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Top 10 Rap Songs - April 1, 2012

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Here are 10 rap songs you should be listening to right now instead of reading this scant intro. A cornucopia of auditory treats awaits.

10. Obie Trice Feat. Eminem - "Richard"

Obie Trice
© Shady/Interscope
Beat sounds like a color-blind 4-year-old pressing random keys on a Casiotone. Guest overpowers Host. Or as Nas would say, "Eminem murdered you on your own sh!t."

9. J. Cole - "Drank in My Cup" Freestyle

J. Cole
© Henry Adaso
It won't fill your glass with quotables. Just plain ol' Southern ode to pretty girls with "mean thighs" because "this right here is mean time in between time." Expect a few more "in between time" randomness from Jermaine in the coming months, as he wraps up recording for his second Roc Nation album.

8. Bumpy Knuckles Feat. Nas - "Turn up the Mic" Remix [Prod. by DJ Premier]

© Ice H20
We know Nas is the last classy man standing because he "butt-f--ks b---es." We also know that Long Island legend Bumpy Knuckles (aka Freddie Foxx) is dropping a collaborative album with DJ Premier. This oldie but goodie holds the rare guest appearance on Kolexxxion. It finds Nas and Bumpy trading bars and pounding their chests atop a scalding Primo loop. Kolexxxion is out this Tuesday via Gracie Productions/Works of Mart.

7. A$AP Rocky Feat. Paul Wall, Bun B, Killa Kyleon - "Purple Swag" (H-Town Remix)

© RCA
A$AP Rocky's three-headed monster of a response to critics who continue to carp at his obsession with Houston hip-hop culture despite being a New Yorker. Certified: Trill.

6. Swizz Beatz ft. A$AP Rocky - "Street Knock"

© UMG
Ruff Ryders may not be relevant right now but Swizz Beatz is, and here he revives DMX's "Ruff Ryders" Anthem" flow with gusto, while rap's newest it guy (mostly) observes. It's just the type of weird baton-passing Young Rakim needed to sustain his race to the top. Produced by araabMUZIK.

5. Azealia Banks - "F--k up the Fun"

Azealia Banks
© the artist
Azealia Banks is using her latest track to trumpet her work ethic and call out nemesis Iggy Azalea. “Ya’ll b----es still on MySpace and YouTube trying to get ya’ll little video views up to a million,” she raps. “Ya’ll b----es not f--king with me.” "F--k up the Fun" made its debut at the Chanel pop-up store after-party in Tokyo over the weekend. Banks also tweeted out a link to her fans. Friend and frequent collaborator Diplo produced the track.

4. Danny Brown - "Grown Up"

© Roy Will
Danny Brown gets personal. "Grown Up," a bit from his collaborative project with Scion, peels back the veil and enlightens on us on the roots of Brown. Beat knocks. Rhymes kick. "Whoever thought I'd be the greatest growing up."

3. Nas - "The Don"

Nas - The Don
© Def Jam
Gun threats. Car boasts. Drug rings. Rooftop sex. Rap vets. Lit Cubanos. Heavy D. Bawse.

2. Rukus - "The Hunger II"

© the artist
A song is great if it comes from an honest place, and if the narrative is crisp and palpable, and if the theme fosters hope in troubled times. "The Hunger II," the introductory song from Rukus' The Hunger LP, achieves all of the above.

1. Plies - "We Are Trayvon"

Plies
© Rick Diamond
As the Trayvon Martin case gains momentum, hip-hoppers rally to soundtrack the tragedy. Last week, it was Jasiri X over "No Church in the Wild." Now Plies, an unlikely candidate for a saturnine soundtrack, offers up his own tribute. "Cause you think I'm doing wrong don't mean you're right," he raps, capturing the spirit of suspicion that triggered the tragic bullet. The song ends with Plies, an erstwhile college wideout, eulogizing Martin's football skills. Nice touch.
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