As important as lyricism is to a hip-hop song, we all know that it’s a good beat that grabs our attention and keeps us listening. Oftentimes I find myself really digging a song with wack lyrics just because the beat is too damn good. Here are a few of those songs.
1. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Otis”
Kanye West is at a stage in his career where he's trying to expand his horizons as an artist and has abandoned the production style found on College Dropout and Late Registration. But every now and again, Yeezy drops a beat that takes me back to those days and “Otis” is a prime example. It’s a damn shame that the beat is really the only great thing about this song.
2. Mystikal – “Here I Go”
You know how baseball players have music that plays every time they step up to home plate and how pro wrestlers have entrance music that plays when they walk to the ring? Well, if I had to pick a song to walk out to, I’d choose the beat from “Here I Go.” In fact, I’d rather listen to the instrument than the original track. Now, nobody is gonna put Mystikal on a list of all-time greats, but whoever produced this song gets a tip of my hat.
3. Teriyaki Boyz Feat. Kanye West – “I Still Love H.E.R.”
I’ll be honest with you: most of this song is in Japanese, so I can’t really tell you if these lyrics are dope. However, from what I've heard from the Teriyaki Boyz, it isn’t likely. But I can say that this is one of my favorite Kanye West beats. I just wish he kept it for himself instead of wasting it on the Teriyaki Boyz.
4. Common – “Break My Heart”
Common is one of my top 5 favorite rappers, but I gotta admit that his verses on this track are pretty corny. In many ways “Break My Heart” and the entire Finding Forever album, as much as I liked it, signaled the beginning of Common’s (for lack of better words) “selling out” stage. In fact the beat itself isn’t all that impressive either, especially if you’ve heard the original George Duke tune. Regardless of its simplicity, I still love this beat and it’s definitely the hero of this song. Kanye might not be the best crate-digger in the world, but he sure can make a hell of a beat.
5. Dr. Dre – “Xxplosive”
Don’t get me wrong: I love this song and it’s a west coast classic. But it’s also completely devoid of any sort of artistic value. This definitely isn’t the song I’d play in front of my grandparents. That being said, the beat is one of Dre’s best and Nate Dogg’s vocals are the cherry on top.