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Top 100 Rap Songs of 2008

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10. Jake One (Feat. Brother Ali & Freeway) - "The Truth"

"The Truth" slams into hip-hop perfection with its infectious beat and catchy hook. Freeway's gasoline flow alone will keep your rewind button fully employed. [Video]

9. Kid Cudi - "Day 'N' Nite"

Kid Cudi crafts a trippy psych-jam for the lonely stoner who wishes to "free his mind at night."

8. Elzhi - "Motown 25" (Feat. Royce da 5'9")

© Fat Beats
This giddy lyrical back-and-forth is a good enough reason to pick up eLZhi's The Preface. El and fellow Motor City MC Royce engage in a fierce rhyming contest over Black Milk's sample-heavy concoction. "Motown 25" is 4 minutes of non-stop multi-syllabic rhyme schemes.

7. Busta Rhymes - "Don't Touch Me (Throw da Water on 'Em)"

© Bryan Bedder/Getty Images
Accompanied by steady-rolling congas and glistening hi-hats, Busta Rhymes delivers a swaggering jam that explodes into an energetic romp as soon as you press play. Busta hasn't sounded this fierce since he went dreadless.

6. The Roots - "Rising Up" (Feat. Wale & Chrisette Michele)

© Okayplayer
The glorious midtempo throb of "Rising Up" outshines everything on Rising Down.. From the go-go drums to Chrisette Michelle's soulful chorus and Wale's flawless verse, this is what a hip-hop masterpiece sounds like. [Video]

5. Lil Wayne - "Dr. Carter"

© Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Dwayne Carter dons his overalls and proceeds to stitch his ailing patients one after the other. Wayne devotes each verse to a specific element of hip-hop, doling out countless quotables along the way. Easily the year's best concept rap song.

4. Nas - "Queens Get the Money"

© Def Jam
Jay Electronica's brooding piano on "Queens Get The Money" is a perfect match for Esco's stream-of-consciousness rhyming on this dashing intro to the Queens rapper's Untitled album.

3. Reks - "Say Goodnight"

Reks
© myspace.com
Reks' passion for hip-hop is so intense you can hear it in his voice. DJ Premier's napalm drums provide a suitable soundbed for Reks' angst-driven lyrics, as the newcomer channels Chuck D's passion on his best track yet. [Video]

2. Jay Electronica - "Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)"

Jay Electronica is no ordinary rapper. And "Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)" is no ordinary rap song. Jay flips the theme music from Eternal Sunshine into a gorgeous hip-hop gem. Powerfully plumbed with acoustic guitar, though the production is lo-fi. Its simplicity only accentuates the sound of Jay’s heart breaking. No hip-hop song in recent memory captured so perfectly the sentiment of despair and the possibility of hope. [Audio]

1. Big Boi - "Royal Flush" (Feat. Raekwon & Andre 3000)

"Royal Flush" is the perfect rap song -- clever, fun, and memorable. Interestingly enough, it's Dre who registers the longest verse on this Big Boi gem. No one's complaining though. How could we, when he's cranking out intoxicating rhymes like, "Crack and I have a lot in common. We both come up in the '80s and we keep that bass pumping." Big Boi and Raekwon also post some poignant lines of their own, but Dre's verse will stick to your memory even after "Royal Rush" has pumped out its last bass. Then you hit the repeat button.
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