Welcome to Part Deux Of Not A Blogger's three part year end wrap up. In this installment, we look at the best music that 2007 had to offer or more accurately the music that only sucked slightly less. All kidding aside, as I was writing this piece I found there was a lot more records that I liked than I actually remember so I expanded this piece out to include 25 of my favorite songs and 20 of my favorite albums. I mean clearly the best I can I say about 2007 that it certainly wasn't 2006 or (god forbid) 2005, in terms of the relative quality of the music that came out. Perhaps, I'm just getting soft in my old age. Warning though, everything in this list is 100% true and accurate and should be accepted as canon in terms of the correct ranking. After all, I am a doctor.
Top 25 Hip Hop Songs Of The Year
25. 8 Ball & Devius - Jus Ridin’
If “Jus Ridin’” was the type of Southern Music that got promoted on the radio and all over BET than I wouldn’t be such a hater towards it. This songs sounds like a more Southern version of the opening track to Common’s “Be” with its wailing guitar and 808 drums. This is the type of song that Pimp C made famous and if songs like this that are influenced by his legacy are still being made than perhaps all is not lost.
24. Nas - Where Are They Now (West Coast Remix)
Outside of the requisite controversy courting album title, Nas had a quiet musical year. The most noise musically he made all year was the “Where Are They Now” remixes that he released in early January featuring every single forgotten rapper in the history of existence ever. The West Coast Remix was my favorite and the strongest of the bunch so its get the nod. Sir Mix-A-Lot kind of kills it on this. My only complaint...No Skee-Lo.
23. The Game - My Bitch
This Doctor’s Advocate outtake features a pretty sinister post-2001 Dre synths and its one of the more hilarious of Game’s 50 Cent disses. Its also kind of notable for the fact that Game pretty much outright attacks Jay-Z on the track after year’s of denying he has any beef with Jigga. I kind of wish this was on Doctor’s Advocate.
22. David Banner - Bitch Ass N*gga
I’m quite sure how this song didn’t gain more notoriety within the blog community than it did. Banner samples Colonel Stinkmeaner from the TV Show “The Boondocks” for the hilariously over the top offensive and extremely catchy hook. Lyrically, Banner is full of fire and bluster as he spits pretty hungrily defends T.I.’s and Michael Vick’s recent legal troubles.
21. Young Buck - Driving Down The Freeway
Buck The World was a G-Unified paint by the numbers mess and served as further proof that the G-Unit era is dead but Young Buck proves once again that he’s better than the rest of the clowns on that label as he makes a pretty dope track featuring 2Pac’s old weed carriers, the Outlawz. “Driving Down The Freeway” is a slow, sad rolling piano driven track produced by Hi-Tek that reminds me of a warm, spring day. If this is the type of music that Buck is gonna make outside the influence of 50 Cent then somebody for the love of God needs to get Buck as far away from Curtis as possible.
20. Nas/Kanye West/Rakim/KRS-One - Classic (Nike Remix)
Over a classic Primo track, three legends and a legend-in-the making put on a lyrical clinic. Honestly, what more can you want. Rakim, once again, proves that he’s the best rapper alive when he still wants to be (outside of Lil Wayne, of course...) and his verse is just wicked on this.
19. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Feat. Akon - I Tried
I don’t hate Akon’s voice as much as some people do. He wouldn’t be nearly as annoying as he is if he wasn’t on every song on the radio this year. Like literally every one except the ones featuring wack ass T-Pain. However, I like the fact although he can’t really sing, he really can project emotion through his voice. “I Tried” featuring Cleveland’s own (Holla!) Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to me was really a beautiful, unexpected song and I really am a sucker for “The Ubiquitous I’m Sorry I Sold Crack” songs. I really wished Bizzy Bone would’ve blessed this song instead of being high on crack or something or whatever he’s doing these days, though.
18. Wyclef Jean Ft. Akon, Lil’ Wayne & Raekwon - Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill) Remix
One of the weirdest unspoken trends that went on this year is the sheer amount of songs that ripped off the hook to “C.R.E.A.M” that invaded the radio, most of them were ass awful terrible but Wyclef’s remix to “Sweetest Girl” really works. Now usually these days if I see the words “Wyclef Jean” on a song, I know to immediately fast forward because its usually gonna be some reggae-ed up abortion (and I fucking hate reggae) and the original version of this song is pretty awful but if you throw Raekwon and that classic Charmells flip on it and you’ll make me happy.
17. DJ Khaled Feat. Akon, T.I., Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Baby & Lil’ Wayne - We Takin’ Over
Hey, look it’s Akon, again! Let me get this one thing straight, I hate (hate, hate, hate, HAAAAATE) DJ Khaled. His miraculously more awful than even Jazze “The Worst Producer Ever” Pha style introductions manage to ruin nearly even the most quality track. His fat awkward ass had to go and just ruin everything on “We The Best.” However despite all that “We Takin’ Over” is still pretty great, anyway. Perhaps because DJ Khaled’s presence is almost non-existent on this song. Jesus Christ, I hate that man.
16. Raekwon - My Corner
If and when Dr. Dre decides to get off the steroids and release another album it better be “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II” because judging by this awesome, epic gem, Raekwon has still got it. Dusty soul samples, moaning horns, disembodied vocal samples and Raekwon reminiscing about his life and career. This song sounds like it could be the opening track to a real monster of an album.
15. Kanye West Feat. Lil’ Wayne - Barry Bonds
Ignore the fact that Lil’ Wayne throws snake eyes on this track with his needless to say “underwhelming” verse, “Barry Bonds” is still a monster track. Nottz’ fuzzed up organs and dusty “punch you in the face” drums provide the perfect atmosphere for a banger and Kanye really comes correct with his verse. Konichiwa, bitches!
14. T.I. Feat. Busta Rhymes & Alfamega - Hurt
T.I. vs. T.I.P. was an unfocused mess with a completely superfluous tacked on gimmick (and nowhere near as good as King) but there were a couple of great songs that managed to trickle through cracks on the T.I.P. side. “Hurt” is the type of track that T.I. best excels at, the fast uptempo hardcore bangers that work best when Tip is using his mile-a-minute bullet flow. The video is pretty great, too.
13. Common - The People
It’s completely unfair to criticize artists like Common for making somewhat shallow, platitude infused “I’m Doing It For The Struggle” type boom bap joints and then turn around and breathlessly suck off Mims for making shallow, pointless club bangers because you like the production. Well, I love the production on this song and Common still is a good rapper so I played this a lot over the summer. Finding Forever was a mess but “The People” wasn’t.
12. Saigon Ft. Swizz Beatz - C’mon Baby
If “The Greatest Story Never Told” is full of these Just Blaze laced heaters than please for the love of God, don’t retire!!! The game needs you, man. Stop being a bitch.
11. Wu-Tang Clan - The Heart Gently Weeps
I love the album version even more than the Loud.com released version I reviewed back in October but this record continues to sneak up and grow on me. When RZA’s musical forays into guitars and live instrumentation work, they really work and Ghost, Rae, and Meth all kick vivid stories. 8 Diagrams is kind of disappointing but Rae and Ghost are crazy if he thinks that this song is wack.
10. Kanye West - Can’t Tell Me Nothing
For all Kanye’s critical nut slobbing that he received this year (and I was one of those who was....uh, let’s not finish that thought) for Graduation, its kind of interesting that the two best songs on the album (in my very un-humble opinion), “Barry Bonds” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” were not produced by Kanye. I couldn’t decide if I liked “Stronger” or this song better but I decided ultimately liked this one better because I thought it had a more epic and larger scope than the chaotic, post apocalypse funk of “Stronger.” Eh, sue me.
9. Jay-Z - Fallin’
And the winner of the best “Ubiquitous I’m Sorry I Sold Crack” song of the year goes to...Jay-Z for “Fallin’.” Although, I ended up highly praising the album after hating it on the first listen, “Fallin” was the one song on the initial listen that I really, really loved. The vocal sample that Jay-Z uses sets the song perfect for Jay’s thoughts on the emotional toll and consequences of selling crack that serve to connect the album together with the Ridley Scott homage that he wanted the album to be out.
8. Lupe Fiasco - Paris, Toyko
Lupe Fiasco is lying through his teeth if he says he listened to 8 Ball & MJG growing up and not A Tribe Called Quest because this sure sounds like an outtake from Midnight Marauders. This record has all of the jazzy cool of Q-Tip packed into one breezy fun song. The best song on The Cool for sure.
7. Little Brother Feat. Carlitta Durand - After The Party
On every one of Little Brother’s album, there is one or two songs on the album that could be huge crossover hits but for some reason the group or the label decides to go with some other weaker song for the single. For Getback, it was Khyrisis produced “After The Party.” How this song didn’t get a video or single is beyond me? Phonte if you are reading this, I’ll gladly direct a video if you want for free. Holler at me.
6. 50 Cent - I Get Money
Curtis was an atrociously bad album but “I Get Money” is my shit. I will freely admit that I lose my shit when this song comes on the radio and I’m alone in my the car. 50 Cent is hip hop’s greatest villain and their is something truly sinister in this song as 50 Cent is able to channel his absolute priceless asshole swagger that if you were braver man that I am would make you want to punch him in his face but it makes this song transcend the fact that its an absolute obvious bite of Cassidy’s “I’m A Hustla.” The “Quarter Water” line is the absolute pinnacle of brag rap. See Curtis, you can still be a good rapper when you aren’t focused on re-making “Magic Stick” for the 80th time.
5. Ghostface Killah Ft. Method Man & Raekwon - Yolanda’s House
Trap rappers from the South, G-Unit, the asshats in Dipset and various clowns in the New York mix tape rap scene, please take note, this is how you do crime rap. Method Man sounds amazing on this record and he sounds more focused than he has literally since Tical. I love this song too much for words.
4. Jay-Z Ft. Beanie Sigel - Ignorant Shit (Album Version)
This would be the best song of the year if not for the fact that it hadn’t already been released two years prior to it’s “official” release and for the fact that Jay-Z almost ruined it by allowing Beanie Sigel to rap on it and because he tacked on atrociously off-beat final verse. It’s #4, anyway simply because this song is just stunning. Who else but Jigga would release a song where the hook was “N****, fuck, shit, ass, bitch, trick plus ice” and make the song sound pop.
3. Devin The Dude Ft. Snoop Dogg & Andre 3000 - What A Job
I’m really glad that Devin the Dude got this year’s annual “Cameron Giles Memorial” requisite hipster nut hugging instead of say like Plies or somebody. Devin makes such a warm and likable music that really is unappreciated. “What A Job” is a song about something somewhat profoundly uncool as loving what you do. In a time where rappers are desperate to be seen as anything but being actual rappers, Devin makes a song about his love for being a rapper. Andre 3000 continues his campaign to prove that he actually can still rap and The Corpse Formerly Known As Snoop Doggy Dogg manages to rip it up too. Great song.
2. Young Buck - Get Buck
Rarely, I agree with Tom Breihan but this song is just an absolute monster. If club raps were more like this, menacing and evil, than perhaps I would go to “da club” much more often than I do. (As is, I generally try to stay away from places where T-Pain’s voice can be heard prominently. I don’t like my ears being aurally raped by T-Pain’s “big meat” in vocoder form.) “Get Buck” just plain bangs and Buck delivers a song that is full of passion and completely defiant. He really, really, really is the best rapper on G-Unit by a wiiiiiiide margin. Not like that's saying much but it's something.
1. UGK Feat. Outkast - International Player’s Anthem
R.I.P. Chad Butler. Such a tragedy. This song is just too good to really give it justice. The only song is this entire list that could honestly break into the 100 Greatest Rap Songs Of All-Time and not feel out of place. Andre 3000 spits the verse of his life, Bun B and Big Boi just black out on the track and Pimp C is just memorable, hilarious and charismatic on this track. Sweet Jones!
20. Common - Finding Forever: The Fourth Time I Listened To It
Wait? What? Didn’t you say that “Finding Forever “ was the fourth worst album of the year? Yeah, I did. So how the hell can it be the twentieth best rap album of the year? Are you seriously saying that Crunchy Black’s album is better than this? Of course, not. Well what? Make no mistake, “Finding Forever” is a stll gigantic, pretentious mess that is in no way better than it’s predecessor,“Be”, and anybody who tells you that is either lying to you, putting you on or is a Rich Boy fan but “Finding Forever” is one the rare albums that sucks that manages to stop sucking and start becoming better and better the more you listen to it. So by the fourth time I listened to it, I actually liked this record enough to place it on my list. Barely...I’m not forgetting the fact that I wanted to kick my speakers in the first time I listened to it. It’s not better than Be, though. That’s just some bullshit.
Songs That Should Be On Your iPod: “The People”, “Southside”, “The Game” and (inexplicably) “I Want You”
19. Sean Price - Jesus Price Supastar
Much like Ghostface inexplicably going from Wu-Tang second-stringer to by far the biggest star of the group, Sean Price’s rise from Boot Camp Clik also-ran to the group’s most recognizable name has been pretty inspiring. Sean Price doesn’t do anything that’s particulary ground breaking on this record. It’s pretty much your standard collection of “Knock Your Teeth Out Mosh Out” anthems over post-9th Wonder Boom-Bap beats but Price is able to sell it with his delivery and wit.
Songs That Should Be On Your iPod: “P-Body”, “Stop”, “Violent”, “Da God”
18. Chamillionaire - Ultimate Victory
Chamillionaire is one slept-on rapper. He’s too mainstream to gain the true respect for the hip hop heads, too Southern to gain respect of the East Coast, and too smart to be understood by people from the South (I kid, I kid.). All of this goes to explain why “Ultimate Victory” went plastic wood grain this year despite the fact that it’s a better record than multi-platinum sensation,The Sound Of Revenge. That and the fact that “Hip Hop Police” was no “Ridin’ .” Although, not many records are.
Songs That Should Be On Your iPod: “The Morning News”, “Hip Hop Police”, “Standing Ovation”, “Industry Group”
17. T.I. - T.I. vs. T.I.P.
“T.I. vs. T.I.P.” is half of a great record (Hint: The half of record by the version of Clifford that got his dumb ass locked up for attempting to buy Saddam’s missing WMDs) that is as good as anything on last year’s suprisingly great, King. It’s too bad that T.I.P. didn’t have T.I. snuffed and dropped in the back of the ocean for allowing him to release anything as nauseating as “My Swag.” Still Tip continues to prove why he’s better than Lil’ Wayne when he makes songs like “Hurt” and is the best young rapper from the South.
Songs That Should Be On Your iPod: “Hurt”, “You Know What It Is”, “ “Watch What You Say To Me”, “Help Is Coming”
16. Black Milk - Popular Demand
Since J-Dilla’s tragic death last year, there has been a surprising number of great young Midwestern rappers and producers that have been coming up in the indie rap scene that have been channeling his spirit and making some great music in his tradition. Detroit’s rapper/producer Black Milk crafted such a warm and lovely debut with Popular Demand, a record full of the sweeping disembodied vocal samples and tough ass nail drums that Jay Dee made famous.
Songs that Should Be On Your iPod: “Popular Demand”, “Sound The Alarm”, “Play The Keys”, “One Song”
15. Scarface - Made
With all due respects to Bun B, Scarface will always be the King Of The South, no matter how many Panzer Tanks Clifford Harris attempts to purchase from undercover ATF agents. I will never have a single ill word (well, maybe one or two but I have an addiction for hate. I need help...) for a man who has not only been remarkably consistent throughout his career but is a true pioneer. Made isn't Face's best album (but yet again, how many records are "Mr. Scarface is Back"...) and is a slight disappoint considering his last record was five years ago and was "The Fix" but it's still full of the moody, depressing crime rap that we have come to associate with Brad Jordan. This record might rank higher if not for the presense of "Big Dogg Status" which may in fact, be the worst song Mr. Scarface has ever recorded. Still, a very good record.