Mr.Top Hat's TOP HIP HOP SINGLES


HiiiPoWeR Promo Photo Kendrick Lamar - “HiiiPoWeR”

“First things first, someone from the DJBooth Crew needs to get to uploading the official iTunes artwork for this. We need it! *throws W up* I’ve been reading people on the internet rightly say it sounds like a melding of Kanye and Pusha-T, I too would say he’s doing just that; and doing it quite well. Not denying its influences but ultimately a song that make you powerless to resist its quality as Kendrick Lamar showcases his multi-layered profound lyricism over J. Cole's carefully-crafted concoction that wants nothing more than to nod our head quietly while Lamar bumps some food for thoughts in headphones, encouraging one to follow inspirations and moonwalk past negativity. There is no doubt K.Dot can rap, I was repeatedly impressed with his lyrical abilities on "Overly Dedicated." The jury has yet to be selected to decide on whether Section.80 would have the overall brilliance of the OD, but this certainly is a very, very good start.”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Apr 16, 2011
Hard As They Come (Act I) Promo Photo CunninLynguists - “Hard As They Come (Act I)”

“Holy moly and 1,000 other stronger expletives. This song blew me away, is currently blowing me away, I can't possibly play it loud enough, and it's worthy of obsession. Much like "Rhythm Of The Rain" Kno impress me in a way words struggle to completely express. A gifted crate-digger with a definite ear for phenomenal sound construction. Punchy kicks, ticking hi-hats, and uber crisp snare hits form the insistent & undeniably banging drum loop. Throw in those majestic backing vocals which add pointed commentary to the intended theme of the song, layered intensely with the grinding bass riff that seemed harsh, but completely necessary! All of this blended in a manner that gives each sound its own presence, a purpose, its own original statement. The collective effect is mesmerizing, very animated, and most of all, memorable. Leaving anyone with even the most rudimentary listening hole in their head want to hit play again, completely uninformed about the larger conceptual piece in play. Lyrics are written so that it can be understood by all, but doesn't feel dumbed down at all. It’s a brilliant idea that’s carried out perfectly. On first glance, song appears to be a pretty simple prospect. Full of themselves, standard murderous raps by rappers. But any air of naivete conjured up is a mere affectation, cos upon further listening, it becomes apparent that there are much lethal and heartless killers at work. What is brilliant about this song, is that for those who simply want to take it at face value, song is accessible for its energetic instrumental, rappers showcasing near-impeccable understanding of how to use syllables to create an engaging flow, all the while throwing down lyrics that get stuck in the folds of your brain, even if what they actually mean is tough to tease out. Either way you slice it, CunninLynguists and Freddie Gibbs have put together an impressively assembled concise song that's accessible on several levels and well worth giving up part of your time to extract all the natural juice out of it through the filter of your own mind. Front runner for the best song in 2011 in my book! that will stand the test of time with no wear whatsoever.”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Apr 07, 2011
Hard As They Come (Act I) Promo Photo Freddie Gibbs - “Hard As They Come (Act I)”

“Holy moly and 1,000 other stronger expletives. This song blew me away, is currently blowing me away, I can't possibly play it loud enough, and it's worthy of obsession. Much like "Rhythm Of The Rain" Kno impress me in a way words struggle to completely express. A gifted crate-digger with a definite ear for phenomenal sound construction. Punchy kicks, ticking hi-hats, and uber crisp snare hits form the insistent & undeniably banging drum loop. Throw in those majestic backing vocals which add pointed commentary to the intended theme of the song, layered intensely with the grinding bass riff that seemed harsh, but completely necessary! All of this blended in a manner that gives each sound its own presence, a purpose, its own original statement. The collective effect is mesmerizing, very animated, and most of all, memorable. Leaving anyone with even the most rudimentary listening hole in their head want to hit play again, completely uninformed about the larger conceptual piece in play. Lyrics are written so that it can be understood by all, but doesn't feel dumbed down at all. It’s a brilliant idea that’s carried out perfectly. On first glance, song appears to be a pretty simple prospect. Full of themselves, standard murderous raps by rappers. But any air of naivete conjured up is a mere affectation, cos upon further listening, it becomes apparent that there are much lethal and heartless killers at work. What is brilliant about this song, is that for those who simply want to take it at face value, song is accessible for its energetic instrumental, rappers showcasing near-impeccable understanding of how to use syllables to create an engaging flow, all the while throwing down lyrics that get stuck in the folds of your brain, even if what they actually mean is tough to tease out. Either way you slice it, CunninLynguists and Freddie Gibbs have put together an impressively assembled concise song that's accessible on several levels and well worth giving up part of your time to extract all the natural juice out of it through the filter of your own mind. Front runner for the best song in 2011 in my book! that will stand the test of time with no wear whatsoever.”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Apr 07, 2011
All Black Everything Promo Photo Lupe Fiasco - “All Black Everything”

“I believe the true power in music is derived by the ability of a song to transport the listener to a place intended by the artist. The ability to evoke emotion in the audience whether its excitement, sadness, realization is the true essence of why we listen to music. This right here achieves that feat easily for me. Each and every rhyme is a standout as Lupe keeps you inspired and braincells enjoyably teased. Can't forget The Buchanans' powerful contribution too. The production features slightly off-time dominant drum beats that are prominent throughout the track but still the leader of the mix are cinematic strings. And the inclusion of a haunting vocal sample matures the mix into a deep, emotive and high impact song it's meant to be. All in all, every time I hear this I can think of no other adjective but classic.”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Feb 25, 2011
The Show Goes On Promo Photo Lupe Fiasco - “The Show Goes On”

“Fcukin’ A — with each play this is on its way to becoming my favorite Lupe Fiasco joint! Though it is a song that came from a lot of mental agitation and angst when you’re not in control of your music destiny, at heart, “The Show Goes On” is an uplifting song of forgiveness and perseverance, and WILL serve as the capstone to the release of which we are all anticipating. With the kind of flow that forever commands attention, Lupe effortlessly fits words together that are cohesive, have the right number of word play, substance, and don’t sound too cheesy. Kane Beatz & Mad Violinist; these two start, stop, add and subtract an understanding that, I guess, comes along with stratospheric level of technical skills in constructing music. The drums are tough with enough grit to knock speakers in both cars and cribs. There's a bounce to the track that belies its intricate instrumentation. The sampled guitar loop is skillfully used as an immediate hook, one that abruptly-- yet seamlessly-- blends into increasingly opulent horns, and when that combination hits the chorus, it gets, undeniably contagious. Further, the way guitar is cut and violin is subtly introduced into mix on verses; all add texture to a tune that does capture Lupe at his most confidently approachable. "The Show Goes On" boasts plenty of layers, nooks, and crannies to explore and analyze, compelling PLENTY of repeat listens. Now all that's left is exposure, and if given the proper air play this energetic anthem will easily create the dent in the charts it deserves.”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 28, 2010
Get Back Up Promo Photo T.I. - “Get Back Up”

“I'm Back!!! Apologies for my silence of late; a combination of increased workload and other general complications has kept me away from DJBooth but nevertheless everything has returned to normal and so I have returned---but at a relatively comfortable frequency. This new TI joint is really screwing with me. Do I like it or not? Sometimes when I listen, it just sounds like far less interesting than it has to be. Initially underwhelming, this mid-tempo Neptunes production has grown on me quite a bit, and it makes the raw & honest rhymes stand out more, so that's totally fine. Chris Brown's complimentary vocals are nice, though at times they are not quite as captivating as it could have been, as vocals partially overlap each other. This also doesn't quite live up to the bar set by TI ("No matter What" anyone?). Other times, I'm won over by its earnestness, and it's a whole heck of a lot relevant than his recent singles. Maybe, I'm looking at it the wrong way. This song is more appropriate and inspiring than a 'hit' could ever be, and it's all the better for that. Lyrically on point, TI does a supreme job of addressing his personal & legal problems and his desire to overcome all obstacles without sacrificing skill or flow, one can feel the emotions fairly well. So, I've gotta say my initial impressions of "Get Back Up" have become much more positive with subsequent listens. It's grown on me. I'd encourage both @HoamBoy & @Phantastic to listen again and give it another shot!”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 18, 2010
Don't Stop! Promo Photo Kanye West - “Don't Stop!”

“You don't have to be my shrink or share a bed with me to know my fondness for Kanye West's music but for the last month-and-a-half, I have officially gone CRAZY. This exactly is one of the reasons. Production is a KILLER!! A Latin-American rhythm drenched in an overwhelmingly sinister synth programming, full and convoluted. There’s also vocal pieces in the background which finishes of the Latin-esque groove of the joint. The whole sound feels strikingly new, even though its ingredients are so identifiable. On the front, all three manages to put their own stamp on the song. No hook. It’s four minutes of dope lyrical conceit as each one carries the momentum of the previous, and as they tell you they bodies it, they really does. I'm diggin' it to the fullest!!”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 17, 2010
Don't Stop! Promo Photo CRS - “Don't Stop!”

“You don't have to be my shrink or share a bed with me to know my fondness for Kanye West's music but for the last month-and-a-half, I have officially gone CRAZY. This exactly is one of the reasons. Production is a KILLER!! A Latin-American rhythm drenched in an overwhelmingly sinister synth programming, full and convoluted. There’s also vocal pieces in the background which finishes of the Latin-esque groove of the joint. The whole sound feels strikingly new, even though its ingredients are so identifiable. On the front, all three manages to put their own stamp on the song. No hook. It’s four minutes of dope lyrical conceit as each one carries the momentum of the previous, and as they tell you they bodies it, they really does. I'm diggin' it to the fullest!!”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 17, 2010
Start It Up Promo Photo Lloyd Banks - “Start It Up”

“Cardiak's "not unique in its composition" but "gets better the more you crank it" production is more than competent, but Swizzy on hook is never a good sign. But, quite simply, much like "Beamer, Benz or Bentley", the hook is a guilty pleasure. Written with a lively sense of humour and a keen knowledge of what today's youngsters would find swaggerific within the context of hip-hop. I guess that helps to make up for the fact that Swizzy's vocals will never be mistaken for great, or even remotely likeable. Now, of course Kanye West is so distinguishable that he stands out on this one but not because the others are bad verses, by any means. Quite frankly, both Lloyd Banks and Fabolous lacks the personality that makes Kanye West so interesting to hip-hop heads. And who doesn't want to soak in every single one of Kanye West's ridiculous punchlines? That being said, if I had to rank the verses... Kanye West = Fabolous > Lloyd Banks”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 17, 2010
Start It Up Promo Photo Kanye West - “Start It Up”

“Cardiak's "not unique in its composition" but "gets better the more you crank it" production is more than competent, but Swizzy on hook is never a good sign. But, quite simply, much like "Beamer, Benz or Bentley", the hook is a guilty pleasure. Written with a lively sense of humour and a keen knowledge of what today's youngsters would find swaggerific within the context of hip-hop. I guess that helps to make up for the fact that Swizzy's vocals will never be mistaken for great, or even remotely likeable. Now, of course Kanye West is so distinguishable that he stands out on this one but not because the others are bad verses, by any means. Quite frankly, both Lloyd Banks and Fabolous lacks the personality that makes Kanye West so interesting to hip-hop heads. And who doesn't want to soak in every single one of Kanye West's ridiculous punchlines? That being said, if I had to rank the verses... Kanye West = Fabolous > Lloyd Banks”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 17, 2010
Start It Up Promo Photo Ryan Leslie - “Start It Up”

“Cardiak's "not unique in its composition" but "gets better the more you crank it" production is more than competent, but Swizzy on hook is never a good sign. But, quite simply, much like "Beamer, Benz or Bentley", the hook is a guilty pleasure. Written with a lively sense of humour and a keen knowledge of what today's youngsters would find swaggerific within the context of hip-hop. I guess that helps to make up for the fact that Swizzy's vocals will never be mistaken for great, or even remotely likeable. Now, of course Kanye West is so distinguishable that he stands out on this one but not because the others are bad verses, by any means. Quite frankly, both Lloyd Banks and Fabolous lacks the personality that makes Kanye West so interesting to hip-hop heads. And who doesn't want to soak in every single one of Kanye West's ridiculous punchlines? That being said, if I had to rank the verses... Kanye West = Fabolous > Lloyd Banks”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 17, 2010
Start It Up Promo Photo Swizz Beatz - “Start It Up”

“Cardiak's "not unique in its composition" but "gets better the more you crank it" production is more than competent, but Swizzy on hook is never a good sign. But, quite simply, much like "Beamer, Benz or Bentley", the hook is a guilty pleasure. Written with a lively sense of humour and a keen knowledge of what today's youngsters would find swaggerific within the context of hip-hop. I guess that helps to make up for the fact that Swizzy's vocals will never be mistaken for great, or even remotely likeable. Now, of course Kanye West is so distinguishable that he stands out on this one but not because the others are bad verses, by any means. Quite frankly, both Lloyd Banks and Fabolous lacks the personality that makes Kanye West so interesting to hip-hop heads. And who doesn't want to soak in every single one of Kanye West's ridiculous punchlines? That being said, if I had to rank the verses... Kanye West = Fabolous > Lloyd Banks”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 17, 2010
Start It Up Promo Photo Fabolous - “Start It Up”

“Cardiak's "not unique in its composition" but "gets better the more you crank it" production is more than competent, but Swizzy on hook is never a good sign. But, quite simply, much like "Beamer, Benz or Bentley", the hook is a guilty pleasure. Written with a lively sense of humour and a keen knowledge of what today's youngsters would find swaggerific within the context of hip-hop. I guess that helps to make up for the fact that Swizzy's vocals will never be mistaken for great, or even remotely likeable. Now, of course Kanye West is so distinguishable that he stands out on this one but not because the others are bad verses, by any means. Quite frankly, both Lloyd Banks and Fabolous lacks the personality that makes Kanye West so interesting to hip-hop heads. And who doesn't want to soak in every single one of Kanye West's ridiculous punchlines? That being said, if I had to rank the verses... Kanye West = Fabolous > Lloyd Banks”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 17, 2010
Suicide ediciuS Promo Photo John Regan - “Suicide ediciuS”

“I'm Back!!! Apologies for my silence of late; a combination of increased workload and and other general complications has kept me away from DJBooth but nevertheless everything has returned to normal and so I have returned to posting---but at a relatively comfortable frequency. Often songs with such artistry and emotional scope can alienate the audience but this remains engaging and keeps the listener in suspense till song's righteous conclusion. The rhymes are poetic in its form, yet still accessible. And clearly Needlz is more than aware of the power of a strong sample and it is his poignant crafting which further enhance the impact of the song. Sample used (Mandalay's "It's Enough Now") is striking and used very effectively in a conversation with John Regan's lyrics, adding to the gloomy atmosphere and sense of unease that pervade the song. Solid four stars for this extremely well done song.”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Oct 17, 2010
The Undergrads The Undergrads - “Crayon Box”

“This is the kind of smartly done song that you could easily stick on in the background and enjoy immensely, but the real power of the record lies in the understanding of its lyrics. Don't let the verses filled with comedic references fool you, a great message is said in this song. Lyrics are written to be both entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time. The production is beautiful with a guitar melody that just demands repeat listens and shades of backing vocals (my weak spot) works in favor of the song’s vibe. Great execution! Now off to bandcamp!”

Mr.Top Hat's Rating:                     Posted on Aug 27, 2010

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