“Marvin’s Room” – Drake
Who hasn’t been here before? Everyone from Chris Brown to JoJo tried their hand at remixing this drunk dialing anthem, peeving exes everywhere. It’s emo because it’s true.
“Mr. Nice Watch” – J. Cole Feat. Jay-Z
Sure Jay-Z took his time (zing!) blessing J. Cole with a witty guest verse over this dubstep-influenced backdrop. Yet Cole’s official knighting was worth the wait.
“My God” – Pusha T
If there were any indication to the type of year producer Hit-Boy would have, it was this early 2011 banger. The Clipse half drops hard white lines on this bumptious standout from Fear of God.
“My Last” – Big Sean Feat. Chris Brown
Big Sean finally graduated to stardom with this Chris Brown-assisted, carpe diem anthem.
“Nasty” – Nas
Esco season returned to unanimous praise when Nas let loose this back-to-basics buzz single this summer, immortalizing Notorious’ Antonique Smith in rhyme (“I’m after the actress who played Faith Evans”).
“New Day” – The Throne (Kanye West and Jay-Z)
While Kanye West reeled off a list of regrets over a mystic Nina Simone sample, Jay-Z’s dedication to Hov(ette) Jr. proved prophetic once Beyoncé bared her baby bump at the MTV Video Music Awards.
“Niggas In Paris” – The Throne (Kanye West and Jay-Z)
Jay-Z and Kanye West performed this anthem song 11 times this past Sunday night, during their tour finale in Vancouver. Nuff’ said.
“No Church In The Wild” – The Throne (Kanye West and Jay-Z) Feat. Frank Ocean and The-Dream
Yes, another track from the year’s most eventful release. That this four-on-the-floor powered thumper—WTT’s intro—gets any play on radio is a wonder. Hov quotes Greek philosopher Socrates, while Kanye West questions the ethics of monogamy. Preach.
“No Sleep” – Wiz Khalifa
When you party, drink and smoke as much as Wiz Khalifa, who has time to catch any Z’s? Wiz kept his solo debut rolling up high the charts with this hit single, his second highest charting behind “Black and Yellow.”
“Otis” – The Throne (Kanye West and Jay-Z) Feat. Otis Redding
Watch The Throne’s proper lead single, which samples Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness,” became an instant classic once it hit the ’Net. Harkening back to The Blueprint’s hip-hop soul era, Ye-Z trade sophisticatedly ignorant verses on this head-nodding spinner. Haanhh!
“Out Of My Head” – Lupe Fiasco Feat. Trey Songz
Who cares that Lupe Fiasco hates his own album? Radio loved this glitzy collabo with ladies man Trey Songz, making it a record true to its chorus—no one could get it out of their heads.