10. “Sun God” – Doc Singe f. Branesparker of Freestyle Professors
Found On: “Kiss Of The Beast” (Ascetic Music)
Damn, damn, damn, one of the most instantly gratifying and appeasing tracks to us old headz who can’t seem to let go of the “Golden Era” was Doc Singe’s “Sun God”. With the lyrical reach out from Branesparker of Freestyle Professors, “Sun God” could have found itself higher on this list had I heard it a bit soon than the start of December. Boom Bap is alive and strong!
Found On: “IMAKEMADBEATS” (Doxside Music Group)
IMAKEMADBEATS” finds MidaZ posing lyrically as IMAKEMADBEATS as he recollects his journeys and words of wisdom he’s been the beneficiary of in the production game to date. The instrumental for this track is breath taking, inspiring and bound to generate a few goosebumps as a wailing vocal sample is cleverly placed atop a BOOMING drum kick and escalating bassline. To quote the elegant words of one MidaZ The Beast, this track is “more exciting that pipin’ Pam Grier in the rear”!
8. “One For Nana”-Has-Lo
Found On: “Conversation B” (Mello Music Group)
And you thought the O.G. was emotional and heart-wrenching? The homie St.Mic totally vaulted “Untitled #1″ (Hold On), which was already incredibly dope, to a whole ‘notha level with his emotive production that accompanies Has’ honest lyricism admirably. It’s funny, no knock on Mic whatsoever, yet when I first heard “One For Nana” I immediately called Mic on some “Holy Shit! I mean, that’s the best jawn you EVER produced, hands down!). Damn, this track is so illiodic!
7. “One Time” – The Roots f. Phonte & Dice Raw
Found On: “undun” (Def Jam)
The apex of “undun”, “One Time” is fueled with one of the finest ?uestLove productions I’ve had the joy of hearing (with co-production from Ritz). Also, since the disbanding of Little Brother, is it safe to say that Phonte would be a nice “permanent” addition to Philadelphia’s finest? Oh, and speaking of Phonte…
6. “The Life Of Kings” – Phonte f. Evidence & BigK.R.I.T.
Found On: “Charity Starts At Home (Foreign Exchange Music)
It’s almost unimaginable that a song this good emerged from an album that was extremely disappointing. Even though the 9th Wonder production is what you’ve come to expect from the overrated producer, it’s the wailing “ohhhh….ohh..ohhh..” that is extremely addictive. Oh, and the contributing verses from Evidence and Big K.R.I.T. ain’t nuthin’ to sneeze at either. Very good chemistry on this joint!
5. “Delay” – yU f. Oddisee & XO (aka Diamond District)
Found On: “The Earn” (Mello Music Group)
Real talk, Hip Hop/We need more production like this! I’m tired of all that 85-87 BPM ‘ish (and with the cases of these new cats and all this “atmospheric” B.S., 70ish!), bring back that ol’ 100+BPM’s man. ”Delay” is just….hectic!! Of course the chemistry is immediate with Diamond District and yU also flexed his beat-making prowess with this furious, anthemic banger!
4. “Pound” – Stalley
Found On: “Lincoln Way Lights” (SMC Recordings)
Native Ohioan Stalley couldn’t have been more on point when he coined “Lincoln Way Lights” as “Intelligent Trunk Music”. While the beats and production courtesy of Rashad is ‘ignant, meaning the type of rattle blasting from your trunk that forces you neighbor to call the ‘po ‘po for disturbing the peace, Stalley is the perfect emcee to lace the booming production with intellectual, poignant and valid topics. Surprisingly, Stalley has been left off a few year end list(s) as one of the year’s brightest newcomers, but dude is a force to be reckoned with, no doubt. Plus, “Pound” is undoubtedly one of the year’s most cinematic, stripped down and raw tracks.
3. “Nerd English” – Willie Evans Jr.
Found On: “Introducin” (High Water Music)
With one of the smoothest deliveries, the Asamov-alumnus effortlessly murders the lyrical and production aspects of this album. On no other track on the LP is this more evident than with “Nerd English”. Somebody toss me my pimp cane, cause “Nerd English” is SWAG, ‘uff all this Lil’ B, Odd Future coined “SWAG”, “Nerd English” is that ‘ol real sh*t!
2. “Untitled #2″ (Conception to Procession)-Has-Lo
Found On: “I.C.I.D.M.I.” (Mello Music Group)
Probably one of the most prodding productions found in Has-Lo’s discography is the classic that is “Untitled#2″. However, this jawn isn’t about the beat at all but rather all the verbal gems that Has sprinkles throughout this vivid and cinematic track. If you’re between the ages of 25-30, you can’t tell me this ‘ish doesn’t take you for a stroll down memory lane, more so than any other cut did in 2011.
1. “Poe Man’s Dreams” – Kendrick Lamar
Found On: “Section.80″(T.D.E.)
It’s only right that my favorite track of 2011 is taken from my favorite album of the year, Kendrick Lamar’s “Section.80″. Produced by Tae Beats of Digi Phonics, whom I’d never heard of prior to this track, “Poe Man’s Dreams” is as raw, stripped down and funky as you can possibly get. Kendrick’s lyrics are instantly memorable: ”I useta’ wanna’ see the penitentiary way after elementary/Thought it was cool to look the judge in the face when he sentence me…”, dude just spazzes out on “Poe Man’s..”. Even the inclusion of GLC (who is normally totally unbearable) on the hook is a nice touch. Oh, and the sultry vocals that chime in near the track’s apex? Simply beautiful! This jawn was the only track responsible for urging me to listen to “Section.80″ more than once after the first listen.