HipHopDX Staff's Top Rap Picks Of 2011

The HipHopDX editorial staff brings you some of their favorite Hip Hop tracks of 2011.

2011 was quite a year for Hip Hop. We met some new jacks who thoroughly impressed us, became believers again in veterans on the verge of retirement, and received the same level of skill from consistent artists who churn out new sounds regularly. All in all, it was a great year musically. Getting to report this music to you is one of our greatest gifts, and while we're doing that, some artists and tracks slide into our favorites list. As 2012 is just beginning, check out some of the HipHopDX staff's favorite tracks from "last year."

Jake Paine, Editor-In-Chief (@Citizen__Paine)

1. Phonte - "The Good Fight"

2. Kendrick Lamar - "HiiiPower"

3. Kendrick Lamar f. GLC - "Poe Man's Dreams"

4. Killer Mike - "Burn"

5. Pharoahe Monch - "Evolve"

6. David Banner - "Swag"

7. Big K.R.I.T. - "Rise & Shine" 

8. G-Side - "Y U Mad?"

9. Raekwon - "Snake Pond"

10. Yelawolf f. Lil Jon - "Hard White (Up In the Club)"


Kathy Iandoli, Music Editor (@Kath3000)

1. Nas - "Nasty"

2. Jay-Z & Kanye West  f. Frank Ocean - "No Church In the Wild"

3. Tyler, The Creator - "Yonkers"

4. Lil Wayne f. Tech N9ne, Andre 3000, etc. - "Carter IV Interlude" 

5. Raekwon f. Ghostface - "Silver Rings"

6. ASAP Rocky - "Peso"

7. Common - "Sweet"

8. The Roots f. Big K.R.I.T. - "Make My"

9. Killer Mike f. Big Boi & T.I. - "Ready Set Go Rmx"

10. Action Bronson f. Nina Sky - "Cocoa Butter"


Omar Burgess, Editor-At-Large (@FourFingerRings)

1. Big K.R.I.T. - "Another Naive Individual Glorifying Greed and Encouraging Racism"

2. Jay-Z & Kanye West - "Gotta Have It"

3. Kendrick Lamar - "Hiii Power" 

4. David Banner - "Swag"

5. Pusha T - "Open Your Eyes"

6. Pac Div f. TiRon - "She" 

7. Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y & Big Sean - "O.T.T.R. (Off To The Races)"

8. Nas - "Nasty"

9. Wale f. Rick Ross & Jadakiss - "600 Benz"

10. Drake f. Rick Ross - "Lord Knows"


Steven Horowitz, News Editor (@SPeriod)

1. Kendrick Lamar - "A.D.H.D."

2. Jay-Z & Kanye West - "Otis"

3. Phonte - "The Good Fight"

4. The Roots f. Big K.R.I.T. - "Make My"

5. Action Bronson f. Nina Sky - "Cocoa Butter" 

6. Kendrick Lamar - "Fuck Your Ethnicity"

7. Common - "Celebrate"

8. Evidence f. Raekwon & Ras Kass - "The Red Carpet"

9. Nas - "Nasty"

10. Drake f. Rick Ross - "Lord Knows"


Michael Sheehan, Production Assistant

1. Tech N9ne f. B.o.B. & Hopsin - "Am I A Psycho" 

2. Joker f. Freddie Gibbs & Jessie Ware - "The Vision Rmx"

3. Killer Mike f. T.I. & Big Boi - "Ready, Set, Go Rmx" 

4. Raekwon f. Ghostface - "Silver Rings"

5. Jay-Z & Kanye West f. Frank Ocean - "No Church In The Wild"

6. David Banner - "Swag"

7. B.o.B. f. T.I. & Mos Def - "Boom Bap"

8. Slim The Mobster f. Prodigy - "Marta"

9. Mexicans With Guns f. Bun B & Freddie Gibbs - "Highway To Hell"

10. Kyo Itachi & Ruste Juxx f. R.A. The Rugged Man - "No Prints"


  • Gunz

    Ja rule killed it with them joints this year cop the album pil2 2.28.12

  • Lucas

    no J. Cole in any of the lists? thats weak.

  • ALLL

    Steven Horowitz easily had the best list!

  • Anonymous

    I forgot my honorable mentions. 1. Maffew ragazino decepts on the l train 2. Bumpy knuckles Ownit 3. Slaughterhouse the illest 4. Cormega/Az murder on the daily 5. Common sweet

  • Anonymous

    i think wale should have 2 tracks on here imo legendary and ambition was 2 of the best tracks of the year hands down

  • anonymous

    if u put the shady 2.0 cypher from the BET awards onto a track.... top track of 2011 hands down

    • Chicago Rilla

      As much as I've had bad things to say about Eminem, I actually agree with that statement, everyone except for yelawolf killed

  • Anonymous

    1. Nas/common ghetto dreams 2. Freddie gibbs/ madlib deep 3. Raekwon/black thought masters of our fate 5. Pharoe monch/styles p black hand side 6. Action bronson/meyhem lauren central booking 7. Mobb deep conquer 8. Evidence/raekwon/ras kass red carpet 9. 9th wonder the melody 10. Royce Fa 5'9 random bars

  • AyA

    Too much quality music out there.. heres a list off the top.. Kidz In The Hall - I Swear Torae - For the Record The Roots - Lighthouse Common - Gold Pac Div - The Greatness Wale - Ambition Evidence - The Red Carpet Phonte - Everything is Falling Down Game - Speakers On Blast Statik Selektah - Play the Game

  • jason

    1) Jay-Z- niggas in paris 2) W.C.- you know me 3) Slim the Mobster- dreaming 4) Chris Brown- look at me now 5) Common- raw how u like it

  • ThatRealNigga

    1.) Lil Wayne-How to Love 2.) Kreyshawn-Gucci Gucci 3.) Nikki Minaj- Stupid Ho 4.) Birdman -Why you Mad 5.) Wakka Flocka -Round of Applause 6.) J. Cole-Work Out 7.) 50 Cent-Outlaw 8.) Nelly-Just a Dream 9.) Chris Brown-Look at Me Now 10.)Drake-Marvins Closet I support that real hiphop.

  • Almar

    1.Why I Love You- Jay-Z & Kanye West 2.Ghetto Dreams Feat. Nas- Common 3.American Rapstar- Big K.R.I.T. 4.Make My Feat. Big K.R.I.T.- The Roots 5.Who Gon Stop Me- Jay-Z & Kanye West 6.Sleep Feat. Aaron Livingston- The Roots 7.Dreamin'- Big K.R.I.T. 8.Raw (How You Like It)- Common 9.Born In The Trap- Game 10.Rise And Shine- J. Cole

  • mrsmith02

    did anyone notice Big K.R.I.T. is mention on all but one list.

  • damson

    Damn Hiphopdx has horrible taste in music. No wonder this site has gone to shit

  • Gd Up

    Some joints still but some of you were inexcusably bumping fruity shit when you should've had greneberg on loop.

  • stephanj

    Good to see Kendrick Lamar in almost every list. I didn't see scottie pippens by Curren$y f. Freddie Gibbs there though. I thought that song was dope. Same with black and brown by black milk and danny brown

  • Rizzy

    here is my list 1. J.Cole - Sideline Story 2. Kendrick Lamar - HiiiPower 3. The Throne - Murder To Excellence 4. Saigon - Enemies/Friends 5. Young Jeezy Feat. T.I. - F.A.M.E. 6. Common - The Dreamer 7. The Roots Ft. Phonte & Dice Row - One Time 8. Nas - Nasty 9. Kendrick Lamar - The Spiteful Chant (feat. ScHoolBoy Q) 10. J.Cole Feat. Omen & Voli - Pity

  • KL

    shit, i put god's gift twice. hopefully yall are smart enough to figure out it was a typo and should be #8.

  • KL

    Ah, damn this is tough. Here goes nothing: 1. The Believer - Common 2. The Illest - Slaughterhouse 3. Westside Rooftops - Skeme 4. The Boom Bap Symphony - Jon Connor 8. God's Gift - J. Cole 5. Pictures on my Wall - XV 6. The City - Game ft Kendrick Lamar 7. Detroit State of Mind - Elzhi 8. God's Gift - J. Cole 9. Ambition - Wale ft Rick Ross, Meek Mill 10. Worldwide Choppers - Tech N9ne Honorable Mention What's on my Mind - Albion SLR - Lupe Fiasco Blue Sky - Common Worldwide Chopper - Tech N9ne Black & Brown - Black Milk and Danny Brown This is my personal top 10. There are plenty of good songs that I probably haven't heard. So if you have objections, don't be a douche about it because I may not have heard the song.I don't spend 24 hours a day looking up and analyzing every rap song ever so relax.

  • LV

    if you all didnt notice the part where it was each persons personal pick. These particular people just didnt think a Wayne n company song was in their top 10. and thats fine... thats THEIR top 10. It's not like were saying top 10 players in football and leaving off Darelle Revis. Anyway... 1. Joe Budden- Dreamerz 2. Kendrick Lamar- HiiiPower 3. Reks feat. Lil Fame- Cigarettes 4. Bad Meets Evil feat. Slaughterhouse- Loud Noises 5. Yelawolf feat. Lil John- Hard White 6. Torae- You Ready 7. Torae- Alive 8. Wale, Rick Ross, Meek Mill- Ambition 9. Yelawolf feat. Shawty Fatt and Mystikal- Get Away 10. J. Cole- Breakdown

  • BK

    1) AZ ft Cormega - Murda On The Daily 2) Wu Tang - Diesel Fluid 3) Big K.R.I.T - Time Machine 4) Killah Priest ft Roc Marciano - Slugs Thru Ya Papaya 5) Curren$y ft Freddie Gibbs - Scottie Pippens 6) Big K.R.I.T - American Rapstar 7) Reks - 25th hour 8) Freddie Gibbs ft Dom Kennedy - Menace II Society 9) Big K.R.I.T - Money On The Floor 10) Fabolous - Drugs

    • Anonymous

      Krit Currency local legend Reks GOOD LIST MAN

    • Damn

      Nice list dude, I am a huge AZ and Cormega fan and I somehow missed that song this year. Thanks. And I didn't fully appreciate Diesel Fluid when I first heard it earlier this year.. and Slugs Through Your Papaya is hard, Bronze Nazareth is RZA 2.0

  • Anonymous

    I think DX has to many "college" newbys who just dickride what is hott at the moment ..supposedly cuz i dont think crap like aesp rocky who stole aesop rock name is hott next year itll be other herbs that DX will jump on

  • Anonymous

    Is it just me or does YMCMB rip off hit hip-hop songs and calling them new and original. Example practice is just ripping off back that ass up.




    Well this list explains why i have no respect for this site! #YMCMB my lifestyle

  • beatrixkidd

    favorite songs of the year: 1. "Fuck Your Ethnicity" 2. "Hol Up" 3. "A.D.H.D" 4. "No Make-Up (Her Vice)" 5. "Tammys Song (Her Evils)" 6. "Chapter Six" 7. "Ronald Reagan Era (His Evil)" 8. "Poe Man's Dreams (His Vice)" 9. "The Spiteful Chant" 10. "Chapter Ten" 11. "Keisha's Song (Her Pain" 12. "Rigamortis" 13. "Kush & Corinthians (His Pain)" 14. "Blow My High (Members Only)" 15. "Ab-Soul's Outro" 16. "HiiiPoWeR" Let's hope for some more of this shit in 2012!!

  • datNIGGAJ

    my list... 1. dylan 2. dylan 3. dylan 4. dylan 5. dylan 6. dylan 7. dylan 8. dylan 9. dylan 10.dylan coz he spit dat HOT FIYAH!


    I'm glad Raekwon the chef is getting the props he deserves

  • hellno

    i hate how people complain about hip hop dx's choices. everyone has their own opinion just live with it. also, hip hop dx is about 100 times less mainstream biased then any other hip hop site there is so don't talk. one complaint i have is on the bar at the top of my window it says HipHopDX Staff's Top Rap Picks Of 2011 | Discussing Lil' Wayne, Drake & Many More Hip Hop Artists | HipHop DX it says this on the bar at the top of your window on every hip hopdx article

  • Trevor

    Top 25 Records of 2011

  • dentaldamboy

    Damn, these are the wackest lists i've ever soon. No one's every heard of most of those songs. If a failure of a rapper like Pac Div, ASAP Rocky or David Banner make a song and no one ever hears it, have they actually made a song? My god. These dudes is so dumb. You guys keep living in the 90's and download music from some scrub without paying for it. YMBCM has real fans...we support our favorite artists. That's right, all of you Hip Hop Nazi's that only like old school and underground shit are fake fans. None of you are willing to step up and support your favorite artist. DAMN!

    • EA

      The only reason why u dont hear this artis on the radio is because mainstrem listners could not handle the fire that this underground rappers are spiting. For Example BME-Lighters u never hear it on the radio..

    • Anonymous

      Not really they are just ripping off hit rap songs and calling them new and original. Practice is just ripping off back that ass up dats why people love them.

    • chill

      dentaldam, you are an idiot. if you said that shit in a room full of people you would get knocked out. think before you speak next time

    • dentaldamboy

      You guys have proven my point for me. Why the fuck do I need to do my research on Pac Div? Fuck them. No one has any clue about these guys. If they had any talent, I'd know about them. I listen to Hot97 and Power105 every day. I've never heard these stations rocking Pac Div. The fuck outta here with that shit. YMCMB is the path towards the future of hip hop. YMCMB are making great strides in bringing hip hop to people who really didn't have much exposure to it before. These guys really are pioneers and you pay no respect to people who are holding down the mantle for the entire genre. You guys are the fake hip hop fans. Digging up some shitty underground artists doesn't make you a real hop hop fan. FAGSAP Rocky isn't doing anything for hip hop...I bet he's not even feeding his family. He's probably late on child support. They should really lock his as up.

    • hellno

      actually, i hate YMCMB and I will go out and pay for any artist i like's cd the day it comes out. and maybe this isnt true about you but really it is YMCMB and similar mainstream groups that don't have real fans--most are just casual radio listeners who just buy the singles. and if you were a real hip hop fan at all you would know who those artists were. and what do you mean "living in the 90s"? all of these artists are new to the scene and completely original! The only thing right about this article is that A$AP Rocky is a failure.

    • Anonymous

      dude. sounds like YOU have no idea. not only do you need to do your research, you need to use a spell check! and you called yourself a true YMBCM fan.....?? its Y.M.C.M.B! smfh!

    • Anonymous

      You're a dumbass, Pac Div is a group. Check them out before calling music crap.

  • Joell Rios

    1. Joell Ortiz - Battle Cry 2. Reks - 25th Hour 3. Kendrick Lamar - Rigamortis 4. Bad Meets Evil - Welcome To Hell 5. Saigon - It's Cold 6. Action Bronson - Shiraz 7. Pharoahe Monch - Assassins 8. Nas - Nasty 9. Canibus - The Cypher Of Bread & Butter Feat. Royce Da 5'9 10. Elzhi - Detroit State Of Mind

  • wow

    No Love for shady and his team ? Lame!

  • Stop the Hate!

    Some commentors on this site just kip on trashing someone because they dont share the same taste in music as you or like the same artist as you. @Hod_Guy and @Chicago Rilla (Probably the same person).

    • Anonymous

      people can have their opinions, if he thinks shady is getting worse let him think, im indifferent about it, always found eminem to be kind of wierd

  • Dx's killing hip hop!

    Most of these dx staffs don't know shit. No wonder they overrate albums like hell. Look at Omar burgess and Kathy Iandoli list......Very stupid !

  • Allan

    No slaughterhouse, no 2.0 boys, no game...

  • Anonymous

    Saigion is the most underrated Mc of all time. Can't believe not even a single one of these so called Dx staffs mentioned any of his songs. DAMN!!!!

    • A.S.

      To be honest, I found that what I liked most about TGSNT was how all the songs worked together as a whole; no song really stood out to me on its own that I could put on a list.

  • Here is my list

    1. The illest - Slaughthouse 2. White Hard Rmx - Yelewolf 3. Oh Yeah(Our Babies) - Saigon 4. Fastlane - Bad Meets Evil 5. HiiiPower - Kendrick Lamar 6. Legendary - Royce da 5'9 7. HAM - the Throne 8. Look At Me Now - Chris Brezzy 9. Loud Noises - Bad Meets Evil 10.Country Shit- Big KRIT Honorable Mentions 11. So Lonely - Tech n9ne 12. Technicians - Tech n9ne 13. Otis - The Throne 14. Murder To Excellence - the Throne 15. Shattered Dreams - Cunn

  • Demitri

    I hate how many people there are on this site that bitch about the different lists that the editors put out. GET THE FUCK OVER IT. ITS THEIR OPINION AND THEY'RE ENTITLED TO IT. If you disagree with what they say all the time then get the fuck off this site and make a site of your own to go listen to your own wack shit. I hate hearing all of your bitching all day.

    • Demitri

      I know right? It's like if you haven't liked the last ten articles they've put out then just stop fucking reading them!

    • Anonymous

      dude! *round of applause* WELL FUCKIN SAID. some fucks bitch about all the journalism and reviews on the site but still log on everyday and read every article.

  • Andy

    I refuse to read hip hop dx's rubbish any more... We had an Eazy E song leak this year.. Heaps of 2pac.. And your lists are shamefull .. FUCK HIP HOP DX!! YOUR STAFF , YOUR WEBSITE , AND YOUR SHIT AS REVIEWS , AND IF YOU WANNA BE DOWN WITH HIPHOP DX FUCK YOU 2!

  • DoomChalla

    Not gonna question the lists 'cause it's each to their own, but here's my list: 1. 25th Hour - Reks 2. He's a Mental Giant - Tech N9ne 3. You - Evidence 4. Stop What Ya Doin' - Apathy feat. Celph Titled 5. Chewbacca - Random Axe feat. Roc Marciano 6. Enemies with Benefits - CunninLynguists feat. Tonedeff 7. Battle Cry - Joell Ortiz (came out in 2010 but I'm count it as 2011 'cause of the album's release) 8. Enough of You - Esoteric 9. Keeper of the Seven Keys - Heavy Metal Kings 10. Tron Cat - Tyler, the Creator

  • Ant

    All lists are disgraceful. These people are destroying hip hop not saving it. i looked at the "mixtape of the year list", full of rubbish. they put Lil' Wayne as number 1, shouldnt of been in top 50. Los was rated at number 31, shoulda been no.1 or there abouts. listen to "outro" on his mixtape before any comments!

  • NEKE4206TL

    I was waitin to see EV CATS & DOGS that rass kass and raekwon song with ALC on the boards is a banger. that whole album classic, probobly one of my favorite albums of '11. but 2011 was a great year for hip hop.

  • Hod_Guy

    these picks are soooooo trendy Lupe Fiasco had a terrible album but hands down "All Black Everything" better than 95% of the songs on that list

  • The Truth

    Funny how there are hardly any roots, common, beastie boys or j. cole trax despite all the accolades from this site as them brining out the best albums of 2011. Here a real list - no hater shit here, just best tracks period 1. ADHD - Kendrick Lamar 2. I'm On One - Drake ft. Khaled, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne 3. Otis - Jay-Z and Kanye 4. Yonkers - Tyler the Creator 5. Lord knows - Drake w/ Rick Ross 6. Niggas in Paris - Jay-Z and Kanye 7. Peso - ASAP Rocky 8. Nasty - Nas 9. The invitation - Papoose w/ Q-Tip 10. Fast Lane - Eminem w/ Royce 5,9

    • TaZzZ

      Aside from 1, your list sucks

    • The Truth

      Peso is a dope track. ASAP is pretty good. Problem is the "Deep Purple" album is better than LoveLiveASAP. What I shouldve of added tho was "Shot Caller Remix" from French Montana. Forgot about it

    • Anonymous

      get the fuck outta here, peso is not really a great song and shouldnt be on anyones list, asap is pretty over rated

  • Anonymous

    "silver rings" hot, from Rae's unappreciated album

  • Sal

    it's called "DX Staff Picks" for a reason. Not "DX Commenter's Picks." Last time dx did commenter's picks, Game's RED album was chosen as the best of 2011 :-/

  • u suck

    @Kathy Iandoli and @Omar Burgess ur list sucks...go write for Britney Spears and leave hiphop alone u bastards


    this is whack. no song from BME...? ya these people like to suck dick.

  • Anonymous

    To the staff of HIPHOPDX: - pay attention to real hiphop in 2012 - not making so much mistakes in articles - check if the source is reliable - give interesting news not some bullshit about 50 cent having headphones or drake a new beverage or lil wayne is farting or the new lipstick by kanye west - give good reviews and tell us why an album is bad or good. - hire people who are educated and have knowlegde about hiphop And sorry for my bad english but im not an american or englishman.

    • hod_guy

      the internet this year help blur the lines of mainstrem & underground. They're picks were okay, not bad at all my picks would be: 1. Lupe Fiasco- All Black Everything 2. Saigon- The Greatest Story Never Told 3. Kendrick Lamar- Hold up 4. The Roots- Kool On 5. Common- Lovin I lost 6. Stalley- Chevys & Spaceships 7. Pusha T w/ Tyler- The Creator- Trouble on My Mind 8. J. Cole- Breakdown 9. Median- The Sender 10. Phonte w/ Big KRIT & Evidence- The 3 Kings

    • Anonymous

      son that new kanye lip stick is the shizzle my nizzle


      Actually HiphopDX is pretty dope site, Rapradar, has all the bullshit stories like Drake's lipstick and what not.

  • blah

    cnt believe u guys dnt have Jay/Kanye's song murder to excellence cuz I thought dat was the best song on WTT

    • anonymous

      @Hod guy Even if it does shit on 95% of the songs this year it's still not even in the top 10,000 songs. So yeah congratulations on making a retarded point. fuckin dumbass

    • Anonymous

      @Hod Guy Who the fuck are u to shove ur opinions down our throats ? Murder To excellence is def the best jam on WTT

    • hod_guy

      kanye/jigga- the joy shitting on 95% of songs this year

  • 1986

    Ive been seeing a lot of stuff about tech n9ne, maybe I should finally check out his album?.......but everything I hear from n9ne, reminds me of that west coast rapper dub c or WC and that guy makes the back of my ankles itch cause of the level of wackness

    • 1986

      @tazzz: u kno me slim???? Doubt it, so don't say I don't like hip hop because jus because I never listen to tech n9ne...chill fam, u doin to much feel me?

    • TaZzZ

      Tech N9ne is like WC??? WTF kinda comparison is that. If you haven't been bumping tech by now don't even bother, you aren't a hip hop fan. you suck. go die... But really, dude is an absolute animal. Check out K.O.D. and any album before that and you'll see. 6's and 7's is a lil soft, but its more of a business move than a tech album. Listen to his catalog straight through, you'll be hard pressed to find another as impressive...

    • 1986

      I dig....I wasn't expecting everyone to think WC was wack...I'm sure he has a fan base..but his music isn't for my ears...y'all some cool mah's all peace wit the comments

    • Anonymous

      yeah I'm all for positivity n shit too, but I gotta adress this shit: WC is not wack, he's one of the illest niggas from the west, The Maad Circle, Westside Connection, all that.

    • ryan

      nice to see the comment section being used for something positive, not just trashing someone because they dont share the same taste in music as you

    • 1986

      Word up, ima def give it an un-bias listen..good lookin out fam

    • Anonymous

      check out the homie tech n9ne, u missin out if u don't brother.. he ain't nothin like dub c or any west coast artist