Best Crossover Record of 2011

Reader's Pick

Chris Brown - Look at Me Now Artwork

Chris Brown - Look at Me Now

As an R&B heavyweight with the self-confidence of a big-name emcee and a penchant for busting out the occasional rapped flow, Chris Brown is already a paragon of crossover appeal. “Look at Me Now,” single numero dos off the artist's F.A.M.E. LP, took advantage of that fact and then some, pairing a swagged-out Breezy with two rap heavyweights from different regions and generations: Northeastern vet Busta Rhymes and Dirty Southern megastar Lil Wayne. Top it all off with a minimal, dancefloor-ready beat by Diplo and Afrojack and you have a joint that every urban music fan can appreciate.

Staff Pick

The Throne - Otis Artwork

The Throne - Otis

It was more than 50 years ago when Otis Redding first laid down his soul classic Try A Little Tenderness, but that didn't stop Kanye West from reaching back into the annals of R&B history and pulling out some new school classic samples for Otis. The lead single off Kanye and Jay's Watch the Throne, Otis dared to combine luxury rap with heartfelt soul, crossing boundaries of style and genre with a bravery we don't often see. We can't say for sure, but something tells me that if Otis Redding were still alive even he'd find himself pressing repeat.

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