Lolly’s Top 5 Hip Hop Hits of 2008

January 4, 2009 at 5:55 am 3 comments

Runner-ups: “Swagga Like Us” by Jay-Z, T.I. et al., “Whatever You Like” by T.I., “Love in This Club” by Usher featuring Young Jeezy, “Touch My Body” by Mariah Carey

#5 Flo Rida featuring T-Pain “Low”

Apple Bottom Jeans have never sounded so good. Flo Rida’s solo debut album, Mail on Sunday, soared to the top of the charts with this first hit single. “Elevator” featuring Timbaland and “In the Ayer” featuring solidified this preeminent rapper’s spot among the best. The catchy lyrics and ground-shaking/booty-thumping bass make this song almost impossible not to dance to. I found it hazardous to drive my car whenever “Low” came on because my hands inevitably ended up anywhere but on the steering wheel.

#4 Estelle featuring Kanye West “American Boy”

“Don’t like his baggy jeans, but I’ma like what’s underneath ’em,” sexy UK artist Estelle coos, as Kanye provides a little self-promotion: “Who killin’ ’em in the UK/Everybody gonna say you K/Reluctantly cuz most of the press don’t fuck wit’ me.” Kanye West’s laid back rhymes perfectly complement Estelle’s sultry melody: It’s as if they’re making love in the studio! What I enjoy most about this song, however, is its promotion of the United States. As Estelle cites all of the places she wants to visit in the Land of the Free, we feel enticed to do the same…and to have a little more love for our American boys at home and abroad.

#3 Kanye West “Love Lockdown”

Stylistically, Kanye West took a lot of risks in his most current album, 808s & Heartbreak. But Kanye has taken artistic risks throughout his career, usually with great success (e.g. not censoring the “N-word” in “Jesus Walks,” sampling Daft Punk in “Stronger”). 808s and Heartbreak is Kanye West’s first album without a Parental Advisory sticker, and he replaces rapping with singing to lyrics that undoubtedly reflect the recent death of his mother and break-up with his fiancee. The use of the 808 and tribal drums gives “Love Lockdown” an originality unparalleled by other chart-topping songs of 2008. In it, we hear a vulnerability, which is all the more refreshing when held up against the “bad ass” personas within Kanye’s ilk.

#2 M.I.A. “Paper Planes”

Although the background is relatively upbeat and part of it was prominently sampled in “Swagga Like Us,” “Paper Planes” has a sad tone to it, even without respect to the lyrics. A children’s choir, gunshot sounds, and the ringing of a cash register occupy the song’s chorus as Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam (M.I.A) spits out her poetry of sociopolitical satire. I feel “Paper Planes” captures the melancholy air of 2008 better than any other track.

#1 Lil Wayne “Lollipop”

In his hit single “Lollipop,” New Orleans native Lil Wayne boasts that he’s going to “hit it, hit it like [he] can’t miss.” Although he’s clearly talking about a sexual act, the same could be said about his ability to score a slam dunk on one of this summer’s most memorable songs.

Stephen “Static Major” Garrett, who died in February 2008, posthumously topped the Billboard Hot 100 as the featured singer in “Lollipop.” The music video is dedicated in his memory. Garrett was an incredible songwriter: Who could forget Ginuwine’s “Pony” (1996) or Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” (1998)? Although multiple remixes followed its release, the version of “Lollipop” in the music video continues to be the most popular.

“Lollipop” deserves the foremost position on my countdown because, no matter how many times Movin’ 92 or KUBE 93 played it, I never grew tired of the song’s blatant allusions to oral sex or the scratchy vocals of Mr. Carter. If anything, I wanted to come back for more, just as Lil Wayne’s shawty does: “Just like a refund/I make her bring that ass back.”

Entry filed under: Pop Culture, Rave Review. Tags: , , .

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