Best Hip Hop Record (Mainstream) of 2009

Reader's Pick

Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind Artwork

Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind

Over more than two decades in the game, Jay-Z has grown into one of the most powerful artists in the industry, but never managed to net a number-one hit on Billboard's Hot 100. With Blueprint 3 single “Empire State of Mind,” Hova passed that milestone in a fittingly spectacular fashion, enlisting R&B songstress Alicia Keys for a soaring ode to his home city. Our condolences to the Sinatra estate – the Big Apple's found a new anthem.

Staff Pick

Drake – Best I Ever Had  Artwork

Drake – Best I Ever Had

Ok, so Jay-Z cleaned up on the top two spots, and rightfully so, but as big as Hova's year was, 2009 was ultimately the year of Drake. In 2009 the charismatic young rapper rose from a relative unknown to unquestionably the hottest rapper in the game, and "Best I Ever Had" was the hip-hop rocket that he rode to the top. Mark our words, this will go down in history as the track that launched an enormously successful career.

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