It’s that time of the year when folks take a look back at the last 365. We know it’s a few days into 2011 but the Internet is eternal and folks will be googling “best of 2010” for a few days more yet. So I tapped our star contributor and Twitter fiend Christopher B. and producer Beewirks to share their favorite beats of 2010. I threw in a couple of my own for good measure. We couldn’t even agree amongst each other so I’m sure you all will have something to say. Let the fights begin.
Get Your Ass On The Floor – Dirty Money: The drums on it come from a
dancehall track..that immediately attracted me to it. The progression
changes throughout the beat were dope too. A lot of it comes off
atmospheric. It created the perfect backdrop for the vocals.
Yeah Yeah You Would – Dirty Money: Danja killed it with the hard drums
and the arrangement of the beat. From the sound running throughout
the verse up until the actual progression comes in. That’s a very
common arrangement but when done well it makes the beat feel like it
Mafia Music 2 – Rick Ross: this is probably my favorite beat of the year.
It came at the perfect time. The sample (which I will leave nameless)
is already lush and the Olympicks added a slight arp synth, some
pianos. The bassline was also dope. To be honest, Rick Ross helped
this come to life also, and that’s the job of a dope beat, bring out
the best in the MC. They succeeded on all levels. Props.
Super High – Rick Ross. This shit is just fucking soulful..the dope
bassline. Honestly that was the instrument that put this beat over
the top. This whole shit sounds like something Biggie would rap on.
the first 5 seconds sound just like “The World is Filled.” DJ Clark Kent went in.
Resistance – drake: 40 getting screamed at by Kanye is what comes to
mind. Kanye is such a competitive dude so 40 should take it as a
slight compliment. The airy pads just get me zoned out. The sparse
use of the kick drum provides some tension in a beat that is lush and
calm…the juxtaposition of the two (genius if he actually set out to
do it) is what allows people to listen to it over and over.
No Love – Eminem: The Haddaway sample was pure genius. He flipped it
to the point it wasn’t corny. Just Blaze is such a great producer
that he can take corny and make a classic out of it. He did the same
thing for the Rick James flip which I think is one of the greatest
sample flips I’ve ever heard from any producer. Proud to call him my
big bro and friend.
Premeditated Murder – J. Cole: Now I know it says J Cole produced
this on his own but the way the drums hit with ghost notes and the
like, I have to say I believe No ID helped a bit on this. Either way
this is a dope beat. The addition of extra pianos enhanced the beat
significantly. The sample flip is so cool.
Devil In a New Dress – Kanye West: Yeah Bink! went in on this. The
parts he used from the sample made it sound like a loop but they were
chopped in a real dope way. His drums compliment the beat too.
They’re not the hardest drums but they fit underneath the sample so
Neon Valley Street – Janelle Monae: The drums on this are PERFECT.
Those strings are crazy too. Janelle Monae’s album is probably the
best produced album of the year. The beat has a great lowkey Outkast feel to it. I can just picture the beat and song. It comes with a vision and I think every producer should strive to make music like that.
There Goes My Baby – Usher: the progression on this is so ill. The hook on this just utilizes a low octave saw synth to get its pointacross..no real melody change to let u know it’s the chorus. It gives the singer options and part of being a good producer is knowing when to scale it back. Props to Jim Jonsin and Rico Love.
Don’t Play This Song – Kid Cudi: The Strings…I love the texture of
the strings. They have a Motown feel to it. Couple that with the
extreme electronic sound of the rest of the beat. It just works. The
drums on this have a slight african feel to its acoustics. This is
one of them moody beats u can put on repeat and just think abt how
wack ur life is when things are not going good lol. Now that I think
abt it..the strings have a slight Chinese or Oriental flavor to em.
Higher – B.O.B: From the synth in the beginning to the dope ass drum
and percussion. Polow went in on this one. Although I think Im drawn
to this beat because of the Hook by BoB..its an INCREDIBLE HOOK…the
beat accents the MCs well.
No Hands – Wacka Flocka: Drumma killed this shit. Again, I feel like
the beat inspired the great hook for this. From my observations
sometimes its best not to get super musical when it doesn’t call for
it. I know Drumma is classically trained so he can throw in string
runs and all this extra shit but he gives just enough of a dope beat
to leave room for the rappers to maneuver and the hook to shine.
Thats why that shit peaked at #18 on the Hot 100..dope ass shit.
Nothin’ On You – Bruno Mars: The muhfucking Smeezingtons! They did
their thing this year and brought back a kind of softness in music
that was missing. Nothing corny though, but like listen to this beat.
It’s so damn classy. From the funky bass to the paino. Its like
they said we’re going to make an R&B beat and just throw a dope ass
fucking hip hop drum pattern on top of it. They succeeded. This shit
went number 1 and sold over 2 million. You can make good music and
have it sell. Its just gotta be accessible and this beat has
something in it for everyone. Plus they got Bruno Mars on the hook.
the females adore him.
Find Your Love – Drake: Even though this sounds like an 808s and
Heartbreak beat, its so lovely lol. Man when the flutes come in or
whatever synth that is, it immediately reminds me of some of the songs
Lamont Dozier did on his album decades ago. it just takes me back
there. The drums, however keep us in the now. It’s just a really
great beat. There is not one bad thing about this beat.
Window Seat – Erykah Badu: This is that shit right here. Soulful and
melodic. Anciently futuristic. I don’t even want to say more than
that. Just close your eyes and listen to this.
Winner – Jamie Foxx: The drums on this are so hugeee. They have a
dope bounce to em to. This is something you can put on anywhere and
you’ll get a reaction from people. the melody is crazy too. The
glide on the bass saw synth..yughhckkkk © Pusha T..I forgot about the
marching band breakdown. Yeah this beat is dope. A lot of people
can’t pull off a beat like this and make it sound so accessible.
Kanye West-All Of The Lights (Kanye West)
When it comes to composition I don’t think any track was more expertly constructed than “All Of The Lights.” It’s triumphant, uplifting, energetic, and all things being equal the best beat of 2010 in my opinion, maybe even his career. While some may feel he over decorated the track with the numerous features he truly created something unique. When you think of bongos meshing with trumpets, keys, etc. you would think clutter and chaos but every piece was flawless in it’s insertion to the track, as if he was conducting a live orchestra. This is Kanye’s Sistine Chapel.
Eminem-Talking 2 Myself (DJ Khalil)
The second cut from Eminem’s Recovery album to make the list was produced by the producer’s favorite producer, DJ Khalil. Known primarily for his Self Scientific work Khalil took leaps career wise this year resulting in multi grammy nominations for his work on Recovery. When word hit that the white boy was working with new producers many speculated what that would sound like but out of all the tracks on Recovery none were more fitting than the masterpiece Khalil created. His signature aggressive drums fit perfectly for Em’s in your face, rapid fire flow. The hungry introspective Eminem was reborn on this project and a large amount of thanks goes to Khalil, after all he is responsible for a quarter of the production.
Drake-9 AM In Dallas Freestyle (Boi 1da)
Was any producer this past year hotter than the kid from Toronto? After sculpting the back drops for massive singles like Drake’s “Best I Ever Had”, “Over”, and Eminem’s “Not Afraid” he provided us with one of the best album cuts to not appear on the album, sort of (9 AM In Dallas was only available via I Tunes). 1da continues to impress with his drums and this beat leaves the perfect amount of room for Drake to reflect and show his introspective side.
Ghostwridah-Red Bottoms (Don Cannon)
What’s a top beat list without Cannooooon (Sandman voice)? The track that wasn’t supposed to happen (Ghostwridah got this on a beat cd used it and put it out prior to Cannon being on board) turned out to be one of the best constructed of this past year. I’m not a fan of Jay-Z vocal samples and I really find them to be redundant and over played but Don Cannon made this one work. Most vocal samples in a hook don’t have any effect on the song and are just a hook, Cannon chose the perfect line and made it a hot song. That’s the difference between producing and beat making, the vision for what a song can be and laying the blueprint out for the artist. Add in some of the best drums and voila, Red Bottoms is born.
T.I. feat Drake-Poppin Bottles (T-Minus)
Ahh I love synthy beats and no one manipulated it the way T-Minus did. Probably the most underrated out of all the talent coming from Canada he truly shines here and if your unfamiliar well allow me to introduce you to the producer I feel will be to 2011 what Boi 1da was to twenty ten. The heavy drums that drop were unexpected and he off set them nicely if you pay close attention to the background and listen closely. Its that type of execution that sent it over top to me and pushed it into my personal top 10.
Lil Wayne 6 7 (Bangladesh)
A Milli on steroids as Mack Maine put it? Probably a good description but he really flexed his creative muscle sampling Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (Banana Boat Song)”. This competes with Just Blaze’s use of Haddaway as the most creative sample of this year, maybe even the decade. It’s hard for an artist to top a hit single like A Milli, it’s even harder as the producer to top yourself and Bangladesh did just that. There’s a lot you can say about a track released in the last couple of weeks and is already talked about as one of the best of the year, but I think that statement alone says enough.
Pill-The Overdose (Needlz)
When people depict a beat as being ugly this is exactly the type they are referring to. Needlz is one of the more underrated producers, he’s done some tracks you know and been a part of some songs that you wouldn’t expect (see Bruno Mars-Just The Way You Are). While Pill doesn’t excite me on any record, this track gets the blood flowing and the pulse racing. If you don’t know do the screw face to this beat then screw yourself, Needlz provided Pill with the ugliest beat of 2010.
Fabolous-You Be Killin Em (Ryan Leslie)
R Les is undoubtedly in my mind the most underrated producer in the industry. While you may know his as the artist that sang “Diamond Girl” Ryan is also a brilliant producer/song writer. Now if the actual track had the piano keys that Ryan used in the song construction video I wouldve placed this higher but his composition is perfect, his use of live drums shows his musicianship and if he’s not in your top 10 as far as current producers go then kill yo’ self. Get it?
L.E.P. Bogus Boys feat Fabolous-We Ain’t Playing (Fly Boyz)
Often when it comes to producing less is more. Upcoming producers try to “super produce” tracks thinking the beat needs to be filled with sounds to be competitive, that’s usually not the case. What I appreciate most about this track is its simplicity. Sprinkled with dark synths the mood is very fitting for the subject matter. Add in the organs, effectively placed, and you have some tailor made “gangster music”.
Rza, “Dark Fantasy” for Kanye
It seems that Rza has finally mastered this sample-free formula he’s been tinkering with over the past few years. The shadowy ciello strings duel with synth stabs that sport a decidedly Wutang menace but with a button-ed up posture. This is RZA in a suit. James Word Is Bond.
Kanye West, “Show Me A Good time,” for Drake
Pour out a little liquor for the baby water fowl they stepped on repeatedly to lend its voice to this stellar beat. As usual Yeezy is a champ with the piano loops and the stuttering drums make spilling your drink to this totally worth it.
Don Cannon “Fuck A Hook” for STS (Sugar Tongue Slim)
Jay-Z must be kicking himself for passing on this one. Electric guitar has been a punchline in hiphop thanks to the Gza bus but cannon seemlessly layers it with piano, synth and alternating kicks and claps to make one of the most slept on beats of 2010.
!llmind, “Speakers On Blast” Skyzoo
It was hard for me top pick just one beat from this album but anyone that can take filtered chimes and and bit crunch them on an AKAI s20 to make it sound like a sample should be applying for MENSA membership post haste.
Powlow Da Don, “Hot Toddy” Usher
That bassline should be used to field test speakers. If they can stand up to this onslaught without blowing out then you win. One of the best club records of the year was uprooting wall flowers up and down the east coast showed that not all synth-laced beats have to sound like they were finished in Prague.
Fat Joe, “Slow Down” Ha Ha, Scoop Deville
I know some of the Internets got hold of this in late 2009 but it officially touched down in February of 2010. Scoopedeville masterfully meshes Soul II Soul with some apocalyptic drums letting you know that Snoop’s “I Wanna Rock” was not a fluke. He gets bonus points for finding 80s samples that P Diddy hadn’t ravaged yet.
The Roots, The Day
Easily my favorite song on The Roots How I Got Over and much of it is due to this beat. The violins, the flute and the moody keys make me actually want to get out bed and do something with my life. Honorable Mention: “Dillatude The Flight Of Titus.” How no MC has jacked this and freestlyed over it yet is beyond me.
J. Cole “Enchantment”
The piano, synth and mix on this can f*ck with anything on Kanye’s Dark Twisted Fantasy. Yeah, I said it. Tweet me the hate.
How Long Will It Last, Nottz
Nottz tells you his damn self how he made this track so dope: “…Something sound missing, you know something, I need a damn bassline/Shit gotta rumble like a hum from the waistline from the fat chick in the chow line…” And it does…
Deadley Medley, Black Milk
If you don’t feel like slappin the shit outta somebody after playing this you must not have hands.
Lex Luger, “BMF” Rick Ross/ Hard In The Paint “Waka Flocka”
This kid made ANTHEMS on Fruity Loops. “It’s actually all Gucci’s, he brought all of Zaytoven’s old stuff. Gucci bought his whole studio. His mixer, his MPC, his Roland, all that,” he told Complex magazine. “But I ain’t need all that. All I needed is Fruity Loops, my laptop, and my headphones, and I’m going in.” I don’t even like Waka Flocka lame and this beat had me actin’ a fool. Lil Jon watch yo back…
Statistics, Apollo Brown
The Left’s Gas Mask is replete with Arm & Hammer beats but this one sticks out for the way he chops in the organ. A lot of producers aspire to this sound but fall short with muddy bass or drums that don’t hit right but Apollo Brown knows how to squeeze that warm boom-bap out of a PC better than some MPC disciples.
J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, “Aston Martin Music”
From the opening Rhodes of Aston Martin Music you knew this was going to be something special. They manged to really capture that 80s Miami Vice style but left behind the sockless shoes and pastel suits. The melody is sexy but in your face. Then that low pass filter comes in on Drake’s verse and you just want to break something up while shorty breaks you off. (BTW, Maybach Music 3 was incredible but this list is already RAWSED out.)
Tweet us your favorite beats of 2010 @NODFACTOR