This song surprised pretty much everyone when it dropped, just ‘cause it came out of nowhere. There have been plenty of rumors regarding an Aaliyah album this past year, and Drake’s involvement. There have also been a ton of arguments for and against it—we’ll leave that up to you. This song, however, just needs to be enjoyed for what it is. Production from 40 and a verse from Drake, with vocals from Aaliyah, is quite the combination.
This was definitely a stand-out and fan favorite cut off Joe Budden’s mixtape A Loose Quarter. It’s the kind of collaboration many indie hip-hop fans fiend for.But, even though it’s Joe’s song, it kinda feels like Ab-Soul stole the light with his first verse. Cardiak provides the background sounds of piano keys and drums.
#47 Rockie Fresh- You A LieRockie Fresh had quite the year. The relatively unknown Chicago rapper quickly became much talked about when news broke that he had joined the ranks of MMG. This particular song, which grabs ad-libs from 2 Chainz, and ended up being remixed by the Bawse, was probably Rockie’s biggest record off his Driving 88 mixtape.
This song displays Big Boi’s uniqueness, combining southern sounds, electronic sounds, synths and more into one (his album, Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors as an entirety is a combination of all these things as well). It’s smooth and dope, simply put. Being an older emcee, Big Boi still constantly reinvents his own music and sound, while somehow remaining the same ATLien we know and love. It’s a feat not accomplished by many veteran rappers. Although Phantogram takes care of the hook, and we do get a verse from A$AP Rocky, this is still completely Big Boi’s song.
Fabolous’ The Soul Tape 2 seemed to be a favorite of many HNHH viewers, for good reason too. This record off it was definitely one of the bigger ones. J. Cole joined Fabolous for a nice collaboration, in fact, J. Cole seemed to have enjoyed the track so much, he made an extended version with new verses from himself. The two rappers exchange bars about a girl who is too obsessed with designer things.
#44 Usher- Climax
This song was a mesh of dance, electronic and r’n’b, perfected by Usher and producer Diplo. The song heated up the charts, with its catchy hook, and strong vocals from Ursh. It showed a different side of Usher, which fans definitely enjoyed.
#43 King Chip- Out Here
King Chip,once known as Chip Tha Ripper, got this amazing beat from Lex Luger. What may have seemed like an unlikely combination to Chip fans was extremely dope. This song was on my rotation for weeks, with Chip’s smooth-ass flow perfectly matching the beat.
When this song dropped, it was the first indication that Baby Face Killa would be a stand-out project from Gangsta Gibbs. The new-age beat was first surprising for Gibbs, but the idea of Gangsta rap is definitely evolving (think ScHoolboy Q) and so really, it makes perfect sense.
Hardcore Slaughterhouse fans deemed this T-Minus produced-cut too mainstream for the supergroup, but it can’t be denied this song is catchy as fuck. Eminem takes care of the hook, and each member goes in. Although it might have shown a different side of Slaughterhouse that not all fans welcomed, it was just apiece of the puzzle that was Slaughterhouse’s album welcome to: Our House.
This leak off Cudder’s upcoming album, indicud, showed fans that the Kid named Cudi is getting back to his roots, sound-wise.After straying from the hip-hop genre for a bit and delving into rock with WZRD, fans were patiently awaiting some more hip-hop from the rapper. This smooth track is what Cudi does best: it’s all about smoking (even though Cudi apparently doesn't do that anymore) and Cudi spits the honest, life shit we enjoy from him. The feature from fellow Cleveland native, King Chip, is just the icing on the cake.
This record is banging from the second you press play, it’s fast-paced and spacey. While Banks' V6 mixtape was extremely solid as a whole, this might have been the best track on it. Banks owns the hook and keeps it his own shit, with a verse from Fabolous adding a little something extra as it should. The illest man alive indeed.
This huge posse cut was released for free from Game as part of his #SundayService series,which led up to the release of his LP Jesus Piece. Pretty much every cut from #SundayService was album-quality, which begs the question, were they all the scrapped songs from his former album F.I.V.E.? A lot of rappers have a ton of music they’re just sitting on, which fans would die to hear, so this was pretty nice present to fans from the rapper.
We all know that Curren$y is about that Jet Life, so having a song titled after the movement on his very first major label-released album was a must. The original featured Jet Life affiliates, Big K.R.I.T. and Wiz Khalifa. While those two were perfect for the song, it was the remix that really grabbed people’s attention, as it featured Spitta’s former YMCMB partner Lil Wayne, and Young Jeezy—not two people you often see Spitta collabo with. The remix is just as smooth and smoke-able as the original.
Pusha T takes some reggae influences on his single “Blocka” and the producer-of-the-moment, Young Chop, handled production. The beat is on some audio-dope level. Pusha T is always a menace on record, and here is no different. No other words for me to use except hard. Or maybe gritty. “Go diamond off my cell nigga”!
#35 Kendrick Lamar- The Jig Is Up (Dump’n)
This jointfrom Kendrick Lamar, produced by J. Cole & Canei Finch dropped out of the sky, and received high praises for good reason. It confirmed for many that the J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar joint project is actually happening. “The Jig Is Up” was released as a thank-you of sorts to supportive fans, with a message we cannot disagree with—real people want real music. The jig is up.
This was Wiz Khalifa's dream-collabo, and it turned out to be one of the strongest records off O.N.I.F.C. “The Bluff”is reminiscent of the Kush & OJ days, although an updated sound. It has one of Wiz’ classic laid-back hooks, as the two rappers get in some bravado talk about how much they have. Cam’ron’s verse is particularly enjoyable, but it’s definitely a Wiz song.
Some crazy verses from Soulo, as well as a hook and verse from Kendrick Lamar? Shieeet. Ab-Soul was on a warpath with this one, taking shots at his favorite rappers, and explaining why he won’t ever wear “2 Chainz” and put Polo on. This one seems like Soulo just went in venting about the shit that was on his mind, all in relation to the stresses of the rap game.
#32 The Weeknd- Enemy
The Weeknd proved his fans are the most die-hard as ever, when his debut major label release, which was just a re-release of his three free mixtapes and three bonus cuts, still managed move to 90k in its opening (in comparison, this is less than Game’s Jesus Piece album moved,and that was all entirely new material). Anyways, although inking a major label deal this year, The Weeknd promised to stay true to his sound, and if this bonus record from Trilogy is any indication, it sounds like he’s keeping his word.
#31 Chief Keef- Love Sosa
Chief Keef, one of the phenom rappers of this year, definitely knows how to make a banger. We're not exactly looking for lyrical quality here, we're looking for a hard beat and some ignant talk. This is what Chief Keef provides flawlessly time and time again, “Love Sosa,” was a particular favorite. This one’s with the Chicago native’s go-to producer, who blew up alongside Keef, Young Chop. Those two seem to be the recipe for some ratchet music.
This was ahighly anticipated track off T.I.'s new album Trouble Man, if not just for the elusive Andre 3000 feature. But Tip deserves some props for this one also, although it’s true most people were more psyched to hear the much-talked about Three Stacks verse. Neither rapper disappointed, on some real hip-hop level.
Another dope one with an Andre 3000 feature, this time from Frank Ocean. This, like Tip, was also a very anticipated track off Ocean’s debut album Channel Orange.This track came shortly after his coming out letter as well, so interest in the r'n'b singer was at an all-time high. Letter aside, this was a track where you could really feel the emotion seep from it, with gentle guitar keys in the background. Andre was a perfect addition.
This banger from Krizzle showed his more ignorant side. Although the Mississippi rapper knows how to get intellectual on track, he can also be on the complete opposite spectrum of that. The album this single lived on, Live From The Underground, was a masterful balance of intellect and ignorance, with a definite southern sound, executed in a way only K.R.I.T. can.
This was probably our first taste of what Trouble Man would sound like (it dropped back in October), and it was generally agreed it sounded good. T.I. and Lil Wayne definitely brought this track to a baller-level 'cause if anyone knows how to ball, it's probably them.
#26 Lupe Fiasco- Bitch Bad
Lupe Fiasco, always one to take a stance on any kind of matter, political, social,or completely random (like that time he asked for a boycott of Spin). On “Bitch Bad” Lupe takes a stand against rappers constantly using the word “bitch” and the different contexts in which it’s used. He uses his lyrical skills to weave a story into the song in the process, making it something everyone can enjoy listening too, while also getting educated. It’s just like a mom who hides the vegetables in some delicious food so you don’t even realize you’re eating your greens.
This ratchet masterpiece from Waka Flocka and Trey Songz was infectious. The hook, courtesy of Trey, will get stuck in your head for days. The Brick Squad member goes inas only he can, repping his crew, and just telling us how much he really doesn't give a shit. 'Cause he has a lot of $$$$$.
HNHH looks back at the hottest singles that have dropped over the past year, counting down from 50 to 1. This first part of the list finds singles numbered 50-25.
As part of our continuing Year End List series, we of course could not neglect singles. Singles are a huge part of HNHH, and obviously without new ones dropping each day we wouldn't have a site to run! 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 documents numbers 50-25 on the list. Be sure to check back on December 29th, when Part 2 of the Hottest Singles Of 2012 will be posted.