11. Kendrick Lamar f/ Gunplay "Cartoon & Cereal"
Album: good kid, m.A.A.d city
Who would have guessed that Gunplay was such a great rapper? Who knew that sounding like you’re 60 years old could be such an asset? And who really wants to listen to a seven-minute rap song? The one person who knew the answer to all of those questions: Kendrick Lamar.
One of the most ambitious, innovative releases in recent memory, “Cartoons and Cereal” starts as a simple ode to Kendrick’s father but stands out due to its unique composition. The song goes back and forth between verses, hooks, and a channel-surfing skit before Gunplay (of all people) comes in for the kill. Maybe it’s not the song that’s going to take K. Dot’s fame to the next level—frankly, it was too original to be a big hit—but let it stand here as a reminder of why hip-hop needs this exciting young artist so badly.