A common phrase on the internet is “Nas Lost.” The phrase is usually seen in the comments section of any article about Nas that indicates bad luck for him, and sometimes the news doesn’t even involve him.
Well I think Nas won.
In 2006, Nas’ album Hip-Hop is Dead was released to critical acclaim as well as criticism. The title was thought to be a shot at Southern Hip-Hop and many rappers such as Ludacris, Lil’ Wayne & Young Jeezy spoke out against Nas. Six years later, I think we can say Nas won as I could argue that that album was a landmark in hip-hop music. I’m crediting the release of that album as the moment that hip-hop music began an uphill climb from the fiery pit of snap-rap.
At this point, we should be proud of this past year’s crop of hip-hop songs. The year started off with a excitement and ended with new hope for a better 2013. I’d like to present the 70 best hip-hop songs of the past year according to me.
I ranked these songs according to how much I enjoyed the songs, not lyricism or the quality of the artist. If I thoroughly enjoy a song so much that I expect to be listening to it two years from now, it made this list.
Here we go.
70. Kirko Bangz – “Walk on Green“
Labeled a Drake clone by some, this feel-good single for the summer shows Kirko just might be closer to killing all of those comparisons to his Canadian contemporary.
Best line: “Throw about twenty grand in the air / Told her walk up on that green”
69. Action Bronson – “Hookers at the Point“
There might not be a better rapper in the game at the moment who could craft together the world of a hooker so effortlessly. A take on the HBO documentary of the same name, the second verse features Bronson doing his best Ghostface Killah impersonation as he raps as the vicious pimp Silk aka Montel.
Best Line: “The name Silk but all my bitches call me Montel / spit the marvel with the soft top not the hard shell.”
68. Young Dro – “How You Feel“
The underrated, but stagnant career of Young Dro continues with this street single. Bonus points for any music video walking through the hood.
Best Line: “You better watch yo girl on that Molly, I might kiss her!”
67. Ace Hood – “Leggo“
How did this gem from Ace Hood and the hottest producer in the game at the moment, Mike Will Made It go unnoticed? You’re missing out if you haven’t heard this in a nightclub yet.
Best Line: “Penthouse on the eighth floor / 30 packs of Trojans though / Say she down for the team, I’m like leggo leggo” (Catch aids why don’t ya Ace)
66. Jeremih – “Rosa Acosta“
Who thought Jeremih was finished after “Birthday Sex?” I definitely did. This track was an ode to one of the most beautiful women in world (yes, I’m thirsty) Rosa Acosta and was so smooth, it should have been a radio hit….along with about 10 tracks from his mixtape. Don’t sleep.
Best Line: “Rosa so wet (wet) / Give Rosa a coaster / That booty so soft (soft) / Just like my sofa”
65. Rocko – “Nachos“
The Atlanta emcee just keeps coming. Probably as a consolation prize to fans expecting “Super Future” from his more popular protégé Future, Rocko dropped a mixtape titled Wordplay. The release featured interesting wordplay and colorful beats, “Nachos” being a standout as Rocko tries to find a way to relate “nacho” and “not yo” for three minutes. Interesting at the very least.
Best Line: “Rich n*gga shit, you out yo league / Keep that broke shit over there, this not yo league”
64. Childish Gambino – “Real Estate”
I became a supporter of the Childish Gambino in 2012 after he released Loyalty. My second favorite track was the spooky “Real Estate” featuring Gambino, ATL rapper Alley Boy, Swank…..and Tina Fey. Yes, that Tina Fey. She doesn’t rap, but she provides comedy with a mock “shit-talk ending” found oh so frequently in rap songs.
Best Line: “My driver’s license suspended / But I’m still ridin’ in a Bentley!”
63. B.O.B. – “Strange Clouds“
I won’t link you to the video because I thought the visuals were too ridiculous. But the song itself? Maybe B.O.B.’s best single to date. I even like the Lil’ Wayne verse if that says anything.
Best Line: “I’m top chef, you top ramen/ I’m top shelf”
62. DJ Drama – “We In This Bitch“
Although DJ Drama tried and failed to recreate “I’m on One,” what he did create was one of his best singles featuring three of Atlanta’s all stars: Jeezy, T.I., Ludacris & Future. Although the verses are all decent at best, you can’t tell me you don’t feel as if you’ve won the Super Bowl once the beat slows and Future croaks, “We in this Bitch!”
Best Line: “Flashback in this bitch, thought I seen a scale!”
61. DJ Drama/Meek Mill – “Audemar Remix“
A candidate for rookie of the year, Meek Mill continued his rain of savageness in 2012 on the remix to one of his randomly released tracks. Adding hip-hop boss Birdman and Gucci Mane only added even more fuel to the fire.
Best Line: “My AP, cool as an AC / Look in the magazine, the same exact as Jay-Z”
60. Chill Will – “Street Stars“
Note to Chill Will: Keep pushing. You keep making trunk-thumpin tracks with credible producers like Honorable C Note, you’ll go far.
Best Line: “It’s Chill Will / There he is / If the ringtone don’t sell bet this dope wiiiillllll”
59. Future – “Long Live the Pimp“
An ode to hip hop legend Pimp C as well as the state of Texas leaves Future and Trae the Truth to showcase their appreciation for parking lot flexin’ & eating shrimps.
Best Line: “I’m coming down tippin’ / Smokin, Reminiscing / Underground King you a legend in my memory”
58. 2Chainz – “Turn Up“
2chainz set the rap game on fire with his rise to fire through the mixtape circuit and mainstream feature market. One of his best tracks features a show-stealing very from Cap-1.
Best Line: “All this Bling cost me a hunnard” (Not a mistype folks)
57. Waka Flocka Flame – “Rooster in my Rari“
Easily the funniest video released in 2012. Never mind the giant rooster riding along with Flocka in the video, the real comedy is when you figure out what “rooster in my rari” actually means.
Best Line: “Can’t be no rookie with moves like that, Girl you a pro!”
56. Joe Budden – “What Ya’ll Want“
When you get Joe Budden, you not only get excellent lyrics but also pure emotion. Joe leaves no stone unturned as he goes into his relationships past and current.
55. Trey Songz – “Don’t Be Scared“
Trey’s mistake: Releasing “Hail Mary” as a single instead of this gem with Rick Ross. No excuse for why he didn’t.
Best Line: “Can’t call you no dime / I know you can’t be bought”
54. Future – “Trending Topic“
Nowadays, Future finds success through his songs for the ladies. But when he reaches for the streets, we listen.
Best Line: “I know some girls from Follies, Can’t wait till they off work / I’ma let them hit this Molly, and watch ’em go berserk”
53. Ca$h Out – “Cashin’ Out”
Maybe the catchiest song of 2012 makes the list as I was sucked into the fantasy world where I’m “ridin’ round wit that nina.” Although Ca$h Out probably won’t have a hit as large scale as “Cashin Out,” he shouldn’t be ashamed: Just ride this wave and keep trying to make hits.
Best Line: “It’s big pimpin’ over here…..Church”
52. Ryan Leslie – “Rain in Australia“
The rap lyrics of Ryan Leslie may not be transcending, but you can’t deny you’d enjoy being live in Sydney for this performance.
Best Line: “What’s worse on you Aussie girls, the bark or the bite?”
51. King Louie – “Broke“
My favorite of the new crop of Chicago rappers flows so effortlessly over one of Young Chop’s smoothest instrumentals.
Best Line: “We can hug, I ain’t into kisses / I blow cake I’m so intuitious”
50. Nas – “Locomotive“
Nas takes it back to Nasty mode with this throwback track for the fans. Large Professor for the win.
Best Line: “At night, New York, eat a slice too hot / Use my tongue to tear the skin hanging from the roof of my mouth”
49. Black Hippy – “Black Lip Bastard Remix”
Hip-Hop’s best collection of rappers spits hot fire over a chilling instrumental. Who has the best verse? Jay Rock?
Best Line: “How you gon’ dance with the devil, with two left feet?”
48. A$ap Rocky – “Goldie“
Rocky does his best Jay-z impersonation, showing all the swag that makes him who he is.
Best Line: “Lets take it to the basis / You in the midst of greatness / My Martin was a Maison / Rock Margielas with no laces”
47. Slaughterhouse – “My Life“
Although this song was criminally hated on, I enjoyed listening to four deserving rappers talking of their struggle to make it to their current position in life. Cee-lo Green KILLS the chorus.
Best Line: “And so far I don’t really need to own my city / Just as long as the D is on my fitted”
46. Gucci Mane – “Opposite“
Gucci Mane doesn’t do things like you and I do. He does the opposite. Trap God flexes his flow over another gem of producer Southside.
Best Line: “Sir Mix-a-lot, Serve Bricks a lot / Got Big Ol’ Rocks in my time clock/ Push the button and my top dropped / And I ain’t even have to go to no chop shop”
45. Freddie Gibbs – “Walk in with the M.O.“
On one of the more slept on mixtapes of the year, Dom Kennedy comes through and steals the show. Dom may have one of the smoothest flows in the game.
Best Line: “I’m in Paris drinking Mo’ thank God for this shit / Cuz I’m from South CentrAL baby pardon my French”
44. Shawty Lo – “New Money“
Ignore the rachetness that is his new reality show and celebrate a new record deal with Shawty Lo. Ca$h Out steals the show with a super-catchy hook.
Best Line: “Heard Lo got bricks for the low-low(Let me get some!!)”
43. French Montana – “Shot Caller Remix“
This video immediately took me back to the Flava In Ya Ear Remix. The instrument samples make you feel as if you need to be drinking a cognac on ice while celebrating another year of ballin’ out of control.
Best Line: “Dippin’ in the phantom, thought they seen a ghost”
42. Future – “Birds Take a Bath“
Put this song as one of Future’s top 15 greatest hooks. Although it took me a little a time to catch on to this track, I haven’t stopped listening.
Best Line: “They gave my dope a name, They call this dope diesel”
41. Jadakiss – “Traffickin’“
Not one of Kiss’ most lyrical masterpieces but right at home for Young Jeezy who seems right at home.
Best Line: “You niggas caught up in the hype / These niggas daydreamin’ shit and I was trafficking the white (Gone)”
40. Ab-Soul – “Pineal Gland”
Ab-Soul is just as lyrical as Kendrick Lamar, yet not many seem to know this at this moment. Check out “Pineal Gland,” where Soulo takes you on a lyrical journey inside his drugged out mind.
Best Line: “My synapses act like lightning, probably why i’m so enlightening”
39. Pusha T – Exodus 23:1
Whether he was talking about Wayne or Drake, the song helped reestablished Pusha to fans such as myself who had stopped paying much attention to him.
Best Line: “I was really in that Travel lodge, you just lying through your catalogues”
38. Kid Cudi – Just What I Am
Although it’s probably better for Cudi’s health to not smoke weed, is there any denying that his music is SO MUCH BETTER when he does?
Best Line: “Neighbors knockin’ on the door, asking can we turn it down / I said ‘Ain’t no music on!’ / She said ‘Nah that weed is loud'”
37. Yo Gotti – “Check“
Gotti continues his rise from Memphis to mainstream America with this catchy song. Who doesn’t feel good blastin’ this on pay day?
Best Line: “I hit the club, my J’s on / They ain’t out yet and stood on the bar!”
36. Mike Will/Gucci Mane – “More of That“
If for some reason you thought Gucci Mane couldn’t rap, then check out this ridiculous display of flow.
Best Line: “I put sixes on my Charger, cuz these niggas ain’t no Challenge!”
35. Lupe Fiasco – “Lamborghini Angels”
The subject matter may be intense, but Lupe doesn’t disappoint as he brings forth several issues usually not found in hip-hop. The third verse is especially chilling.
Best Line: “With the teleprompter rolling he looks right into the lens / Doesn’t mention his redemption but absolves him of his sins / He forgives them in advance says that he will do again…”Part Two coming within the next couple of days!