50) El-P – The Full Retard
I didn’t hear this song until a couple weeks ago, but the beat alone merits it a spot on this list. El-P had a monster year.
49) Kanye West – White Dress
This is Kanye West rapping over a soulful sample based beat. What else is there to say?
48) DeLaZoo – Mine Today
This dude isn’t huge, but he easily could be soon if he continues making songs that are this catchy.
47) Sene feat. Blu – Backboards
A Jay Z tribute song that lives up to Hov.
46) Machine Gun Kelly feat. Young Jeezy – Hold On (Shut Up)
Say what you want about Machine Gun Kelly, but the kid can seriously spit on this one.
45) Lushlife – Magnolia
This video is insane. My favorite of the year by far, but the song itself holds up as well.
44) ANTHM – Life Imitates Art
This was the first song I’ve ever heard from the dude. Good first impression.
43) Killer Mike – Reagan
Really cool concept for a song. Killer Mike got political on this one and it really worked.
42) Blu & Exile – A Man
This isn’t a normal rap song. Blu repeats an entire verse twice, but it almost makes you focus more on the words. Nice touch.
41) Mac Miller – Angels (When She Shuts Her Eyes)
You’ll never get this song out of your head.
40) Watsky – All I Ever Wanted
He’s just having so much fun with this one.
39) Homeboy Sandman – The Miracle
He just doesn’t stop spitting for two and a half minutes.
38) Ken Rebel – Bonita
You can just chill out to this track.
37) Heems feat. Childish Gambino – Tell Me
“And it’s back and forth all day like Red and Meth…”
36) Game feat. Kanye West, Trae The Truth, Z-Ro, Paul Wall and Slim Thug – Rollin
Kanye’s intro’s sick, the hook is catchy and the Game sounds like he cares about rap again.
35) Action Bronson feat. Roc Marciano – Pouches Of Tuna
Action Bronson doing what he does best, while Roc Marciano spits a verse so slow that it’s mesmerizing.
34) Hit-Boy – HITstory
The title track of Hit-Boy’s first mixtape sounds like a much more polished MC than I was expecting to hear.
33) A$AP Rocky – Phoenix
This song will really make you think.
32) Mac Miller feat. Posdnous and Raekwon – Of the Soul remix
This is Mac’s best verse. ever. also it’s Wu-Tang, De La and Most Dope.
31) Kids These Days – Don’t Harsh My Mellow
A rapper from a jazz band made one of my favorite songs of the year. Didn’t see that coming in January.
30) Oddisee – Paralyzed
I came for the Bon Iver sample, I stayed for the bars.
29) J Cole – The Cure
This dropped out of random earlier this year. I’m not complaining.
28) Macklemore feat. Mary Lambert – Same Love
The subject matter is groundbreaking in hip hop and the song sounds great on top of that.
27) Danny Brown – Grown Up
The highlight of Danny’s career so far in my opinion.
26) T.I. feat. Andre 3000 – Sorry
T.I. was good on this, but let’s be honest, this is here because Andre 3000 decided to rap on this.
25) Ab-Soul feat. Danny Brown – Terrorist Threats
This song is kind of eerie, but that’s a very good thing done correctly, apparently.
24) Big Boi feat. Kid Cudi – She Hates Me
Big Boi came onto this track hard and Kid Cudi’s chorus sealed the deal.
23) Childish Gambino – Unnecessary feat. Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul
Gambino and Schoolboy did good and all, but Ab-Soul killed this track with a hunger.
22) Kendrick Lamar feat. Ab-Soul and Jay Rock – The Heart Part 3 (Will You Let It Die?)
Thank god we didn’t let hip hop die on October 22nd.
21) Odd Future – Oldie
Earl’s comeback verse, and Frank Ocean’s surprisingly good one.
20) Hoodie Allen – Hey Now
If you’re gonna make a bad decision, this is what you should make it to.
19) Hopsin – Ill Mind of Hopsin 5
Hopsin really kicked knowledge to an entire generation.
18) Kanye West feat. Big Sean and Jay Z – Clique
Big Sean did good, Jay Z sounded interested again, but Kanye was the clear highlight here.
17) Death Grips – Get Got
Not for everybody, but if you want loud, crazy music this is what you’re looking for.
16) Macklemore feat. Allen Stone – Neon Cathedral
Macklemore and Allen Stone make a really interesting combination.
15) Kid Cudi feat. King Chip – Just What I Am
This makes me believe Kid Cudi when he says Indicud will be a classic.
14) Mellowhype feat. Frank Ocean – Astro
Frank had my overall favorite song of this year, Bad Religion, and then he did this hook. Amazing.
13) Ab-Soul – Pineal Gland
This song will have you thinking hard.
12) J Cole – Miss America
A really unorthodox lead single, but a great one at that.
11) Joey Bada$$ feat. Pro Era – Suspect
A good old fashioned posse cut.
10) Nas feat. Amy Winehouse – Cherry Wine
You can’t go wrong with Nas or Amy Winehouse. And definitely not both. This song sounds one of those combinations I would think of if I was attempting to describe the perfect song.
9) BJ the Chicago Kid feat. Kendrick Lamar – His Pain II
You can hear the pain in Kendrick Lamar’s voice as he weaves through his most emotional verses he’s ever spit. BJ The Chicago Kid complements him well at the end as well.
8) Childish Gambino – We Ain’t Them
If you don’t take Gambino seriously, listen to this song. You’ll change your mind pretty quickly.
7) Kid Cudi – Creepers
I didn’t even like this song at first. And then it grew on me and grew on me until it made my top ten. This song is something different.
6) Joey Bada$$ – Waves
Laid back and personal. Joey stretched in a direction I didn’t expect when I first clicked on this video.
5) Earl Sweatshirt – Chum
Home technically came first, but this is Earl’s real comeback song. That lazy tone and dark production is so familar, yet sounds so new.
4) Slaughterhouse feat. Eminem and Skylar Grey – Our House
Every single person this track killed it. They all did awesome. I acknowledge that. But if we’re being honest I like this song because it’s Eminem’s best verse of the year.
3) Pusha T feat. Kanye West – New God Flow
This song boasts my favorite Kanye verse of this year and my introduction to solo Pusha. It’s hard to make a rap song better than this. It was hard not to make this number one.
2) Kendrick Lamar – Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst
2012 was the year Kendrick Lamar took over. This 12 minute masterpiece was the high point if you ask me. It calls back to Section .80, is completely complex, tells a story and generally does everything Kendrick does well in one song.
1) Joey Bada$$ feat. Capital STEEZ – Survival Tactics
This was hands down my favorite rap song of this year. It introduced me to Joey and Pro Era. It revived my obsession with the old school style. It made me finally believe in the power of blogs to find artists that are actually worthwhile. It was stuck in my head for months despite having no hook. 2012 was a monster year for rap music and this was the pinnacle of all of that for me. R.I.P. STEEZ.