29. “Let Me Explain” – Rashad & Confidence
Found On: “Element of Surprise” (Ill Adrenaline)
Another gem from one of the year’s most surprising/cohesive LP’s. With “Let Me Explain”, producer Confidence laces the cut with the same echoing sample that can also be found on the Pete Rock smash, “Strange Fruit”, with astounding results. Rashad ain’t no slouch either, dude is a force to be reckoned with lyrically.
28. “The Dreamer” – Common
Found On: “The Dreamer/The Believer” (Warner Bros.)
One of the best kick-starters of 2011, Common set his long awaited “The Dreamer/The Believer” off proper-like with this inspiring, uplifting No I.D. production. However, I will say this, if there’s one knock, not only this particular track, but also the majority of the well-received LP, is that there’s just a few too many “harmonizing”, mediocre hooks for this blogger’s taste.
27. “Untitled #1″ (Hold On) – Has-Lo
Found On: “In Case I Don’t Make It” (Mello Music Group)
Point blank, one of the most heartfelt, tear jerking tracks of the last decade. Has wears his heart on his sleeve when he raps and the proof is in the puddin’ with “Untitled #1″. Hard to imagine that dude handled ALL of the production on his critically acclaimed debut as well, dude is the present/future!
26. “I Love My Bitches” – Rick Ross
Found On: “I Love My Bitches” single release
Remember when L.A. / West Coast rappers wouldn’t get any “play” in the East Coast, until Ice Cube touched down with “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”? The same case could also be made for the South, at least until the Geto Boys kicked in the door with “My Minds Playin’ Tricks..”. Well, I’ve never been on of Rick Ross’ biggest fans, although his patterned ad-lib ”HUH” is part of my daily vocabulary, but Rick Ross and the Just Blaze-laced thumper “I Love My Bitches” damn near gave me that same feelin’. And that hook? God Lawd…..
25. “Night Time” – Daily Bread
Found On: “Daily Bread” (Bonus/Non-LP Track)
If there’s one knock I have on Apollo Brown’s production is that the majority of his tracks seemingly all remain around 85-87 BPMs, I don’t know how he pulls it off without sounding generic or downtrodden. Well, “Night Time” is no different but it’s just as eerie and effective, especially when you factor in Hassaan Mackey’s gravely delivery. I don’t know how this one was omitted from the “Daily Bread” LP.
24. “A.D.H.D.” – Kendrick Lamar
Found On: “Section.80″ (Top Dawg Ent.)
Yup, I know, another “boring” selection. I guess when your album is that successful and half of your LP finds itself among more than a handful year-end/best of Lists that you’ve done something right? Truth be told, I freakin’ hated this LP when I first heard it and wrote Kendrick off as just another hipster. Meanwhile, one of my least favorite tracks from “Section.80″ , “A.D.H.D.” finds itself amongst my Top 25 of 2011, go figure. There’s no denying that “A.D.H.D.” is downright powerful and hypnotic at the same time.
23. “Halftime” – Elzhi & Will Sessions
Found On: “Elmatic” (Jae B. Group)
A daring feat in it’s own right, was Elzhi’s attempt at recreating “Illmatic” with his own personal twist. However, the end result couldn’t have been any better with “Elmatic”. It blows my mind that I consider “Illmatic” to be the finest Hip Hop album to ever be created, yet I’d also have no reservations stating that Elzhi’s “take” on the Nas classics are nearly up to speed with the O.G.’s. Holy Shit! I also just found out that the dude who guides Elzhi’s “Life’s A Bitch” to it’s harmonizing close was/is also a member of R & B notables, Mint Condition!?
22. “Kool On”-The Roots f. Greg Porn & Truck North
Found On: “undun” (Def Jam)
As the last member of one of the finest 3-song stretches on an LP in 2011 (“Make My” and “One Time” being the others), “Kool On” is quite possibly the most soul-clenching, neck snapping, funky production to be found on the group’s 11th(!) opus, “undun”. Damn, does anyone else wish that the LP was just a smidgen longer?
21. “The Red Carpet”-Evidence f. Ras Kass
Found On: “Cats & Dogs” (Rhymesayers Ent.)
I love Evidence man, I really do, “The Weatherman” is one of my favorite LPs of the 2000′s. However, can we all agree that dude was outshone by two lyrical heavyweights, Ras Kass & Raekwon on his own shit (“The Red Carpet”). Yet, it’s also arguable that the Alchemist production found on “The Red Carpet” didn’t “son” everyone, lol. That sample is GLORIOUS!! (c) Will Ferrell
20. “Dreamin” – Big K.R.I.T.
Found On: “ReturnOf4Eva Mixtape“
K.R.I.T couldn’t have chosen a better first single to increase anticipation for his “ReturnOf4Eva” mixtape than with the extremely soulful and poignant, “Dreamin”. This dude was everywhere in 2011 and I can only imagine how bright K.R.I.T.’s future is. Can’t wait to indulge in a proper LP from one of the South’s brightest shining stars.