Saturday, 5 January 2013

The 10 Best Hip Hop Tracks of 2012!

It's that time of the year again! My annual, slightly late run down of my 10 best tracks of the year is written in no particular order, so here goes...

1. Loco-Motive - Nas feat. Large Professor: Nas had a blistering 2012, dropping his almost perfect return to form right in the middle of summer. In truth, he could have had over half of this list with one album, but it is Loco-Motive that really stands out. The steadily clattering train anchoring the beat complements the grimy, cinematic atmosphere of a late night subway ride through Queensbridge. Almost 20 years since his debut, Nas hasn't lost a step.

2. Bury Me a G - Rick Ross feat. T.I: The highlight of an otherwise disappointing group LP from MMG, Ross embodies the gangsta don persona he has made his own, his wheezing voice lending a sense of urgency  rarely found on his other work. It is T.I however, who steals the show, his menacingly unhinged, slack jawed delivery bringing the song firmly back to the Dirty South.

3. Something More - Xzibit feat. Prodigy: A drowsy West Coast funk almost renders the listener inert as Xzibit triumphantly retains his place as one of his regions most consistent voices. Prodigy lends able support, a rare 2012 return to the style that made Mobb Deep such a distinct act in the late 90's.

4. Getting By - Lloyd Banks feat. Schoolboy Q: A stoner anthem that is actually listenable, Lloyd Banks released this gem in what proved to be a quiet year for 50's right hand man. Schoolboy Q demonstrates exactly why Black Hippy are so highly tipped for a successful 2013.

5. Hammer Dance - Slaughterhouse: Aside from the baffling decision to deny Royce da 5'9 a chance to rhyme, the lead single for Welcome to Our House was an underrated Araab MUSIK laced banger. Bringing together the remaining talent of the crew under the hook supplied by Royce, the track continues the chemistry first brought to prominence at the 2011 BET Awards.

6. Mercy - G.O.O.D Music: Granted, it has a lamentable middle section that cannot sustain Kanye's ego. That being said, Mercy unquestionably had the most hypnotic beat of the year, as well as a stunning video. Those wondering what all the fuss about this 2 Chainz chap is would be well advised to view this work.

7. Backseat Freestyle - Kendrick Lamar: Kendrick has been the debut star of the year, achieving critical acclaim and gold status for Good Kid, m.A.A.d City without a smash single in sight. The concept album is virtually flawless, but Backseat Freestyle is simple introduction that can be listened aside from the main narrative, reminding listeners that it is no accident that Kendrick is considered as the potential hip hop voice of his generation.

8. Pull the Cars Out - Ghostface Killah & Sheek Louch feat. Method Man: Though Wu-Block wasn't quite the melding together of two legendary crews we hoped it would be, gritty banger Pull the Cars Out showcases three artists comfortable in their own skins, sticking close to the format that brought them such success in the 90's. Method's verse in particular is ice cool in conception, dipping in and out of the beat flawlessly.

9. Love Sosa - Chief Keef: Hip Hop's version of Mario Balotelli continues to battle legal troubles, just about squeezing out his debut album before casually cancelling his entire U.S tour. Finally Rich is pretty dreadful, but single Love Sosa is Keef at his demented, spaced out best, an ode to himself that only fellow Chicago alumni Kanye West could rival. It is also tear-inducingly catchy.

10. Pyramids - Frank Ocean: Not technically a hip hop track in the traditional sense, Frank qualifies due his association with Odd Future. Pyramids is an 8 minute mini epic, Ocean's fabulous voice melting from the up tempo first half into the most beautiful musical moment of the year as the song reaches its conclusion.

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