Viagra”. Elsewhere, he brings the noise with “Riot” and ushers the funk with Big Sean on “K.O.” Even an atheist can feel that.
The Weeknd gives new meaning to the term, “northern exposure”. There wasn’t any pomp nor circumstance when the reclusive Canadian dropped his debut, House Of Balloons. In its place, was nine wonderful tracks. He made emergency contraceptive a viable option on the sinful, “What You Need” and equally seductive, “The Morning”. But what’s sex without drugs and rock n’ roll? He shakes things up with “The Party & The After Party” then on “Wicked Games” requests, “Bring the drugs baby, I can bring my pain.” Whoa. Lauded for its indecent proposals, it didn’t take much for this house of balloons to pop.