11. Petty – “Song Like This”
While the vast array of emotions displayed on his Petty Presley mixtape are what made us appreciate the project in the first place, it was the parched poetry reiterated on tracks like this somber silhouette that really helped us get inside the Nashville MC’s head and appreciate his music even more over time.
12. Jeremih – “773 Love”
Most of Mike Will Made It’s major hits this year came in the form of club-killing rap jams. Yet, when you combine this futuristic wave he cooked up for Late Nights With Jeremih with the Chicago singer’s sultry swagger, this may have been his most unappreciated assist.
13. IamSu! – “Mobbin”
In 2012, this multi-faceted Richmond rapper/songwriter/producer went from writing hits for other Cali rappers to keeping them for himself, with this slumping dedication to rolling deep in every aspect of life.
14. Mayer Hawthorne Ft. Snoop Dogg – “Can’t Stop” (Dam-Funk Remix)
If the string-infused original from Mayer’s How Do You Do debut wasn’t enough, the vintage synth genius Dam-Funk added to this trance-inducing remix was bold enough to reignite the overall sound of the song and extend it’s staying power even further.
15. Freddie Gibbs Ft. Kirko Bangz – “Bout It Bout It”
Freddie was feeling very Percy Miller on BFK and we weren’t mad about it. Between the project’s grimy intro and this should’ve been single, the Gary gangster somehow had us willingly revisiting sayings from 1997 with his thugged out crossover capabilities.
16. Kids These Days – “Bud Billiken”
Named after a fictional character that idealizes bettering Chicago youth and featuring an awesome Crucial Conflict interpolation, this energetic single from Kids These Days’ slept-on Traphouse Rock project showed these Windy City youngsters have the style and talent to become the Roots crew to a new generation.
17. Danny Brown – “Molly Ringwald” (Prod. by AraabMuzik)
Even though we question where Fool’s Gold came up with the title for their Loosies rap compilation, this turned-up quick-hitter from the MPC master and Detroit’s prettiest rapper was ill enough to justify both endless plays and randomly yelling the name of this former ’80s actress.
18. Chels Ft. Paige Allyn – “Out My Window”
Backed by floating pads and whimsical organ blips, this track from NOLA MC Chels’ True School For The Moon Children puts listeners into the mindset of a young old soul who’s seeing the world around her develop at a pace that can be hard to keep up with, unless you’re as calloused as she is.
19. Trinidad Jame$ Ft. Spook, Coop & Snake – “Team Vacation”
What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there. Trinidad and co. vividly retell what happens in a few nights spent under the flashing lights of Sin City.
20. Killer Mike – “R.A.P. Music”
Seeing and hearing God in our music.