It's Day Three of the Tip of Your Tongue, Top of My Lungs year-end extravaganza! 100 Songs for 2011 will be available December 5. Until then, we're taking a daily look at five good songs that didn't make the cut. Today's theme: Hip Hop.
I know absolutely nothing about hip hop. Always worth stating that right at the beginning. Absolutely. Nothing. I almost always hear new hip hop completely by accident. To the best of my knowledge, two of these songs are actually unreleased demos that hit big on Hype Machine for whatever reason. I would bet that none of these songs make the year-end best-of list for anyone who knows anything about the genre.
And yet ...
Wiz Khalifa - "Exit Row"
Like Mayer Hawthorne, who we discussed a couple days ago, it's unlikely Wiz will ever make anything as good as his first massive hit, "Black and Yellow." It's also unlikely Wiz cares, as 2011's Rolling Papers has sold over 600,000 copies. "Exit Row" is an artifact that, as far as I can tell, exists only on the internet. It's enjoyable for (1) its brevity, at just over two minutes, and (2) the whistling backing track, which drives my dog insane every time.
Snoop Dogg - "Eyez Closed" (f/ Kanye West and John Legend)
Listening to this, it's easy to imagine Snoop's people calling Kanye's people and saying, "Listen, I don't know why we can't just put 'Runaway' on Snoop's album, too. But I guess, if you're going to be all weird about it, can we just get something that sounds exactly like 'Runaway'?"
Also, imagine going back to 1992 and trying to explain to Deep Cover-era Snoop (1) the very idea of LMFAO, and (2) the fact that Snoop would one day record a song where he felt it necessary to reference the band in two separate verses of the same song.
Kanye West - "Mama's Boyfriend"
Kanye has always had a bit of a mythos about him, whispered rumors of lost songs, hidden classics known to only the most exclusive inner circles. Almost from the beginning, hip hop heads looking for credibility would claim that the John Mayer-featuring "Bittersweet" was the best thing Kanye had ever done. It wound up as a Japan-only bonus track on Graduation.
During Kanye's synths-and-singing sojurn 808s and Heartbreaks, those who insisted Kanye still had elite rapping chops pointed to the legendary "Mama's Boyfriend," a song he would pull out at only the most intimate secret shows. Kanye's own website leaked this demo, then Kanye got really mad about it. The whole series of events is pretty much Kanye in a nutshell.
Nappy Roots - "Congratulations"
Nappy Roots! You still exist! Somehow this fact makes me feel much younger, like maybe "Awnaw" isn't a relic from a previous generation.
Also, this song led me to 2008's euphoric "Good Day" which leads me to a familiar rant: Why don't rappers use the "kids sing the chorus" gimmick anymore? Were "Hard Knock Life" and "I'm A Thug" not awesome enough for you?
Young Jeezy - "F.A.M.E." (f/ T.I.)
It's every song Young Jeezy has ever written crossed with every song T.I. has ever written! Don't ever change, guys.