A password will be e-mailed to you.

Allow us to reintroduce ourselves: Our name is Rec-Room Therapy.  Each week, we discuss recent hip-hop tracks.  On Tuesday, we gave the world Rec-Room Therapy’s Albums of the Year.  You’re welcome, world.  Today, we single out our favorite songs of 2013.  Joining the party is our distinguished panel of Marcus DowlingPhil R, Aaron Miller, Joshua Phelps, Steve Place, Bri Younger, and Hip Hop Hooray’s Leah Manners. (For more on some of these songs, click back on the Rec-Rooms where we discussed them originally.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-2ckLBV21g

Pusha T ft. Kendrick Lamar: “Nosestalgia”

Nottz’s production on Pusha T’s tale of a drug kingpin in a state of agitated repose is the aural equivalent of the strange things that happen when the door slams shut at the last house on the left. However, it isn’t until Kendrick Lamar enters the room and becomes Lil Chris from Boyz N The Hood asking us if we “wanna see a dead body” that things truly reach the next level. From that point, the track gets spooky and ethereal as King Kendrick takes Pusha’s paint-by-numbers mastery and goes Basquiat all over the damn thang.  [Marcus Dowling] [RRT #33]

Black Milk: “Sunday’s Best / Monday’s Worst”

I played this song at least three times at public gatherings this year and every time at least two people came up to ask what it was.  Everything about this tracks radiates warmth, thought, and perfection.  [Phil R] [RRT#12]

Big K.R.I.T. ft. Bun B: “Shine On”

Two masters of the South rejoin forces to put out a killer track that, with any luck, is a foreshadowing of a full-length collaboration.  K.R.I.T. proves once again that he has the talent and skill to work every aspect of a track, from production to MCing. [Leah Manners] [RRT #9]

Earl Sweatshirt: “Hoarse”

Earl at his irreverent finest over a punishing beat that gives me vibes of Tool’s “You Lied” cover.  An unrecognizable Frank Ocean shows up to growl on the hook.  Get fucking buck. [Joshua Phelps]

Joey Bada$$: “Hilary $wank”

This beat though… hands down my favorite production of the year. As much as I appreciate digging in the crates for the most ancient, obscure sample of all time, I’m equally impressed by a creative flip of a Dwele track from just last year.  So ill.  All in all, Summer Knight$ is a fantastic mixtape that could have come out in 1995 or 2005 or 2015 to infinity.  [Aaron Miller]

Schoolboy Q: “Man Of The Year”

We waited most of 2013 for TDE’s Schoolboy Q to drop his highly-anticipated Oxymoron album. Though he gave us a few teasers along the way, it was his most recent release “Man Of The Year” that ended up on replay. Where Kendrick Lamar is rap’s critical darling, Schoolboy Q may turn out to be the fan favorite if he keeps churning out these bangers, pun intended.  [Bri Younger]

Casey Veggies ft. Dom Kennedy: “She In My Car”

Screw Yeezus.  Screw Nothing Was the Same.  Screw Long.Live.A$APLife Changes is the unsung masterpiece of 2013!  Every track on the album is pure gold and this is one of them. [Steven Place]

Meek Mill: “Levels”

It’s a great shame that people don’t look beneath the surface of Meek Mill’s screaming and find the beating heart of a man not suffering from success like DJ Khaled, but moreso suffering from expectations. People want Meek to win, but what he (and they) never realized were just how many levels of success exist. Thus, on this bed of sonic bombast, he’s embittered and confused, yet still not able to compel himself to stop stunting all over us. It’s terrific fun and arguably best represents the id of rap music in 2013.  [Marcus Dowling] [RRT #22]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTafe9D6VsQ

Pete Rock & Camp Lo ft. M.O.P.: “No Uniform”

Everything you need to know about this song is summed up in the four words that end the hook:  “Past, present, futuristic vintage.”  Also, the “Oh!” after “My flow is like drugs flung to Heath Ledger” might be my favorite quarter-second of recorded music this year.  [Phil R] [RRT #31]

Lizzo: “Batches & Cookies”

This The Chalice co-founder spent time in Houston before moving to Minneapolis and putting out the heater Lizzobangers this year with production from Lazerbeak and Ryan Olson.  The video only makes this catchy-as-fuck song better, simultaneously standing up for LGBT equality and slathering a man in butter. [Leah Manners]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rig1W1BILQI

Fredo Santana ft. Kendrick Lamar: Jealous”

As I’ve said before, I seriously fuck with this Tarentino/808 Mafia track, coming on like a Rockabye Baby version of Harry Fraud’s “Coke Boy” before being decimated by the 808 and distorted keys.  Kendrick continues to avoid phoning it in, bodying every guest verse in 2013 – hell, some rappers won’t even put his shit on their official album!  I don’t know a ton about Fredo but he’s got that Keef vibe here and it fits on this track, he rides it out nicely while my eardrums bleed. [Joshua Phelps] [RRT# 39]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9ee4Ayv9P4

Busta Rhymes ft. Q-Tip and Chauncey Black

My favorite track of 2013 is actually my favorite track from 2006.  They put “You Can’t Hold the Torch” on the new Busta and Q Tip joint, The Abstract and The Dragon. Shut up, ok.  I listened to it three times today already and the message still rings true.  “Motherfuckers better step up they bars.”  [Aaron Miller]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBDBPcM1-AI

Delusional Thomas ft. Earl Sweatshirt: “Bill”

Mac Miller, fresh off the release of his second studio album Watching Movies With The Sound Off, released a mixtape under his alter-ego Delusional Thomas, produced entirely by his other alter-ego Larry Fisherman. (Busy guy, right?) The album finds Mac Miller (in his pitch-shifted Delusional Thomas voice) covering the spoils of fame and drugs, but of course, it was Earl Sweatshirt who stood out on its fourth track, “Bill.”  [Bri Younger]

Iggy Azalea: “Work”

Maybe one of the least-discussed rap stories of 2013 was the evolution of Iggy Azalea from being a misunderstood hodge podge of stereotypical rap tropes into being herself. When she says that she came from “no money [and] no family, [and being] 16 in the middle of Miami as an Australian roughly 10,000 miles away from home, it all makes sense. In Australia, rap was all videos and dreams. In America, it was probably something very different – and it’s in that difference where Azalea has found her voice, strength and poise.  [Marcus Dowling]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgSbeNThlaM

Future: “Mark McGwire”

I THINK I’M BRUCE BANNER AND SOMEONE JUST STEPPED ON MY TOE.   I THINK I’M MAJOR T.J. KING KONG WITH AN ATOMIC BOMB BETWEEN MY LEGS.   I THINK I’M 1988 MIKE TYSON AND YOU INSULTED MY MOTHER.  I THINK I’M SUPER MARIO AND I JUST GOT A BIGASS MUSHROOM.  WHO YOU THINK YOU IS? WHO YOU THINK YOU IS? WHO YOU THINK YOU IS?  [Phil R]

Denzel Curry ft. Yung Simmie & Robb Bank$: “Threatz”

Everything about this song fucking rules. Denzel and his RVIDXR KLVN cohorts go all out on one of the most infectious beats of the year. I saw this shit live and it was just as nuts.  [Steven Place]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0Z0TGYLxZc

Madchild: “Nature of the Beast”

Vancouver, BC rapper Madchild is clean, sober, and back on the mic with his characteristic gravelly growl.  The excellent Lawn Mower Man may not make the top 10 lists this year, but it has more than one track that deserves attention, like this dystopian banger. [Leah Manners]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82SjHLNzoKA

Pusha T ft. Big Sean & 2 Chainz: “Who I Am”

This is less a song and more just a mean as hell mantra.  Pusha flips an Army slogan crafted to inspire one to serve their government and country into an allegiance to America’s other patriotic pastime – cutthroat capitalism.  Survives a guest verse from Big Sean, enjoys a hilarious quick hitter from 2 Chainz, and somehow manages to stay fresh over a trampled ESG sample. [Joshua Phelps] [RRT #25]

Captain Murphy ft. Viktor Vaughn & Earl Sweatshirt

Three of my favorite dudes in the cosmos.  This track is so good I can’t even speak on it.  Borderline incomprehensibly stupid.  [Aaron Miller]

SAVEMONEY: “Seppuku”

Another Nez & Rio produced track (“Man of the Year” is also a product of the Chicago-based duo), this was my first introduction to the collective SAVEMONEY. All of the verses are strong, but it’s about Vic Mensa here, who shows that he may be one to watch (and later confirmed with his acclaimed INNANETAPE). It’s rare to find a collective where every member can hold their own, but SAVEMONEY continues to show and prove.  [Bri Younger]

Travis $cott ft. A$AP Ferg: Uptown”

Sweet baby jeebus this song is too epic. Can Travi$ Scott hurry up and take over the world? All hail La Flame!  [Steven Place]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3VIOXzI0os

Danny Brown: “Clean Up”

With pangs of regret for the habitual line stepper and drug abuser over a slick Alan Parsons Project “Raven” sample, this song is the short-lived but immaculate salvation before “Red 2 Go” sees Brown return to form and “codeine in my cereal.” [Joshua Phelps]

Kevin Gates: “Paper Chasers”

Kevin Gates isn’t exactly a rapper’s rapper.  He likes to slip into sing-song or just plain song, and he does this while heavily autotuned. He’s more than a little emo.  He doesn’t always seem to be rhyming.  But when he does decide to flat out rap, dude proves why they call Get Em.  (No, really, this is his nickname.)  “Paper Chasers” is three straight minutes of Kevin Gates getting em.  Also, let’s be real:  The real star of this video is those glasses.  [Phil R]

X
X