Ok. Numbers 24-19 after the jump.
24. Jaheim – "Finding My Way Back"
Jaheim has always been one of the finest singers of his generation, but it wasn't until he released "Finding My Way Back" that he had a song that was worthy of his talent. In a more fair world, this song would have catapulted Jaheim to greater stardom. What Jaheim does here is magnificent, and incredibly subtle. It's perfect phrasing and a tone as clear as a bell in service of a very well-written song, which is not so easily done as it sounds.
23. Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg & Akon – "Kush"
"Kush" proves two very important things: 1) Dr. Dre is still a monster and 2) Snoop Dogg really only sounds great when Dre is producing. When Snoop comes on the track with "still i am…" it is genuinely thrilling. And he doesn't disappoint as his verse is all perfect flow and peerless charisma. It is true that Akon is totally unnecessary (and his auto-tuned presence is the only reason this song isn't higher), but this song is precisely what it needed to be – Chronic 2010 without being a retread.
22. Nas & Damian Marley – "As We Enter"
"As We Enter" is like the perfect opening salvo to get the crowd fuckin hype. There is just no way to listen to this song with Nas and Damian trading lines like a 21st century Run-DMC and not just wanna get up and move. It's about as straightforward as you'll get from these two superstars and it's no less powerful for it.
21. Calvin Richardson – "Come Over"
Calvin Richardson is one of those singers whose voice just exudes Southern soul. And for much of his career he's played the dutiful lover. His yearning has always been for the love of a good woman. But on "Come Over" he finally gets to yearn for something more: sex. And he grabs you from the first line – "Girl can I come over and see you tonight." – and never lets you go. And, of course, in that great Marvin Gaye/Al Green tradition Calvin makes horniness divine.
20. Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver – "Monster"
"Monster" succeeds despite the fact that two of the four emcees (Rick Ross and Jay-Z) drop terrible verses. Luckily Kanye got his shit together long enough to do his best emceeing since "Drive Slow." But, come on, we all know that "Monster" exists solely to convince anyone who thinks Nicki Minaj is all hype that she is the real deal. And she doesn't disappoint as she completely demolishes this track. She has yet to do anything else this good – and given how terrible Pink Friday is, probably won't anytime soon – but if she never records another thing in her life she can legitimately claim to have one of the best verses ever on a posse cut.
19. Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Method Man, Redman – "Troublemakers"
Ghostface brings Raekwon, Redman and Method Man along to cause all kinds of trouble on this track. Just a bunch of superb emcees flowin lovely over a great track. Nothing more, nothing less. All four emcees are great, but Redman, in particular, is just amazing and walks away with the whole joint.