39. “Can You Hear Me” (A Tribute To The People Of Tunisa) – Pacewon & Mr. Green
Found On: “The Only Number That Matters Is Won”
While we collectively await the follow-up to Pacewon & Mr. Green’s stellar collaborative debut, “The Only Color That Matters Is Green”, Pace & Green leaked their tribute to the people of Tunisa, “Can You Hear Me” to hold us over in the interim. ”Can You Hear Me” boasts one of my favorite Mr. Green productions, second only to the knockin’ “Children Sing”, and Pacewon absolutely murders it on the lyrical tip with poignant content and unmatched delivery on a touching topic.
38. “Water Boarding” – Mobb Deep
Found On: “Street Lights” 12″
With the arrival of the decent “Black Cocaine” EP Mobb Deep proved they aren’t goin’ anywhere anytime soon. This featured track, “Water Boarding,” didn’t make the final cut, but it’s definitely a song you want to check out and one of M.O.B.B.’s better tracks in recent memory. How can you deny an Alchemist production with two of Queens’ finest spitting raw raps over it? Hopefully, the EP and “Water Boarding” will tide fans over until they drop a new album sometime in 2012.
37. “Put God First” – Cappadonna f. Solomon Childs & Inspectah Deck
Found On: “The Pilgramage” (Fat Beats)
Cappadonna returned with a vengeance with the sound fans have told him they want to hear. On his last album “Slang Prostitution”, Cap showed us why he’s the sacred heart of the Wu-Tang Clan, bringing forth his best effort since his RIAA cerified Gold “The Pillage”. ”The Pilgrimage” upped the ante yet again, revisiting his 1990′s flow, updated for the present, as he once again leads us into the future with his innovative lyrical styles with his new moniker “Barack O-Donna”. This is very much a return to the classic Wu sound, not unlike what Raekwon did with his “OB4CL II”.
36. “Martyr”-Slim The Mobster f. Prodigy
Found On: ”War Music” (Mixtape/Aftermath)
Aftermath’s newest hype machine, Slim The Mobster dropped a pretty dope mixtape back near the start of November with “War Music”. Executive produced by Snoop, Dr. Dre & Sha Money XL, “War Music” was fueled with production from the likes of Jake One, Vitamin D, B!nk and the aforementioned Dr. Dre. However, it took the killer, eerie backdrop of the Sid Roams duo to truly garner my attention. You can’t deny that “Martyr”, even with it’s Prodigy feature, took it back to the days of Mobb Deep’s “Murda Muzik”.
35. “Love’n Hip Hop” – Skillz f. Joe Tann
Found On: Self-Released
Yeah, this actually happened. Back in June, Weird Al Yankovic and The Roots did a live cover of Madvillain’s “Accordion” on the set of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and underground hip hop heads collectively lost their minds. Fast forward to the present, add one of VA’s finest - Skillz - some production tweaks from Parris and silky vocals from Joe Tann and and boom…. “Love’n Hip Hop“. The infamous Wrap-Up emcee cleverly crafted a song that correlated his dealings with love in a way only a true hip hop lover can: by dropping ubiquitous references to well-known female artists and other famous hip hop songs praising the fairer sex.
34. “Check To Check” – Apathy
Found On: “Honkey Kong” (Dirty Version Records)
With production from Evidence and c0-production from J.L’s Khrysis, “Check To Check” while not the most uptempo track in Apathy’s discography, is quite possibly his most honest and poignant single to date. Arguably the album’s best track, with “Check To Check” Ap paints a portrait of his financial picture over a bittersweet beat that sounds like it would be just at home on “Cats & Dogs”.
33. “For Certain” – Oddisee/Diamond District
“Rock Creek Park” (Mello Music Group)
Diamond District‘s (Oddisee x Uptown X.O, yU) album “In The Ruff”, arrived right at a time when I needed a new reason to believe in hip-hop, so there are few sophomore albums I’m anticipating more right now. There’s no word on when that album’s droppin’, so for now we have one of the year’s best “freebies” from the trio, “For Certain.” The song is the vocal version of Oddisee’s “Rock Creek Park” track, “Closed After Dark”. Maaan, I can only hope that Oddisee drops a vocal version to accompany the phenomenal, mostly instrumental, LP.
32. “Ya’ Times Up” – Kooley High
Found On: “Eastern Standard Time” Mixtape
North Carolina-bred, Brooklyn-based crew Kooley High hooked up with DJBooth.net to bring listeners “Eastern Standard Time”, their first release since 2008’s acclaimed “The Summer Sessions” EP and a mixtape that preceded the collective’s highly slept-on full length, “David Thompson” (MAJOR props on the LP title!!). The mixtape’s first single “Ya Times Up” is one of the crew’s harder cuts, fueled by a slick Nas vocal sample on the hook. Produced by Foolery, “Ya Times Up” proved to be the perfect “set up” for “David Thompson”, yet would have been better served included on the crew’s recent release.
31. “Army Fatigue Rap” (ReDef Remix) – Kaimbr & Kev Brown f. DJ Marshall Law & Hassaan Mackey
Found On: “Alexander Green Project” Bonus 7″ (Redefinition Records)
An already ridiculous track from the Kaimbr & Kev Brown’s “Al Green” themed LP, “Alexander Green Project”, received stellar remix treatment from Damu The Fudgemunk, made from nothing but Al Green samples… Even the DRUMS!! Also, added vocals from the Low Budget fam to kept it extra fresh! However, can we get another Y Society follow-up already??
30. “Ambition” – Wale f. Meek Mill & Rick Ross
Found On: “Ambition” (Warner Bros.)
Is there another artist who has lost more of an underground following in recent memory aside from Wale? I mean, c’mon dude was killin’ it a few years ago with the 2008′s “The Mixtape About Nothing”, but “Ambition” is pure wack juice, with the exception of the title cut which is pure stadium music. While I’m not a fan of Meek, Wale or Rick, although each serves their imminent purpose in Hip Hop’s landscape, all three deliver noteworthy lyrical performances on this T-Minus produced heater.