Yesterday my comrade ill Mami unveiled her Top 10 Tracks of 2008 and now the ball is in my court. Last year’s list was topped by Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu and Kanye West‘s “Flashing Lights” landing at #1. I’ve decided to count mine down, based in part on spin frequency along with overall appreciation.
10. Ne-Yo: “Nobody”
Ultimately, I ended up being bored to tears with Ne-Yo’s Year of the Gentleman. Perhaps it was his declaration that he wanted to push R&B forward on this release, causing me to have expectations. Whatever, it was the same stuff we’ve been hearing for the past couple of years except for a few tracks–one of which is “Nobody.” In spite of the blatant Michael Jackery at work, I couldn’t help but tap my foot, resulting in many spins since this album’s nearly quiet release.
9. NERD: “Anti-Matter”
Seeing Sounds was one of the best Neptunes productions in ages, but I almost feel like it was slept on. It was fun without being infantile and the crew explored a range of sounds throughout the set, which is almost unheard of for the Neptunes. My favorite is “Anti-Matter.” We have to wonder if this is addressed to anyone specifically, because there are a lot of time-wasters in music right now.
8. Jazzanova feat. Phonte: “Look What You’re Doing to Me”
This track surprised everyone this year, mainly because we had no idea what a Jazzanova/Phonte collab would yield. What we ended up with was something fun and celebratory, a song that makes you clap your hands and stomp your feet upon first listen. To quote DJ Stylus, “!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
7. The Foreign Exchange feat. Darien Brockington & Muhsinah: “Something to Behold”
“Bring you some wings on your lunch break / Like ‘Baby how’s your day?’ / 12-piece, fried hard.” That, my friends, is true love. Like the aforementioned track, “Something To Behold” celebrates love in a manner that is relatable and sweet without being saccharine. This love song is an event, an anthem, even. If you aren’t feeling it then I pray for your immortal soul.
6. Q-Tip: “Gettin’ Up”
I can’t have a Top 10 list without my boy Q-Tip. This track, fortified by a gentle Black Ivory piano sample, is yet another fairly uptempo Hip Hop love song to make this countdown. The important thing to note here is that Q-Tip could’ve easily led The Renaissance with a party track, but instead decided to salute his lady.We have to wonder why so many other popular rappers make excuses for dropping trash in the name of having a good time. Does disrespect = partytime? The short answer would be “No.”
5. PPP feat. Karma: “On A Cloud (Trackademicks Remix)”
Although I knew The Platinum Pied Pipers had a new release on the way, I was formally introduced to this track via Gordon Gartrell Radio. While the original uses a familiar Motown backbeat, the Trackademicks remix fortifies it with just a touch of B-More House. But the true energy lies in Karma’s gi-normous vocals. This one is a win all the way around.
4. Black Milk feat. Royce Da 5’9″: “Losing Out”
I’ve gone on and on about Black Milk’s utter dopeness but I didn’t expect the curveball that was “Losing Out.” This is a banger of the highest caliber, victorious Rocky music with lasers or what Stylus has coined “Blade Runner Soul.” It makes me want to fight Storm Troopers with lightsabers, or hunt down an Atari or some sh*t. I’ve relived my childhood many times bumping this.
3. Elzhi feat. Black Milk: “Guessing Game”
Easily the BEST (yes, I said it) Hip Hop album of the year, Elzhi’s The Preface was slept on and overlooked exponentially. It’s actually heartbreaking, especially when so many of us are begging for a solid Hip Hop album with dope beats and dope rhymes (what more do ya’ll want?). This track got the most play. Clever phrasing and cadence paired with insane Black Milk drums. A headache never felt so good.
2. Jazmine Sullivan: “In Love With Another Man“
The was very close to being my #1. Jazmine is an extremely gifted vocalist. Her delivery has plenty of character and rawness. However, much of the material on Fearless was hit or miss. But not this track. “In Love With Another Man” is soaring and beyond soulful. She went to church on this song. She conjured spirits. She had my soul wide open, especially at the end. This is what people talk about when they talk about singers. Barring any more DMCA notices, we’ll keep this at a snippet.
1. Kameron Corvet: “Sophia Quinn”
I was finally introduced to Kameron Corvet this year, but he’d already generated plenty of buzz on other sites. This track, “Sophia Quinn,” kind of snuck up on me. Not that I had any preconceived notions about him or his work, I just didn’t expect to fall so deeply in love with a track like this. Although Korporate Rockstar has a heavy Rock influence, Kameron’s vocals bring to mind classic Boyz II Men. That youthful, vulnerable thing always gets me with male vocalists. Also, there’s a very bittersweet story here that pulls at the heartstrings and turns me into mush. This was the most beautiful song I heard in 2008. And I heard a lot of songs this year.