It’s been a great year for Hip Hop and as we bring in the new year, Kenny and I have taken it upon ourselves to create our own lists, each containing a set of our 5 Hip Hop tracks of choice from the 365 days we are leaving behind. Also, We here at RapDose would like to say thank you to the visitors and other blogs alike for the recognition. Such accolades as being ranked in the Source Digital 30 is something we could only be grateful for as we strive for better in the future. Now, lets move on to the listings:

Time’s Picks

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[wptabtitle] #5[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]5. Common – Sweet

The man who claims he is to Hip Hop what Obama is to Politics starts off my top 5. Sweet is one of the most powerful and colorful records off of the amazing “The Dreamer, The Believer” project, one of Common’s best projects to date. The instrumental, created by the legendary No I.D. is hardcore hip hop, sprinkled with samples of “You Don’t Have to Worry” by Doris & Kelley and “Action” by Orange Krush. As the drums bang, we get Common in rare form, hungry and reckless. Personally, this is something I knew the world of Hip Hop needed. We all love music but it’s a fact that Hip Hop is full of personalities and with different mentalities comes conflict, which is what the game has been missing this year. This year in music had it’s moments in drama (Shout out to Joe Budden and Esther Baxter) and it’s beef here and there but serious hunger in music wasn’t exactly in the spotlight (something I felt Take Care lacked) and I feel Common’s effort on this track is the best example of that feel in music that I wanted.[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] #4[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]4. Nas – Nasty

Lurking in the shadows this year was God’s Son, the lyrical weapon from Queensbridge and although we didn’t get a ridiculous amount of music from the man, what we did receive was a gritty, disrespectful, heartfelt 3 minutes in the form of “Nasty”, a track that refuses to get old in my Beats by Dre. The instrumental (crafted by seasoned producer Salaam Remi) is as hard hitting as Nas’ delivery and words on the track itself, which works almost seamlessly with his ability to switch topics from the women that swoon over him, to the fact that he’ll put the competition in a body bag. My #4 could’ve also been my #3, 2 or even 1 because honestly Nas spitting the way he did here leaves nothing to be desired and with a track like that, how can you lose? With all that Nas has been through in his love life, as long as he makes music like this, I know the people will support him. I sure will.[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] #3[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]3. J. Cole – Rise & Shine

“There’s a nigga right now somewhere, he at the table with a bowl of apple jacks, and he reading the back of the cereal, and in between eating the Apple Jacks hes writing some SHIT, and he want my spot… Ima find him though, Ima sign him haha… I don’t want no problems…” and just off of that Jay-Z sample and the triumphant horns that lead Jermaine in, I knew there was no way I couldn’t put this in as one of my top three tracks this year. After releasing classic after classic mixtape over the years, Cole arguably was the best new artist in 2011 just by overcoming the label politics and releasing his debut album to the world without a real hit single, yet still achieving sales in the range of 200k. Not only that, the album was so damn impressive that I had to debate which of his tracks to actually place on this list. Proving that hard work = results, Cole’s efforts have placed him in the good graces of everyone he’s mentioned to in Hip Hop (except Canibus, or did he change his mind?) and the people now know his name. Congratulations J. Cole, you deserve it.[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] #2[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]2. Drake – Lord Knows

The haunting intro serves as a road to the door which bursts open with the classic “Just Blaze” sound byte and right behind that we get Drake in one of his finer moments. The leader of the new school is the intangible title that Drake carries as he proceeds on with his musical career and when Take Care released, the curse known as the sophomore slump proved to be the obstacle he’d have to put to rest. Given the reception on his album was mixed, but with Just Blaze providing the canvas and Rick Ross assisting with his own flavor, the result was one of Drake’s very best and most vulnerable tracks to date that manages to hold something for the women he captivates and the homies he represents.[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] #1[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]1. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Otis

The definition of a classic Hip Hop record. Catchy enough to be supported and embraced by the masses, yet lyrically up to par in a way that those looking for actual content wouldn’t be disappointed. Add the emotionally driven yet insanely talented Kanye West to the production as well as the record itself for a game of lyrical tug of war with the legend (and his idol) Jay-Z, and you’ve got my track of the year. It’s timeless (no pun intended) and infectious to say the least. The Throne admitted they created a unique sound with their project (one that many people seemed too disconnected to enjoy) and even admitted at one point to be having more fun with it than anything, yet somehow they still created tracks worthy of no less than top 10 status. All they’re capable of it seems, is a collective effort that always reminds us why they’re the top trendsetters in Hip Hop, and one of their best efforts on the project is my #1 track of the Year.[/wptabcontent][/wptabs]

Kenny’s Picks

[wptabs effect=”slide” mode=”horizontal”][wptabtitle] #5[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]5. Childish Gambino – Bonfire

I became a fan of Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino’s music when I first heard about him rapping in 2010 and had all of his mixtapes and his EP in my iTunes library since. I’ve even put a number of friends and colleagues onto him since 2010.

This year when I heard he was releasing an album, I was psyched. Along with the album announcement came the new album Camp’s first single “Bonfire”.

Before “Bonfire” was officially released, Gambino played the song live on tour and it resulted in many YouTube recorded clips of the song surfacing online. The clips were like previews of what to expect and only made me anticipate the release of the song more.

When the song was finally released officially, I clicked play, listened and was not disappointed at all. The song is a perfect combination of wit, wordplay and lyricism over top notch production.

Not only is this one of my favorite songs of 2011, but I feel like it’s the perfect introduction to Donald Glover’s rap persona, Childish Gambino and will convert any rap listener into a fan of his music.[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] #4[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]4. Eminem, Slaughterhouse & Yelawolf – 2.0 Boys

Not only was 2.0 Boys the first song released by Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf as official members of Eminem’s Shady Records label, but it was a preview of what was to come from Eminem’s new team.

The stellar hip hop track which showcased what the team was capable of lyrically was released virally early on in the year and led to the release of a new Bad Meets Evil album, an extremely entertaining cypher on the BET Hip Hop Awards and Yelawolf’s Shady debut album Radioactive.

We still don’t have a release date for Slaughterhouse’s Shady Records project, but with a song as dope as “2.0 Boys” out and the show stealing BET cypher still on our minds, we’re definitely ready for it’s release in 2012.[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] #3[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]3. Drake – Headlines

Drake’s official first single from his sophomore album Take Care was a song not to be messed with. “Headlines” featured Drake rapping over in-house production and a sung hook that even your mother probably got stuck in her head.

After hearing the song thousands of times it’s only right this song makes it onto this list. This song was probably Drake’s most successful release from his album so far and it’s success came from loyal fans and Drake’s ability to push the song himself. It was rare to catch the video for this song on TV, but when you did it was fun to watch and I’m sure Nike has had it’s stock rise thanks to sales of it’s baseball gloves which Drizzy donned in the low-budget visual.

Drake is also a terrific performer and seeing this song performed live whether it be in person or on Saturday Night Live is dope to see.[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] #2[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]2. DJ Khaled – I’m On One (Feat. Drake, Lil Wayne & Rick Ross)

DJ Khaled’s We The Best Forever single “I’m On One” was the perfect song of 2011 and held features from three of the current top artists out, Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross.

Before “I’m On One” was released, DJ Khaled teased the song digitally and called the track a hit before anybody outside of his circle even heard it. He knew it in his heart that it was a hit.

Not only did it turn out to be a hit like DJ Khaled proclaimed it was going to be, but it was also a terrific song showcasing Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross’ talents.

Drake’s verse was a standout on the song and with lines such as “The Throne is mine for the taking, watch me take it”, it definitely generated buzz for him and with all the hype surrounding Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne album online at the time, the songs release couldn’t have been more perfect.

This song was also a sign of what was to come from Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross as they all toured hard in 2011, Drake released his new album Take Care and Lil Wayne was fresh out of prison and dropped his long awaited The Carter IV album.

“F*ck it, I’m On One” was plastered onto t-shirts everywhere like it had a new meaning because of the songs impact, rather than the songs true meaning of having fun, partying and drinking lean. Hell, in the video we even got the chance to see DJ Khaled drinking Four Loko.[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] #1[/wptabtitle][wptabcontent]1. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Ni**as In Paris

Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaboration album Watch The Throne was like a dream come true to rap fans everywhere and while at times it seemed like a myth, on August 22nd it definitely became a reality, when you were able to purchase it digitally on iTunes before it was obtainable in stores and it even did the impossible and didn’t leak online early.

After listening to The Throne’s masterpiece, the project held many dope collaborations from the two rap icons, but there was one Hit Boy produced track that stood out the most. Yup, that song is “Ni**as In Paris”. Not only does this song feature an amazing beat, but it also features many quotable and memorable lines from both Jay-Z and Kanye West. The song isn’t focused on lyrical ability, but instead focuses on it’s fun factor and gets you amped at the same time. The song holds randomly placed audio from Will Ferrell and Jon Heder’s film Blades Of Glory which is definitely different, but not only is it different, it works.

This song is currently a hit on the radio and a video has been shot, but not released. On our way into 2012 this song still gets played by me and on radio and when the recently shot video is released for the song, it will only grow in popularity to others. This track hasn’t even got tiring after Jay-Z and Kanye West have performed the song over one hundred times on their Watch The Throne tour. Yep…this song is so good Jay-Z and Kanye West chose to perform it over one hundred times on their tour which only had around thirty stops. That’s multiple times per night and the fans weren’t one bit upset about the repetitiveness of the idea of performing one song multiple times during their shows. The song was even performed eleven times in one night in LA. The song is around four minutes long, so that’s around thirty minutes during a concert dedicated to one song. That shit cray.[/wptabcontent][/wptabs]