The Best Rap Singles of 2012
Let's be honest: It's been a great year for hip-hop. Mainstream and underground MCs made some of the most refreshing and innovative work in years. It's been a good year for albums, for sure, but also a dynamite one for singles. Here are our picks for the five best five, from artists around the country, of 2012.
5. T.I. f/ Lil Wayne
T.I. dominated hip-hop not long ago, before his personal problems slowed his roll. But "Ball" is a back-to-basics jam, or better yet call it back-to-bounce, as it features nods to classic rap call-and-responses over a the quintessential New Orleans "Triggerman" beat. Throw in the excellent Marc Klasfeld-directed video and the fact the both MCs sound like they're having an absolute blast, and you've got one of either artists' most galvanizing cuts in years.
4. Danny Brown
After a critically heralded 2011, in which he pushed the limits of hip-hop, Brown released this year "Grown Up," a comparably conventional autobiographical sketch -- that's also wonderfully fun. Perhaps best known for its video featuring an immediately lovable kid playing Brown as a child, the song memorably combines Brown's sharp wit, inimitable flow and attention-commanding storytelling.