Best Street Banger of 2012

Reader's Pick

Kendrick Lamar - Backseat [Freestyle] Artwork

Kendrick Lamar - Backseat [Freestyle]

Centered around trunk-rattling bass and bombastic delivery rather than lyrics and concepts, the street banger is a subgenre that doesn't typically allow for a whole lot of nuance—unless you're Kendrick Lamar. Depicting a teenage version of the rapper as he spits a self-aggrandizing Backseat Freestyle to impress his homies, the Good Kid, M.A.A.D City standout was simultaneously the whip-ready track the block was craving, a metacommentary on braggadocio-rap tropes and an integral part of the narrative underpinning the album. Did I mention that the beat, a grimy, off-kilter creation by "N**gas in Paris" mastermind Hit-Boy, knocks? Because it f*cking knocks.

Staff Pick

Big K.R.I.T - 4EvaNaDay Theme Artwork

Big K.R.I.T - 4EvaNaDay Theme

Big K.R.I.T. can't do anything without soul, so it's only right that while 4EvaNaDay Theme certainly bangs - turn up the volume in your car and watch the trunk rattle - Krizza also manages to infuse his self-produced title track with no shortage of inspiration, hope and, yes, soul. If love from the underground does indeed last forever, it's only because K.R.I.T. keeps feeding the underground bangers like this.

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