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50 Best Rap Songs of 2010

In a year that brought us mediocre movies, it’s great to have some great hip-hop music to fall back on. No matter what those cynical bastards tell you, hip-hop had a strong outing in 2010. B-boys and b-girls, I give you the 50 best hip-hop songs of 2010.

There"s a hip-hop sport called "Let"s see who can out-rap Drake on his own beat." Royce da 5"9" and Consequence played this game in 2010, but Eminem plays it better than most. It wasn"t just "Over" that got bent out of recognition. It was also Lloyd Banks" "Beamer, Benz or Bentley." Nothing personal, guys. Just Shady business as usual.

Talib Kweli excels at weaving rhymes around rhythmic roomy tracks with bursts of soul and crisp percussion, and here, he offers some of the finest lyrics on Revolutions Per Minute as a narrator. Inspired by a 2008 visit to Nigeria, the Brooklyn MC chronicles the struggles of the African oil power that goes back to the colonial days.

You can"t make an omelet without breaking eggs. And you can"t talk about southern rappers without alluding to wood grain and candypaint. Unless you"re talking about Fat Tony. You won’t hear Tony bragging non-stop about his chain, on his debut LP RABDARGAB. No candy-painted Cadillacs here; he prefers skateboards. What you’ll hear on "Luv It Mayne" and other RABDARGAB standouts, though, is a student of the game who has a knack for making even the mundane sound profoundly exciting.

It"s nothing new for rappers to refer to themselves as royalty. It"s also commonplace for rappers to chastise peers who peddle materialism, as Co$$ does on "Fake Kings." But there"s something fresh and exciting about the way he does it. He stuffs every crevice in the Numonics beat with a breathless flow giving you the impression that he could go on for days.

Big Boi starts the show by offering to "give you one to grow on." He"s a liar, because "Lookin" 4 Ya" is an instant banger. Andre 3000 complements his partner-in-rhyme with a light-hearted verse about doing it in IKEA"s showroom,