BLOG:Top 10 Beats Of The Year

I’ve been thinking about this list for over a week. Was tough making my selections. Keep in mind, I’m rating these tracks on the production itself, not just the lyrics. The lyrics could conceivably suck and the track would still make it on the list.

10) “Hero”- Nas (produced by Polow Da Don)- from the live-sounding drum track, the synths, the breakdown, this joint was above and beyond the hottest thing Nas had rhymed on in years. It was great to hear him on a track that wasn’t typical “Nas” beat. In retrospect, Polow should have done the whole album.

9) “A Milli”- Lil Wayne (produced by Bangladesh)- flipping A Tribe Called Quest “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” Remix and adding perhaps the simplest 808 drum pattern in the history of all recorded music made for a pretty big hit in ’08. Those 808 subs became a melody unto themselves.

8) “Circulate”- Young Jeezy (produced by Cannon)- not the most creative flip of Billy Paul’s “Let the Dollar Circulate,” but if you’re going to jack an entire track then this is the way to do it. Just rearrange and let the rapper do their thing. Sometimes I would rather hear the rapper just rhyme on parts of the original record, without a whole bunch of shit added. Months since Jeezy’s album dropped, this is the only song I listen to from it.

7) “Luxury Tax”- Rick Ross ft. Lil Wayne, Trick Daddy and Young Jeezy (produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League)- I recall being in the Def Jam office with RobthemusicEd, listening to Ross’ album and scrunching my face up like I just had to eat a whole bowl of porridge when I heard this track. It was just flat out ugly and disgusting, in a good way. More rappers should aim to rhyme on beats like this.

6) “Rising Up”- The Roots ft. Chrisette Michele and Wale (produced by… I’m guessing here, The Roots? Don’t have album credits)- this wasn’t even the hottest joint on Rising Down (that was “Criminal,” with Saigon), but as one complete production, this gets the nod from me. It was almost a go-go record, but had a certain musicality to it that kept it in the hip-hop pocket.

5) “Heartless”- Kanye West (produced by Kanye West and No ID)- great flip of a record I’ve had sitting in my closet for 8 years (The Allan Parson Project’s “Ammonia Avenue”). Short of thinking Kanye had up and lost his mind, the minute I heard this track (on the radio no less) I had a “wtf???” moment. As in, “what the FUCK is that??” I stopped dead in my tracks. Every rapper worth his spit would have wanted to rhyme on that.

4) “The Boss”- Rick Ross (produced by JR Rotem)- JR’s string of hits was ridiculous this year, but this one stood out to me the most because it wasn’t the typical first single rappers come with these days. From the reversed drum sample, the way the 808s are arranged, the eery pads, it’s a chilling production. Take Ross off it and this beat is just hard as fuck.

3) “Rider Part 2″- G-Unit (produced by Rick Rock?)- A google search is telling me Rick Rock produced this joint, though I’m not 100% sure, because again I don’t have the actual CD with the credits. It’s really just a steady bass note, a brass chord, and some hard ass drums. But damned if this track didn’t have heads nodding. And crazy enough, people actually rocked to it in the club as well, proving again that there really is only two types of music- good and bad. This was clearly good.

2) “Live Your Life”- TI feat Rhianna (produced by Just Blaze)- Of all the things someone could love about Justin Smith sampling Ozone’s “Numa Numa” for a rap record, the thing that I loved about it most was that even if you took Rhianna off this joint, it’d rock. This wasn’t some track where the hook made the whole beat. Plus it was nice to hear a bona fide hit record that actually had a snare drum in it, instead of some little bitchy 808 clap. Leave to Just Blaze to make what would ordinarily be an underground rap beat into a #1 record.

1) “Swagger Like Us”- TI feat Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne (produced by Kanye West)- First time I heard this, I thought man this is a total shit sandwich. Second time I heard it, I thought man this is even a bigger shit sandwich. I thought the beat was lame and boring. At that point I’d been only hearing it online, on blogs and whatnot. Then I ventured out into the real world, and I heard it in a car…. then a club… then a concert hall… then an arena…. then a stadium. No, I wasn’t programmed. This track just wasn’t made to play while you’re surfing the net. From the drums to the synths to the MIA-sampled hook, it’s a beat you’ve got to experience standing up, at a very loud volume. It’s a hip-hop record for god’s sake. Turn that music high-high-high-er, and you will hear what I’m hearing. Best beat of ’08, hands down. Shit, it made me wanna pick up the pen… err.. open up memo pad in my blackberry, and write a rhyme. And that’s saying something.

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  • Pierzy

    I completely agree. “Swagger Like Us” got hated on because of who was on the track. If other MCs were on it, heads would’ve been calling it a classic.

    Nothing from Luda’s album?

    • brains

      i think ur all forgetting Game- dope boys

    • D-Block

      heres some that you would put on the list if you turned off the radio

      the roots ft. mos def, styles p- rising down
      reks- say goodnight
      royce da 5’9″- yall must of forgot
      alchimist ft. blu, evidence, kid cudi- therapy

      thats just some beats that are wayyy better then the radio numa numa dance wack annoying bullshit

  • Parispolice

    Good list.

    Here is my list though to ad to yours or substitute based primarily on its production values.

    - Lollipop – I think this was the beat that certified Wang to the mass population that buy his shit (19 year old girls).

    - Nice by Game – If you’re a fan of the classic West coast melody and something that gets you pumped, i suggest this song. Every one ive made listen to this track has nodded their heads and wanted to sport some color of bandana lol.

    - Go hard – im not a big fan of khaled cause i think he’s probably one of the most annoying personas in the game but this beat along side with kanye’s passionate and rippin verses gets everyone wild’n out when its bumpin in a system. Its probably the best beat ive heard this year when its completely cranked. the louder the better.

    • valdez

      why the f*ck is “live your life” on this list? that is the most annoying shit evar!! and they have the nerve to continue to play a million times a day.


  • Avenger XL

    Given the tracks I can tell where your head is.

    P.S. please lay off the snare hate damn! and a milli was a good dance tune but it was not a great production. rappers just jumped on it cause they dick ride like that these days. Biting was once illegal now it is mandatory for a rap career. Most of your list is uber pop oriented and didn’t show a lot of creativity outside of just blaze who I would give beat of the year to for that Numa Numa flip. Hero would be in the top five but I would have to run through my list.

  • Hate Hate and more Hate

    I usually hate on everything but even I can’t front on these top 5 hot ass beats

    2. The sound of Soulja Boy flopping.
    3. The snapping sound Yung Berg’s chain made when he was releaved of it
    4. The sound Lil Wayne’s body made when he fell on stage recently
    5. The sound of Suge Knight’s face and the no name barber hands connecting

    Fuck you and your favorite rapper. Unhappy New year bitches!!!

  • jackpot

    Good list, Gooch. I wanna nominate the intro of Jeezy’s Recession. That beat makes me wanna punch somebody’s gums out.

  • Rob The Music Ed

    Man fuck that “A Milli” was the beat of the year homie. But I do agree, “Luxury Tax” was STOOOOOOOOPID. I still remember when we first heard it geeez.

    Good list overall though.

  • Matt Herbz

    Nice list, Triple-Hate, I’m bumping my very own “Souljah Boy Flops REMIX” right now! As for the other list. There really doesn’t need to be a 2-10. “Swagger Like Us” was the best beat of the year, period. Too bad Kanye had to lay his diversity verse on that shit and Wayne had to screech on it in his whiny lean-induced bitch voice.

    –Matt Herbz–

  • SBA

    That Jeezy “Who Dat” beat should be a honorable mention or somethin

    • stevie b

      co muthafuckin sign lol
      who dat is fire shawty redd is so slept on

      • Dmiles

        hell muthafuckin yea….beat was so FIRE

        Who dat
        Nigga we Dat
        Shawty red on the track!!!!


    The best beat of the year was produced by Kanye, but it wasn’t “Swagga Like Us” — it was “Angel” from the Game album. That’s one of the only beats I’ve heard in a long time that made me want to play it repeatedly without getting sick of it.

    P.S.: Eagles — Super Bowl Champs 2009

    • SBA

      hell yea Eagles are the shit

  • og Bobby J

    how about “to the top” of statik selecktah album.
    “lose your life” from alchemist

  • Brian “B.Dot” Miller

    oh yeah, how could i4get “Go Hard” as much as i hate Khaled and that woman, Kanye that beat lives up to its namesake

  • Jpdakid

    Most of those beats were just ok to me..but i respect it
    you shouldve added some of these

    Elzhi ft. Royce – Motwown 25
    T.i. – Ready For Whateva
    Joe Budden – The Soul
    Ludacris – MVP/Last of a Dying Breed
    Stat Quo – The Sun
    Statik Selektah – For The Ladies

    Even though most of those werent hits…the beats were just crazzzyyy

    • Jpdakid

      OOH i forgot “You Already Know” – RZA ft. Kool G Rap and Inspectah Deck

  • producer James Moore

    this is on point
    I can pretty much agree with all of that
    maybe a little differently ordered
    and I’d probably include some others
    but these are at teh top of the mainstream

    I wish dudes rapped better on the majority of those tho

  • Al

    Pretty good list, although “S.L.U.” really is a shit sandwich, you should’ve stuck with your first instinct. I would’ve swapped it out for either “Swing Ya Rag,” “Put On” or “Let The Beat Build.” And “Rider Pt. 2″‘s beat is good but completely ruined by the worst use of AutoTune all year.

  • Lowedwn

    Nice List, not much argument from my end, but….what about Kidz In the Hall “Driving Down The Block(Low End Theory Tape)” that beat was ill as fuck, oh and N.E.R.D’s “Everyone Nose”.

  • Burnout

    What a shitty list. Only three on there are any good (Hero, Circulate, Rising Up), and I wouldn’t say Top 10 Beats of 2008 good…

    I’ve lost all faith in you, XXL, just like I lost all faith in Kanye this year…

  • Chris S

    FUCK YOU! A Milli is the most annoying beat i’ve ever heard.

    1. Robocop
    2. Amazing
    3. Welcome to Heartbreak
    4. Hero
    5. Dope Boys
    6. Let the Beat Build
    7. Yesterday – Atmosphere
    8. Elevator – Flo Rida
    9. Gettin Stronger – Sheek Louch
    10…..i think i’ll go with the SF Anthem by San Quinn. i kinda liked that beat

    • Burnout

      That’s an even worse list…at least the original had three good picks, whereas this has none…

      • Chris S

        ok well hero, dope boys, gettin stronger are BANGERS. no question. let the beat build is rediculuos…but somehow fell into the hands of lil wayne (who did absolutely nothing with it). and for some reason, i really like elevator. i don’t know why and i’m kinda ashamed…but i like it.

        now, for my top 3:
        that was the best produced cd i’ve ever heard so i picked my three favorite from it. Robocop is like a symphony orchestra. the strings make this beat the best. amazing has sweet drums and i like the piano a lot. and welcome to heartbreak has a sweet bassline too.


    Somebody please sample Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out” cuz a nigga could rip that guitar riff and slow that beat down. Nice list tho

  • geico lizard

    I dont know why people hated on swagga like us i want jay z to put the remix on his album just so i can finally get a video that wasnt made by a 12 year old on youtube. I have no money but i bump that song like im oprah rich.

  • Emperor Doom

    Elevator by Flo Rida
    Nice Game
    Angel Game
    MVP Ludacris
    What Up T.I

    were all beats that should have been on that list. Luxury tax is a horrible beat. So is rising up.

    • Burnout

      Elevator is a horrible beat…

  • amar

    MVP by Ludacris (Primo)

  • the r

    milli beat was lame…what are you smoking…first time u heard an 808…welcome to the 80′s

    circulate was lazy but it was the best track from jeezy’s album…dilla and 9th wonder killed that track already

    swagger like us…cheap synths, annoying sample and sparse drums…ti was only one who killed the song

  • Harmen

    i can’t narrow it to 10 there were too many dope ass beats this year

    hon. mention
    21. light up a fire – busta rhymes (don cannon) ain’t him – nelly/rick ross (wyshmaster)
    19.where the cash at – swizz beats (swizzie/apex)
    18.wish you would -luda/t.i.(dj toomp)
    17.hero – nas (polow da don)
    16.who dat – jeezy (shawty redd) of the world – ace hood (dj infamous)
    14.i run – slim thug (jim jonsin)
    13.i’m illy -t.i. (chuck diesel)
    12.casualties of war – g-unit (ky miller) tax – rick ross (JUSTICE league)
    10.put on – jeezy (drumma boy)
    9. talk that shit – timbaland/t-pain (timbo)
    8.circulate – jeezy (don cannon
    7.dr. carter – lil wayne (swizz beatz PLAGERISM
    6.we global – khaled’s gay ass (the runners)
    5.SLU – t.i. (kanye)
    4. go hard – dj khaled (the runners)
    3.MVP – ludacris (dj permier)
    2. dope boys – the game (1500 or nothin)
    1.last of a dying breed – luda (wyldflyer)

  • render

    Dont know who produced that joint off Theatre of Mind with Nas and Jay but it went real well with the mood of the track imo

  • Eman

    The HArdest beats of 08

    In no particular order
    1. Killer Mike Can you hear me
    2. Black Milk Hold it down
    3. Clipse Fast life
    4. Do it like I done it Green city
    5. That Go keak da sneak
    6. Rockin up work San Quinn
    7. To the top Statik Selketah
    8. Circulate Jeezy
    9. MArshawm Lynch Rmx The jacka (prombaly the hardest beat of the year.)
    10. We run Ny MAx b, french montana , Dame greaase

  • ThingAlec

    All I gotta say is the number 1 beat should either have been “Hero” or Game’s “State of Emergency”.

  • Rae Tha Great

    The Game – Angel
    Rick Ross – Luxury Tax
    Common – Punch Drunk Love
    Wayne – Kush
    Jay-Z – Jockin’ Jay-Z
    G-Unit – Southside
    Ron Browz – Pop Champagne
    Ludacris – Do The Right Thing
    T.I. – SLU
    Kanye West – Heartless

  • Rae Tha Great

    The Game – Angel
    Ross – Luxury Tax
    Common – Punch Drunk Love
    Wayne – Kush
    Jay-Z Jockin’ Jay-Z
    G-Unit – Southside
    Ron Browz – Pop Champagne
    Ludacris – Do The Right Thing
    T.I. – SLU
    Kanye West – Heartless

  • Cinsere

    Sounds like programming to me. I mean, SLU kinda grew on me, but come on dawg…best beat of ’08?! You’s wylin’!

    My top head-nodders* of ’08, in no order:

    Where the Cash At? (Apex)
    Last of a Dying Breed (Wyldyer)
    MVP (Premo)
    Fried Chicken (Mark Ronson)
    The Boss (JR Rotem)
    Exhibit A/Transformations (Just Blaze)
    Rising Down (?uestlove)
    Talkin’bout you (Statik Selektah)
    Heartless (Kanye)
    Invincible & Onslaught (Frequency)

    Bonus R&B:
    Addiction (Ryan Leslie)
    Miss Indpendent (Stargate)
    Green Light (Malay and KP)


  • Shawty J

    No Particular Order

    Last Of A Dying Breed – Ludacris (Prod by Wyldfyer)
    Sound like the score to some epic action movie, this one of those beats that plays in me head over and over.

    What Up, What’s Happenin – T.I. (Prod by Drumma Boy)
    This beat just felt incredible. Drumma Boy did his thing.

    Put On – Young Jeezy (Prod by Drumma Boy)
    Drumma Boy was on his shit in 2008.

    Luxury Tax – Rick Ross (Prod by J.U.S.T.I.C.E League)
    I didn’t hear this song until yesterday, mainly because I don’t like Rick Ross (he sounds like the cross between a robot and dinosaur). But that beat was incredible.

    Mr. Carter – Lil Wayne (Prod by Infamous & Drew Correa)
    At the beginning of the track, Weezy is talking about how colossal he feels, it probably has something to do with that beat.

    MVP – Ludacris (Prod by DJ Premier)
    I’m a young guy and haven’t heard many Premo tracks, but I dug this one. It was real simple, but it spoke to me.

    Swagger Like Us – T.I. (Prod by Kanye West)
    This beat just sounds so different from most of the beats that came out this year. And Kanye branched out with his style on this one.

    Dope Boys – The Game (Prod by 1500 or Nothin)
    Okay, maybe the track wasn’t that great. But that beat was hard.

    Hero – Nas (Prod by Polow Da Don)
    Polow Da Don has some of the sickest drums in the game.

    Big Dreams – The Game (Prod by Cool & Dre)
    For the first time in a while, I found myself digging a lot of Cool & Dre beats, and this one was my favorite.

    Live Your Life – T.I. (Prod by Just Blaze)
    I’m not sure how Just Blaze did it, but he flipped the Numa Numa song into an epic sounding record. I wish Just would’ve left his YouTube channel intact and showed the making of this beat. It feels epic!

  • paychexx

    the rza joint forgot the name that shit went hard.
    hero( the beats on the nigger mixtape were harder though)
    boss( like maybach music too)
    im illy( ready for whatever)
    the recession beats( put on)
    that jay electronica and just blaze joint
    jockin jayz
    love me no more jim jones

    these my opinions

  • DJ Daddy Mack

    8) “Circulate”- Young Jeezy (produced by Cannon)- not the most creative flip of Billy Paul’s “Let the Dollar Circulate,” but if you’re going to jack an entire track then this is the way to do it. Just rearrange and let the rapper do their thing. Sometimes I would rather hear the rapper just rhyme on parts of the original record, without a whole bunch of shit added. Months since Jeezy’s album dropped, this is the only song I listen to from it.

    i’m glad im not the only one who thought dis was good.

  • daz_oc

    Co-sign SBA on that Jeezy Who Dat beat and I’ll prolly be the only one with this one but that Young LA Aint I beat is dope to me too…….also am I the only one that like Officer Ross’s Maybach Music?

    • 615banga

      co-sign on Maybach Music.. (Justice L.E.A.G.U.E.)..they also did a good beat for 2 Pistols—We Run It
      good beat..

      …also co-sign on Let The Beat Build.


    that “let the beat build” from the carter iii was ill to me. kanye killed that on the real. also “slow down” by ghostface feat. chrisette michele was super dope. syience produced that joint. the whole shit ws just full of soul and flavor.

  • Grandma11

    just so ya know, rising up was produced by ?uestlove and James Poyser

    i totally agree with that Hero pick, and Who Dat was prolly the best beat on Jeezy’s album

  • ThingAlec

    In no particular order.

    Nas- Hero
    The Game- State of Emergency
    Young Jeezy- My President
    Ludacris- Last of a Dying Breed
    Ice Cube- Tomorrow
    The Roots- The Show
    Rick Ross- Luxury Tax
    Fat Joe- 300 Brolic
    Bun B- Underground Thang
    Ace Hood- Cash Flow

  • Hold Tight The UK Garage And Grime… UK I Rep Thats Me When I Rhyme!

    Bring In…

    Ludacris – Last Of A Dying Breed
    Ghetto – Don’t Phone Me [Prod. by Nocturnal]
    T.I. – Ready For Whatever.
    Lupe Fiasco – Hip-Hop Saved Me Life

    in place of…

    “Circulate”- Young Jeezy
    “Luxury Tax”- Rick Ross
    “The Boss”- Rick Ross
    “A Milli”- Lil Wayne

    And you’ve got a hell of a list.

  • Mark_Man

    you must not and cannot forget these

    1. Angel- The Game (m god what a soulful joint)

    2. Shoot Me Down ( just stupid, another soulful track)

    3. Undisputed- Ludacris (mind you he also ripped that shit lol)

    4. What Up, What Happenin (nice track by itself)

  • Rodjilius

    i guess as far as mainstream goes this is right but a milli was an annoyin beat tho the bass was hard but i just cant stand it just repeatin a milli a milli a milli gets old after awhile but not a bad list

  • Simple like ABC, 123

    That White – Fat Joe – prod by Dj Premier

    • BIGNAT

      oh yes that was a very beat and song

  • grp03

    Sorry, but this list blows.

  • ruff_huff

    i guess its the top beats if all your talking about is singles…. im posative other songs on their albums have tighter beats than thier single you got posted

  • 615banga

    top 10 beats of 2008

    10. The Boss-Rick Ross (j.r. rotem)
    9. Why Me?-Ice Cube (??)
    8. That’s Gangsta-Bun B (j.r. rotem)
    7. Jockin’ Jay-Z- Jay Z (kanye west)
    6. House Of Pain- The Game (dj toomp)
    5. Who That-Young Jeezy (shawty redd)
    4. How We Rock-Termanology- (dj premier)
    3. Lose Your Life- The Alchemist
    2. Cash Flow- Ace Hood (the runners)
    1. Lollipop-Lil Wayne (jim jonsin)


  • http://www.xxlmag.coom 615banga

    …Or How About The Top 10 Beats Of All Time

    10. The Message- Grandmaster Flash
    09. Today Was A Good Day- Ice Cube
    08. Changes- 2Pac
    07. Gin & Juice- Snoop Dogg
    06. Sho’Nuff- Tela
    05. The Blast- Talib Kweli
    04. Big Poppa- Notorious B.I.G
    03. Southern Hospitality- Ludacris
    02. Shook Ones Part. 2- Mobb Deep
    01. Int’l Players Anthem- UGK

  • 615banga

    Top 10 Producers Of All Time

    10. Dr. Dre
    09. Swizz Beatz
    08. Cool & Dre
    07. Hi-Tek
    06. The Alchemist
    05. Scott Storch
    04. Dj Paul & Juicy J
    03. Jazze Pha
    02. Just Blaze
    01. Dj Premier


    The Runners
    Dj Toomp
    Don Cannon
    David Banner
    Shawty Redd
    Drumma Boy
    Lil Jon
    Mouse On The Track
    Dj Khalil
    Jim Jonsin

  • Nico van Reekum

    Most definitely My Life – The Game ft. Lil Wayne (Cool&Dre), that was the hottest joint of ’08 for me. Lollipop was a great beat to (Jim Jonsin), just like 3peat and Mr. Carter to continue on the Carter III. (Every beat on there was hot though, except for phone home (disappointing Cool&Dre) and la la (David Banner). Then you had ofcourse Live your life (Just Blaze) and Dead&Gone (Justin Timberlake) by T.I. Out here grindin’ was hot to (The Runners), as well as almost entire 808′s & Heartbreak album (Kanye). Also liked Crackhouse (Steve Morales) by Fat Joe ft. Lil Wayne.

    Bangers of the year:
    Jockin’ Jay-Z (Kanye West)
    A Millie (Bangladesh)
    Dope Boys (1500 or nothin’)

    Most soulfull/laidback beats of the year:
    Shoot Me Down – Lil Wayne (D.Smith)
    Tie My Hands – Lil Wayne (Robin Thicke)
    Coldest Winter (kanye west)
    Letter To The King – The Game (Hi-Tek)

    Producer of the year:
    Must be Jim Jonsin (Lollipop, Whatever You Like, Cutty Buddy) with 2 #1 hits. 2nd place Kanye with SLU, Love Lockdown, Jockin’ Jay-Z and Heartless.


    YO 615banga….. Where’s Kanye West on your top producers list?? Scott Storch blows!


    that rider part 2 is the truth

  • cederik

    My favourite beats are:
    Rick Ross – Mafia Music II
    Xzibit – X
    Clyde Carson – 2 Step
    W.C. – The Streets
    Ace Hood – Get ‘em up
    T.I. – Swag ya Rag
    Juice – Bendin’ Corners
    Young Jeezy – Bury me a G
    Lil Wayne – Cannon
    The Game – My Life

  • esellbeats1

    You must have a good winning streak, a good starting point is to listen to beats and inspired others to start again from there. Beats are measured with a length of about 4-8 and played in its entire length. Beats form the main part in forming the rap beat. Once assembled and organized in their own space, now do word processing. Griot from rap because it is a kind of poetry. Travel the singers and rappers are similar to today’s rappers.