The 10 Best Bay Area Rap Anthems of 2012

Anti Records
Boots Riley in The Coup's "The Magic Clap" video.
2012 was a fertile year for Bay Area rap, a time when the intellectual, the brazen, the sexed-up, and the chilled-out all took center stage at one point or another. There were songs that inspired dances, songs of Bay Area pride and protest, and more of that straight mack flow that still bumps around these parts. These 10 highlights of 2012 offer a glimpse at an even more diverse spectrum.

See also:

* The 10 Best Bay Area Hip-Hop Records of 2012
* E-40 and Too $hort: Their Top 10 Pre-History Collaborations
* Top 10 Hella Tight Bay Area Rap T-Shirts

10. Fat Veezy, "Money & Bitches"

As he'll tell ya on the hook, that's all he thinks about. The aspiring Oakland rapper predated Trey Songz's and T.I.'s big single "2 Reasons" by several months and snagged the honor of catchiest ignorant song of the year.

9. Messy Marv & J-Diggs, "211 On A Industry Nigga"

This ballsy and almost thrilling update of 50 Cent's debut single "How To Rob" details how these guys would jack female celebrities such as Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, and Nicki Minaj. The scary thing is, it's almost believable because Messy Marv and J-Diggs have very real and very serious real-life rap sheets.

8. Jonn Hart featuring IamSU!, "Who Booty"

The guilty pleasure R&B rap joint of the year that we're not afraid to admit won't leave our head, something that makes us smile in a friendlier way than last year's catchy pussy song, "Up" by LoveRance. "Who Booty" has already been remixed twice (by E-40 and New York rapper French Montana) and we wouldn't be surprised if more versions are on the way.

7. Zion I, "Human Being"

Picked for the astute combination of social insight and pure bizounce. The Oakland duo has nailed that elusive balance here.

6. Plane Jane featuring IamSU!, "Like Me"

We hope 2013 brings more shine to Richmond's Plane Jane, a fly gal with bars for days. This duet with friend and rising local star IamSU! is a sharp yet lighthearted take on the gender divide after a bad breakup.

5. Roach Gigz, "Wasabi"

It takes balls to lift the main instrumentation from the late Mac Dre's "Thizz Dance." But Roachy Balboa pays proper respect to the Mac with this energetic cut.

4. Gift of Gab, "Market & 8th"

A rapper facing his own personal challenges this year still managed to show an excess of compassion in his music. An afternoon watching the human suffering of the homeless and/or drug-addicted on Market and Eighth Streets in San Francisco inspired a poignant, soulful jam that tackles topics largely ignored in flashier rap circles.

3. The Coup, "The Magic Clap"

The Oakland group's sixth album Sorry To Bother You is its most electric, with guitars and drums leading the way. Politics-wise, Boots Riley and crew are still on point; this is surely the catchiest song ever to be directed to Homeland Security.

2. E-40 featuring YG, Problem, and IamSU!, "Function"

No Yay Area rapper worked harder this year than 40 Water, who released a total of five albums -- three on his own and two in collaboration with longtime friend Too $hort. "Function" came early in the year and stayed on the local radar for all of 2012, even as room was made for newer songs like "Say I" with $hort and Wiz Khalifa.

1. Clyde Carson featuring The Team, "Slow Down"

This song was the first huge Bay Area hit for Carson and The Team in eight years, reviving the East Bay's love of cars and sideshows and even spawning the infectious J12 Dance across local high schools and beyond. Even though Carson recently moved from Oakland to Los Angeles in pursuit the international recognition he deserves, we know in his heart he stays Bay all the way.

-- @teemoney415

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@subtopes Not too bad and @namhenderson is right--The Zion I track is a killer! Nice to see Gift of Gab mentioned as well!


@subtopes @jdfeinman love The Coup and Zion I always classic. also knew there had to be some E-40 on there...

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