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Last year we gathered up our 25 favorite “mixtape bangers” – that is, all the cuts released on the internet without an official album or artist-sanctioned mixtape to call home. Since nobody presses 12″ singles anymore, this was our way of picking out our favorite street singles – the “best of the blogs”, if you will. The end result was a mixtape by yours truly called Bloggin’ Outta Control. With 2011 finished, we dun did it again, and picked our blog bangers of the year. And yes, a mixtape will soon follow….

25. Ghostface + Raekwon + The Lox – “Wu-Block” - Who else wants to bet we’ll never see this album come to fruition? Either way, the idea of a Wu-Tang-Meets-D-Block LP was immortalized in this RZA produced joint.

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LISTEN: Ghostface + Raekwon + The Lox – “Wu-Block” (prod. RZA)

24. Slick Rick + DJ Premier – “Need Some Bad” - Why did it take this long for these two to link up? Either way, this track from The Sitter, starring Fat Jonah Hill, animates the character’s great adventures.

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LISTEN: Slick Rick + DJ Premier – “Need Some Bad”

23. Blu – “The Clean Hand” (prod. Pete Rock) – Blu had quite a busy year, throwing out projects left and right. He tweeted this track to Pete Rock from “the first batch” of beats from the Soul Brother No. 1. Who knows where this will end up.

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LISTEN: Blu – “The Clean Hand” (prod. Pete Rock)

22. David Banner – “Swag” – This selection may or may not appear on David’s upcoming The Make Believe Album, where he trivializes the overuse of the word “Swag” in hip-hop. Tricked you.

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LISTEN: David Banner – “Swag”

21. J. Cole – “The Return Of Simba” – Many thought this was the first official single from J. Cole’s Cole World: The Sideline Story, but the mere mention of Simba and a James Earl Jones sample from The Lion King killed this one before Disney could sue Jigga.

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LISTEN: J. Cole – “The Return of Simba”

20. Jay Electronica – “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″ (feat. Mobb Deep) – Super ill track from Jay Electronica and Mobb Deep, that of which we never verified if it was included in the actual COD:MW3 soundtrack. Either way, they killed this one.

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LISTEN: Jay Electronica – “Call Of Duty (Modern Warfare 3)” (feat. Mobb Deep)

19. Jon Connor – “The Rapper’s Rapper” – There probably wasn’t a better depiction of what exactly is wrong with the rap game last year than on Jon Connor’s extra from the Season 2 recording sessions. And it was done well, not just disgruntled-rapper-bitching. As to why this didn’t make the album was beyond us.

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LISTEN: Jon Connor – “The Rapper’s Rapper”

18. Drake – “Dreams Money Can Buy” – Another Noah “40″ Shebib produced beauty that would have fit perfectly on Take Care. We’re not sure why it didn’t.

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LISTEN: Drake – “Dreams Money Can Buy”

17. Apathy – “Most Murderous Music” (prod. DJ Premier) – While technically a freestyle, Apathy snatched up this obscure Preemo track to help set the stage for Honkey Kong, early in the year.

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LISTEN: Apathy – “Most Murderous Music (Freestyle)”

16. Mobb Deep – “Dog Shit” (feat. Nas; prod. Alchemist) - No brainer.

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LISTEN: Mobb Deep – “Dog Sh*t” (feat. Nas; prod. Alchemist)

15. Bumpy Knuckles + DJ Premier – “BAP” – Can you fuck with this? This comes from Bumpy and Premier’s upcoming album, The Kollexion. We think this one will come out in 2012, but then again, it could be another one of those super-group fantasy LP’s that never takes shape.

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LISTEN: Bumpy Knuckles + DJ Premier – “BAP”



14. El-P – “Drones Over BKLYN”
– Producto is the type of artist that only has to release one song per year, and he still gets the fans hyped for a new El-P LP. Case in point.

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LISTEN: El-P – “Drones Over BKLYN”

13. Nicki Minaj – “Tragedy” – Sometimes beef brings out the best in rappers. The Nicki Minaj / Lil Kim beef was settled in one verse, and here it is. The song was never finished, nor did it need to be.

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LISTEN: Nicki Minaj – “Tragedy (Lil Kim Diss)”

12. Rick Ross + Meek Mill – “Perfectionist” (prod. Alchemist) – This is how we like our Rick Ross tracks. Fuck Lex Lugar beat #34.

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LISTEN: Rick Ross + Meek Mill – “Perfectionist” (prod. Alchemist)

11. Busta Rhymes – “Why Stop Now” (feat. Chris Brown) – Despite “Look At Me Now” being a collaborative production between Diplo and Afrojack, we always thought the beat itself was a little overrated. This unofficial sequel was much better in execution.

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LISTEN: Busta Rhymes – “Why Stop Now” (feat. Chris Brown)

10. Demigodz – “Demigodz Is Back” – Apathy, Ryu, and Celph spitting over Bill Conti breaks? Hell yeah. There’s no way in hell the ‘Godz will clear this Rocky sample when their album drops this year. Then again, they probably won’t clear any of the other samples either.

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LISTEN: Demigodz – “Demigodz Is Back”

9. T.I. – “Pyro” – Tip threw out a bunch of new tracks when he got out of prison, which may or may not make his 2012 LP, Trouble Man. Why isn’t this record huge yet? We as DJ’s need to change this. That is, if we could stop playing Alesso records.

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LISTEN: T.I. – “Pyro”

8. Kendrick Lamar – “Vanity Slaves Pt. 2″ (feat. Gucci Mane) – Luscious track that we all thought this was going to be on #Section80. Nice use of Gucci, despite a couple “Burr’s” sprinkled in.

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LISTEN: Kendrick Lamar – “Vanity Slaves Pt. 2″ (feat. Gucci Mane)

7. Lupe Fiasco – “American Terrorist 3″ - For part three of Lupe Fiasco’s “American Terrorist”, he weaves a tale over a break from the Daft Punk produced Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx track “Nightcall”, as heard in the film Drive.

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LISTEN: Lupe Fiasco – “American Terrorist 3″

6. Madlib + Freddie Gibbs – “Thuggin’” – We never thought a song called “Thuggin’” would make this list, but then again, we didn’t think one called “Swag” would either. Madlib murdered this beat, while Gangsta Gibbs gloomy street tales meshed with it perfectly. Kind of reminds us of the way CMW used to do it back in the day. From the Madgibbs project, which may drop the same day as Madvillain 2.

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LISTEN: Madlib + Freddie Gibbs – “Thuggin’”

5. Nas + Rick Ross – “It’s A Tower Heist” – Did anyone go see this movie? Anyway, this Salaam Remi produced street-sweeper was  probably the best thing to come out of this flick as a whole.

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LISTEN: Nas + Rick Ross – “It’s a Tower Heist”

4. Eminem + Slaughterhouse + Yelawolf – “2.0 Boys” – These guys were delivering jaw-dropping verses all year long, whether on the remix to “Hard White” or at the BET cypher. Shady Records Version 2.0 crew celebrated their new roster line-up with this web exclusive, which is a sign of great things to come in 2012.

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LISTEN: Eminem, Slaughterhouse, Yelawolf – “2.0 Boys”

3. DoomStarks (Ghostface Killah + MF Doom) – “Victory Laps” – Finally, we have hard evidence that this long-overdue project is coming together. The Madvillain remix wasn’t bad either.

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LISTEN: Doomstarks (MF Doom + Ghostface Killah) – “Victory Laps (Original Mix)”

2. Black Star (Yasiin Bey + Talib Kweli) – “You Already Knew” – Mos Def may have changed his name, but the Black Star vibe is just as on point as it was over a decade ago. This was one of two tracks from the duo released in 2011, coming from a planned Aretha Franklin tribute LP. “Fix Up”, the other, is slated for the album, due to drop this year.

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LISTEN: Black Star – “You Already Knew”

1. Nas – “Nasty” – Nas produced by Salaam Remi, taking it back to that raw shit. Sometimes simplicity is where it’s at.

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LISTEN: Nas – “Nasty”

Bonus Track: LL Cool J – “Year Of The Hip-Hop” - This was a newly discovered “Old Joint” that was found behind a radiator at K-Def’s house, recorded during the Mama Said Knock You Out era. Pure gold.

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LISTEN: LL Cool J – “Year Of The Hip-Hop”

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4 Responses to "HHS 2011 Year-In-Review: The 25 Greatest Mixtape Bangers"
  • ozi battla says:

    the greatest. thanks hhs for keeping the fingure on the plus..feeling all the the tracks but drake.. i tryed but i cant,looking forward to the mixtape so it can replace last years which is still on heavy play in my mobile.

  • battle hound says:

    Excellent list, cold easily be the top 25 tunes of the years..
    As a treat to all your dedicated followers, Pizzo; how about all these tunes on one nice download link for us all to enjoy?

  • Can’t wait for the mixtape.

  • Dramastic says:

    Nas had a pretty good year (add Ghetto Dreams too) for not releasing an album.

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