Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Top 60 Hip Hop Songs of 2009: #40 - #21

As we continue on...

40. Jaz-O – Gangstas Ride (feat. The Game)

“Whatchu know about 1976” the BK veteran asks with his tongue-twisting delivery. While it may come off as nothing more but a bitter attempt to throw shots at Jay’s thrown, I can respect this unique pairing of emcees’ unified goal. Truth be told, I never quite understood why Jay shunned Jaz-O (and…. um…. just about everyone else he’s worked with/benefited from). This isn’t the kind of track you’d expect Hov to respond to because it pales in comparison to an “Ether” or even a “Be a Gentleman”. Still, it’s rare to hear a diss track that’s actually fun to listen to.

39. Freddie Gibbs – Womb 2 the Tomb (feat. Pill)

Moment of truth: This is the first Freddie Gibbs track I ever heard. Whenever people ask me why I think he’s good for hip hop, I tell ‘em he reminds me of a young Bun B. I’m not a stan just yet, but I’m banking on his stock in 2010, especially if he keeps dropping heat like this.

38. Young Jeezy - My President Is Black (Remix) (feat. Jay-Z)

This track effectively twisted Fox News’s panties up in a bunch, and for that I’m eternally grateful. The political theorist Hannah Arendt once stated that “the most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.” She might be right about that, if not at least off by a few days. At the time that this track dropped, hope was on full blast and Jay’s chants (“Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk/ Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run/ Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly/ So Im’a spread my wings, you can meet me in the sky/”) highlighted the sense of empowerment in the air.

37. Slaughterhouse - The One

Nope, it's not a prequel to the Vonnegut classic. In concept, Slaughterhouse was poised to drop nothing but hardcore bars for the underground to bop to, and they definitely met that goal with their self-titled debut. But this club-friendly trick up their sleeve had enough octane power to break the mold and fuse underground with mainstream appeal. DJ Khalil did it again!

36. Game - American Dream (Diddy Reference Track)

I’ll admit it: The “Genesis” sample popularized by those sexy Cadillac commercials did me in on this one. Interestingly enough, Justice sampled the handclaps from 50 Cent’s “In da Club” and didn’t credit him! All the more appropriate for Game to take full advantage! I’m interested in hearing how Puff will destroy this (double-entendre fully intended). I love the fact that Game brushed off his Shyne flow, circa 2004.

35. French Montana - New York Minute (Remix) (feat. Ma$e & Jadakiss)

I’m not sure how much play this got in the Big Apple, but I’d like to assume it received as much as “Empire State of Mind” (haha…just kidding). French Montana brings along two former Bad Boys to rip this anthem; the O.G. from Yonkers goes bonkers and literally rips it to shreds.

34. Cam'ron - Silky (No Homo)

I really enjoyed “I Hate My Job” but “Silky” is much catchier in my opinion (plus he didn’t steal this one … as far as I know). Who can argue against a sample of King Floyd’s “Groove Me”? Crime Pays was straight ass but “Silky (No Homo)” went hard. Pause.

33. Saigon - Pushin' Buddens

It’s almost prophetic that Saigitty would unleash lyrical jabs at Joe Budden over a Wu-Tang beat just months before Budden got a literal beat-down of his own, Shaolin style. Yet another fake rap beef (both of these dudes dropped on Amalgam in the same quarter), I still enjoyed Saigon’s tenacity on the track. All this while claiming he’s not a battle rapper...

32. J Dilla - 24K Rap (feat. Havoc & Raekwon)

Featured on one of those leaked beat tapes, I’ve always loved this J Dilla instrumental. I even used it for a 2007 blend off my unfinished American Gangster remix project (holler at me if you wanna hear it). This year saw some great collaborations; Havoc and the Chef was one of them.

31. UGK – Purse Come First (feat. Big Gipp)

With “Purse Come First”, Bun B and the late Pimp C dropped some of the most sophisticated thuggery witnessed in a while. Along with their conventional coke slang raps, peep game as the Pimp points the finger at Reagan and Bun Beada kicks rocks at the Illuminati, the Catholic Church and crooked politicians. Highlight from Bun B: “America, open your eyes (for real), these niggas played you/ (Man) and played me too, shit, I pay taxes/…”

30. Jay-Z - Run This Town (feat. Kanye West & Rihanna)

Jigga always manages to get a nod from the heads somehow, someway. The Rakim shout-out seemed to do it here, but it’s the Kanye verse that caught most peoples’ ears. He didn’t smash on Jay on some Eminem “Renegade” type shit, but Hov’s gotta catch an L every once in a while, right? Like I’ve said in the past, Rih-Rih’s hook is pretty lame and I know she’s got talent. I just don’t understand why half of her songs these days are composed of “eh-eh-ehs”. Literally half her songs – if not more! She can still sing, right? Regardless, the sheer star power of this track propelled it to the top of the charts, rightfully so.

29. Red Cafe - Hottest In the Hood

We didn’t really have an ’09 follow-up to “A Milli”’s ridiculous catchiness, but “Hottest In the Hood” is up there in the “mixtape/freestyle rapper beat of the year” category in my book. If not, then “what else?” Sure he sounds exactly like Obie Trice… that’s not a bad thing at all! It’s a shame that Diddy’s screwing him over some money right now as I type this…

28. Mook N Fair - Who's Your Daddy (feat. DJ Webstar)

Special shout-out to producer Steve Booker who re-popularized “Time of the Season”. He interpolated The Zombies’ classic for Duffy’s “Mercy”, a single from her debut album. Predating Mook N Fair's hit, horrorcore rapper Necro also gave it a go. Then Andrea Martin sampled it for Melanie Fiona’s “Give It to Me Right” which was later remixed a couple of times to include vocals by Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes and Raekwon. Finally, we've got Mook N Fair’s Young Gunz-like “Who’s Your Daddy”. Will they be one-hit wonders? That’s the question…

27. Jadakiss - What If (feat. Nas)

Clearly conceived as a follow-up to “Why”, Jadakiss’s book of questions knows no limits as he flips the script on social events and anything on his radar. In retrospect, his most poignant question was “what if Michael Jackson never would have bleached his skin.” Shit, he’d probably be alive right now… “What if”…

26. Fashawn – Stars (feat. Aloe Blacc)

I’m a bit peeved by music writers who quickly link Fashawn as the second coming of Nas. Hold your horses! But this track – thanks of course to Exile – is something to marvel over. Good luck finding the sample to this gem, which is only rivaled in soulful loveliness by Boy Meets World’s title track. Who knew Aloe Blacc could sing?

25. UGK – Da Game Been Good to Me

I’m a bit envious of people of faith because they can convince themselves that 2Pac and Pimp C are blazing Ls in thug’z mansion right now. It’d be great if shit worked like that, wouldn’t it? Hearing the Pimp kick the chorus to a Me Against the World joint is all I can work with down on earth and I’ve got no complaints! Best believe if I had the acapella to “Heavy in the Game” I’d pair it up to this lovely instrumental with the quickness!

24. Drake - Best I Ever Had

People think that girls are difficult to understand, but they’re really not. See, it’s simple: Make a vague song about any and every dime on the planet and preface it by saying it’s just “for you” and every girl will assume you’re talking about her! Like I said, it’s THAT simple. Shame on you silly girls who were heartbroken when Drake revealed his pimp hand on the Kanye-directed music video for “Best I Ever Had”! Don’t worry, Ivan will console you. I’m here “for you.” Really though, this track wins the award for chick magnet of the year, Pleezbaleevit!

23. Raekwon - Catalina (feat. Lyfe Jennings)

“Dre’s hyper-clean style is a bit incongruous with Rae’s traditional bars-over-dust approach with the RZA and likeminded beatsmiths, but it works in spurts. Dre’s triumphant backdrop gives Rae the perfect soundboard to flaunt like there’s no tomorrow. His delivery is perfect here, he sounds very relaxed and comfortable.” – From my review of OB4CLII.

22. Clipse - Kinda Like a Big Deal (feat. Kanye West)

DJ Khalil unleashed a monster on this top 5 beat of the year contender. Sure, the Kanye verse is recycled from a T.I. track, but who cares? He spits... hot... fiyah! (C) Dave Chappelle

21. KiD CuDi - Sky Might Fall

Apparently one unlucky fan witnessed firsthand (emphasis on “hand”) what it’s like when the sky falls down on you. Jokes aside, while some folks thought that the Kanye-produced “Sky Might Fall” was a weak follow-up to “Day N Nite”, I couldn’t disagree more. I applaud KiD CuDi for bringing something new to the game – not too many of the new schoolers are doing that these days. Not to mention he’s a Conan O’Brien fan. Coco FTW!

#20 - #1 coming soon...