Album: The Product 2 
Label: Def Jam Recordings
Producer: Knucklehead

Back in January, The-Dream-protégé and New Orleans-native August Alsina generated moderate buzz with this heart-wrenching single "I Luv This Shit." The lead single from his excellent mixtape The Product 2, the song is a gauzy, horn-laden cut about being too far gone, but continuing to push it to the limits.

At year's end, it's starting to get the radio push it deserves via a sexy makeover and new verses from Trey Songz at his most vulgar and Chris Brown in a surprisingly romantic mood. And while it's great to see Alsina gain attention from beyond the R&B nerd constituency, the original remains the real stunner.

The Radio Killa-signee dishes depression with a quivering beauty. And while in December 2013, a guest verse from Trinidad Jame$ may seem undesirable, "Luv" was released at the height of the "popped-a-molly-I'm -sweating-whoo!" moment. And it works. Alsina might still be bubbling under, but "I Luv This Shit" proves he's got the heat to reach a full boil. —Claire Lobenfeld