Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Top 12 Singles Of 2008

40 years later, still fabulously relevant.

12. Ron Browz f. Jim Jones & Juelz Santana, 'Pop Champagne.' Jimmy and Juelz aren't so great, but the drums, synths and Ron are.

11. V.I.C., 'Get Silly.' This should've been so much bigger than it was. A Soulja Boy weedcarrier rapping reasonably well over what sounds like the soundtrack to an 80s sci-fi movie.

10. G-Unit, 'Rider Pt. 2.' WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA, WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA. The verses are nothing to write home about, but the hook was the best use of autotune by any rapper or ex-rapper all year.

9. Rick Ross f. Nelly and Avery Storm, 'Here I Am.' The best rapper for the ladies of our generation wins big on this touching story of his romance with a Florida State transfer (he "highly doubts she has problems with financial aid"). Seriously, Rick Ross is the closest thing to the Biggie of 'Big Poppa' we have today.

8. Freeway f. Rick Ross, 'Lights Get Low (Criminal Opera).' Great song. Pathetically low video budget. Ross must have been stunned by the poor quality of the video hoes on this one. (He has a great verse even by his lofty standards on this, by the way.) The video should have been a bank robbery - Free robs the bank but when he goes to trial, the tellers can't tell if it was him or the other fat rapper with the beard. And they all live happily ever after.

7. ABN (Z-Ro and Trae for the unaware), 'Who's Tha Man.' I couldn't decide between this and 'Still Throwed,' but I don't believe 'Still Throwed' was actually a single.

6. N.E.R.D. f. Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Pusha T, 'Everyone Nose (Remix).' Isn't Kanye so much more fun when he stops rapping about his own whiny white girl ass and raps about other whiny white girl ass? Even Lupe is fun here (although let's be clear, he easily has the worst verse on the song).

5. DJ Khaled f. Rick Ross, Boosie, Plies, Trick Daddy, Ace Hood, Akon, & Lil Wayne, 'Out Here Grindin.' Khaled does something right! Plies does something right! Boosie raps about his diabetes! The South's two biggest embarrassments and a bunch of guys who aren't so embarrassing to their region get it right on this song. Forget the overrated Fat Joe and Birdman-featuring mess that was 'We Takin Over' (even Wayne's verse wasn't actually good), this is the real deal.

4. State Property, 'Oceans Seven.' The return of the east coast posse record! Marred only by a weak verse from Freeway. Yes, even Omillio and Oschino show up here.

3. Soulja Boy, 'Turn My Swag On.' Earlier I compared this to a dumber version of 'What You Know,' but I have to rethink that. 'What You Know' was always a little flawed for me because the transcendence of the beat didn't sit well with the mediocrity of the rapping or the weird voice Clifford chose to rap in. Here, on the other hand, the cheapness of the beat fits perfectly with the crappiness of the raps. Why do I like this song? I mean, it's the sound of this talentless hack waking up one morning to discover that he's become impossibly rich and famous. And that's interesting to me.

2. Lil Wayne f. Kanye West, 'Lollipop (Remix).' Yes, the original sucked, but on the remix Wayne puts that Supremes sample (listen to the first two seconds of this) to brilliant use, justifying all the nice shit that idiot bloggers say about him for three minutes. And even Kanye is likeable, promising that Wayne won't murder him like everyone else and then promptly getting murdered.

1. Young Jeezy, 'My President Is Black.' An historic record for an historic moment. Even Nas, who has this
richly ironic line:

No matter how big you can ever be
For whatever fee or publicity, never lose your integrity

can't ruin this song.


Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

"The best rapper for the ladies of our generation"

with songs like 'ms. pretty pussy' and 'get you wet,' i will stick with plies, who i know you despise. also, i thought it was 'criminal opera' not connection, but whatever.

"Marred only by a weak verse from Freeway."

but he'll give you a new asshole, asshole. he was great, love that song.

tray said...

I just thought his flow was a little off-kilter, it sounded like he was rapping on a different beat.

DocZeus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DocZeus said...

Dude. No. Just No.

In fact, pretty much everything on you're overrated list is better than these songs other than "Who's The Man" and the possible exception of "Ocean's Seven" since I have not heard it. Although, State Property has to be the most inexplicably overrated act in all of East Coast hip hop.

tray said...

State Property is underrated if anything, and when I include a link for a song you haven't heard, I suggest you click on it. But back to State Prop, what is there not to like? They have Peedi, who's really gifted, probably will never make a great solo but in a group he's stellar, Freeway with his crazy rhyme schemes and aching emphasis on every word, even when said emphasis makes no sense, and Beans, who's got to be the last great gangsta rapper alive... or at least the last very good one.

Passion of the Weiss said...

I can't believe you wrote this list with a straight face.

DocZeus said...

Well I suppose justifiably ignored is probably a more accurate description since 99% of the population don't know who these guys are but yeah, State Prop. as a collective is usually pretty mediocre. I'm not saying they don't have a song or two that's pretty hot (Roc The Mic) but generally, they're pretty generic street raqppers. The music they make is less than the sum of their parts. For a rapper who hasn't gotten anywhere close to a classic, Beans has way too much fan base. Freeway's the definition of one dimensional. And Peedi Crakk should stick to carrying weed for the Roots. As for the rest of the no-names, there is a reason that Jay dropped you from Rocafella.

tray said...

I mean, whether my face was straight when I wrote it or not is up for debate, but I can't believe you included that Game song on your list after I eviscerated it the last time you wrote about it. Or this Prafit crap. Twinkling xylophones that sound invincible like the summer? I wasn't aware that twinkling xylophones sounded invincible. Or that the summer was invincible. Or that this guy could rap. Worst of all, though, the beat happens to be a markedly inferior remake of Premo's for Big Shug's Play It x Mobb Deep's Survival Of The Fittest (Remix)* same invincible xylophones at all. Shit, we could all be great producers if we just had Premo and Havoc do the crate-digging for us. So you can post your buddies' sample-jacks for underground myspace rappers who sound just like Termanology on your best of the year list, and I'll post my Rick Ross on mine.

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZmslxdp6xo

DocZeus said...

Umm, I didn't include "My Life" or Prafit on my list. That's Weiss'. I just wrote some blurbs.

tray said...

I was speaking to Mr. Weiss, Mr. Steiner. Notice the "whether my face was straight" bit, responding to "I can't believe you wrote this with a straight face", etc.?

As for State Prop, I really suggest you reconsider. Noz is way more knowledgeable than me on this, but Got Nowhere or One for Peedi Crack are pretty great songs. Freeway may be one-dimensional but he also makes stellar albums. The B.Coming was, if not really close to a classic, damn good, and besides, who comes close to a classic these days? I'm a huge Jada and Styles fan but their albums are generally trash.

DocZeus said...

Ah, yes. I didn't see Weiss' comment. Complaint withdrawn.

As I said, it's not as if State Prop. don't have some good songs in their discography or even solid albums. It's that I kind of think the majority of the work they produce is kind of forgettable. Like I think it's at best a collection of rappers that can't put it together with a consistency.

I feel Beans and Freeway like Jadakiss and Styles (and Ludacris and Busta Rhymes before them) are rappers that if they had a classic album in them would have made it ten years ago. Now, it's like they are just stuck in this artistic rut where they basically play to a loyal audience who wouldn't allow them to grow even if they wanted to. I mean they all just kick the same basic verse to lesser and lesser returns. They've been stale for years.

But I feel at the same time because they have this loyal audience, people get excited when they make some new material which always fails to reach expectations. Which is why I feel their overrated. They keep missing the mark but people still get really excited when you speak about them. Something I don't feel their track record warrants.

clay said...

"Everyone Nose (Remix)" is good (largely because of the beat) and I generally like Lupe, but his flow on the song was obnoxiously earnest the same way Jeezy's flow often is. The verse was just lackluster, especially compared to Bun B's "Swang on Em," the one other guest verse I've heard Lupe spit this year.

tray said...

I mean, this is what I think of Jada and Styles. Jada's always trying to cross over and he ends up making foolish records with Mariah and Snoop. Styles doesn't have much of a budget, and his beats suck. Actually maybe that's a little too kind, he's also not much of a songwriter. But that said, their mixtapes really are some of the best in the game. Yeah, they keep saying the same thing over and over, but they're just remarkably consistent about it. Styles's freestyles over "Where My Homiez" and "Please Listen To My Demo" are some of the best things I've heard all year. And Free - I loved Free At Last. What could've even made that a better album? Besides his getting a little better lyrically, of course.

Passion of the Weiss said...

Good thing people only read one of our blogs.

tray said...

Ha, not that I like to make any claims for my sorry-ass blog, but it would seem that we're both read to some degree. Frankly, I'm a little shocked that I'm as read as I am - all I am is a Jewish kid applying to law schools with a normal-sized cd collection, a few thousand songs on my iPod, not a single vinyl record, and a ton of poorly expressed opinions. Based on a mere 5 years of listening to rap. And I've only been doing this crap for a couple months. At this rate I'll actually be somebody in the rap blogosphere in a year or so.