David’s Best Rap Traxx 2011


Let’s wrap up this 2011 shit so we can move forward. When applicable, I linked to whoever introduced me to a track. I also linked to the producer, if I knew who it was; just throw a comment if I missed your credit. I uploaded a zip of the tracks; I think that most of them were released for free as mixtape tracks, but just contact me if you don’t want yours given away & I’ll take it down.

Download: David’s Top 50 Rap Traxx 2011.zip

Two Obvious Songs I Liked But Felt No Need To Remind You Of (Mainstream & Internet Hype editions, respectively):
DJ Khaled – “I’m On One” f. Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne
A$AP Rocky – “Peso”

50. San Quinn & Tuf Luv – Drunk in San Francisco f. B-legit Prod. by DexBeats. (From A Hustler’s Hope)
It’s the “Dos Factotum” rule, songs that simultaneously capture the celebratory and shameful nature of alcoholism tend to kick ass. Would love to say I discovered this via Done because he’s the only other person I’ve seen talk about it, but I found this one on my own.

49. Game – I’m the King (Remix f. Mistah FAB and The Jacka) (Prod. by 1500 or Nothin)
Game is at low ebb of respectability, but this song was hella memorable and as ‘regular guy rap’ gains annoying levels of attention I’ve begun preferring mythos-building hip-hop from rappers with likely personality disorders.

48. N.O.R.E. – N.O.R.E. Shot Somebody (Prod. by Scram Jones)
This video has some of the best acting in rap video history at the beginning.

47. Slim Thug – Can’t Stop f. Dre Day and Curren$y (Prod. by GL Productions, BDON & G_Luck)
I have nothing to say about this; a hot song is a hot song.

46. Freddie Gibbs – B.A.N.ned (Prod. By Cardo)
This was a big year for Cardo and this Sade flip was one of his best tracks. Been good to see some breadth from Gibbs as well.

45. CyHi The Prynce – Woopty Doo f. Big Sean (Prod. By No I.D. And Kanye)
I don’t love either of these dudes as rappers but the occasional anti-materialist message is nice in small quantities and, OK, this beat is just incredible. Jesus. Someone get Ross or Puffy to swipe No I.D. from Kanye, because thinking of all these incredible beats being wasted on Pusha, CyHi and Big Sean when they could have laced the French Montana record instead is depressing. (Found via Tyrone)

44. Yo Gotti – Ashamed (Prod. by Shawty Redd)
Shawty Redd is incredible. Yo Gotti’s output can seem same-y and is fairly uneven (flood-the-market marketing necessitates it – he had a really consistent record on TVT) but he’s got some great songs out there.

43. Calicoe The Champ and Janelle – Talk 2 Me (Prod. By KLC)
[insert Drake diss here]

42. Young Bleed – Holla at Uh Dog
Young Bleed finally releasing new music was one of my favorite things this year and while I know the response to the record was somewhat subdued it was pretty much exactly what I was expecting so I wasn’t disappointed and I hope that his Strange Music alliance means a Brotha Lynch Hung level of productivity.

41. Dusty McFly – Peaceful f. GLC (Prod. by No Speakerz)
Sometimes a serene beat makes everything OK. Dusty’s tape has a handful of great-ass songs on it. Found via GLC’s awesome blog.

40. Juicy J – Smoke That Bitch f. VABP (Prod. by Lex Luger)
Juicy J’s output was extraordinarily spotty this year and he has less dimension than Yo Gotti, but condensed to a 12 track LP he would have had a solid release. This was the best Luger beat of the year.

39. Sir Michael Rocks – Coochie Crook (Prod. by Ski)
I was not a fan of the Cool Kids in their earlier hyped incarnation; while I recognize that they had a unique style, to me there was something that just felt amateur about their recorded output that I found off-putting. But between Chuck’s (great) work on Boldy’s record – he’s turning into, like, an ’80s 808 version of the DJ Quik-style production head? – and Michael Rocks’ biggest tracks this year, I think both of these guys have serious careers in them. Anyway, this has to be one of the best Ski beats in recent memory. And since we’re on the topic, someone needs to introduce me to the girl from the “Too Short Back” video.

38. Foxx – Get The Fuck
Relationship drama can make for some great-ass rap music. The beat is fairly conventional but makes interesting use of space, implying connections that your ears make on their own, as if they made a full beat and then just snipped parts of it away.

37. Sly Polaroid – The Bad Guy (Prod. by Emmaculate)
Sly has an ruthlessly callous confidence that I find kind of scary, which keeps in line with the theme of this song, as well as its parent track, Bump J’s “Bad Influence.”

36. Kreayshawn – Gucci Gucci (Prod. by Two Stacks)
I like this song. Fuck you.

35. Boldy James – I Sold Dope All My Life (Prod. by The Plug)
He opened his show with this in October and everyone knew the words.

34. Future – Itchin (Prod. by Mike Will)
Future is a great pop songwriter, but not really a rapper. This was probably my personal favorite track in the wake of “Tony Montana”. Between “Itchin” and his work for Jeezy, this was a breakout year for Mike Will.

33. Fat Trel – Respect with the Teck (Prod. by Lex Luger)
Fat Trel has such a huge personality and sense for songwriting that he transforms a generic Lex Luger beat into a 2011 highlight.

32. Rich Boy – All I Know (Prod. by Supa Villain)
Although I enjoyed Supavillain’s recent solo tape – he’s a good rapper – I like that Supa has built a respectable career working as a collaborator for a more rapper-ish rapper with Rich Boy. It’s nice to hear reasonably talented MCs who have executive producer-types who can make great songs happen for them. #TeamWorkMakeTheDreamWork

31. Bo Deal – Safe Sex f. Mello G Blanca (Prod. by Don Lee)
NY Times beat Bo Deal to covering this phenomenon by a few months. Bo Deal’s version is more entertaining, though.

30. Gucci Mane – 2 Timez f. Wiz Khalifa (Prod. by Drumma Boy)
Drumma Boy is a genius. He’s the only one who really gets great performances from Gucci any more. The emotional production lets you read more into lines like “I really don’t care the game’s unfair” than Gucci probably even intended, but given the state of his career and life in general, it’s particularly poignant.

29. Tity Boi – Feelin’ You (Prod. by Wonder)
His momma named him Tity Boi, I’ma call him Tity Boi. Tity Boi’s strength in my opinion is afterparty jams like this and 2010’s “Up in Smoke” and “Between Me and You.”

28. Stickup Kiddz – We Can Do
Stickup Kiddz are rappers in the NhT Boyz vein (and in fact the two groups did another great song together earlier this year), typically, but I like this atypical track; it’s got a sweet sincerity and some nicely understated, almost ambient production.

27. Young Jeezy – Sittin Low f. Scrilla and Freddie Gibbs (Prod. by Mike Will)
I like this more than anything I heard on Jeezy’s album (which is solid, but). Great beat from Mike Will that is just on the correct side of the song/atmosphere divide.

26. 50 Cent – Wait Until Tonight (Prod. by Scoop Deville)
When I hear “Marvin’s Room” on the radio and not this, I really start to wonder about the next generation of songs-for-the-ladies listeners. Because, what the fuck?

25. YP – The Come Up (Prod. by Jeff Wallace)
Boolumaster, one of my favorite Chicago DJs, used to spin house music and old school regularly on Power 92, one of the big hip-hop stations in the Chicago region (this practice was ended a couple of years ago). One of the big tracks he would drop with some regularity was a house edit of Bill Withers’ “Harlem.” (At one point, I think I managed to track down who was responsible for it, but I’ve since forgotten and on Boolu’s website it’s just listed as “Sunday Morning (Harlem rmx)”); he would also drop borderline-house old school joints like James Brown’s “Doing It To Death.” Jeff Wallace’s incredible James Brown chop here is like the platonic ideal of what those worlds — old school dance music & contemporary rap — meshing could sound like. YP (who is currently working with Alchemist and Q-Tip in L.A.) used Chi slang & an East Coast-style bar-filling flow that gave the song a blacksploitation swag. One of the most Chicago-sounding rap songs I heard all year.

24. Joe Blow – Couldn’t Be a Better Player f. Lil Rue and The Jacka (Prod. by DJ Fresh)
DJ Fresh on his Jam and Lewis shit with a double-time verse from Jacka, a bo’d out verse from Lil Rue and a most-improved verse from Joe Blow? I like what someone said when I posted this to Fader, that it “sounds like Space Jam.”

23. Slim Dunkin and Waka Flocka – Koolin It f. YG Hootie and Kebo Gotti (Prod. by Lex Luger)
Considering all the same-y stoner production this year, this track was a way more interesting take on bleary intoxication. Plus it injected a paranoid edge into the mix. RIP Slim Dunkin.

22. Kendrick Lamar – A.D.H.D. (Prod. By Digiphonics)
Song is undeniable.

21. Bulu – Pussy and Weed f. Devin the Dude
Sometimes rap music is best when it’s about cutting through the bullshit. I guarantee that if you download all the songs in this list, this might not be the one you talk about a lot but it’ll get played more often than the others.

20. A-Mafia – Shine On Em
My favorite New York rapper right now; the beat sounds like the kind of shit that would be on some NY mixtapes back in ’99 fully smothered in DJ Clue shouts and Posta Boy freestyles. He’s also equally comfortable over NY classics and Luger-style contemporary tracks.

19. Kevin Gates – No Regrets
I’ve been seeing Kevin Gates’ name on N.O. to the B.R. comps so long I was really starting to wonder why he wasn’t getting more national love, but it seems like now that he’s fresh off a two-year bid there’s started to be some more noise out there on his behalf. Anyway I love this kind of expressive and honest confessional rap when it comes from the rare talent that can pull it off.

18. Trouble – Bussin’
Trouble is one of the few dudes out there who looks exactly like his music suggests he should, neck veins bulging from his wiry, wifebeater-clad physique and bags under sleepless, piercing eyes. His rap style sounds like it could spazz in any direction at any moment, which is pretty much how he appears in the video for “Bussin.’”

17. Wooh Da Kid, Waka Flocka, Frenchie, Bo Deal, YG Hootie, P Smurf – Everything Brick Squad
This was as good as statement of purpose as any while Brick Squad flooded the market in 2011. Nice and anthemic. Everyone noted the Frenchie-KRS resemblance last year, but his tendency to drop random gems of positivity (“Real estate can be a fortune in wealth! / Got to believe in yourself!”) amongst bars about gat-popping, body-dropping and pillow-smothering was starting to make me suspicious, until I heard that terrible KRS track TheMartorialist unearthed.

16. Travis Porter – My Team Winnin f. Wale (Prod. by KB)
How great are those Timbo-esque orchestral parts that crop up leading into the chorus?

15. EMP Dasme – Party Like Her (Remix) f. King Louie (Prod. by C-Sick)
This song could have been a big internet crossover jam, not sure what happened. Dope beat, catchy-ass hook, big name guest spot, video with a great look. My friends went to Columbia in Chicago so the “lakeshore livin” ethos makes me think of the hi-rise parties we used to have at 1212 S. Michigan. (Discovered via Andrew from FSD).

14. Slick Pulla – Pushin Pillows (Prod. by Knucklehead and Beat Those Drums)
Due to mis-tagged mp3s (someone really dropped the ball on that one) this track was mis-credited to (also-talented) producer Fate Eastwood; instead, credit goes to the twin production team of Knucklehead and Beat Those Drums (both of whose production drops can be heard in the intro) for this sumptuous beast. As I don’t push pillows myself I have repurposed this hook in my own life to indicate that I’m tired. See also: Pac Man’s “duffle bags under my eyes from no sleep-money” lyric from the L.E.P. Bogus Boys’ “Street Money.” (Discovered via DGB)

13. Webbie – What’s Happenin f. Lil Phat
I know there’s a complicated rap relationship w/ Webbie because he gets really high and says dumb albeit entertaining shit in public and white people think racist things about it, but otoh, he can rap (check his bars on Boosie’s “Long Journey” for one of my favorite Webbie flows) and Mouse (?) totally killed it with the 2011 Baton Rouge version of G-Funk.

12. King Louie – Band Nation (Prod. by NezAndRio)
Hella slept on because it only leaked out in a tagged-up version on We Affiliated 3 but it’s one of the best tracks from Dope & Shrimp. I know the DJ tags are loud but turn this one up anyway. Not sure if it’s still on that LP, which is supposed to drop early 2012.

11. Wooh Da Kid – I Prefer (Prod. by Southside)
His output this year doesn’t touch Black Out which remains one of the best of all Brick Squad releases, but “I Prefer” was perfect. His growled adlib is also a nicely streamlined version of DMX’s. Found via TheMartorialist.

10. Gucci Mane – Recently f. 50 Cent (Prod. by Drumma Boy)
This beat is so incredible and Drumma Boy is a genius. I love how the different interlocking parts of the beat seem so carefully intricate but it all congeals into a perfect song; it’s the kind of low-key genius that doesn’t draw attention to itself and puts the quality of the song above the ego. It was an off-year for Gucci, but this was one of a few scattered tracks that I outright-loved without reservation. (See also: “Up My Alley” which sounds like it was recorded in 2009).

9. E-40 – Rear View Mirror f. B-Legit and Stressmatic (Prod. by Droop-E)
This was the catchiest and most jamming track off E-40’s releases this year, with some of his funniest lyrics (lol “FILF”). I don’t have a car (city kid) but I did have an opportunity earlier this year to confirm that this track was a proven rear view mirror-shaker in field tests.

8. Shady Nate – Send It Overnight (Prod. by AK47)
I have a weakness for emotional, immediate ’80s production values, what can I say. Shady Nate is a great rapper too.

7. Tree f. GLC – Texas Tea (Prod. By Tree)
Tree is releasing some incredible music, both as a producer and rapper, and this was an easy standout from everything he’s released. Tree’s verse is one of my favorite verses all year (VIVA LA CHICAGO!) and GLC’s been on a role with guest appearances lately, and his grinning Pimp philosopher steez is possibly the most likeable Pimp archetype since Suga Free.

6. Sess 4-5 and Keedy Black – I Luv Dat Boy (Prod. by Blaqnmild)
Exuberant and immediate pop music. Incredible song.

5. Big K.R.I.T. – Money on the Floor f. 8ball, MJG and 2Chainz (Prod. by Big K.R.I.T.)
I wrote about K.R.I.T. really early on, just before the hype kicked into gear, and I was really into The Last King. But it was definitely one of those artists that I thought needed some time to grow, and the kneejerk press reaction to anoint him the next Pimp C and a genius of southern rap music was kind of gross to behold. Artists need time to develop. But with this track, an incredibly-produced approximation of Suave House, and a few other beats this year, it started to feel like K.R.I.T. is really just now hitting his stride.

4. King Louie – Man Up Band Up Remix (Get Money) (Prod. by LoKey)
This was the song that completely converted me on King Louie and I feel like I’m rediscovering how great it is every time I listen. Purple potion cause slow motion plus we chokin smokin potent.

3. Husalah – Da Mob
What would a somanyshrimp track list be without Husalah? Stompin hard while your boyfriend tiptoe.

2. Meek Mill – Middle of the Summer f. Mel Love (Prod. by Tone Beats)
This is the kind of song that made me fall in love with rap music when I was a kid. I can’t think of many artists who can make this kind of pathos-enducing rap music like Meek right now.

1. Schoolboy Q – Fantasy f. Jhene Aiko (Prod. by Tommy Black)
[insert Drake diss here]

50. San Quinn & Tuf Luv – Drunk in San Francisco f. B-legit Prod. by DexBeats. (From A Hustler’s Hope)
49. Game – I’m the King (Remix f. Mistah FAB and The Jacka) (Prod. by 1500 or Nothin)
48. N.O.R.E. – N.O.R.E. Shot Somebody (Prod. by Scram Jones)
47. Slim Thug – Can’t Stop f. Dre Day and Curren$y (Prod. by GL Productions)
46. Freddie Gibbs – B.A.N.ned (Prod. By Cardo)
45. CyHi The Prynce – Woopty Doo f. Big Sean (Prod. By No I.D. And Kanye)
44. Yo Gotti – Ashamed (Prod. by Shawty Redd)
43. Calicoe The Champ and Janelle – Talk 2 Me (Prod. By KLC)
42. Young Bleed – Holla at Uh Dog
41. Dusty McFly – Peaceful f. GLC (Prod. by No Speakerz)
40. Juicy J – Smoke That Bitch f. VABP (Prod. by Lex Luger)
39. Sir Michael Rocks – Coochie Crook (Prod. by Ski)
38. Foxx – Get The Fuck
37. Sly Polaroid – The Bad Guy (Prod. by Emmaculate)
36. Kreayshawn – Gucci Gucci (Prod. by Two Stacks)
35. Boldy James – I Sold Dope All My Life (Prod. by The Plug)
34. Future – Itchin (Prod. by Mike Will)
33. Fat Trel – Respect with the Teck (Prod. by Lex Luger)
32. Rich Boy – All I Know (Prod. by Supa Villain)
31. Bo Deal – Safe Sex f. Mello G Blanca (Prod. by Don Lee)
30. Gucci Mane – 2 Timez f. Wiz Khalifa (Prod. by Drumma Boy)
29. Tity Boi – Feelin’ You (Prod. by Wonder)
28. Stickup Kiddz – We Can Do
27. Young Jeezy – Sittin Low f. Scrilla and Freddie Gibbs (Prod. by Mike Will)
26. 50 Cent – Wait Until Tonight (Prod. by Scoop Deville)
25. YP – The Come Up (Prod. by Jeff Wallace)
24. Joe Blow – Couldn’t Be a Better Player f. Lil Rue and The Jacka (Prod. by DJ Fresh)
23. Slim Dunkin and Waka Flocka – Koolin It f. YG Hootie and Kebo Gotti (Prod. by Lex Luger)
22. Kendrick Lamar – A.D.H.D. (Prod. By Digiphonics)
21. Bulu – Pussy and Weed f. Devin the Dude
20. A-Mafia – Shine On Em
19. Kevin Gates – No Regrets
18. Trouble – Bussin’
17. Wooh Da Kid, Waka Flocka, Frenchie, Bo Deal, YG Hootie, P Smurf – Everything Brick Squad
16. Travis Porter – My Team Winnin f. Wale (Prod. by KB)
15. EMP Dasme – Party Like Her (Remix) f. King Louie (Prod. by C-Sick)
14. Slick Pulla – Pushin Pillows (Prod. by Knucklehead and Beat Those Drums)
13. Webbie – What’s Happenin f. Lil Phat
12. King Louie – Band Nation (Prod. by NezAndRio)
11. Wooh Da Kid – I Prefer (Prod. by Southside)
10. Gucci Mane – Recently f. 50 Cent (Prod. by Drumma Boy)
9. E-40 – Rear View Mirror f. B-Legit and Stressmatic (Prod. by Droop-E)
8. Shady Nate – Send It Overnight (Prod. by AK47)
7. Tree f. GLC – Texas Tea (Prod. By Tree)
6. Sess 4-5 and Keedy Black – I Luv Dat Boy (Prod. by Blaqnmild)
5. Big K.R.I.T. – Money on the Floor f. 8ball, MJG and 2Chainz (Prod. by Big K.R.I.T.)
4. King Louie – Man Up Band Up Remix (Get Money) (Prod. by LoKey)
3. Husalah – Da Mob
2. Meek Mill – Middle of the Summer f. Mel Love (Prod. by Tone Beats)
1. Schoolboy Q – Fantasy f. Jhene Aiko (Prod. by Tommy Black)

9 responses to “David’s Best Rap Traxx 2011

  1. Appreciate the shout mayn, San Quinn is really under-represented on the blogs, its nice to see someone else was checking for him this year.

    Great list as per usual. Theres a very acceptable percentage of these I was unaware of til now, nice one.

  2. The only other saltine with Da Mob, Nore Shot Somebody and joints by Foxx and A-Mafia up in they year end list.

    This YP joint is the best Chi-Town JB freak I’ve heard since Juke Them Hoes and further proof that Chicago producers are the people on the planet who can successfully merge Hip Hop with House.

  3. Good to see Kevin Gates up there. Been listening to “I Don’t Know What to Call It, Vol. 1” more than anything else in the month of December. Even though it dropped somewhat near Christmas … so like more than anything else since that time when all those tapes dropped around Christmas.

  4. Pingback: DWNLD: Boldy James – Trapper’s Alley (Pros & Cons) | 10kilos.us

  5. Pingback: SoManyShrimp Tommy Black Interview | we eat so many shrimp

  6. Great list, surprised to see Boldy James San Quinn on there and I noticed, no Yelawolf? Get Away and Hard White Remix were 2 of the best things I heard last year…

    Also, 2.0 Boys

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