“John” – Lil Wayne Feat. Rick Ross
At first, this just sounds like a rehash of Teflon Don’s intro track, “I’m Not A Star.” But upon further listen—yeah, still sounds like Rozay’s track. Yet producer Polow da Don’s cascading synths and Weezy’s drawl helped this John Lennon dedication kill the charts.
“Let It Fly” – Maino Feat. Roscoe Dash
Hookmaster Dash chants a catchy chorus on the celebratory first single from Maino’s sophomore album, The Day After Tomorrow, leading to a mega remix featuring DJ Khaled, Ace Hood, Meek Mill, Jim Jones & Wale.
“Lighters” – Bad Meets Evil (Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″) Feat. Bruno Mars
Eminem and Bruno Mars on the same track? Seems bizarre, yet the hit-making songwriter/singer lent a delicate touch to this inspirational collaboration from Bad Meets Evil’s Hell: The Sequel EP.
“Like Smoke” – Amy Winehouse Feat. Nas
Salaam Remi salvaged this unfinished Winehouse cut, adding a couple energized Nas verses questioning the UK soul queen’s untimely death, lamenting his own misfortunes and even tapping into Amy’s cheeky sense of humor with a lewd joke about penguin anatomy.
“Look At Me Now” – Chris Brown Feat. Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne
The fact that an R&B singer had one of the year’s most outstanding rap records—over a head-nodding Diplo track—is a feat in itself. Add Busta and Lil Wayne’s rapid-fire raps and you’ve got an anthem that’s ruled for nearly 365 days strong.
“Lotus Flower Bomb” – Wale Feat. Miguel
Wale namedrops ladies’ favorite fragrance on this suggestive, chart-topping single from Ambition.
“Make My” – The Roots Feat. Big K.R.I.T.
This somber track off undun finds The Roots in full soul-searching mode, as guest spitter Big K.R.I.T. rhymes: “Saying grace over lobster and steak/Like please forgive us for riding Benzes with camera plates/Too busy looking backwards for jackers to pump my brakes.”
“Mama’s Boyfriend” – Kanye West
The beat ended up being a fraud, but still, this unreleased song from Mr. West, which he performed at Facebook’s HQs last year, poignantly put a soundtrack to the stepfather blues (“You ain’t interested in me, you just trying to fuck my mom”). Just imagine this over the original Q-Tip and Lex Luger productions.
“Marvin and Chardonnay” – Big Sean Feat. Kanye West and Roscoe Dash
Hol’ up! Mentor and protégé Kanye West and Big Sean link for this ultra-catchy, near-summer anthem. Sean kind of coasts here, yet ‘Ye’s slapstick lyrics—“She’s so cool, give head with her shades on (Whoa!)”—make this one of the year’s most fun records.