Possibly the hardest hitting single off the album, "New God Flow" marked a return to form for one-half of the Clipse Pusha T. Kanye teased fans with an a capella rendition of his hard-hitting verse. With a compilation LP overflowing with radio-friendly singles, this one stuck out as just two dope emcees dropping their deity-like rhymes.
The second single off Fif's fifth studio album had the much anticipation reunion of sorts between him and Slim Shady. Sure this tune is tailor made for radio play with Adam Levine on the hook, but Em and 50 do their thing over a beat that contains some banging drum beats. This is a single that walks the fine line of appeasing hip hop heads and appealing to pop-friendly audeinces.
Take It To The Head
#19 Kirko Bangz - Drank In My Cup
Had the mainstream not heard of Q prior to this offering, they sure did afterwards, once this track became early inescapable. Getting A$AP to jump on the cut only helped things, as this record was designed for multiple listens. Containing lyrics and subject matter that borders on ignorant ironically it's the Lissie "Pursuit of Happiness" sample on the hook that draws listeners in, as the track details the two rappers over indulgence in "weed and booze".
Both rappers broke out musically, and made headlines for completely different reasons. Perhaps that's what makes this track work with Gunplay's almost chaotic disorder, kept in check by K.Dot's rapid, but restrained style. The beat flows heavy and melodious with both rappers wrecking hell on the mic.
#16 Kanye West - Way Too Cold (Theraflu)
Kris Humphries least favorite jam of the summer, was originally titled "Way Too Cold", but Kanye was forced to change up the title. While 'Ye goes in on this tune the real star is Hit-Boy's pulsating beat with the echoing yells in the background. This is one of those Kanye specials that at first listen seems there is no way the masses will be on board, and then he plays with the track to make it constant rotation throughout the country.
#15 J. Cole - Miss America
The first single off his sophomore album, J. Cole goes hard over this tune laced with guitar riffs, and melodic background vocals, as this track showed a more serious Cole. "Miss America" blew up as the people have been impatiently waiting to get some new Cole, and the tune may not be track-friendly but nonetheless plays huge.
#14 Chris Brown - Don't Wake Me Up
Brown is one of the first R&B/Pop sensations to welcome EDM producers into the fold to help create music digestible by fans of many genres. David Guetta produced this dance-heavy Chris Brown ballad, that even features some voice modulation. Whether you're a fan of artists going this way, it's hard to argue with the "moveability" of such fist-pumping electro tunes.
#13 Kendrick Lamar - Swimming Pools (Drank)
Many heralded GKMC as an instant-classic, while detractors of K.Dot's debut studio effort said it was "boring" and devoid of big hits. Perhaps they skipped over this tune. T-Minus crafted a beat that makes that listener feel as if they are engulfed in liquid which Kendrick uses to write this cautionary tale of over indulgence. With a two-part hook that contains the slapping "hold up, drank" and the sped up "get a swimming pool full of liquor then you dive in", this single has Compton's golden child's complete skill set on display.
Pusha T's lyrical ability has never really been questioned as a member of Clipse, and this scathing cut showed that the Virginia emcee could go in raw on a solo track as well. After some subliminal shots on previous records he goes in on YMCMB's Weezy and Drizzy.
Philly spitta Meek Mill made a name for himself by setting tunes on fire, like on "Burn", but it's this organ-sampled Church-centric tune that was his biggest of the year. With Drake jumping on and offering complementary bars and smooth vocals from Jeremih this track played well on stereos as a laid back summer jam produced by rising producer Key Wayne.
This summer it was tough to find a big single that 2 Chainz didn't make an appearance on, and on this track he gets arguably the biggest producer of 2012, Mike WiLL Made It to drop this thumping dark beat. Drake, yet again, jumps on a massive single and offers up some nice bars about his sex life, and an airy hook.
Originally offered up as a solo Big Sean track on G.O.O.D. Music's Cruel Summer, this Hit-Boy produced hypnotic banger was arguably murdered by all three rappers as Jay-Z and Kanye jumped on and offered up personal introspective verses. The simple but enticing hook plays well with the looping beat, and whenever you get Jay and 'Ye on a tune, both in fine form, then you have a certified banger.
Rozay came blazing out the gates in a year that was the biggest MMG had seen to date with his massive Rich Forever mixtape and this The Beat Bully produced synth-heavy tune. You have the Bawse doing his *huff!* thing, and then Drake jumps on and flows over a beat seemingly produced for him all along and drops some subliminal shots, and some not-so-subtle jabs at Mrs. Kobe Bean. Toss in Frenchie and the origin of "fanut" and you have one of the smoothest bangers of the past 365 days.
"All Gold Everything" or "I Don't Like 2.0", Trinidad James virtually appeared out of nowhere with this street anthem that redefined "infectious". Quickly after dropping his thumping, looming beat it became the go-to for every rapper to drop a freestyle over. One of those joints that become so ingrained in the ether of street-hop that James' association with the tune is sometimes even overlooked.
Has anyone ever gone wrong using a massive Uncle Luke sample? Frenchie's ascension into the top of the rap game is directly related to Harry Fraud's slapping summer anthem. You add big bars from Rozay, Drake and Tunechi and you're left with a track so big 2LiveCrew couldn't contain it. The tune offered the perfect crossover of booty jams from the 90s, and today's street-life braggadocio sensibility.
Perhaps the best stripclub anthem of the past decade, and of course the man behind it is responsible for revolutionizing the gentlemen's club "artform". Juicy J dropped this ominous Mike WiLL beat, that best is heard with blacklights on, and then offered a gigantic remix when Lil Wayne and omnipresent 2 Chainz jumped on. No doubt Too $hort gave an affirmative head nod when he heard this booty anthem.
GKMC was a complete, and deliberate at times, album, but it is this crushing Just Blaaaaze produced joint that ties the album together. This celebratory ode to Compton served as an official passing of the torch from 90s golden era West Coast legend, Dr. Dre, to current golden child, Kendrick Lamar. In years to come you can expect to hear this tune played during DJs West Coast sets, along with "Gin and Juice", and "California Love".
A$AP Rocky is a Harlem native with West Coast musical sensibilities, and it was all on display for this 40 produced thumping track. A beat that feels both futuristic, and a throwback to the synthy Cali feel of the early 90s. K.Dot, Drake, and 2 Chainz combine with Rocky to release a collabo that ushers in the new wave of hip hop, with just enough ignorant appeal to have the tune explode.
Almost surprisingly, dark, thumping beat ruled singles over the past 12 months. 2 Chainz made a name for himself by jumping any and every feature offered to him, and followed it up with an enormous LP Based on a T.R.U. Story. It was this collabo with Kanye West that stood out the most, with the two going in over this Sonny Digital new-age street/stripclub anthem. One of the most important trends in hip hop this year was the emergence of rappers not solely dropping either/or, but tracks that played big in clubs, and on the streets, and no other tune best symbolized this then Tity Boi's "Birthday Song".
Ignant anthems were the tracks of choice this year, and no other tune pervaded the hip hop culture like Chicago's young representative, Chief Keef. Young Chop's beat became the freestyle instrumental of choice, and it was when 'Ye and Pusha decided to offer up a G.O.O.D. Music remix that the tune exploded (even if Keef himself disagrees). It's not even the original track, or this remix, but rather how the beat and the refrain "Shit I Don't Like" became commonplace. Dark and minimal, and coming out of violence-ridden Chi Town, Keef and Chop's street, and later club, anthem someone moved beyond being just an ignorant tune, and became representative of a young and rising generation.
HNHH looks back at the hottest singles that have dropped over the past year, and after previously counting down from 50 to 25 we look at number 24, all the way to number 1, in the hottest tracks of 2012.
As part of our continuing Year End List series, we of course could not neglect singles. This past year saw many huge collaborative singles, as well as solo efforts drop. You'll probably see several artists names on here more than once, proving what a big year it was for each rapper.
Seeing as this list spans from the beginning of 2012 til now, it was quite an extensive list. We got it down to 50 of the hottest singles that were posted on HNHH-- and this first part documented numbers 50-25 on the list. Now we count down all the way to the number 1 hottest single of 2012.