1) Cyril Neville – Tell Me What’s On Your Mind
Some classic N.O. funk. Members of the Meters with one of the Neville Brothers.
2) The Rollers – Knocking on the Wrong Door
I’m still waiting to hear the rest of the latest Eccentric Soul compilation, The Outskirts of Deep City, but this one here is a pretty good start.
3) The Clefs of Calvary – You Don’t Know What I’ve Been Through
The Clefs think the Lord is the only one who knows what they’ve been through. Evidently they don’t buy into this whole Santa thing.
4) Millie Jackson – I Cry
Oh No sampled this on his fantastic debut album The Disrupt, and DJ Noodles (who?) chopped it up for Freeway’s not-so-originally-titled “I Cry.”
5) Freeway (ft. Marsha Ambrosius) – This Can’t Be Real
If you haven’t heard the Gil Scott Heron original, go find it…now. It’ll bring tears to your eyes quicker than that Millie Jackson song.
6) Ghostface Killah (ft. Method Man & Raekwon) – Yolanda’s House
Ghostface has something like 5 story-telling songs on The Big Doe Rehab, and they’re all nails. This one particularly so with the fantastic assists from a rejuvenated Method Man (peep 8 Diagrams…he’s back on his game) and the always solid Raekwon.
7) Young Buck (ft. the Outlawz) – Ridin’ Down the Freeway
This one should have come out during the summer. It’s tough to be drivin’ down the freeway “diamond in the back with the sunroof open” in December. Hi-Tek on the beat.
8) Wu-Tang Clan (ft. George Clinton) – Wolves
The new Wu album is pretty awesome (no matter what Rae and Ghost keep saying in interviews). This head-nodder was pretty much picked at random…I could have selected any number of songs. But I like the way U-God opens this one.
9) 9th Wonder (ft. Big Dho & Sean Price) – Shots
Little Brother’s (former?) manager Big Dho hops on the mic without embarrassing himself! Pretty impressive considering he’s next to one of the best in the game in Sean Price.
10) Busta Rhymes (ft. Rah Digga) – Not Right Now
Busta annoys me now that he’s gone from cartoon character to hardcore dope slinger. But this J Dilla beat is reason enough to put up with him for 3 minutes. And the hook makes me laugh.
11) Wu-Tang Clan – Rushing Elephants
RZA’s shout-out to Holger amuses me: “strangle cold bottles of Beck’s, like a vexed German.”
12) The Money Making Jam Boys (ft. Peedi Crakk) – I Don’t Know What Else to Say
Black Thought’s weed carriers (Dice Raw & Truck North) put out a mixtape rapping over some 80’s beats, and it’s actually really good. You might remember one of the tracks (“Maniacs”) from the January Mix. Anyone know the song sampled here?
13) Percee P – The Man to Praise
“If you ladies were unable to follow my brain-melting lyrics, don’t worry, I’ve got some dumbed-down songs for the ya’ll on my album.” – Percee P, offending everyone with two X chromosomes at the Slick Rick show last week. So, he’s kind of a douche, but at least he got Madlib to lace him with some beats like this one.
14) Freeway – When They Remember
You gotta love Freeway. Every time he grabs the mic, whatever he’s saying is the most urgent shit, like, ever.
15) DJ Drama (ft. Pharrell & the Clipse) – Cheers
It’s a celebration, bitches! The best song off the surprisingly good DJ Drama album.
16) Kidz in the Hall – Hush
I never thought I’d see the day when a couple of Ivy Leaguers signed to Duck Down. Of course, I also never thought I’d see the day when anyone would think it a good idea to call their group Kidz in the Hall.
17) Riskay – Smell Yo Dick
When you want to know if your man is cheating or not, just ask to smell his dick! Genius! Saw this one in a David Cross interview, where he named it his favorite song of the year. It’s pretty damn good.
18) DJ Mehdi – Lucky Boy
He’s like the French version of the Avalanches.
19) Professor Murder – Flex-it Formula
The most fun band doing it today (my favorite show of the year). Can’t wait for the upcoming full-length.
20) MGMT – Time to Pretend
#94 on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks of 2007. As they describe it, “MGMT shamelessly indulge in one simplistic, escapist hook for four guilt-free minutes.” This is the only song of theirs that I’ve heard, but it works for me.
21) Radiohead – Bangers & Mash
From the In Rainbows bonus disc (the one you had to pay $80 for…I wouldn’t bother). This is the only one that really rocks.
22) Band of Horses – Detlef Schrempf
I was underwhelmed with Cease to Begin, but Ben Bridwell’s voice is still pretty undeniable. He’s the poor man’s Jim James.