[See who tops the list at #25 to #1 in Part 2 HERE!]
As 2011 comes to a close, it’s only right that we take a look back at what records have been hits and misses in the past year. Rather than draw any more attention to the misses of 2011, AllHipHop.com has chosen to award the “hits” by compiling a list of the “Top 50 Hottest Songs of 2011.”
You may or may not agree with the choices we’ve made, but in this day and age, if it’s worth discussing, then we’ve done our job! It’s no coincidence that a number of repeat artists appear on this list, both with their own songs as well as with features on others. There’s no denying that in 2011, some rappers made it a point to keep the fans talking and talking by putting out hit record after hit record.
But before we countdown from #50 to #26, let’s take a look at a number of songs that were without a doubt some of the year’s hottest songs, but just missed the list by a hair. Here are our “Honorable Mentions” of 2011:
Wale – “600 Benz” ft. Rick Ross & Jadakiss; B.O.B – “Strange Clouds” ft. Lil Wayne; Future – “Tony Montana” ft. Drake; A$AP Rocky – “Purple Swag;” YC – “Racks” ft. Future; Childish Gambino – “Bonfire;” Wiz Khalifa – “No Sleep;” Common – “Blue Sky;” J. Cole – “Lost Ones;” Kreayshawn – “Gucci Gucci;” and Meek Mill – “Tupac Back” ft. Rick Ross
And now, without further ado, here is AllHipHop.com’s “Top 50 Hottest Songs of 2011″ – Part 1:
50. Bad Meets Evil – “I’m On Everything”
“Syrup, painkillers, cigarettes, weed, Hennessy, vodka, I’m on everything!” It’s no surprise that during a year when artists were bragging about being on one or even two illegal products, Bad and Evil glorify the use of everything they can get their hands on and have no shame in doing so. The production from Mr. Porter, along with the Mike Epps sample, made this one of 2011’s most fun and talked about records.
49. French Montana – “Shot Caller (Remix)” ft. Rick Ross & Diddy
French Montana has been one of the more buzzed about artists of 2011, with rumored offers coming in from the likes of Kanye, Diddy, Rick Ross, and many others. With a few records that could be considered hits or misses depending on your musical tastes, there is no denying that “Shot Caller” was and will be the record that put French on the map. Add in a dash of Rozay and a pinch of Diddy, and you’ve got yourself a hit, Mr. Montana!
48. The Cool Kids – “Penny Hardaway” ft. Ghostface Killah
2011 finally saw Sir Michael Rocks and Chuck Inglish release their major-label debut, and despite the time it took to drop, The Cool Kids did not sacrifice nor falter in their sound. Catchy production and cool lyrics justify the smooth title, and being able to grab Ghostface for a nasty verse is the musical equivalent of an “And-1.”
47. Nicki Minaj – “Moment 4 Life” ft. Drake
Billboard’s Rising Star of 2011 had more than her fair share of radio hits this past year, and there is no denying that this was the biggest of them all. Ms. Minaj’s song came out early in the year and is still getting daily play on radio stations across the country. That is a feat unto itself, and this is why “Moment 4 Life” earned the #47 spot on our list.
46. Talib Kweli – “Uh Oh” ft. Jean Grae
This track was so dope it was featured on both artist’s albums in 2011. There is something special that happens when two wordsmiths play verbal volleyball with each other, and longtime friends and collaborators Jean Grae and Talib Kweli do it oh-so-well on this “who did that?” track.
45. A$AP Rocky – “Peso”
We think it’s safe to call A$AP Rocky one of, if not, thee rookie of the year, who “blew the f*ck up” with trill-tinged, Harlem music. This song was his biggest of the year, and even had people in California singing: “I be that pretty m*thaf*cker, Harlem’s what I’m reppin’…”
44. Drake – “Make Me Proud” ft. Nicki Minaj
Don’t front, guys – you memorized Drake’s part, and we know a “bazillion” girls memorized Nicki’s. The appeal these two have when they link up is uncanny – like a modern-day Donny and Marie, without the creepy sibling love. We’re proud of what the two standout stars of the YMCMB brand have accomplished in 2011. We wonder what they have in store for 2012!
43. Wale – “Tats On My Arm” ft. Rick Ross
Wale may very well have been one of the hardest working men in Hip-Hop this year, and it’s no surprise that his boss, MMG founder Rick Ross is, too. Flaunty production brought braggadocios lyrics, and not many are keeping up with the D.C. rep in the clever lyrics category these days. This song makes you want to run to the closest tattoo parlor.
42. Pusha T – “Feelin Myself” ft. Kevin Cossom
Rest assured, this will not be the Pusha man’s only record on this list. Commend him for crossing over to, not just the mainstream with this track, but still managing to maintain his signature bravado, poise, and lyricism. This was one of the most “feel-good” records of summer, whose life-span is far from over. 2011 was a very “G.O.O.D.” year in Hip-Hop for the Virginia native. The “feelin’ himself” is justified.
41. Lil Wayne – “John” ft. Rick Ross
“If I die today, remember me like John Lennon/ Buried in Louis, I’m talking all brown linen.” This was clearly one of the hottest songs of summer, and it turned out to be one of the standouts on Wayne’s Tha Carter IV as well. The two heavyweights’ sound meshes perfectly on this track, showcasing the dynamic collaborations that themed this year.
40. Red Cafe – “Fly Together” ft. Ryan Leslie & Rick Ross
Add Rick Ross’s swag-laced grunts to Ryan Leslie’s can’t-miss hooks and production, and Red Cafe’ has a recipe for success on this definite headbanger of late 2011. The accompanying video, with its dark, ballerific loftiness, cemented these three as having one of of the clear R&B-laced rap winners of the year.
39. Drake – “Headlines”
“Soap opera rappers/ All these n*ggas sound like all my children,” Drake raps on his sophomore album’s first single. Taking a break from relationship turmoil, Drake reminds the listeners that he is indeed a rapper, with one-liners for days.
38. Young Jeezy – “I Do” ft. Andre 3000 & Jay-Z
Honestly, just look at that lineup and then say this song doesn’t deserve to be on this list. Even if TM103 never sees the light of day, which seems unimaginable at this point, Jeezy managed to provide Hip-Hop fans with a “grown *ss man” record that will be talked about for years to come.
37. 9th Wonder – “Enjoy” ft. Warren G, Murs & Kendrick Lamar
Warren brings some of that O.G. flavor while Murs lays down a verse full with one-liners, but really, the show is stolen by Kendrick Lamar: “Call ‘Pac and resurrect ‘im/ For sure to cause a spectrum/ Especially when my mental telepathy/ Starts to F ‘em.” Oh yeah, and this was all over a 9th Wonder beat. Son!
36. Common – “Sweet”
You know how in the beginning of the video to this song there’s a man twirling around a sword? That’s Common on this record. Over a deadly beat and throwing around an abundance of foul language, we felt like Common was mad at us, and we almost wish he’d get angry more often if this is the kind of product he delivers.
35. Kendrick Lamar – “Rigamortis”
Quite simply, this is Kendrick Lamar just unloading shot after shot after shot, over a racetrack-esque, horn stab. If this was a race, Kendrick just pulled a Usain Bolt. You might get tired singing along to this track, but never tired of hearing it!
34. Bad Meets Evil – “Fast Lane”
“Autobahn on auto-pilot”. Yep, that’s it right there. Royce and Em are going 150 MPH the whole damn time here, and with two of the best lyricists of the year behind the wheel, they could be ticketed for reckless rapping.
33. Killer Mike – “Burn”
After BET banned the video from playing, “Burn” caught even more fire and became a politically fueled, Hip-Hop anthem. Always known for speaking his mind, Killer Mike may have outdone himself on this one, and we hope that’s a trend that follows for many years to come. Ban or not.
32. Common – “Ghetto Dreams” ft. Nas
Remember when Common dropped “The Corner” as his first single for Be, and you couldn’t stop bobbing your head emphatically in approval? This is like that same soulful-goodness, but with Nas. Winning.
31. Ace Hood – “Hustle Hard (Remix)” ft. Rick Ross & Lil Wayne
In the hard work ethic spirit of “Grindin'”, this track’s grimy beat and viciously intoxicating hook had Ace Hood’s single rattling in trunks nationwide. Throw in a quality verse from Rick Ross and a superb effort by Lil’ Wayne, and you have a certified street banger, almost by formula.
30. Smoke DZA – “4 Loko” ft. A$AP Rocky
“I’m a loko, n*gga straight loko,/ So think twice ‘fore you cross my path/ ‘Cause frontin’ on DZA’s a no-go” raps the Kushed God who enlists fellow Harlem resident and current “it” rapper A$AP Rocky for this slowed down ode to all things “loko.” Rocky’s cadence and flow meshes perfectly with the Kushed God’s lyrics about weed, drank, “sittin high and tippin slow.”
29. Travis Barker – “Let’s Go” ft. Yelawolf, Lil Jon, Twista & Busta Rhymes
Some of the fastest rappers in the game unleash a lyrical onslaught over Travis Barker’s drums and production, which is sure to get you amped before a night out, a party at your buddy’s house, or even a street fight.
28. J. Cole – “Work Out”
The day the samples were cleared and this record came out, the world finally knew we’d be getting Cole World sooner rather than later. Although not the most lyrical J. Cole record by any means, “Work Out” helped the North Carolina native cement himself in the mainstream and propelled his debut to the #1 spot – all with no major radio hits in rotation at the time. Now, we just can’t get enough.
27. Big Sean – “My Last” ft. Chris Brown
Big Sean’s playful and optimistic lines are great, but how awesome is Chris Brown on the hook? The two linked up perfectly to make this jam, not only Sean’s first big single, but his first big summer smash. This was the appetizer for a number of Big Sean hits that would soon follow.
26. Pharoahe Monch – “Assassins” ft. Jean Grae & Royce Da 5’9″
The underground, backpack, conscious rapper – or whatever you like to call it – fans, loved this song. Pharoahe, Jean, and Royce each do verbal gymnastics over the attacking instrumental, making it, hands down, one of the best lyrical demonstrations of Summer 2011.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 of Our “Top 50 Hottest Songs of 2011,” Counting Down #25-#1…