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Killer Mike - "Reagan"
Kendrick Lamar - "Backseat Freestyle"
I liked a lot of rap singles this year, from artists whose heavily discussed records veered wildly in style and tone. Career cameo-slayer Killer Mike's solo album breakthrough (produced by El-P, who also had a pretty sweet year, overall) had a righteous political fury to it that we could probably use more of. It called flaming bullshit on hip-hop's lingering preoccupation with materialism and violence, included President Obama in its scorching drug war nonsense that hasn't changed in decades, and dug up the Right Wing's St. Reagan just to kick his corpse. Kendrick Lamar's dizzy hit is, uh, a little bit more morally dubious. Maybe never more so than in its intro, which puts Lamar's dream of fucking all of the world's women with a monument-sized phallus on the same pedestal with Martin Luther King's Jr.s vision of racial equality. They are both dreams, after all. Very very wrong, and kind of super duper funny, also.