Top 100 Rap Songs of 2007

2007, despite its numerous disappointments, spawned many memorable moments. Like the theme music to a good movie, these songs underscored a unique year in hip-hop. Ladies and Gentlemen, grab your iPods! Cue the time machine! It's time to rewind 2007 and explore the year's best 100 rap songs.

Disclaimer: The songs were ranked on production quality, lyrical appeal, and overall impact. It's a highly subjective list and I'm not claiming it to be the gospel.

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100
of 100

Anime - Tell Myself I'm Happy

Every now and then you'll come across a song that everyone can identify with, irrespective of status or background. Anime's "Tell Myself I'm Happy" is one of those songs.

99
of 100

Cassidy - My Drink 'N' My 2 Step

[Video]
Backed by Swizz Beatz, Cassidy delivers an instruction on how to multitask in the club.

98
of 100

Ja Rule feat. The Game - Sunset

Ja toasts to the Golden State ("I'm from New York, but I love California-e") alongside one of its favorite sons.

97
of 100

CunningLynguists - Mexico

The best rap group with the worst name contribute to one of the year's highlights with this irresistibly catchy tune about eloping to Mexico.

96
of 100

Scarface - Big Dogg Status

© Rap-A-Lot

Hip-hop O.G. reaffirms his status as a top shelf artist over N.O. Joe's southern-fried production.

95
of 100

Hell Razah feat. Tragedy & R.A. the Rugged Man - Renaissance

© Nature Sounds

Sure Hell Razah and Tragedy held their own on this, but it was R.A.'s lung-snapping wordplay that made this one a keeper.

94
of 100

LL Cool J feat. Kool G Rap, Mobb Deep, 50 Cent & Tony Yayo - Queens

It's a Queens thing, as LL and friends shout out their New York neighborhood. L sneaks in a subliminal slap at Def Jam (then headed by Jay-Z and L.A. Reid). But even without the Def Jam snipe, this is still one of uncle L's better songs in years.

93
of 100

Fabolous feat. Jay-Z & Uncle Murder - Brooklyn

© Def Jam

No, it's not a response to LL's "Queens," but it's an equally endearing 'hood tribute. Aided by a familiar Biggie line ("Where Brooklyn at?"), Fab and Jay get majestic over a booming bass that sounds like you just crashed a block party, with Uncle Murder riding shotgun.

92
of 100

Akir feat. Immortal Technique - Treason

© Babygrande

Technically, Akir's debut CD

Legacy
magnum opus

.

91
of 100

Beanie Sigel - What They Gonna Say to Me

© Roc-A-Fella

A nasty exercise in braggart rap. Sigel huffs and puffs, but delivers the goods in the end. Too bad, the rest of The Solution didn't live up to par.

90
of 100

USDA - Corporate Thuggin'

Young Jeezy Presents: U.S.D.A. - Cold Summer &copy Def Jam.

Over a trunk-rattling beat, Young Jeezy questions critics who question his talent.

89
of 100

Donny Goines - Never Let My Talent Die

The strings are ethereal and the drums are breathtaking, but it's upstart Donny Goines' hunger that makes this a thriller.

88
of 100

Pharoahe Monch - When the Gun Draws

© SRC/Universal

follows up Organized Konfusion's "Stray Bullet" with the graphical "Gun Draws." Monch tackles gun violence from the perspective of a bullet and the video plays like horror flick.

87
of 100

T.I. - Big Things Poppin'

© Atlantic

A synth-bounce track that is sure to bring any downer out of their shell. It's not "What You Know" but it gets the job done.

86
of 100

Little Brother feat. Lil Wayne - Breakin' My Heart

© ABB Records

Lil' Weezy and Little Brother trade rhymes about the consequences of infidelity in one of the most unlikely collaborations of 2007.

85
of 100

Busta Rhymes feat. Q-Tip & Talib Kweli - Lightworks

Busta, Tip, and Kweli pay homage to a music icon. This is space-rap inspired by Dilla's funky production.

84
of 100

DJ Khaled ft. Jeezy, Juelz Santana, Rick Ross, Wayne, Fat Joe - Brown Paper Bag

© Koch

Lyrically, it's everything you expect from a lineup that includes four crack-rap enthusiasts. Sonically, it's a fever dream of burbling keyboards.

83
of 100

Luckyiam - Classy Joint

Luckyiam, a funny moonlighting solo artist from the Living Legends, lets the listener into his world on this jazzy track.

82
of 100

Black Milk - Sound the Alarm

© Fat Beats

Detroit's brightest rookie begins the fight to keep his city on the hip-hop map. Even Dilla would approve.

81
of 100

UGK feat. Willie D & Charlie Wilson - Quit Hatin' the South

© Jive

Pimp C tells critics of "country-fried rap tunes" to stop whining and start grinding.

80
of 100

Public Enemy - Harder Than You Think

You know you're in for a great year when one of the best songs is from a crew that started out 20 years ago. This is P.E.'s comeback party, and everyone's invited.

79
of 100

EL-P - Everything Must Go

El-P. &copy Def Jux

Rocking the world, one furniture store at a time.

78
of 100

Polyrhythm Addicts - Kerosene

Polyrhythm Addicts - Break Glass
Polyrhythm Addicts - Break Glass. © Babygrande Records

Three decent male rappers and one talented female singer/rapper attempt to fill some big shoes: "We get compared to the Fugees, but all of us can rhyme." Not even close, but they're on the right track for now.

77
of 100

Guru feat. Common - State of Clarity

© 7 Grand Records

Backed by sunny piano loops, Guru and Common exchange views on soul-searching and moving past the little things that keep us from fulfilling our mission in life.

76
of 100

Young Buck - Get Buck

© G-Unit

Buck Marley dispels any notion of his crew's demise with this exuberant Polow da Don concoction from Buck the World.

75
of 100

Blitz - Hands of Time

Blitz rewinds his favorite hip-hop moments, blending snippets of timeless tunes like Biggie's "Unbelievable" and Nas' "New York State of Mind."

74
of 100

Phat Kat - Nasty Ain't It

Phat Kat. © Look Records

Midwest hip-hop at its braggiest, grimiest, and nastiest.

73
of 100

KRS-One & Marley Marl - Hip-Hop Lives

© Koch

After 20 years and 16 albums, you'd think that KRS-One would be out of hip-hop terminologies by now. Instead, the Teacha finds a million more ways to symbolize Hip-Hop on the title track from Hip-Hop Lives .

72
of 100

Royce da 5'9" - Rewind

Royce imagines what could have become of three flourishing rappers that died before they ever had a chance to live out their dreams.

71
of 100

AZ & Styles P - The Hardest

AZ. Universal

AZ's breakneck flow meets Styles P's sucker-free swagger.

70
of 100

Outlawz feat. Young Buck & Dion - Drivin' Down the Freeay

Aided by Hi-Tek's boardsmanship and Dion's inspiring chorus, Young Buck and Outlawz invent a new genre: hardcorerapsoulnica.

69
of 100

Chamillionaire feat. Slick Rick - Hip-Hop Police

© Universal

Master storyteller Slick Rick assists in this witty narrative about the "hip-hop police," a fictional law enforcement unit that arrests artists solely on account of obscene lyrics.

68
of 100

50 Cent - I Get Money

© Interscope

50 Cent brags about being stanky rich on this sky-scrapingly great banger. It's a bright spot on the otherwise mediocre

Curtis.
67
of 100

Skyzoo feat. Torae - Click

You don't have to be a Jay-Z to get a beat from the legendary DJ Premier, just Jay-Z good. And Skyzoo lives up to expectation here.

66
of 100

Hi-Tek feat Ghostface & Raekwon - My Piano

Hi-Tek. © Babygrande

Other hip-hoppers brag about their wallets and their guns. Hi-Tek brags about his piano, and still sounds amazing.

65
of 100

Lupe Fiasco feat. Snoop Dogg & Pooh Bear - Hi-Definition

Lupe Fiasco. © Getty Images/Donna Ward

Hey, care for some gangsta with that plate of conscious? Pure proof that we can all get along.

64
of 100

Talib Kweli - Hot Thing

Talib Kweli - Hot Thing. © Warner Bros.

Kweli has a massive grip on the ingredients necessary for the ultimate girl song: stark honesty, beautiful lyrics, and will.i.am on the boards.

63
of 100

Redman - Gimme One

© Def Jam

wasn't exactly a classic, but it still had some sweepingly awesome tracks, including this one.

62
of 100

Blu & Exile - Dancing in the Rain

© Sound in Color

Backed by Exile's jazzy piano riffs, Blu gives his tongue a lyrical workout while his brain works overtime.

61
of 100

Wyclef ft. Lil Wayne, Akon, & Niia Bertino - Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)

© Columbia

Clef delivers a stunning comeback hit in the form of a save-a-stripper campaign.

60
of 100

Hezekiah feat. Bilal - Looking Up

© Rawkus

Self-uplifting rhymes from the dude that looks like your neighborhood pest control agent.

59
of 100

Freeway - It's Over

Philadelphia Freeway spews angst at anyone that cares to listen.

58
of 100

Snoop Dogg - Sensual Seduction

Snoop Dogg. © Geffen

Hyper-minimal disco backs up Snoop's auto-tuned vocals. If you listen close you'll probably hear Bootsy Collins wailing in the background.

57
of 100

Timbaland feat Keri Hilson, D.O.E. & Sebastian - The Way I Are

Timbaland. © Geffen

Hip-hop and pop fusion only works half the time. Thankfully, this was one of those times.

56
of 100

Evidence - Mr. Slow Flow

© myspace.com/evidence.

Evidence embraces what many considered a liability -- a cool, calm, and careful delivery. It's pure proof that rap doesn't have to be drop-dead fast to be enjoyable.

55
of 100

M.I.A. - Paper Planes

M.I.A. © Interscope

The beat is intoxicating. The chorus is infectious. But the lyrics are so heavy that you're not sure if dancing should be the appropriate response here.

54
of 100

DJ Khaled ft. Akon, T.I, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Baby & Lil Wayne - We Takin' Over

The chipmunk-voiced DJ assembles a lineup of hit-makers for one of the year's best posse cuts.

53
of 100

Eightball & MJG feat. Project Pat - Relax & Take Notes

© Bad Boy

Ball & G invoke the ghost of Biggie on this rewind-worthy stomp jam from their 10th album,

Ridin' High

.

52
of 100

One Be Lo - Headlines

A critique of modern society delivered through the eyes of a frozen caveman who gets thawed back to life by melting icecaps.

51
of 100

Aesop Rock - No City

A pernicious piece of genius from one of alt-rap's best.

50
of 100

Junk Science - Jerry McGuire

Junk Science - Grandad's Tonic.

A friend once asked me for help with her resignation letter. I pointed her to the fleet of polished and professional resignation letter templates on our Job Search site. Next time, I'll just make her listen to "Jerry McGuire," a funny 12-step program on how to quit your job and probably get fired at your next job.

49
of 100

Strong Arm Steady feat. Talib Kweli - One Step

[Video]
Vicious stomp from Talib Kweli's west coast outfit.

48
of 100

Skillz feat. Freeway - Don't Act Like You Don't Know

Skillz. © Okayplayer

All guts and glory. Skillz and Freeway rap as if their lives depend on this chest-pumping heat rock.

47
of 100

C-Rayz Walz & Sharkey - Electric Avenue

© Babygrande

Sharkey and C-Rayz party like it's 1982 with their hip-hop interpretation of Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue."

46
of 100

Chamillionaire - Won't Let You Down

Chamillionaire. © Marlon Ross

Few rap songs are simultaneously inspirational and anthemic. Now you can add "Won't Let You Down" to that list. If you're feeling lucky, check out the 18-minute Texas All-Star remix.

45
of 100

Ghostface feat. Beanie Sigel - Tony Sigel (aka Barrel Brothers)

Ghost brings the ruckus. Beans brings the burner. It's a match made in trigger-happy paradise.

44
of 100

Brother Ali - Uncle Sam

© Rhymesayers
status quo.

Sorta like Ron Paul without the political baggage.

43
of 100

Little Brother - Sirens

Little Brother.

"Sirens" is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it rebukes hip-hop haters for ignoring society's larger issues ("Like most black folks living below the poverty line"). On the other hand, it repudiates a complacent hip-hop environment ("I had to tell my son, 'Cut that bulls**t off. Them ain't videos, that's psychological warfare'").

42
of 100

Talib Kweli - Everything Man

© Blacksmith

Over a tiptoeing Madlib beat, Kweli comes to the realization that he can't be everything to everyone at the same time.

41
of 100

Lupe Fiasco feat. Matthew Santos - Superstar

[Video]
A grandiose record that's both accessible and thought-provoking.

40
of 100

Devin the Dude feat. Lil Wayne & Bun B - Lil Girl Gone

© Rap-A-Lot

See, life for Devin isn't all weed, wine and women -- actually, it is. "Lil Girl Gone" connects three stories about a girl gone wild despite her proper upbringing.

39
of 100

Beanie Sigel - Return of the Bad Guy

© Def Jam
38
of 100

Consequence - Don't Forget 'Em

© GOOD Music

[Video]
Armed with Kanye's staccato drum blasts, Quence assures his family that he won't forget 'em once he makes it big time.

37
of 100

Sean Price - P-Body

Sean Price. © Duck Down

is already famous for being the brokest rapper you know. P's knack for alliteration ("Pound for pound perfection, and punch potholes in pretenders") adds yet another feather to his NY fitted hat.

36
of 100

Wu-Tang Clan feat. Erykah Badu - The Heart Gently Weeps

© SRC/Universal

There was so much hoopla about the process behind "The Heart Gently Weeps" that many forgot just how brilliant the song is. Backed by a warm acoustic guitar, "The Heart Gently Weeps" is meditative storytelling at its finest.

35
of 100

Jay-Z feat. Pharrell - Blue Magic

Jay-Z. © Def Jam

[Video]
This was billed as a bonus track on American Gangster because Jay-Z wasn't sure if it belonged on that album. He's right: The musical charm that is "Blue Magic" is in a world of its own. From the Pharrell's barebones production to Jay's sophisticated rhyme scheme ("Blame Oliver north and Iran-Contra/I ran contraband that they sponsored").

34
of 100

Blu & Exile - Cold Hearted

© Sound in Color

Avant-garde storytelling from one of 2007's most promising newcomers.

33
of 100

Blue Scholars - Back Home

© Rawkus

Blue Scholars echo the sentiment of 70% of Americans and ask for an end to the Iraq war.

32
of 100

CRS - Us Placers

There's a certain magic to this song that I don't want to ruin by trying to dissect the ingredients. Thankfully, it's just one of many gems to come from this hip-hop supergroup that consists of Kanye, Pharrell, and Lupe Fiasco.

31
of 100

Pharoahe Monch - Welcome to the Terrordome

Seventeen years after it was first laced on wax, Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terror Dome" gets a facelift from Pharoahe Monch.

30
of 100

NYOil - Shout it in the Streets

With the emergence of so many new artists, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. But NYOil has no intentions of taking the easy way out. "Shout it in the Streets" is a vicious follow-up to the memorable 2006 hit "Y'all Should All Get Lynched."

29
of 100

Jazzy Jeff feat. C.L. Smooth - All I Know

The Jazzmeister cooks up a soulful concoction, while the Smoothsmith lays his rhymes in the cut.

28
of 100

Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo - Make Me Better

Fabolous © Def Jam.

[Video]
Let's do the math: Fabolous in Ladies Man mode + Ne-Yo on the chorus = slam dunk.

27
of 100

Joel Ortiz - Hip-Hop

© Koch

Let's get this straight: No other newcomer delivered an endless supply of gritty rap anthems like Brooklyn's own Joel Ortiz. Of all the 5,279 songs titled "Hip-Hop," this one's a breath of fresh air.

26
of 100

Prodigy - Mac 10 Handle

[Video]
Your inner cynic may frown at Prodigy for sticking to familiar territory on "Mac 10 Handle." That's until you hear Alchemist's arrestingly upbeat production and P's cinematic rhymes kick in and reaffirm that he's capable of pumping life into a banal concept.

25
of 100

Common - The Game

© Geffen

[Video]
Beat by Kanye West; Scratches by DJ Premier. Exactly what an MC's dream session sounds like.

24
of 100

Marco Polo feat. Masta Ace - Nostalgia

[Video] After two decades in the game, Masta Ace still doesn't know how to waste a verse.

23
of 100

Kanye West - Can't Tell Me Nothin'

Kanye West - Cant Tell me Nothing.

This piece of genius -- with a chorus so repetitive it will lodge itself in your memory for months -- is as gorgeous as anything 'Ye has recorded in years.

22
of 100

Brother Ali - Take Me Home

© Rhymesayers

[Video]
Ali showcases his spirit, soul, and versatility over Ant's slap-happy drums.

21
of 100

Trae feat. Styles P & Jadakiss - Smile

© Rap-A-Lot

Trae and his D-Block cohorts sound right at home rhyming about the misfortunes of life that make it hard to crack a smile.

20
of 100

Termanology - So Amazing

Forget sending a demo tape, Termanology exhibits his skills on "So Amazing" with DJ Premier on the boards. In an ideal world, this song would trigger an intense bidding war among all the majors.

19
of 100

Skyzoo feat Torae - Get It Done

Skyzoo.

The great thing about this song -- besides the obvious fact that Preemo is still the producer to beat -- is that the theme changes depending on who's clutching the mic. Skyzoo indulges in a lyrical exercise that references 2 decades worth of Preemology ("I'm in a 'New York State of Mind' when I 'Kick in the Door' with 'A Million and One Questions' when I'm bringing it on"), while Torae compares the collaboration to past classics ("It's reminiscent of Nas & Jay or Billy & Womack").

18
of 100

The Cool Kids - Black Mags

[Video]
2007 was the year of Chicago. Not only did the Windy City contribute 3 albums to 07's best top 10 joints, it also introduced us to this cool duo. "Black Mags" is a sonical collision of different styles and genres, from hyphy to boom bap.

17
of 100

Rich Boy - Let's Get This Paper

© Universal

[Video]
What does it say of the music industry when the best song on your album ends up as a hidden track? Rich Boy's clever indictment of societal imbalance will make even the grimiest gangbanger put down his gun and pick up a book. Proof that smart is the new gangsta.

16
of 100

Hi-Tek feat. Talib Kweli & Dion - Time

Maybe it's Hi-Tek's soul-drenched production. Maybe it's Kweli's masterfully interjected pauses when he says "We ain't got no time to kill...each other." Whatever it is, this one's sure to withstand the test of...

15
of 100

Scarface - Never

Scarface. © Scott Gries/Getty Images

Scarface once swore of rap music, but all that did was make us miss him badly. As this hard-hitting banger affirms, 'Face learned one hard lesson during his break: Never say never.

14
of 100

Kanye West feat. Dwele - Flashing Lights

Kanye West.

Exuberant hip-pop funk from the Timbaland of this generation.

13
of 100

Wu-Tang Clan - Campfire

All three Clansmen on this song brought their A-game along for the ride. Combine their vigorous lyrical exercise with a RZA beat so great even Memphis Bleek could've made it a hit, and you've got the best song on

8 Diagrams.
12
of 100

Nas - Surviving the Times

Nas - Greatest Hits © Columbia.

[Video]
"Surviving the Times" is a relentlessly introspective and sincere summary of Nas' rap career. It chronicles his early days as an unsigned MC who "didn't even know what a record advance meant" to his emergence as a living legend.

11
of 100

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony feat. Akon - I Tried

© Interscope

[Video]
They lost their record deal, regained it after several years, then lost a group member. So, Bone Thugs did what any wise crew would do: they turned their struggle into rhymes and asked Akon to sing his heart out. Talk about music therapy.

10
of 100

Common - The People

Common - The People. © Geffen

Common rhymes about survival, enlightenment, a Grammy snub, and finding the new Preemo, in one breath.

09
of 100

Lupe Fiasco - Paris, Tokyo

Lupe Fiasco. © Getty Images/Donna Ward

No, he didn't apologize to Tribe Called Quest fans for briefly flubbing his "Electric Relaxation" performance at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors, but this throwback masterpiece will surely appease all fans of the Jungle Brothers era.

08
of 100

Ghostface feat. Raekwon & Method Man - Yolanda's House

Ghostface - Big Doe Rehab. © Def Jam

One glance at the lineup conjures images of typical Wu-Tang heist. Instead, we get a spellbinding story about Ghost's run-ins with the law. This one takes an unpredictable twist, as Ghost decides to seek refuge in Yolanda's house. Amidst the chaos, he runs into one of the rooms only to find Method Man with his draws half-drawn (literally). Three minutes will have passed by the time you realize that this is a song, not a hood flick.

07
of 100

Kanye West - Stronger

Kanye West. © Getty Images

Kanye abandons his signature sped-up samples for a foray into Euro synth-pop. In his quest for perfection, 'Ye scraped the original version of the song and brought in master producer Timbaland to tweak the drums.

06
of 100

Rakim, Nas, Kanye, & KRS-One - Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been)

Three legendary MCs and one MC known for his legendary high-handedness celebrate Nike's Air Force 1 sneaker.

05
of 100

DJ Drama feat. OutKast & Marsha Ambrosius - Da Art of Storytelling 4

outkast.

By all standards, Andre 3000 had a terrific run in 2007. No other MC was as consistently exciting as Ice Cold. Everything he touched was magic. That probably explains his presence on three of the top 10 songs on this list. "Da Art of Storytelling" was undoubtedly the outstanding track on DJ Drama's forgettable debut,

Gangsta Grillz,

thanks to two great verses from Dre and Big Boi.

04
of 100

Rhymefest - Angry Black Man on an Elevator

© J Records

Classic Rhymefest humor ("I'm Saddam, except I got weapons") sprinkled with Classic Rhymefest musings ("They sold MySpace for $500 million/They sold YouTube for $1.6 billion/And you're in the project fighting over a building"). Theme music for any revolution.

03
of 100

Devin the Dude feat. Andre 3000 & Snoop Dogg - What a Job

© Rap-A-Lot

Ever dreamed of becoming a music superstar? Well, you won't, after hearing Devin Copeland and friends highlight the travails of a demanding music industry. The delight of the song, of course, comes from Andre's candid storytelling.

02
of 100

Jay-Z - Roc Boys

&copy Def Jam

[Video]
Hip-hop emeritus brings his requisite gravitas to this unapologetic toast to the good life. Not to be outdone by Jay's celebratory rhymes, Diddy and his Hitmen toss some triumphant horns into the mix.

01
of 100

UGK feat. OutKast - Int'l Players Anthem

UGK. Photo © Jive Records

[Video]

Two revered groups merge forces for the first time and yield a pulverizing hip-hop moment. From the goofy concept to the way the beat is tailor-made to suit each artist, "Int'l Players Anthem" is flawless. It doesn't matter if you're a backpacker, a purist, or a southern rap aficionado, this is one anthem you won't forget anytime soon.