Top 8 Best Rap Songs of 2012

(97 votes, average 4.93 out of 5)
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Comments (73)
  • thelifeofreubs
    Great video! In the back of my mind, I was hoping that 'Ill Mind Of Hopsin 5' would be in the number 1 spot, and I was quite enthused when I saw that it was.
  • TheShape
    I think you're a Hopsin fan. Can't be sure, though...
  • CyborgPrince
    Nice choices. I'm glad to see that all rap out there isn't mindless trash, just the popular stuff of course.

    Here's hoping that these names get bigger, though Lupe Fiasco already seems to be doing pretty well. I think that's a good sign.

    I support more Lupe, less 2 Chainz.
  • Pelion09
    I doubt anyone thinks rap isn't a credible source of art. Good list, never heard of Joey Bad@$$ but damn I love his lyrics.
  • ohuvi
    Personally I wasn't a huge fan of IMoH 5, lyrically it was excellent, however it felt like he was an angry parent yelling at his kids instead of condemning his own generation. still a good song, however i don't think it was number 1 material.
  • The Mellow Filmmaker
    According to google, Hopsin is 27. So he is more or less condemning his own generation. It's not like Hopsin is a baby boomer saying how kids are disrespectful these days and this isn't the america he grew up in.
  • Ididntfeellikemakinganame
    I serious love Ill mind of Hopsin 5 and Drank. Seriously, to get a letter of recommendation for an AP language class, we need to include a piece of writing for consideration, so I submitted an interpretation of Ill Mind of Hopsin and I got an awesome letters. Then again, I have an awesome LA teacher, because I can't imagine a teacher so accepting of something that isn't politically correct.
  • Ididntfeellikemakinganame  - Oh dear god....
    With all those typos, you wouldn't think I could even get into an AP class, wouldn't you? (O.o)
  • OwenGlyndwr  - Hopsin lyric
    All blehhhhhh-ness of Hopsin's women passages aside, I found one of the lines particularly interesting:

    "You want Romeo, then act patient"

    I find it particularly interesting because the work obviously being referenced "Romeo and Juliet" is a cautionary tale about teenaged lust and the impulsivity of youth. Romeo (and his lover Juliet)'s lives end tragically because they fail to be patient, and would rather see themselves dead than be forced to face their parents about their "love" for each other. With that in mind Hopsin's comment is interesting. The story of Romeo and Juliet has taken on a completely different ideal for the everyday Westerner, and in particular American. For Americans the story of Romeo and Juliet represents an ideal, perfectly matched couple. A "star-crossed [sic]" relationship that was fated to be from the outset. You can see this in the countless cultural references to Romeo and Juliet as romantic ideals, most notably in songs by romantic artists like Taylor Swift. I would like to know your thoughts on this, Rap Critic. Do you think that was an intentional bit of wordplay on the part of Hopsin, simultaneously attacking the impetuousness of youthful lust and unrealistic ideals of romance, or was Hopsin just falling into the usual pitfalls of not really knowing that Shakespeare's most popularly known play is actually intended to be a tragedy?
  • Ohsha
    "Shame at all the damage the white man wine did"

    Other races are always blaming white men for their own faults.

    RC is it b/c she's a woman or b/c she's white you're bothered by her prescence on the chorus?

    To the contrary, Hopsin's condemnation of skanks doesn't offend me at all.

    A woman's beliefs are entirely derivative. She'll believe she's worth the treatment she has received so the father who leaves his daughter to whoremongers ends up with a whore for a daughter.

    The true failure isn't on the woman's part though but the enslaved men who have no sense of propriety over their own families, to keep them secure and instill in them virtue.
  • PublicEnemy
    Ya had quite a bit of typos this episode. Not to nitpick, just sayin for future reference.

    good list though. I've heard of Joey Badass before, but never heard his stuff. Just downloaded his mixtape after watching this. Some good shit. Plus he disses Lil B XD

    I'da put Murs's "Animal Style" on here. Its a song about a Gay couple, one who wants to be open, the other who is trying to hide it in front of everyone. Murs even plays one of the characters in the video. One of the best songs Ive heard. I really recommend Murs, he's one of LA's best.

    Chiddy Bang also had the debut album, which was pretty good. Also, there was Wu-block, who I got to see live. Awesome show

    Yeah, the Around my Way sample was pretty blatant, but I like that he at least tried something new with it lyrically. Unlike Game with "Celebration." I mean, sampling a beat it fine, but completely ripping off Bone-Thugs style for that song was just lame. I've really lost respect for Game through out the years. He just rips off every other rapper instead of having his own style.
  • Thiedeapolis  - Thank you Rap Critic
    For a fun and entertaining year of reviews. Hope 2013 is just as good, if not better.
  • kivzirrum
    SO glad that Swimming Pools and Ill Mind 5 were on here (and Hopsin's #1 too, awesome!) I had never heard of Hopsin until you mentioned him last year, and when I heard Ill Mind 5 I thought it was absolutely brilliant--one of my favorite rap songs EVER.

    The only flaw is the second verse, which you touch on. His point is good but the way he puts it is kind of... "slut-shaming" sounding. It's a minor thing for me, since I know what he's trying to say, but he doesn't say it very well.

    Other than that it's an excellent song, and this was an excellent list. I'll have to go listen to the ones I haven't heard of!
  • fanime1
    These were some great choices and I'll be sure to listen to them. Okay, since I am a female, I will give my honest opinion Hopsin's opinion on women. Yes he was really harsh, now I mean really harsh, like pretty much calling all women sluts harsh, which is so not true. However, he does bring up a few decent point I somewhat agree with. Why must women focus so much on their appearance when trying to find a good guy, especially those who are actually trying to look different then how they really look (make-up, push up bras, hair extensions, etc.)? A good man will love you regardless of your body. Remember this, if you two are going to get married and live with each other, he's going to see the real you eventually and you'll both be aging together. And girls should be patient because, let's be honest, teenage boys tend to be too immature to truly appreciate girls. Still, I honestly blame society for women acting this way, which is why I really loved Lupe's "Bitch Bad" song. As a woman, I felt it was pretty accurate of how puberty was for me. Even someone raised as well and sheltered as I was fell under the influence of media's portrayal of women. So basically, Hopsin may have a point or two, but his words were too harsh and basically categorized women looking for a man as sluts despite the fact that not all women act that way.
    I hardly think he was addressing "all women" in that verse, just like he wasn't describing all black people in the verse about thugs.

    The woman he described in the song does not sound like lots of women I know, so I doubt he was addressing them. But the lyrics do describe women that I have known and that do exist. I don't see why people don't get that. Yes, the situation may be more complex than what he is addressing, and he may be obtuse, but I hardly think those lyrics are sexist.

    And on the topic of "slut shaming"--shouldn't sluts be shamed? If womanizers should be shamed, then sluts should be shamed. If the liberal minded folks agree that womanizers (lotharios, not rapists) should not be shamed, then I can agree that so-called "sluts" should not be shamed.
  • Nekolady
    No, "sluts" should not be shamed, because all that comes down to is "you have more sex than I think you should so SHAME." Obviously women get judged on that front more, but it isn't okay to slut shame guys either. No one has a right to tell other people when/how/who they should choose to have consensual sex with, and a woman who dares to be open about the fact that she is a sexual being absolutely should not be shamed for it.

    Hell, slut has been so overused that it barely even means anything anymore, the only consistency I see is it meaning "someone who I perceive to be more sexual than me." To someone that thinks everyone should wait until marriage, having sex before that makes you a slut. To someone that thinks everyone should be in a monogamous relationship, sex without a monogamous relationship makes you a slut. To someone who slept with __ many people, someone who slept with __ + 1 people is a slut. In high school dating more than one guy in a year made you a slut. In middle school I distinctly recall having a crush on the same guy another girl did causing her to call me a slut. It's just a way of judging others based on this made up idea of sexual purity and it needs to end.
  • grimfang999
    I do agree with you that the overuse of the term slut for critisising people who have more sexual partners is somewhat silly in the end, although I think I would rather look at it in the context of either two cantegories where I would define a slut:

    1. sex with irresponsability. Sure, have sex with people if you wish, but be aware of the consequences and take precautions. Here I completely agree with that verse. If somebody (not just women)got someone/themselves pregnant or contracted STDs without any degree of attempt at preventing those outcomes (Unless the couple are in a long term relationship or the intent was pregnancy, of which then it is likely to have been in a long term relationship) then yes, they should be shamed for not dealing with the potential consequences.

    2. Obessing about sex and short term relationships to the point of where they ignore their responsabilities, be it domestic, social, educational, or economic.

    I see no issue with what people do for pleasure so long as they are responsable and dont have it get in the way of their responsabilities. By these definitions therefore, a slut it a girl who takes little to no responsability for herself while having sex with multiple partners and allowing sex, short term relationships and appearences to interfere with her duties, usually of education. In this case, surely you must agree that "slut shaming" should be justified, extending the term to both genders?

    On another note, very interesing list RC, Ill definitely check some of these out sometime, Ive been wanting to expand my music variety further for a while now.
  • JamesTown
    I didnt believe he was shameing sluts he was more argueing the case of if you are going to have casual sex with a lot of people you cant then complain that you cant find the right guy. The point is that that's not the way you find a "Romeo" because the type of people in the club who are looking for casual sex with a stranger probably arent the kind of long term relationship guy your looking for.

    Take responsibility for your actions is the main theme if the song in the same way as when he talks to the stoners for thinking their life should come catered and dont take responsibility for their own life, mister right isnt gonna just walk up to you in the club and grab your ass.

    If your looking for casual sex then you shouldn't be penalised just because you are a woman, but the message was dont complain when non of those one night stands are the man of your dreams.
  • Shinonaru
    Hospin was harsh to everyone and he was talking about that one chick that nearly everyone knows that will just screw over their life, and blame the men they get with. Honestly I would use the same words to describe women who are like that.

    Also you just categorized teenage boys, maybe with not as harsh words, but you just did.
  • ADDLibrarian
    My only complaint? Hopsin TOTALLY stole that album idea from Spinal Tap! :P watch?v=wx6fwfBKCIQ
  • rogueofmv
    8- it's funny because I am actually quite inebriated as I write this comment.

    6- a major label rapper talking about disillusionment with fame and the consequences of selling out? Man, I have got to hear more of this man's work.

    4- everyone reading this comment should listen to the 1999 mixtape right now. DO IT.

    1- not a fan of Hopsin. Still, when he gets sharp, he gets SHARP. Some of his rhymes here are a perfect example.
  • webmonkey44  - and im not a fan of rap either
    Yet i have utter respect for swimming pools,b***** bad, and goodbye. that is a significant achievement
  • JumpingGigawatt123  - hold up
    big krits new mixtape (i think its a mixtape) 4EvaNaDay was pretty solid this year so dont be completely disappointed with him
  • TheKidd  - Nice List
    Overall, very dope list Rap Critic. Even though this year had less of Eminem and J. Cole, we got to see new people (more or less) shine on the mainstream of hip-hop like Childish Gambino, Kendrick, and Macklemore. Anyways, here's my top list (p.s. heres a link to my Top Songs of 2012 watch?v=9E6z6D6K-4U)

    10. Compton - Kendrick Lamar (ft. Dr. Dre)
    9. On The House - Slaughterhouse
    8. Super Rich Kids - Frank Ocean & Earl Sweatshirt
    7. Swimming Pools - Kendrick Lamar
    6. Around My Way - Lupe Fiasco
    5. Sing About Me/Dying of Thirst - Kendrick Lamar
    4. I Don't Like - Chief Keef and GOOD Music
    3. Black Lip Bastard - Black Hippy
    2. Survival Tactics - Joey Bada$$
    1. Ill Mind of Hopsin 5 - Hopsin
  • tvesrb  - better than last year....
    why the disappointment in Big KRIT?? I thought it was a pretty good year for him. 4eva N A Day bumps and Live From The Underground was pretty good for a major label debut. I, for one, think Ill Mind 5 was overrated. his diagnosis & advice were good, but the way he conveyed it wasn't particularly insightful, dynamic or impressive. personally, I think Lupe does conscious rap a lot better. while I'm on the subject of conscious rap, I think this list needs some Ab-Soul, Brother Ali, Skyzoo or Apollo Brown.

    good list btw
    RC is probably disappointed in Big KRIT because he aligned himself with the likes of Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa.
  • tvesrb
    but Kendrick aligned himself with 2Chainz and we know how RC feels about him. in today's hip hop industry, everyone seems to know each other and collaborate like it's going out of style. I don't really like it, but that's just how it is.
  • PlayMp1
    I instantly thought of Spinal Tap when I saw the album art for Lupe Fiasco's new album there.

    "It's like... how much more black can it be? And the answer is none. None more black."
  • Female  - So uh... I'm a girl...
    And I think Hopsin's totally right with that one line. Just thought you should know RC, you could probably have agreed with him there and been fine.

    It's not like there's a 'men only' sign around the contraceptives. :)

    Also, thanks for introducing me to Hopsin.
  • Snugens
    Hop is dominating these year end lists :)

    Part of me was hoping to see Techn9ne - Am I a Psycho (Ft. Hopsin and B.O.B.). Its just a fun track!
  • Snugens
    And about Hopsin's verse about the impatient females. Everyone knows at least one girl who routinely finds guys who are no good and then bitches and complains over Facebook or wherever when she seems to be the only one oblivious to what she is doing wrong.
  • ThatIndieGuy  - No Death Grips?
    I think RC was shooting for more mainstream rap, but come on! Death Grips, man!
  • LuaBuma
    Mostly a great list, but ugh. The slut-shaming in the Hopsin song definitely ruins the whole thing for me.
  • Walter Black
    One man's "slut shaming" is another man's treating women like people with agency, and calling them on bad behaviors.
  • LuaBuma
    ...having sex is a bad behaviour now? Seriously, the guy essentially calls the women he refers to STD-riddled whores for the horrific crime of, OMG, being promiscuous and dressing provocatively. (Also, blaming the hypothetical girl for getting pregnant, because of course the responsibility is entirely hers.)
  • PlayMp1
    Damn right, I agree with you on all fronts. That second verse in the Hopsin song just makes me want to punch him in the jaw.

    The rest of the song is fairly on-target, and it doesn't feature him complaining about not getting signed like a lot of his other stuff, but that verse blows it for me.
  • Mamastoast
    Was totally hopingfor hopsin tobe nr 1 :D you didn't disapoint. I really couldn't agree more, that track is amazing.
  • thebloodfiend
    I found Hopsin's track mostly annoying when he started his bit on women. It's really easy to sit from a position of privilege and yell at women about what they're doing wrong. It's like some white dude coming over to Hopsin, yelling at him about what we, as black people, are doing wrong.

    Don't get me wrong, he isn't bad, but it's not anything we haven't heard from The Roots or Common or even (once upon a time) Kanye himself.

    Perhaps you could review some more female rappers like Bahamadia or Sirah or Missy Elliot—it'd give you more agency to blow up guys like Hopsin and excuse their lyrics.

    The only track I really, really like from this list is Swimming Pools. Despite the stupid lyrics in Mercy, that's a favorite of mine, too.
  • magjournal  - Good list. Here's mine.
    I'm only doing one song per album for these artists. Otherwise Kendrick Lamar might take up everything.

    1. "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst" by Kendrick Lamar

    2. "Starting Over" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

    3. "Waves" by Joey Bada$$

    4. "Cherry Wine" by Nas

    5. "Stop the Presses" by Brother Ali

    6. "R.A.P. Music" by Killer Mike

    7. "Freedom Ain't Free (Around My Way" by Lupe Fiasco

    8. "The Symbol" by Action Bronson
  • Moon Spirit  - Thank you for opening my eyes
    8. Funny thing is, after seeing your review of this song, saying that this song didn't get the recognition is deserved, I heard this song at the hookah lounge I hang out in. I'd say you're opening ears to a lot of people out there, even if it's just a tad bit.

    7. Expect nothing but the best from Nas. Definitely one of the best MCs still out there, next to Jay-Z and Eminem.

    6. Seems pretty cool. Maybe I'll give this a listen.

    5 & 3. Lupe Fiasco must a beast when it comes to being on this list. *sigh* Damn my procrastination for not listening to more of him.

    4. I guess this doesn't hit me that hard yet, but he does feel like he has an NWA vibe to him, to a lesser extent.

    2. Just looked at their Wiki, didn't realize Royce da 5'9" and Joe Budden were in this group. Matter fact, the only song I know of Joe Budden is "Pump Me Up." But if Royce is with this click, now I'm interested because if he's cool with Eminem, then he's cool by me.

    1. Wow, I remember this guy last year being on your #1 in the last top list. Here, he's being very aggressive to the audience out there. And from what I've read on his Wiki, he's finally getting the recognition he deserves. Now I gotta do the same and get his music.

    Until then, keep the reviews up RC. Rap has been one of the first genres I took to being a fan, and I hate to lose my faith in it when rap is going the way of disco, and I mean making nothing but dance music.
  • tgraham9
    Great video after this you should do a review on Tyler the creater or Royce da 5'9
  • Valkura  - What i took away from this…
    is that even the best, thoughtful, underground rap is still misogynistic.

    I'll stick with death metal, where most of the lyrics are either about gore or pseudomeaningful abstract concepts, and i can't understand the vocalists anyway.
  • PlayMp1
    Well, metal still has the occasional bit of misogyny, but you're mostly only going to find it in grindcore and its subgenres and fusions. Most other metal is too concerned with the top three topics (death, Satan, and philosophy) to ever get to misogyny, and even then, lyrics are FAR from the main focus in metal like they are in hip-hop. It's not like a riff or a solo can be misogynist.
  • Valkura
    True, true — but, and maybe this is my metal bias showing, shouldn't rap be concerned with lyrics much more? I mean, all you have in a basic rap song is a beat plus somebody singing (in an extended definition of singing) over it. I think lyrics would have to be given a greater prominence, even if they're about bragging, drugs, gang violence and women's asses.
  • PlayMp1
    They ARE given a greater prominence. That's exactly what I was saying.
  • TheProgboy
    Good, solid list, man. And thanks for introducing me to Kendrick Lamar a few reviews back: "good kid M.A.A.D city" is brilliant.
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