Top 10 Hip-Hop Songs of 2011
With 2011 coming to a close, PopCrush is presenting you with a list of the hottest hip-hop songs that were bumping on the Internet and radio airwaves throughout the year. Young Money cohorts Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj certainly had phenomenal years, with all of three them having solo tracks on our countdown. Newcomers J. Cole and Tyler, the Creator make appearances on our Top 10 Hip-Hop Songs of 2011 list, as do veteran rhyme-slingers Jay-Z and Kanye West. So without further ado, check out the list of the 10 best rap songs of 2011.
Undoubtedly, Drake (real name Aubrey Graham) is the hottest rapper in the game. Since 2009, the young Canadian has been putting in work to establish his brand and his October's Very Own (OVO) team. His debut album 'Thank Me Later' was a platinum-selling smash and if everything goes according to plan, his second release 'Take Care' will do the same numbers if not more. 'Headlines' is the first single from the set, which features the Young Money rapper spitting self-effacing lyrics about his newfound fame. "The realest is on the rise / F---- them other guys," he confidently raps on the track.
Miami rapper Ace Hood was on his grind in 2011 pushing his third album 'Blood, Sweat, & Tears' to the top of the charts. His get-money anthem 'Hustle Hard' was bumping out of trunks from Miami to L.A. Hood delivers the song's testament that hard work and a strong faith can bring you success. "My grind is no different from anyone else’s grind -- everyone has their struggles," he told PopCrush. "A lot of times artists will talk about miscellaneous things; but it really is a struggle out here and that’s what this represents. The blood, sweat and tears it took me to get here." Keep on hustlin', Ace!
California rap group Odd Future wreak havoc on the music industry with their shock raps and abrasive rhymes. The group's ring leader, Tyler, the Creator, turned heads with his songs about rape, murder and mayhem on his sophomore album 'Goblin.' The paradoxical emcee also upped the ante in his video for 'Yonkers,' in which he ate a cockroach and hung himself. Tyler and OFWGKTA certainly kept things interesting in 2011.
In a relatively short time after being discovered by his mentor Kanye West, Big Sean has gone from being almost famous to now being 'Finally Famous.' He had a few Top 10 hits this year, but it was the Chris Brown-assisted 'My Last' that put him on the rap map. "And I’mma hit this drink up like it’s my last / I’mma hit this night up like it’s my last," he rhymes on the celebratory track, which one of the top hip-hop songs of 2011. Expect big things from Big Sean in 2012.
J. Cole has certainly had a phenomenal year. Without a real hit single to his name, J. Cole's debut studio album 'Cole World: The Sideline Story' reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart with 218,000 copies sold. The first artist to be signed on Jay-Z's Roc Nation label, Hollywood Cole had to wait three years before he got his opportunity to shine. Now that he's on top, he 'Can't Get Enough,' and neither can we.
Lil Wayne's acoustic-guitar driven ballad 'How to Love' left many people scratching their heads and worried that the rapper was going soft. But that wasn't the case. The song, about an embattled young girl in search of true love, resonated with his fans and went on to become one of best hip-hop songs of 2011. Weezy made it hot this past summer with the release of 'Tha Carter IV,' which went platinum in two weeks and is now the second highest-selling album of the year. You gotta love that.
Nicki Minaj continued her winning streak this year with several chart-topping singles from her 'Pink Friday' LP, including 'Super Bass.' The boom-bastic song spawned many karaoke videos, most notably by an 8-year-old princess. The Young Money rapstress had a big year with sold-out performances on both Britney Spears' Femme Fatale tour and on her own headlining trek. Drake was so enamored by his labelmate's hard work that he dedicated 'Make Me Proud' to her. Now that's crew love.
The "Comeback Kid" award certainly goes to Chris Brown. With his infectious song 'Look at Me Now,' Breezy showed just how lyrically nimble he is on the mic. It's surprising how Brown can spit rhymes better than your favorite rapper. Busta Rhymes almost stole the song away from him with his rapid-fire lyrics. This top hip-hop song of 2011 generated many video spin-offs, most notably by pop duo Karmin. Brown extended his passion for rhyming on his fantastic mixtape 'Boy in Detention.' Look at him now … He's getting paper.
There's no doubt that Jay-Z and Kanye West's 'Watch the Throne' is one of the best hip-hop albums of 2011. The duo tackled a variety of subject matter on the LP, including fame, the homicide rate in the black community and spirituality. While the Throne's first single, 'Otis,' is their soul-drenched rap ode, their follow-up, 'N---as in Paris,' has become their pump-your-fist-in-the-air anthem. On their sold-out 'Watch the Throne' tour, Yeezy and Hov often perform the song three times in a row. Now that s---- is cray.
Raise your index fingers in air! DJ Khaled's 'I'm on One' was one of the hottest bangers this year, landing at No. 1 on our Top Hip-Hop Songs of 2011. It's the perfect rap song with plenty of quotables from hip-hop heavyweights Rick Ross, Drake and Lil Wayne. We especially love Drizzy's chorus on the track: All I care about is money and the city that I’m from / I'ma sip until I feel it, I’ma smoke it till it's done / And I don't really give a f----, and my excuse is that I'm young / And I'm only getting older so somebody shoulda told ya / I'm on one."