Best Hip Hop Record (Mainstream) of 2012

Reader's Pick

Kendrick Lamar - Swimming Pools (Drank) Artwork

Kendrick Lamar - Swimming Pools (Drank)

Among his many achievements in 2012, Kendrick Lamar will be remembered for this little lesson in proper alcohol consumption: “Why you babysittin' only two or three shots? I'ma show you how to turn it up a notch. / First you fill a swimming pool with liquor, then you dive in.” Like much of the Comptonite's work, the lead single off good kid, m.A.A.d city is a paradox writ large: a drinkers' anthem penned by an artist who doesn't indulge, describing its subject matter in the least glamorous manner possible. Whether you were knocking 'em back to T-Minus' blurry beat or straining your ear to discern Kendrick's true message, though, the song's intoxicating pull can't be denied.

Staff Pick

Nas - Daughters Artwork

Nas - Daughters

At an age when most rappers are simply coasting on their legacy, Nas returned in 2012 back and, dare we say, better than ever. Life Is Good was an excellent album that found Nas openly revealing the joys and pains of his life, and no track encapsulates that better than Daughters. Lyricism, honesty, storytelling, a superb beat from No I.D., Daughters is hip-hop at its finest. God's Son just keeps getting better with age.

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