Top 10 Best Verses of 2011

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    Top 10 Best Verses of 2011
    There are a number of factors that can make a great verse. Content, flow, delivery, style, and wit, to name a few—are crucial when debating hot verses. Some waste no lines a la Lil Wayne on "6 Foot 7 Foot." And, at times, the rapper's commanding presence takes precedent over lyrics. Meek Mill's high energy performance on "I'ma Boss" comes to mind. Yesterday, (December 21) <em>XXL</em> listed the best guest appearances of the year. Today, <em>XXL</em> acknowledges MCs who went to work on their own songs. Here are the Top 10 Best Verses of 2011. —<em>XXL Staff</em>
  • meek-mill
    <strong>10. Meek Mill “I’ma Boss” (First Verse), <em>Self Made, Vol. 1</em> (2011)</strong><br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> "Look I be riding through my old hood, but I'm in my new whip/Same old attitude but I'm on that new shit"<br /> 2011 was the year of Meek Mill’s full-fledged emergence, and the first verse of “I’ma Boss” was crucial in ushering in his success. The track—included on both the Maybach Music Group compilation <em>Self Made, Vol. 1</em> and Meek’s own solo tape <em>Dreamchasers</em>—was hip-hop’s summer street anthem, relying on a frenetic Jahlil Beats production and Meek’s fierce bars. The initial verse embodies much of what has brought the Philadelphia native to the forefront of hip-hop’s new class: both his self-important boasts and violent threats are believable, and the hunger in his voice and energy in his flow make the verse unavoidably connectable to the listener.
  • tech n9ne
    <strong>9. Tech N9ne “Worldwide Choppers” (First Verse), <em>All 6’s and 7’s</em> (2011)</strong><br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> "Hit ‘em up and get ‘em up, I ain’t done, I ain’t did enough/Trippin’ when I rip it, I be the X when I split ‘em up/Sorta like I was liquored up and backin’ up in the gut/Everybody be knowin’ I be actin’ up when I buzz" <br />Tech N9ne has been cultivating a frenzied following for two decades, but this past year was arguably his most successful. In addition to sustaining the constant touring and merchandising that have allowed him to thrive for years, the Kansas City, Missouri rapper began to become accepted by hip-hop on a broader scale. He gained that wider respect with his skills, and those were certainly on display on his “Worldwide Choppers” verse. Next to lyrical titans like Busta Rhymes, Yelawolf, and Twista, Tech shined, packing 340 words into a verse that clocked in at just under a minute. Though the concept of the songs was about, well, chopping, the Strange Music MC is also saying something—albeit that something was about how he was better than everyone else. He switched his flow numerous times, employing a gamut of styles.
  • t.i
    <strong>8. T.I. “I’m Flexin’,” (First Verse), <em>Trouble Man</em>(2012)</strong><br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> "Feds want me back behind that wall/It's the only place that I can't go/I'm focused dog, I ain't with that fuck shit/Think it’s sweet but it ain’t though"<br />After his release from prison in late August, T.I. was reportedly locked in the studio, hard at work. The first manifestations of such sessions came with remixes and features (“Spend It,” “F.A.M.E.,” “Magic”), but it was his first official single where T.I. really made his ‘I’m Back’ claim. The Big K.R.I.T.-produced banger was, fittingly, a display of Tip’s ability to flex on a track. In a matter of a quick eight bars, his first verse touched on many of the ATLien’s strengths. Of course, his flow was impeccable. Beyond that, first, he touched on his fashion and business sense, plugging his own clothing brands; next, he referenced the Paparazzi constantly in his business; to round things out, he repped the A, rode around town, lit some green, bragged about his money, shunned the Feds and promised he was focused. Sure sounded like it.
  • elzhi
    <strong>7. Elzhi “The World Is Yours” (First Verse), <em>Elmatic</em> (2011)</strong><br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> “Command this skill invincible like the Man of Steel/My killer's got your gorilla slippin' on banana peels”<br />From the get-go, Elzhi dug himself a hole. Trying to remake Nas's <em>Illmatic</em>? Please. Why do that? Well, the Detroit MC had good reasons, as he would soon illustrate, particularly with mind-boggling verses like his first from “The World Is Yours.” Though the verse clocks in at under a minute, Elzhi is able to get exactly what he wants done: he tells you he's the shit while showing you. Couple that with his rhyme scheme—which was especially astounding, as he complimented a standard A/B pattern with packed in rhymes—and the young rhymer more than adequately paid homage.
  • lupe-fiasco
    <strong>6. Lupe Fiasco “Lightwork,” <em>Friend of the People</em> (2011)</strong><br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> “Funny how I'm only sick if you never catch a thing/Argue with your friends over what really the record means/Back and forth about its course, with professor's refereeing/Why he so rebellious? Up-front with his realness?” <br />As he did two years ago, Lupe dropped a mixtape on Thanksgiving this year as a show of appreciation to his fans. The brief release was packed lyrically, making up for some of the awkward production choices the Chicago native made. Here, he uses Ellie Goulding’s smooth “Lights” for two minutes and forty four seconds of straight spitting. The one verse song touches on everything from Lu’s connection with his fans to the positivity of his message, all while making relevant and witty political and pop culture references.
  • wale2011
    <strong>5. Wale “Self Made,” <em>Self Made, Vol. 1</em></strong> (2011)<br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> “It’s funny that since I put this chain on/These bitches appear quicker than State Farm”<br />The first verse on the Maybach Music Group compilation <em>Self Made, Vol. 1</em> is Wale at his finest. The D.C. rapper, still fresh off of his signing to the House that Rozay built, balances content and slick talk on the lengthy verse. He addresses relevant issues—that he doesn’t fit on MMG, his fallout with Interscope, females flocking in his direction because of his newfound status—and does so with cleverness that made many fans initially draw to Mr. Folarin (to open the verse, for instance, he raps, “They tried and tell me I don't fit up in this muthafucka/’Cause Rozay been talkin’ white he think he Uncle Ruckus”). It was a memorable way to kick off an impactful album.
  • drake
    <strong>4. Drake “Headlines” (First Verse), <em>Take Care</em></strong> (2011)<br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> “I had someone tell me I fell off, ooh I needed that/And they want to see me pick back up, well, where'd I leave it at?”<br />Drake mounted his triumphant return with this opening verse from his first <em>Take Care</em> single, “Headlines.” Bar by bar, he touched on what it seemed like everyone was thinking and saying leading up to his greatly anticipated sophomore album. Perceived cockiness? Check. Partying tendencies? Check. Time elapsed since his last album? Check. Whispers that he could have fallen off? Check. Any of the possible headlines—yeah, he touched on 'em, and did so in his typically undeniable rap sung approach.
  • jay-z
    <strong>3. Jay-Z “Why I Love You” (First Verse), <em>Watch The Throne</em> (2011)</strong><br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> “Fuck you squares, the circle got smaller/The castle got bigger, the walls got taller/And truth be told after all that said/Niggas still got love for you”<br />In between opulent rhymes and social commentary, Jay-Z and Kanye West took some time out address their past on <em>Watch the Throne</em>. With “Why I Love You,” the two heavyweights addressed friends-turned-foes. Without naming names, Jay-Z, who opens the song, lets out his feelings on situations gone awry with Dame Dash, Beanie Sigel and others. Hov uses vivid imagery, comparing himself and Roc-A-Fella to an emperor and the Roman Empire, respectively, also using religious references, while grappling with the falling out he had with his friends and business partners. Though the verse isn’t particularly long, it exhibits Jay packing a classically impenetrable punch, coming off deep yet nonchalant.
  • kendrick lamar feature
    <strong>2. Kendrick Lamar “HiiiPoWer” (First Verse), <em>Section.80</em> (2011)</strong><br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> “Back to put you backstabbers back on your spinal bone/You slipped your disc when I slid you my disc/You wanted to diss but jumped on my dick” <br />The lead single to his album <em>Section.80</em>, as well as a fan-favorite, Kendrick Lamar’s “HiiiPoWer” began to bring the Compton MC to a larger audience, without compromising any of his ferocious lyrical chops. Kendrick comes off impassioned but under control, expressing the versatility that has become one of his strengths. Merging revolutionary political messages with brief verbal attacks on the police and lyrical assaults on any possible rap foes, the Top Dawg Ent. rapper managed to craft a verse that remained dense and intricate without becoming incomprehensible.
  • lil-wayne2011
    <strong>1. Lil Wayne “6 Foot 7 Foot” (Second Verse), <em>Tha Carter IV</em> (2011)</strong><br /><strong>Best Line:</strong> “Paper chasin', tell that paper, ‘Look, I'm right behind ya’/Bitch, real Gs move in silence like lasagna” <br />What better way for Lil Wayne to reemerge than with “6 Foot 7 Foot,” and his second verse, in particular? Following a bid on a gun charge Weezy staked his claim for the top spot in the game with this lyrical tour de force over cartoonish production. Though the first verse to this lead single to <em>Tha Carter IV</em> was impressive, it was truly the second where President Carter proved that he hadn't lost a step during his time away. The verse exemplified Wayne's signature style, as he oozed outlandish creativity all over the Bangladesh beat. Kicking multiple flows, Weezy made each bar a punchline, often independently crafted but flowing seamlessly into the next. Safe to say he stood tall on this one.

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  • MassAppeal

    Freddi Gibbs verse on Scottie Pippen is by far the best verse I heard all year. Im not even a big Gibbs fan (this is a Curren$y song of cover coup), but I gotta give props where its due.

    • Ben

      Gibbs on that scottie pippen was outrageous. forreal forreal, thats what got me hooked on gangsta gibbs

    • Pat Myaz

      Hell yeah i thought I was the only one who thought that.

  • MassAppeal

    and btw, this list is terrible
    where is busta rhymes’ look at me now verse?
    where is kendrick lamar’s rigomortis’ last verse?
    where is eminem’s or royce’s verses from the bet cypher?
    where is kanye west’s verse from niggas in paris?
    where is rick ross’ verse from Lord Knows?
    where is nas’s first verse from nasty?
    pusha t, killer mike, and currensy dropped dozens of amazing verses (#jetsgo, thats life pt 2, 100 keys were my favs but there is ALOT to choose from)

    and the verses that were chosen…like most of these were not that impressive. step up xxl

  • Hube

    kendricks verse should definitely b competition, especially from lil wayne..

  • hellalmost

    close. a lot of bs on this list, but relatively good choice putting HiiiPower at #1. really though it should be—
    1. Immortal Technique – Angels & Demons 3rd Verse
    2. Kendrick Lamar – HiiiPower 1st Verse
    3. Pharoahe Monche – Evolve 1st Verse

  • RealNigga

    what about cole third verse on rise and shine

  • Chef

    No CyHi Da Prynce on I’m So Appalled? fuck this.

    • slick

      I completely agree

    • ROBD916

      that was in 2010

  • srogers900

    what about bad meets evil? and i need a doctor???
    Em wrecked that shit. and lil wayne’s part in 6 foot 7 foot isn’t the best. Cory Gunz is the best in that song at least.

    • swype-matic

      Are u a fucking dummy? Em’s part on “I Need A Doctor” was awful. As a matter fact, that whole song with terrible, beat and everything.

      Anyway, Kendrick, Tech N9ne, and Elzhi were the only ones worth being on that list. The other verses were either mediocre, overhyped, or really weren’t all that great.

  • pessimistic

    Immortal Technique- Rich man’s world (1%)

  • yooo

    So many verses better than these… out of these i’d take elzhi or tech, kendrick close too. But yeah, Gibbs’ verse on scottie pippens is fuckin crazy, crooked i’s verse on EVERYTHING HE’S TOUCHED….. you know..

  • RAMO

    i think curren$y in BBS had a nice flow and gangsta gibbs did kill it on scottie pippens.

    reporting live from the devils palace

  • igotacos

    no! the best one was kendricks verse/hook from games the city, murks all other verses

  • hiphoplover

    fuck this list montana gotta be on it kause if he not wtf is the point of having any body feel the same stay wavy if not DIE slowly point blank

  • aude 860

    id say either apathy the villane verse 1 0r 2 lol it lil wayne its good

  • Doobie42

    most of these comments are backing non mainstream artists. particularly digging the immortal technique and curren$y love.

    xxl recognize. last time i checked this wasn’t Teen magazine.

  • Wahid

    Nas verse on “Ghetto Dreams” should be on here

  • Joe

    sorry I meant the first verse on “the believer” by common. THAT is a classic

  • alex

    tech n9ne and kendrick lamar

  • krayz

    tech n9ne


    where the fuck is j cole lost ones second verse, or any verse for that matter

  • heddsick305

    there’s no way tech’s verse should’ve been rated so low….this man rapped like 3 different people in one verse…..and there’s no fucking way he could possibly EVER be rated lower than “Drake”…oops, I mean Aubrey’s fake ass…..or Lupe Fiasco for that matter….realistically he should’ve been at least rated 2nd or 3rd…..

  • sechion

    best verse is Drake on The Zone by The Weeknd

  • sechion

    that fact some of these verses are even mentioned is a blatant example of how far XXL has fallen off, the braintrust around here is making this mag a shadow in comparison of what it used to be to the hip hop community

  • Antonio

    worst list of all time. lil wayne or drake shouldn’t be on this list.
    kendrick, cole, and wale all have better verses.
    please take this off the site.
    its embarrassing

  • zaki

    Game – Wow (feat. Gucci Mane)

    Best Line:

    “Hate me like I’m God son, wanna see me deceased?
    Break the 6th commandment if you run up on this Jesus piece”

  • Robby

    Kendrick Lamar “HiiPoWer” (First Verse)

  • Fresco

    Cant forget Ab-Soul on Ab-Soul’s Outro..

  • whiteboyjohn

    this list is whack i guess at least they had the brain to put TECH N9NE and kendrick lamar in there

  • Walltrem

    BITCH U’re kidding me Fucck off Em’s verse in I need a doctor is a smash u dicks, what the fuck are you doing on a hip-hop website stupids…Eminem’s the best rapper alive, probably of All times too and yes the Boy’s white! 50 Million fans on Facebook wich is equivalent to Lil Wayne + Drake+ Jay+ Ye fans U Have nothin’ to say freak

  • RECK

    Tech N9ne’s verse on “Worldwide Choppers” should have been #1.

  • Blahbbb

    Kanye West- Gotta Have it

  • Clement

    xxl.. fire every fucking analyst you have, straight up pathetic. word @MassAppeal

  • jb

    since last year, eminem hasn’t destroyed a single beat he’s on. why is he not on here?

    • jb

      hasn’t NOT destroyed a single beat**

  • yawooh

    wat about drake’s verse on Lord Knows? but I agree, Lamar dropped a classic hip-hop track

  • AdzG415

    How is there not one Joe Budden Verse on here. He goes in on the 2.0 cypher… no its not an official song but deserves some credit. Also Phone “Not Here Anymore Feat. Elzhi” First Verse

  • Fresco

    Chamillionaire on Time Machine

  • balaramesh

    yeah, this list is beyong horrible. only elzhi and lamar had oustanding verses on this. and i love both meek and wale but those are not amoungst the top 10 or even 30 verses of the year.

  • BBManik

    I’m really surprised the Lil Wayne Interlude verses by Andre & tech weren’t nominated.

  • the1987kid

    Jay-Z’s verse from Murder To Excellence, top notch lyrical gems mix with street knowledge & social communtary. bar none the best verse of 2011!

  • willygringo

    busta rhymes verse on look at me now was the best verse on the year hands down….i know xxl prolly didnt take the time out to listen to that track they too busy writing this %ish

  • matty21

    i mean – also pick any 1 of the verse’s on “Pyro” …any 1 could be up there; well more da 1st and last; N i give u “Flexin” regardless 4sure, maybe we should have 2 up in there is all i’m sayin haa (‘Flexin’ is nasty, n KRIT made a classic beat); but:

    ” i got a cork-screw swag – they see me n get it poppin
    i wear they ass out, N in the mornin’ take her shoppin
    …shawty RAW, Ball – out @ ALL costs
    hit da club twice as fly as anybody ya’ll saw
    training wheels on the hustle – i will NEVER fall off
    U can keep your pussy, babi – gimme all Jaw
    I’m Young, Dumb – Cold as they come
    treat me like the drummer – give me sum, would ya hun?
    ya i’m hung, but i still get her sprung with da tounge
    fuck her good all night – even the Sun fixin to cum (AY)

    …buncha bad bitches with me – whats they name? who cares.
    treat ‘em like Twix – Keep ‘em comin in pairs
    Go insane in dat pussy, BUT I NEVER GO BARE…

    party @ the presidential: if u wit it – lets get it
    No matter where u live – i’m da hottest in your city
    …in da VIP i’m chillin – everything ice Cold
    black chix, latin bitches, asian broads, white hoes

    …black on black, credit card on deck, in the black Maybach on the BLVD. – FLEXIN!
    VS’s in da chain – filled with clear stonesss
    i’m raw as I can be – H.N.I.C. – I’m GONEEE

    …say i’m da bomb bitch – i’m dynamite…PYRO! BOW BOW ”

    fuck da city up

  • swisha

    I think wayne’s 2nd verse on 6 foot 7 foot is way better than the 1st but it should go to my boi k-dot

  • Stephen Deusner

    A little obscure, but Halcyon the Lusus Naturae – Donkzilla has two killer verses of satire relating to the club scene of hip hop right now.

  • bobb

    where is nipsey hussle any verse from tmc fucking killed these guyss.

  • john

    where is nipsey hussle!? he fucking killed every track on the marathon continues!! had better verses than all these fools

  • Azhar

    Co-sign… Gangsta Gibbs murdered Scottie Pippen, Wale By Any Means Verse, Joe Budden Joel Ortiz BET cypher verses, Hov No Church In The Wild Verse,