Top Hip-Hop Music of 2011 (So Far)
The Top Hip-Hop Music of 2011 (So Far) features a few veteran performers, but is mostly dominated by artists who weren’t on the scene a few years ago. Lil Wayne kicked off the year with ‘6 Foot 7 Foot,’ and since then, reliable hitmakers like Lupe Fiasco and Eminem have lit up the charts -- fresh faces like J. Cole, Ace Hood and YC have all made their mark as well. We expect a lot more unforgettable rap hits before the year is over, but for now, here’s our rundown of the Top Hip-Hop Music of 2011.
Kicking off our rundown of the top hip-hop music of 2011 is 'Out Of My Head,' the third single from Lupe Fiasco's 'Lasers' album. While the first two singles, 'The Show Goes On' and 'Words I Never Said,' were also notable, 'Out Of My Head' makes the cut because of its smooth soul vibe and impressive cameo by featured artist Trey Songz. The pair debuted the song during a live performance at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards.
Drake joins J. Cole for 'In the Morning,' an attempt at seducing a girl who's "summertime fine." Over delicate piano and keys, the rappers promise a memorable A.M. lovemaking experience, asking, "Can I hit it in the morning?" Drake raps, "I got bath water that you could soak in / Things I could do with lotion / Don't need a towel, we could dry off in the covers." The song appears on Cole's mixtape 'Friday Night Lights.'
While a female voice begs, "I want a kiss, a kiss, a kiss," Eminem and Royce Da 5'9" verbally abuse the woman atop an innocent layer of twinkling chimes. Royce raps, "Hoe, we could share you" and says, "You should be cooking / You should be buckling your seat belt with oven mitts." The song reveals the duo's warped sense of humor and no-holds-barred approach to songwriting. 'A Kiss' is also the track on which Eminem disses Lady Gaga, calling her "a male lady."
DJ Khaled's 'I'm on One' features electro whooshes, a down-tempo beat and a host of Khaled's friends. While Rick Ross and Lil Wayne contribute rhymes, Drake is the standout, warning potential rivals that he's in it for the long haul. He raps, "Get it while you here, boy / Cause all that hype don't feel the same next year, boy / And I'll be right here in my spot with a little more cash than I already got."
Producer Bangladesh actually sent the sample that became '6 Foot 7 Foot' to T.I. first, before he was convinced that the song was a better fit for Weezy. The intense track is built around an interpolation of the 1950s track 'Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).' Wayne's protégé Cory Gunz adds a verse on the song, which raced to No. 2 on Billboard's Rap Songs chart and became Wayne's first hit since ending his jail stint.
Georgia rap group Travis Porter earned one of their biggest hits and the No. 5 spot on our Top Hip-Hop Music of 2011 list with 'Bring It Back,' a song from their upcoming album 'Porterland.' The song won over listeners with its repetitive hook and explicit lyrics about a girl with a "real big booty": "Back that a-- up like a dump truck / If you havin' fun in the club, throw your pumps up / All my ballers in the building, throw your ones up."
What's a rapper to do when money is hard to come by? Florida emcee Ace Hood has the answer: "Mama need a house, baby need some shoes / Times are getting hard, guess what I'mma do / Hustle, hustle, hustle, hard." After all, "Closed mouths don't get fed on this boulevard." Ace, who's signed to DJ Khaled's We the Best label, performed the 'Hustle Hard' remix at the 2011 BET Awards with Rick Ross and Lil Wayne.
Wiz Khalifa reveals his sensitive side on the chilled-out 'Roll Up,' when he promises, "Whenever you call, baby, I’ll roll up." Of course, he’s promising this to a taken woman, but they seem to have a working arrangement: "When you at home, that's your man / Soon as you land, you say that's all me." The track from Khalifa's 'Rolling Papers' album got to No. 2 on the rap chart and No. 13 on the pop survey.
Newcomer YC (Yung Chris) captured the rap world’s attention with 'Racks,' a song with cinematic synths, powerful beats and Auto-Tuned lyrics about possessing large volumes of racks -- also known as stacks of $100 bills. 'Racks' floated around for quite a while before it reached YC. More than one performer passed on the beat, according to producer Sonny Digital, and now they must be kicking themselves. Appropriately, the music video depicts YC and Future tossing around money.
It's ladies first on our rundown of the Top Hip-Hop Music of 2011. Nicki Minaj reigns with 'Did It on 'Em,' which she describes as a "ball of cocky arrogant diva b----y insanity!" Over a hot Bangladesh beat, Minaj declares, "If I had a d--- I would pull it out and piss on 'em." One of the more in-your-face tunes on Minaj's debut 'Pink Friday,' 'Did It on 'Em' is the hip-hop song that most impressed us during the first half of 2011.