Best Rap, 2011

2 years ago by in Uncategorized

Best Rap, 2011:

It’s the end of the year again and at the end of the year we make lists. So here is a list of rap songs that either mattered or should have mattered in 2011.

It was a confusing year for rap. Where last year saw a minor renaissance for underground rap movements across subgenres this year saw many of those movements commodified by industry, blinded by hype, flooded by posers or simply frozen in the face of expectations. None of this slowed the pace of production either, making for a whole lot of rap that was just good enough but almost never great. And even if you did manage to keep up with it all, it still was hard to hear the music underneath the din of all of the conversations about the music. At least half of those were about Tyler, The Creator of the rap group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All who, for a brief moment at least, justified the whole mess with one hell of a mission statement in the form of a song (and a popular music video that you can watch at home on your computer.)

Keeping up with mainstream rap in 2011 was a slightly easier task, if only because nearly every rap song to hit national radio was exactly the same as the last one. Either it was Drakey or it was Lugery. This wasn’t a conscious choice, but it occurs to me that the two real world hits in the top three just so happen to be among the only significant real world hits that managed to sidestep that binary. Watch The Throne may have been a goddamn mess but at least Kanye and Jay managed to do what no one else has in a few years – create a single strong enough to cut through hip hop demographics and appeal to basically everyone within the culture. As much as I love to pick apart their every misstep, they are occasional geniuses and “Nunderscores In Paris” is one of those occasions. (I’m not quite ready to make the same concession for the bizarre and unholy alliance of Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes & Diplo but they too managed to make a pretty amazing record against all logical odds.)

Beyond that top 3, everything feels fragmented here. 50 songs is no longer enough to offer anything close to an adequate wide frame survey of modern hip hop and the gaps here are pretty glaringly obvious. But whatever, hopefully you enjoy listening to the songs that I did include. Every year I spend entirely too much time explaining its methodology and preemptively defending my choices. If you’re still looking at this site chances are you already know how the game goes, you know my biases. If you are just joining us, I suggest you read through past entries to get a feel for how things work. In short: all omissions come from a deep-seated place of personal hatred, all inclusions were purchased by the artist’s label with Louis bags full of drug money and deadstock No Limit CDs in their original ugly rubber cases. Take it to the comments if you’ve got a problem with that. Unless, of course, your solution involves you putting the word “real” in front of the words “hip hop.” In that case please take it somewhere else.

1. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “N_____s In Paris” (Def Jam)

2. Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers” (XL)

3. Chris Brown f/ Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – “Look At Me Now” (Jive)

4. Meek Mill – “House Party” (MMG/Warner)

5. Kendrick Lamar – “Rigamortis” (Top Dawg Ent.)

6. Danny Brown – “30” (Fools Gold)

7. Juicy J – “Who Da Neighbors” (Mixtape)

8. E-40 – “My Little Grimey N***a” (Sick Wid It)

9. Waka Flocka Flame – “Bickin Back, Bein Bool” (Mixtape)

10. Mr. Muthafuckin’ Exquire – “Huzzah” (Youtube)

11. Lil Wayne f/ Rick Ross – “John” (Cash Money/Universal)

12. Wiz Khalifa – “Big Screen” (Mixtape)

13. Treal Lee & Prince Rick f/ Waka Flocka, etc. – “Throwed Off (Fuck Everybody) (Remix)” (Collipark)

14. 151 Feva Gang – “Kush Groove” (Youtube)

15. Mellowhype – “64” (OFWGKTA)

16. Webbie f/ Lil Phat – “What’s Happenin” (Trill/Asylum)

17. Lil B – “Motivation” (Mixtape)

18. Cousin Fik – “Water In the Bo” (Sick Wid It)

19. TKO Capone – “Louis Gucci” (Youtube)

20. Gunplay f/ Waka Flocka – “Rollin” (Mixtape)

21. Young L – “Loud Pockets” (Mixtape)

22. G-Side f/ SLASH – ”Came Up” (Slow Motion Soundz)

23. Big Sean f/ Nicki Minaj – “Ass (Remix)” (GOOD/Def Jam)

24. 2 Chainz – “Spend It” (Duffle Bag Boyz)

25. Tony Yayo f/ Lil B – “Based” (Youtube)

26. DJ Quik – “Ghetto Rendezvous” (Mad Science)

27. ASAP Rocky – “Peso” (Youtube)

28. Rocko f/ Plies – “Goin Steady (Remix)” (Atlantic)

29. Short Kidd f/ Chetta Da Kid – “Vulcha” (Youtube)

30. Pete Rock, Smif N Wessun f/ Freeway – “Roses” (Duck Down)

31. Fat Trel f/ Young Moe – “Bitchez Started Klokkin” (Mixtape)

32. French Montana f/ Waka Flocka Flame – “Choppa Down” (Mixtape)

33. Pusha T f/ 50 Cent & Pharrell – “Raid” (GOOD)

34. Trouble – “Bussin” (Duct Tape)

35. Wale – “Bait” (MMG/Warner)

36. Roc Marciano – “My Persona” (Fat Beats)

37. YC f/ Future – “Racks” (Universal)

38. Bo Deal f/ Mello G Bianca – “Safe Sex” (Mixtape)

39. Future – “Magic” (Mixtape)

40. Stalley – “Pound” (Mixtape)

41. Pac Div – “Anti-Freeze” (Universal)

42. Don Trip & Starlito – “4th Song” (Mixtape)

43. Big Krit 8Ball, MJG & 2 Chainz – “Money On The Floor” (Def Jam)

44. Riff Raff – “Larry Bird” (Youtube)

45. Mouse On Tha Track – “Swagger Fresh Freddie

46. Zeroh – “I Was Sad” (Tumblr)

47. B.O.B. f/ Lil Wayne – “Strange Clouds” (Atlantic)

48. Boldy James – “I Sold Dope All My Life” (Youtube)

49. Tyga f/ Pharrell, Snoop & The Game – “Really Raw” (Mixtape)

50. Kreayshawn – “Gucci Gucci” (Columbia)

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