It’s November, which means very, very soon, it’ll be time for those end of the year lists. You know the ones, with everything that said author thought was dope for the past 12 months. I’ll admit, I kind of like reading all those lists. Last year though, I never got around to posting my top 100 songs for 2010. I got my albums up, but no songs. First time since 2006 that I hadn’t posted some kind of list. While it’s late, I couldn’t without good conscious post my 2011 list without wrapping up 2010 properly. Yeah it might be a little lazy, a little late, but then again, I haven’t posted more than twice since April. None the less, maybe there will be something on this list that you forgotten about, or maybe even haven’t heard yet. Good music is good music, no matter when it came out, right? Oh hell, just grab a cold one and get to reading. More to follow…
100. Joell Ortiz – Battle Cry
You can’t make a list of the best emcees in NYC doing it right now and NOT include Joell Ortiz. “Battle Cry” is Joell kicking lyrics with passion and intensity that is not matched very often in hip hop. The musical backdrop provided by the Brown Bag Allstars’ Audible Doctor is nothing but perfect for the mood Joell is bringing. It might just be one of my favorite beats from last year.
99. Chikaramanga feat Droop Capone aka Dr. Oop – A Life Like This
Being a fan of the Tres roster, I usually check anything that Chikaramanga puts out. That said, I don’t even remember how I came across this song. It was probably sent to me since I’m on their email list. It got added to my folder of tracks to check out only for me to run across it in the middle of the year. The vibe of “A Life Like This” is just a festive and joyous track that reminds you of something you should be blasting on the car stereo as you pull out of the parking lot at work on a Friday afternoon. Chikaramanga hooks up an ill bass line over an uptempo drum track that honestly makes you just want to put your BBQ dance shoes on.
98. Chapter Thrive & Ryan Stinson – By My Side (Free Download)
The duo of Chapter Thrive & Ryan Stinson (formally known as Alphaghetto) have made numerous appearances on WYDU and BH and probably hold the distinction of being one of the last WYDU Spotlight artists. A dark and dusty drum track over a soulful female wailing sets up the mood nicely on “By My Side”, as Chapter Thrive kicks his lyrics of a female once gone, once here…Sure it might be some kind of an emo song, but fuck it, it sounds dope in my ears.
97. Kno - La Petite Mort (Come Die With Me)
I haven’t changed the order of this list since I finalized back in early January. If I had, “La Petite Mort (Come Die With Me),” would probably be higher up the list as it and “Graveyard” from Kno’s Death is Silent LP are my favorite joints. Kno isn’t going to win any “best emcee of the year” awards, but he makes it work well with this somber track. Of course it’s the music that Kno is a master of hooking up that makes this such a beautiful track. You would think after the last two songs, I was in a dark place last year, but truth be told I was pretty happy when I made this list. It is rather scary though that the chick in the video looks and reminds me of the girl I was dating last year when I was listening to this song. Coincidence or scary foreshadowing? haha
96. Junk Science – A Miraculous Machine
I never have quiet figured out why Junk Science (and this album for that matter) are slept on. All three of their studio albums have been good and with a consistency on par with a Cunninlynguists discography. “A Miraculous Machine” from the album with the same name, is meant to be more of an uplifting song, as Snafu combines his lo-fi sounds with Baje One’s precise lyricism. It’s combines the days of yesterday, causing the listener to reminisce, then the hook takes you away on a dreamy sing songy journey. As I get older, it’s hip hop like this that keeps me into the art form.
95. Chanes - Lights Off
I know very little about Chanes, but anybody that’s associated with DJ Houseshoes should probably be checked out. It was from his project An Experiment in Instrumentation that I discovered this brilliantly moodistic and somber track. “Lights Off,” as I have read, is sampled from a Karen O song. I’m not going to lie and say I know anything about the original, but what Chanes has done here is beautiful, if nothing else, and haunting with it’s strings and keys. Anyone that says hip hop can’t induce moods is straight up crazy. I hadn’t heard much from him since, but after doing a research, I see that he has an EP and album on his bandcamp that I’m going to check out.
94. Joell Ortiz - Project Boy
Just in case you thought ol’ Trav went and got soft last year, here is another Joell Ortiz banger with production from the greatest producer in the history of hip hop, DJ Premier. “Project Boy” never did show up on the often delayed and basically totally fucked up Free Agent album, that got so screwed up that it kind of flew under the radar. I’m not sure of the reason why the track didn’t make the album, but I did read somewhere that Premier said this was one of the most difficult beats he has ever done and he still didn’t get it exactly like he wanted. Shit, it sounds pretty damn good to me…
93. Blacastan feat Colombeyond – Crate Diggaz
Oh hell yeah, it’s the horns, it’s got to be the horns. I love some good horn rips in a production, and Blacastan and producer Colombeyond hook the shit up nice and crisp. “Crate Diggaz” is a tasty ode to diggin’ for that vinyl, which is all good in my book. Blacastan is another emcee that I think is more slept on that he needs to be as the dude combines a dope ass voice with some superior rhyme skills and always makes great songs, don’t believe me, peep out his “Life of a Tape” track from a few years back. Shit is nice…
92. Praverb The Wyse feat Nametag & DJ Grazzhoppa - Back With Heat (Free Download)
Praverb is another cat that has been around WTR, WYDU and Bloggerhouse for the last few years. Dude always has some jams on his hands like he is making preservatives. “Back With Heat” combines everything I love about hip hop. The beat, a somewhat bouncy vibe intertwined with some ill strings and even some scratching thrown in for good measure. Praverb as an emcee is dope, and he shows it on his verse, as his baritone voice talking about being in the kill zone droppin’ some real poems, but he won’t lead you to death because he ain’t no Jim Jones. Check out this year’s Professional Hobbyist for some more flava for P.
91. Pigeon Hole feat Moka Only & Itchy Ron – Looptape
Yes, I get sucked into songs that feature horns on the sample as we’ve already seen. Throw in some lyrics about how good things used to be and you have me hooked. “Looptape” from Pigeon Hole combines these elements as they look back at the stuff that made us 30something hip hoppers shed a slight tear at how it used to be.