The 2011 Finale: The 100 Other Unforgettable Songs We Enjoyed

By: 12.31.11  •  21 Comments

21. Phonte – “Ball and Chain” — There is nothing a man fears more than castration, whether literal or figurative. Love is something that is too complicated to value as good or bad, but when it gets to the point where there is no longer individuality the union becomes cancerous, leading to some feeling like it is more incarceration than infatuation. Phonte captures this idea beautifully on “Ball and Chain.” (Listen | Buy)

22. Curren$y Feat. Dom Kennedy – “Hennessy Beach” — Quintessential Spitta. Over a jazzy, sanded-smooth beat, Curren$y enlists Dom Kennedy to rap about the high, the fly and everything in-between. For optimal results, mix well with close friends, bad bitches and bud. (Listen)

23. Kidz In The Hall – “Occasion” — Definitely errs on the bubbly side of Hip-Hop, and there’s nothing wrong with that. A track that all but begs to be played at your next party, the Kidz from the Chi concoct a tune so contagious that even the most hard-boiled will be tempted to sing along with the chorus’s “Ehhh!”s and “Ohhh!”s. (Listen | Buy)

24. Freddie Gibbs – “187 Proof” — Sitting at the head of Gangsta Rap’s big boy table, Gary’s Finest continues his rugged assault on any and everything fake. But then, with a menacing voice like that, it’d be kind of hard to imagine Gibbs in any other line of work. (Listen)

25. Danny Brown – “XXX” — Short and to-the-point, the titular intro to Brown’s breakthrough is grimy bliss. With a style trademarked by the pill-popping, line-hooting Brown, “XXX” exemplifies the album’s tight (claustrophobic?) plight. (Listen)

26. The Roots Feat. Greg Porn and Bilal Oliver – “The Lighthouse” — All of the elements on this song are great but you gotta love that cold organ on the hook. Consider yourself face down in the ocean if you can’t get with this. (Listen | Buy)

27. The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy” — Track number one off The Black Keys’ latest, El Camino, is what every Keys fan craves: lots and lots of guitar, heavy drum kicks and those oh-so soulful Auerbach lyrics. Music listeners, meet your newest Rock ‘N’ Roll gods. (Listen | Buy)

28. Mayer Hawthorne – “No Strings” — Everything a great pop record should be. A singable hook, catchy background vocals, and timeless instrumentals. A perfectly wrapped package with a bright, dance-y bow on top. (Listen | Buy)

29. WC – “Revenge Of The Barracuda” — WC will forever be the most underrated rapper in history & his albums will always be overlooked by the mainstream due to his unabashed West Coast style he (thankfully) never strays from. The fire he spits on the introduction to his latest album is undeniable, as is the rest of the music on the album, yet somehow he remains the West kept secret. (Listen | Buy)

30. Wilco – “I Might” — F**k a mid-life crisis. Jeff Tweedy and alt-country rockers Wilco show that they’re not suffering from the identity conflict that conquer many men of their age. The poppy rhythms and funky bassline show there’s still plenty of sunshine that comes with dad jeans, kids and mortgages. (Listen | Buy)

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