Rap-Up’s 10 Best Songs of 2011

Nicki Minaj

Familiar faces, breakout stars, and Young Money dominated the charts in 2011. We scoured our playlists and Spotify when looking back on the past year in hip-hop and R&B, and finally narrowed it down to 10 songs that had us pushing play over and over again.

Drake ignited a plethora of remixes with “Marvin’s Room,” including a standout version from JoJo that rivaled the original. Nicki Minaj had everyone from Taylor Swift to eight-year-old British girls singing along to her Pink Friday hit “Super Bass.” Rihanna found love in a hopeless place and at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, Chris Brown made a triumphant return with “Look at Me Now,” and Jay-Z and Kanye West gave Paris a new anthem.

We count down our 10 favorite songs of the past year.

10. “Swim Good” – Frank Ocean
9. “Party” – Beyoncé feat. André 3000
8. “I’m on One” – DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Rick Ross, & Lil Wayne
7. “Marvin’s Room” – Drake/JoJo
6. “Motivation” – Kelly Rowland feat. Lil Wayne
5. “My Last” – Big Sean feat. Chris Brown
4. “Look at Me Now” – Chris Brown feat. Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne
3. “Super Bass” – Nicki Minaj
2. “We Found Love” – Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
1. “Ni**as in Paris” – Jay-Z & Kanye West

What were your favorite songs of 2011? Share your picks below.



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89 Comments

  1. RealFirro

    “we found love” the best *o*

    [Reply]

    WatchTheThrone Reply:

    @RealFirro, nah imo it should be
    10. Echoes of Silence- The Weeknd
    9. XO/The Host- The Weeknd
    8. Loft Music- The Weeknd
    7. Trust Issues (Remix)- The Weeknd
    6. Montreal- The Weeknd
    5. Initiation- The Weeknd
    4. The Fall- The Weeknd
    3. High for This- The Weeknd
    2. The Zone- The Weeknd
    1. Wicked Games- The Weeknd

    but i’m probably too much of a weeknd stan :P

    [Reply]

    RealFirro Reply:

    @WatchTheThrone, jaja the weeknd overdose :X

    [Reply]

    roman zolanski Reply:

    @WatchTheThrone, that is mad ghetto

    [Reply]

  2. AEROL

    SUPERBASS= NO CREDIBILITY

    [Reply]

    Jordan Reply:

    @AEROL, you = pressed

    [Reply]

    MikeJr_TM Reply:

    @AEROL, Ahh shut the hell up you bum hoe.

    [Reply]

    callmemontana Reply:

    @AEROL, +100

    [Reply]

    roman zolanski Reply:

    @AEROL, why you hating

    [Reply]

  3. Giamma

    I foresee meltdowns!

    Loves it! lol

    We found love on Rap-up!

    [Reply]

  4. Jordan

    Yessss for Superior Bass!

    [Reply]

  5. Natalia

    1,2,3,4,9 The Best!!!

    [Reply]

    roman zolanski Reply:

    @Natalia, i agree

    [Reply]

  6. J

    Swim good shud b higher

    [Reply]

  7. Naia

    isn’t super bass from 2010 :O

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    @Naia, kind of, the album dropped late 2010 bt Superbass became a single in 2011

    [Reply]

  8. common

    mindless beh–mrs right
    wale ft mguel- lotus fire bomb
    miguel– sure thing
    diggy ft jere– where did she go
    kelly ft wayne– motivation
    kanye&jay– ni**gas in paris
    beyonce ft kanye n andre– party
    big sean ft c.brown– my last
    rihanna- man down
    trey ft drake– unusual
    Kanye ft rihanna,cudi,fergie, keys,e.john= all of the lights

    [Reply]

    brandon Reply:

    @common, your list>>>>>>>

    i definetely didnt relize how many were missing from rap-up’s list (sure thing, all of the lights, motivation, man down

    but i wont bxtch about it like other ppl on this site

    [Reply]

    DEYSHUN Reply:

    @brandon, Motivation is on the list

    [Reply]

  9. my name is oo

    PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY PARTY ! BEYONCE IS THE BEST OF ALL TIME!

    [Reply]

    my name is oo Reply:

    @my name is oo, My Favorite songs of 2011 are the songs on beyonce’s album 4 ;)

    [Reply]

  10. barb of nicki minaj

    oh yes SUPER BASS < that needs to be no.1 !! and pink friday needs to be no.1 cuz nicki is DOPE and she is the best female rapper since missy in 04 !!! BELEDATTTTTTTT !!!

    [Reply]

  11. 2tall

    Watch the Throne stay winning…#Dontbemad

    [Reply]

  12. coolio

    Another horrible list. Frank Ocean’s Songs for Women is song of the year!

    [Reply]

  13. Lauryn

    You Have NO Musical Taste Rap-Up. Rihanna, please tell me what musical-minded person will go back and listen to this Trick’s music!

    [Reply]

    staci Reply:

    @Lauryn, the same PEOPLE that nominated it for album of the year, and best pop album but then again from your vocabulary “trick” im guessing you dont listen to a lot of things…

    [Reply]

    Ray Reply:

    @staci, Haha Right LAURYN,

    [Reply]

    Cranberry Reply:

    @Lauryn, I thought you were done with Rap Up after their video selections. Stay mad.

    [Reply]

  14. allen

    i agree with thi list.

    [Reply]

  15. LO

    KELLY ROWLANDS ALBUM HERE I AM!!!!

    [Reply]

  16. Drizzy

    Im on one – Drake, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne

    [Reply]

  17. Anonymous

    Fuck yeah! #TeamJoJo all day!!

    [Reply]

  18. Rozay

    Im on one by DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne is definitely the best song of the year by far.
    1. Im on One
    2.Ni**as in Paris
    4.Superbass
    5.Look at Me Know
    6.Sleazy 2.0
    7.Motivation
    8. Marvin’s Room
    9.Round of Applause
    10. My Last

    [Reply]

  19. Higooo

    Look at Me Now is incredible

    [Reply]

  20. muni

    Motivation showld have been #1

    [Reply]

  21. Flocka

    1. Im on One
    2.Ni**as in Paris
    4.Superbass
    5.Look at Me Know
    6.Grove St. Party
    7. Sleazy 2.0
    8. Motivation
    9. Marvin’s Room
    10. Round of Applause

    [Reply]

  22. ...

    10. Taio Cruz feat. Flo Rida – Hangover
    09. Britney Spears – Till The World Ends
    08. Jay-Z & Kanye West feat. Beyoncé – Lift Off
    07. David Guetta feat. Flo Rida & Nicki Minaj – Where Them Girls At?
    06. Rihanna – You Da One
    05. David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj – Turn Me On
    04. Avril Lavigne – What The Hell
    03. Flo Rida feat. Sia – Wild Ones
    02. Lady GaGa – Born This Way
    01. Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris – We Found Love

    [Reply]

  23. Fan Of A Fan

    YESSSS!! Rihanna

    [Reply]

  24. Jayrican18

    We found love! Its been #1 for like 2 months right? #RihannaNavy

    [Reply]

  25. coolio

    Ni**as in Paris is good, but it’s horrible compared to the rest of the tracks in WTT

    [Reply]

  26. frenchconnection

    LOOK AT ME NOW
    LOOK AT ME NOW

    but you forgot BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

    [Reply]

  27. New years Rezzo

    Look at me now

    my last

    Dats what I’m talking about babeee!!!

    [Reply]

  28. Kayla

    Chris made the list twice!!! So happy!

    [Reply]

  29. Brionna

    No Adele??

    [Reply]

  30. Kayla

    SuperBass,Really?Rap-Up you need to do better.

    [Reply]

    nicki at the grammys Reply:

    @Kayla, no u need to stop haten and find yourself, haters are just undercover fans thats are just mad because they life aint right so it make u hate on people that are doing good or what u wish u could be doing lmao u lame!

    [Reply]

  31. Selectah Snipa

    I honestly feel Meek Mill – “Ima Boss” should’ve had a spot.

    [Reply]

    GolfWang Reply:

    @Selectah Snipa, real talk that track had everyone hyped

    [Reply]

  32. GolfWang

    NIGGAS IN PARIS

    [Reply]

  33. RUKiddingMe

    JoJo “Marvin’s Room” F*ck Yeah!!! That B*tch is a gangster. She straight up jacked Drake’s song and made it better and more popular. I LOVE IT! I LOVE HER!

    [Reply]

  34. Replay

    Agree but not with We Found Love… this Song is a fucking cheap song every house song sounds like this but this has just a hype cuz of rihanna

    [Reply]

  35. THIS IS REAL:

    10. Taio Cruz feat. Flo Rida – Hangover
    09. LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem
    08. Jay-Z & Kanye West feat. Beyoncé – Lift Off
    07. David Guetta feat. Flo Rida & Nicki Minaj – Where Them Girls At?
    06. Maroon 5 & C.Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger
    05. Beyoncé – Love On Top
    04. Jason Derulo – It Girl
    03. Flo Rida – Good Feeling
    02. Katy Perry Ft. Missy Elliott- Last Friday
    01. Adele – Someone like you

    [Reply]

  36. Audrey Hepburn

    Congrats Rihanna! “We Found Love” was an awesome dance record, didn’t know that ppl considered it “hip-hop,” though.

    [Reply]

  37. >am so am so proud of you_

    i see you nicki,3 and 6 enough said.

    [Reply]

  38. curtis

    shady 2.0 any day!!

    [Reply]

    Q Reply:

    @curtis,at the lab

    nobody messing with them niggas.

    [Reply]

  39. A Realist

    Lol @ #5. No.

    [Reply]

  40. DEYSHUN

    What happened to Ima boss, Headlines, Novacane and Love on top

    [Reply]

  41. commanderofthedancefloor

    1. Niggas in paris
    2. Novacane
    3. We found love
    4. Rolling in the deep
    5. Love on top
    6. Black and yellow
    7. Super bass
    8. It will rain
    9. Look at me now
    10. Pumped up kicks

    [Reply]

  42. stfu

    i knew this would be some bullsh!t when i saw minaj. I regret the 2 mins i took to read this

    [Reply]

    kendrick Reply:

    @stfu, and the 2 mins. you took to comment? SMH at this loser.

    [Reply]

    nicki at the grammys Reply:

    @stfu, u mad u mad u mad and i hope u not a lil kim fan i just hope because if u is go kill never mind i forgot no words for a loser 2012 we at the superbowl winning and still bored!

    [Reply]

  43. An0thrNight272

    britney spears- till the world ends

    [Reply]

  44. Jon

    Pretty solid list. I would have picked something different off Take Care though.

    [Reply]

  45. Siera.

    My Fav Not #1 But They Still Used Her Pic. WINNING!!!!!!!!! ^_^

    [Reply]

  46. nicki at the grammys

    its no list in 2011 nicki was not on 2012 going to be even better i double dog dere anyone of u b##ches to come out!

    [Reply]

  47. nicegirl

    Well, i’m guessing this list is urban songs that made the greatest impact in 2011. If it’s based on quailty it should be:

    10. Miguel- Sure Thing
    9. Frank Ocean- Swim Good
    8. Mary J Blige- Living Proof or Need Someone
    7. Beyonce- Love On Top
    6. J. Cole- Lost Ones
    5. Don Trip ft. Cee Lo Green- Letter To My Son
    4. Jay Z ft. Kanye West- Murder To Excellence
    3. Kanye West- All Of The Lights
    2. Beyonce- End Of Time
    1. Jay Z ft. Kanye West- New Day

    But, that’s just my list based on quality. Sure I listened to Dance A$$ a lot too, probably more than Murder To Excellence, but based on quality I had to pick these.

    [Reply]

    :l Reply:

    @nicegirl,you are just a jay-z groopie simple as that,talking that sh-t about quality you don’t like the list say that simple as that.

    [Reply]

    nicegirl Reply:

    @:l, Well I think each person has their own fave songs. I’m just saying most of the songs on rap-up’s list were popular and released as singles.

    The songs on my list are unique and most have meaning. And how can i be a jay-z groupie when I have Miguel, Frank Ocean, Mary J Blige, Don Trip and Cee Lo Green on the list?

    I listen to a wide variety of music. I listen to some of Rihanna’s music (Watch n’ Learn). I also like some of Nicki Minaj’s songs (Moment 4 Life, Fly), The Weeknd, Jill Scott. I’m just saying that the songs I call my faves have great production, meaning to them and I feel are quite underrated songs. I mean New Day, Lost Ones and Letter to My Son are songs about fatherhood and have important messages or meaning, Murder to Excellence is about murder in the streets.
    I am also not a Lil Wayne hater, neither Drake hater. She Will, Mirror and Headlines are some good songs from them, but they could make my list at no.30 or something like that.

    [Reply]

    brainfood.com Reply:

    @nicegirl,

    Well said. I like how you didn’t get offended and just clarified yourself.

    nicegirl = the image of a true lady.

    [Reply]

  48. SMH

    Good list Rap-Up apart from:

    Marvin’s Room = coma music
    Look At Me Now = wack

    Should have put Headlines by Drake and Mr. Wrong by Mary J instead of them.

    [Reply]

  49. Hugh

    Cool list.

    Lighters is my #1 for the year

    [Reply]

  50. G-DJOBY

    LISTEN 2 50 CENT NEW MUSIC AND LISTEN TO WICK ROSS NEW MUSIC AND LISTEN TO WAKA FL NEW SOND AND DNT FOR GOT ABOUT LIL WAYNE AND THE GAME AND DNT FOR GOT ABOUT G- DJOBY BRING DAT MONEY UP NEW SONG…………….

    [Reply]

  51. latonya

    i think you guys got it on point, i loved superbass it was very fun and i was always singing it last year. but N**** in paris was the song of the year that whole album just slayed 2011 , i loved it, i was bopping my head to it, i would plug a couple of songs from the take care album too. and adele and natasha beningfeild,

    [Reply]

  52. Groove street

    Okay list. I like urban mainstream music a lot (lil Wayne, nicki minaj, waka flocka etc….) but they could have put more thought in the quality of the songs that made the list. For example super base and we found love r barely hip hop/r&b songs let alone do they send a message across. Here’s my list:

    1. All of the lights – Kanye, Rihanna, kid cudi
    2. Lost ones – j.Cole
    3. Marvins room/buried alive interlude – drake, jojo, Kendrick lamar
    4. New day – kanye, jay-z
    5. Ambition – wale, meek mill, Ross
    6. Look at me now – Chris brown, busta, Wayne
    7. Intro interlude outro – Wayne, tech n9ne, Andre, bun b, nas, shyne, bust a
    8. Nova cane – frank ocean
    9. I’m on one – drake, ross, Wayne
    10. My last – big Sean, Chris brown or pot of gold – game, Chris brown

    So some of my favorite songs this year were mainstream but I put songs that I feel made an impact on hip hop in 2011

    [Reply]

    Cranberry Reply:

    @Groove street, Rihanna’s not even an urban artist by any means, she’s Pop. So I don’t know why she (and the impeccable We Found Love, which does, by the way, have a message) was in included in your tangent.

    What message does Novacane and Look at Me Now convey that Super Bass and We Found Love doesn’t? x_x

    [Reply]

    :l Reply:

    @Cranberry,that is the question what message,he was just trying to tear them down without making it look obvious simple as that,he just didn’t like who got them spot and felt the people he put on is list is more deserving that,s it.

    [Reply]

  53. Ben

    Go Chris he is on there twice. Congrats. To everyone

    [Reply]

  54. Andre

    We Found Love is definitly the best song of 2011!

    Rihanna ROCKS!

    [Reply]

  55. Damn !

    I’m surprised Beyoncé isn’t here ! I mean Run The World ( Girls ) , End Of Time , Love On Top , Countdown , Schoolin’ Life & Party were all from my top 50 ! Same for Rihanna’s Man Down , Cheers , WFL , Where Have You Been & Cockiness !

    [Reply]

  56. $JMoney$

    Nicki needs to give Ester Some Credit :/

    [Reply]

    ATT Reply:

    @$JMoney$, She did on the album it says, on the Pink Friday booklet. But Ester Dean says in an interview she doesn’t really want credit for any of the songs she writes she just likes writing good music.

    [Reply]

    :l Reply:

    @$JMoney$,don’t say nicki needs to do anything she always shout out Ester don’t run on here and act like you don’t,just because you want to start shit,and nicki wright her part ester did the singing,so it,s a co.

    [Reply]

  57. DrunkenMinaj

    And SUPERIOR Bass is Killin you haters, don’t get mad. Maybe one day your fave can make a Triple platinum record too. :D

    [Reply]

  58. JHP

    The Throne stay winning, pretty good list as well

    [Reply]

  59. victoria Malloy

    hey nicki i love your song and i look like you to girl i want to meat you cause my badygirl love you and she is 15month

    [Reply]

  60. victoria Malloy

    but it i thing i love to rap to just like you to be i want to meat you that is my big wish to meat you some day nicki Awwww!!!!

    [Reply]

  61. Booo.

    So the only Beyoncé song is Party ? It’s a cool summer song , but she’s not Top 10 quality , Love On Top , Countdown , End Of Time , Run The World & Schoolin’ Life are though !!!! As for Rihanna WFL being number 2 you overdoing it ! 6-5 okay ! And i’m not even going on Nicki whom i love btw but 3 no way

    [Reply]

  62. Fury

    10. Nicki Minaj – Super Bass
    9.DJ Khaled – Im On One
    8.Beyonce – Party
    7.Kelly Rowland – Motivation
    6.Adele – Someone Like You
    5.Drake – Marvins Room
    4.Chris Brown – Look At Me Now
    3Jay-z & Kanye West – N***as In Paris
    2.Big Sean -My Last
    1. Drake – Headlines

    [Reply]

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