Best Songs of 2011

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”
  • Ginuwine, “Frozen”
  • 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’
  • Nas, "Nasty"
  • 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.

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Wanna See a Superstar Lose His Identity?

Just watch Usher’s latest video for “More”:

For more than a decade, Usher was the standard bearer. His five album run of nearly flawless albums is practically peerless.

But then came Raymond vs. Raymond, a nakedly commercial and depressingly desperate album with almost no redeeming qualities at all. And Usher, like Michael Jackson before him, has taken up the mantle of aging artist pathetically hanging onto pop relevance instead of continuing to be the great artist he has always been.

Everything about this video is sad, starting and ending with a grown ass man with a trendy gay teen haircut.

“OMG” and “More” are the kinds of songs that a lot of people around the world like, but they are not Usher songs. They exist to top the charts and then be forgotten in a year. Anyone can perform these songs. A vocalist of Usher’s prodigious gifts? Wasted.

At this point in his career, Usher should be so aware of his public identity and his artistry that nothing could shake it. It is a sad, sad thing to watch an artist of Usher’s abilities get shook by life after 30 and the rise of an artist as inconsequential and musically threadbare as Chris Brown. They can’t take your title, you relinquish it.

On Kelly Rowland

Sorry Kelly, but this:

Also, this album is NOT limited, I am not allowing ANYONE to put me in a box, with sound. That’s not where I belong. The album IS consistent sonically and I am writing, creating, having fun, and healing………it’s been a BLAST!!!

doesn’t make me want to hear your album. Not if that “consistent sonic” palette is just your way of saying you’re going forward with Europop even though no one likes that idea and it doesn’t serve you well at all.

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Tyrese: Untapped Potential

Listening to Tyrese’s brilliant cover of Teddy Pendergrass’ “When Somebody Loves You Back”:

…might sound like a revelation if you already done forgot about this:

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