Most people who read me or know me know that I was pretty underwhelmed by most black music released this year. I do think this was a stronger year for individual songs than it was for albums, but even so I could literally only come up with 10 songs that I really love, that I played a lot, that I repped for hard this year.
Before we get to those though, here are a few runners-up. These are songs I like, that are good in their own way, but didn't quite bowl me over the way the top 10 did for one reason or another.
Anwar Robinson, “Come Over”
EPMD, “Don’t Get Clapped”
Frank Ocean, “Back”
JLS, “Shy of the Cool”
Johnny Gill, “In the Mood”
LastO ft. Stern Savage ,“The City”
Van Hunt ,“What Were You Hoping For”
Teedra Moses, “To Hell Wit It’
Mobb Deep ft. Nas, "Dog Shit"
Jazmine Sullivan, “Fly & Sexy”
Lalah Hathaway, “Small of My Back”
Common ft. Nas, "Ghetto Dreams"
After the jump, get into the 10 songs that I adored this year.
A slight change of pace for the (should not be) retired soul songstress:
No one is keeping that unique brand of hip-hop soul that Mary J. Blige pioneered alive better than Jazmine. She understands both the melodic and the rhythmic demands of the tracks she's singin over in a way that recalls the Queen at her greatest.
Trey Songz deepened his image and his work beautifully with his latest album. This brilliant unreleased track produced by the great Salaam Remi – who is basically the best producer making black pop right now that no one is really paying attention to – from those sessions probably wouldn’t have really fit on the album, sonically or lyrically. It, in the lyrics, returns Songz to a more juvenile and disturbing view of a woman’s sexual pleasure that is deeply problematic and totally at odds with the more restrained and thoughtful work on Passion Pain & Pleasure.
But beyond that it is definitely in the spirit of what has been most interesting about Trey Songz – his increasing willingness to experiment with different sounds without coming across schizophrenic or like he’s a cynical “throw everything at the wall and see if it sticks” kind of artist.