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The 2010 Intermission: 75 Great Songs We’ve Enjoyed So Far

By / 07.30.10

The first few months of the new decade have been bountiful for music and its fans. Emerging artists are living up to expectations, while established acts continue to crank out quality tunes. Right now, music is live, fully charged and promising. So we deemed it necessary to bookmark a handful of the musicians we liked and tracks we have loved.
This isn’t a be-all and end-all list. Around these parts, we view those kinds of endeavors as slightly egotistical and nearly pointless. Instead, we put our collective heads together as a Crew to list a smattering of songs that have powered our individual playlists from January to July. There are a few tracks that may have been posted throughout the year, but deserve reiteration. Others listed are songs we should have mentioned earlier, however we never got around to it.
And at this point, we’re going to take a rare, but much needed break and recharge our engines. Enjoy the offerings. See you all on Monday!

B.o.B. – “Letters From Vietnam” — We still contend that Bobby’s album would have been bigger and better if he were just allowed to sit in his studio with a guitar and make great songs without all those guest appearances. The proof is in this bonus track from The Adventures of Bobby Ray. It’s energetic, emotional and just a damn good sing-along song. (
Listen | Buy)
Skipp Coon and Mr. Nick feat. David Banner and Luca Brazi – “4 28 1967″ — We tried to tell you how great this song is. But don’t listen to us, let Questlove tell it. For those of us who don’t like to read, this is a four-minute summary of every book on race and politics ever written. (Listen | Buy)
Freddie Gibbs & Pill – “Do Wrong” — With the assistance of our good friend DJ Burn One, the two “freshmen” crafted one of the smoothest country rap tunes in recent memory. (Listen)
J. Cole – “Premeditated Murder” — Semtex said Cole’s album is a combination of The College Dropout and Illmatic. If this is any indication, October 26th can’t get here quick enough. (Listen)
Stalley – “Harsh Ave.” — While the majority of the rap world is paying attention to another bearded rapper, they’re snoozing on Stalley. With help from Ski Beatz and a triumphant set of horns, Stalley’s grim content and deft wordplay makes the sour world he describes sound sweet. (Listen)
Drake Feat. Young Jeezy – “Unforgettable” – The Aaliyah sample was everything to this record. Drizzy and The Snowman combined to form one of the standout tracks of 2010 as well as their respective careers. (Listen | Buy)
Gonja Sufi – “Dust” — Music you can’t pigeonhole to just one genre is bliss. Gonja Sufi accomplished that with A Sufi and A Killer. It’s so far out there it may not be in constant rotation but this is the perfect remedy when the vibe is right. (Listen)
Sade – “In Another Time” — Melodic. Smooth. Graceful. Only three of the thousands of words that properly describe this track. (Listen | Buy)

Wiz Khalifa – “Mezmorized” — Sure Wiz only raps about three things in ALL of his songs: pussy, money and weed. But this is Wiz’s undisputed anthem; velvety synth combines with his blunted flow for
Kush & OJ’s signature track. (Listen)
PRGz – “Anutha Night” — These ‘Bama boys quietly and consistently churning out trunk anthems. (Listen | Buy)
Francis & The Lights – “For Days” –- Chances are most Hip-Hop fans first heard of them while on tour with Drake, but their quality of music speaks for itself. With lines like, “I’ve been watching you for days,” Francis and company gave stalkers worldwide their own personal anthem. (Listen)
Killer Mike – “Big Body Hijack” — Of course “Ready, Set, Go” set things off and caught the most attention. But Mike straight put a jack move on Banks’ joint, armed with nothing but a mic, pen and a pad. (Listen)
Aloe Blacc – “I Need A Dollar” — Even though the melodies here are beautiful, this is Aloe’s stark reminder that everything isn’t sweet. (Listen | Buy)
Chris Brown – “No Bullshit” — Tha Bizness laced the embattled pop star with a single quality track…for a mixtape. (Listen | Buy)
Erykah Badu – “Window Seat” — Ageless Miss AmErykah proves once again that her formula of sensual, instrumental, provocative, seductive sangin’ can toe the line of R&B and Hip-Hop and keep us all enraptured. (Listen | Buy)

Freddie Gibbs – “Crushin’ Feelings” — Just as the NYE ball dropped, Scary Gary’s finest found time to drop 48 bars of knowledge over a piano-based prelude to Str8 Killa No Filla. It crossed genres and set the syllabic standard for Hip-Hop’s next 365. (
Listen)
Yelawolf – “Speak Her Sex” — Guaranteed to get your pussy wet and your dick hard © Tupac. (Listen)
Corinne Bailey Rae – “Feels Like The First Time” — Corinne’s feathery voice juxtaposed against the dark AND menacing keys takes a minute to get used to, but it’s difficult not to get caught up in the layered, soulful vibes that follow. (Listen | Buy)
Joe Scudda – “Robert Downey, Jr.” — An ode to one of Hollywood’s biggest party animals from one of Hip-Hop’s biggest drinkers. Fitting. And very, very dope. (Listen)
Health – “In Heat (Javelin Remix)” — In regards to this sauna in song form, one of the Crew members said it best: “I suddenly just want to throw on some legwarmers and do jazzercise.” It wasn’t TC. (Listen | Buy)
Curren$y Feat. Mos Def & Jay Electronica – “The Day” — This Jay Electronica guy makes appearances as often as a solar eclipse. Yet when he does pop up, he always manages to steal the show. (Listen | Buy)
Quadron – “Slippin” — Oh those Danes and their dreamy, ethereal vocals and beat-savvy production. This Denmark duo making a strong case for longevity in the “Sunny, summertime tunes” department. (Listen | Buy)
Scarface Feat. Malice & Monk – “Lyrical Assault” — ‘Face’s Dopeman Music got little to no mentions at all. And it’s a damn shame because it had its share of a recharged Brad Jordan putting his best foot forward, backed by adequate features and husky production. (Listen | Buy)

Kanye West – “Power” — As Kanye continues to walk the fine line between egotistical bastard and lovable underdog, his music is the reason we continue to tolerate his antics outside the booth. Every hero needs their theme music and he was kind enough to share it with us. (
Listen | Buy)
STS – “In For The Kill” — Over a swarming array of padded synths and a wailing sample-based hook, Suga Tongue Slim lays down the framework for a future full of success and verbal slaughter in tandem. (Listen)
Rick Ross Feat. Drake & Chrisette Michelle – “Aston Martin Music” — The full version with the Drake verse? Money. (Listen)
Mikkey Halsted – “My Lifetime In Between The Paper’s Lines” — Pain, passion and poetry. (Listen)
She & Him – “Thieves” — She & Him lead singer Zooey Deschanel, who possesses one of the most angelic voices in music (and film, for that matter), and guitarist M. Ward create a song rife with tangible, harmonic indie-pop even the most fickle music fan to enjoy. (Listen | Buy)
Cody ChesnuTT – “Come Back Like Spring” — The man knows how to devastate and invigorate the senses even after a multi-year hiatus. You can smell the fresh-cut grass and sweet tea pouring from every note. (Listen)
Theophilus London – “Flying Overseas” — Somewhere in this wide world, someone’s falling in love and this song is playing as their soundtrack. (Listen)

Drake Feat. Nicki Minaj – “Up All Night” — Drake & Nicki take the club by storm backed by enough bass to blow a bank safe. (
Listen | Buy)
Ayah – “He Don’t Want It” — Blame it on a fascination with Middle Eastern/Sub-Continental women mixed with Ayah’s silky melodic crooning for mesmerizing me for months. (Listen | Buy)
Starlito – “Tired Of Being Tired” — With a chest full of pain, Starlito exhales and reflects over dense, melodic production by Burn One. (Listen | Buy)
The Dream Feat. T.I. – “F.I.L.A.” — This may be Tip’s best post-prison offering point blank. (Listen | Buy)
Harlem – “Someday Soon” — The record sounds like something straight out of Woodstock ’69. And that’s always a good thing. (Listen | Buy)
Big K.R.I.T. – “Something” – If you wanted to hear a MC spill his heart out on wax this year, it was difficult to find many tracks better than this one. (Listen | Buy)
Kidz In The Hall Feat. Colin Munroe & Just Blaze – “Take Over The World” — A song that manages to be inspirational without being corny. A feat in itself from a group that’s finally beginning to come into their own. (Listen | Buy)
Bilal – “Free” – Yeah, it’s free. So get your kicks while you can because this man has been shelved for indecent Internet leakage for far too long. The ‘net decimated his last album, but he still renews us with this raw expression to let us now he was down, but not out. (Listen)

Janelle Monáe – “Locked Inside” — We don’t care where you are. When this song comes on, you better be dancing. It’s a masterpiece track on an absolute gem of an album. If you haven’t heard The ArchAndroid yet you should probably rethink your life choices. (
Listen | Buy)
Vandalyzm Feat. Wafeek – “Yeah Naaw” — Humor in rap is pretty hard to come by these days. “Yeah Naaw” is a good reminder that capable rappers could bear to make us laugh once in awhile. (Listen)
The Roots – “Radio Daze” — Choosing between “Radio Daze,” “The Day” and “Doin’ It Again” was pretty tough as they’re a league above a lot of music that dropped this year. “Daze…” wins by a hair since it had the best combination of lyrics and production for our tastes. (Listen | Buy)
Alicia Keys – “That’s How Strong My Love Is” — Alicia’s strongest tracks are always her piano ballads and this one touches the soul. (Listen | Buy)
Wale – “Break Up Song” — Wale hits all the break-up points in a song that resonates with us all. (Listen)
Sean Price – “Let Me Tell You”P!!! (Listen)
Outasight – “Everyone Gets Laid” — This is just straight up happy music. Turn it up and you’ll feel like you’re definitely getting a slice of sexy time before the night is over. (Listen | Buy)
Zach Hill – “Sacto Smile” — The polar opposite of solitude is chaos and “Sacto Smile” is the epitome of such a reflection. Zach Hill was in a group called Hella and through them he mastered said chaos. Now marvel at the one man war machine. (Listen)

Yelawolf – “Trunk Muzik” — Yelawolf and this Burn One beat seem to have been separated at birth for they way they blend so well together here. It’s a perfect introduction to the way Catfish Billy can flip a flow and churn out that quadruple-timed delivery that’s made him a constant on the iPod. (
Listen)
Gorillaz – “Stylo” — A Bobby Womack feature in 2010 is noteworthy. (Listen | Buy)
Reflection Eternal – “In This World” — A pure, motivational song for those days you’re just trying to grind it out till the clock strikes 5. A clinic on how to synthesize lyricism and (as well as production) to craft a song. (Listen | Buy)
Pac Div – “Overcome” — It’s a shame that rhyming about blue-collar struggles always gets put aside for the usual Hollywood BS. We need more reality checks in music and, shaky hook notwithstanding, Pac Div’s “Overcome” succeeds without sounding whiny or overly depressing. (Listen)
B.o.B – “Ghost In The Machine” — The counterweight for when inspiration won’t do shit. Raw and emotional, the track indicates that Bobby Ray’s best work still lies ahead of him. (Listen | Buy)
Nice Face – “I Want Your Damage” — The opening cut to Immer Etwas’s “I Want Your Damage” makes me want to dance recklessly. You know, sloppily kiss girls and maybe turn around and elbow a dude in the face for being there. (Listen | Buy)
Major Lazer & La Roux – “In 4 The Kill Pon De Skream” — Diplo makes just about anything better with his rambunctious production style that demands your attention. Similar to a check engine light in your ’97 Civic. His re-work of La Roux’s breakthrough track “In For The Kill” doesn’t deviate from the norm as he crafts an epic experience for the listener on Lazerproof: his latest project. (Listen)

Big Boi – “General Patton” — It’s hard to imagine anything but André 3000 outshining Big Boi. But this monstrous beatwork does the trick. Don’t get twisted, though. Big’s opening line is fierce and the rest of his bars are just as vicious. It’s grit-your-face and roll down the windows kind of nasty. (
Listen | Buy)
Danny Brown – “Bag Back” — Between Detroit State Of Mind 4 and The Hybrid, picking a dope Danny track is like fishing in a barrel. Captivating, comical and lyrically capable, Danny’s stock is set to rise. (Listen)
Vampire Weekend – “Diplomat’s Son” — Ezra Koenig & Co. craft a M.I.A. sample, African drums and toy piano into their most off-beat and oddly catchy song to date. Yet it sounds like a discarded soundtrack to some old Atari game. (Listen | Buy)
Smoke DZA Feat. Devin The Dude, Curren$y, & Asher Roth – “Marley & Me” (Remix) — This Scoop DeVille-produced, ganja-themed gem deserves a spot on playlists of teetotalers and bong-holders. (Listen)
Jazmine Sullivan – “Holding You Down” — “Holding You Down” should make us all feel stupid and foolish for ignoring Gotty’s™ & Tins’ posts on Ms. Sullivan. This is some ’90’s R&B shit from the youth. People better watch out. (Listen)
Z-Ro – “Driving Me Wild” — The most underrated rapper in the entire game stays in that position solely because every project he’s released since I’m Still Livin’ has been constructed with seemingly no quality control. Re-hashed samples, concepts and even verses bog down his albums so heavily that songs like “Driving Me Wild” get heavily overlooked. (Listen)

The Black Keys – “Howlin’ For You” — Since we mostly delve in Hip-Hop, our tastes in the genre can limited and abstractly determined. But The Black Keys’ have greatly piqued the interests of many with songs like “Howlin’ For You,” as of late. True, their instrumentation is nothing extraordinary. However, their song structure and melodic vocals lead for a gratifying experience that leaves their album on repeat when Hip-Hop has ran it’s course for the day. (
Listen | Buy)
Rockwell Knuckles – “Sorta Invicible” — It still puzzling how Rockwell has yet to find a home on a major label. Their isn’t much we haven’t already said about the STL native to persuade a listen at this point. Consider this a friendly reminder and just thank us later. (Listen)
Hi-Jynx – “Never Fail” — After a killer vocal sample for the intro, Jynx proceeds to demolish the track with a flurry of punchlines and bravado. The name may be unfamiliar, but the sound is NYC all day. (Listen)
J. Cole – “Who Dat” — Cole pretty much spazzed on this sick beat with perfect lyrics and a hook that sticks. (Listen | Buy)
M.I.A. – “XXXO” — At this point listening, M.I.A.’s political statements on record is merely a formality and much less of a call to arms than she’d care for it to be. The real reason her music is still getting attention is her unique ability at making songs that are catchy and off-kilter at the same time. (Listen | Buy)
E-40 Feat. Turf Talk & Cousin Fik – “Knock Em Down Music” — The beat is so eerie and menacing it makes me want to elbow a dancing dude in the face just for being happy. But in all seriousness, what Turf Talk does with his verse and voice is some groundbreaking shit. (Listen | Buy)
The Roots Feat. Truck North, P.O.R.N. & Dice Raw – “Walk Alone” — Musically, this embodies the feeling of being alone and the lyrics capitalize with paranoia, anger and uneasiness. TC can also testify that P.O.R.N. is too ill for his own good. (Listen | Buy)
Nato Caliph Feat. Kyjuan, Rome, QB, Rockwell Knuckles, Tef Poe & Rep – “Anomaly” (Prod. by Tech Supreme) — Still not familiar with The Force? Get a sample dose of the dope. (Listen)

Alicia Keys – “Un-Thinkable” — This is what modern day R&B should sound like. Thankfully artists like Alicia are still at the forefront to show everyone how it’s done. (
Listen | Buy)
Eminem – “Cold Wind Blows” — Upon hearing the wickedly entrancing chorus to this album ignition, you literally put your face in your hands and think “Wow. This album is going to be good.” Correctamundo. (Listen | Buy)
Wiz Khalifa – “Never Been” — Chrono Trigger lives! (Listen)
The Bird And The Bee – “Private Eyes” — Doubts were high that this obscure indie pop duo could uphold the task of recreating a greatest hit from Hall & Oates. But upon further review this high-definition enhancement may have trumped its predecessor. (Listen | Buy)
Big Boi – “Daddy Fat Sax” — Funky is an understatement when it comes to describing Sir Lucious... This track set the tone for the album which is easily one of the best yet in 2010. (Listen|Buy)
Drake – “Shut It Down” — The track put Thank Me Later over the top with diversity and Drake deserves some credit. But The-Dream is the real prince of Pop. (Listen | Buy)
Janelle Monáe – “Oh Maker”– R&Beatles. Rolling Stoner. Jazzfuzerockabilly. New words and terms for a woman who can do no wrong. This record turns a rainy day into a welcome surprise with cool and soul-reviving expectation. (Listen | Buy)
Reflection Eternal Feat. Jay Electronica, J. Cole, and Mos Def – “Just Begun” — You could really feel the need to one-up each other within the MC’s respective verses over Hi-Tek’s laid back production. Who won? I plead the Fif © Dave Chappelle. (Listen | Buy)
RMF!


TAGS2010 In ReviewLISTSMP3sMusicThe Intermission

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