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Five Favorite Beats from the Past Five Years, '05 to '09

I've seen a handful of these lists floating around the Internet and I feel like a many of them have been rather self-serving, only mentioning those who have received stellar reviews within the pages of their own publications.

It is my intent to tackle this subject with an unbiased ear and critical mind. Here we go:

DISCLAIMER: I did not include any mixtapes, compilations, remixes or anything that wasn't a full-fledged studio album. This possibilities would have been endless, plus I'm a busy man.

2005: "Sofa King" from the "The Mouse and the Mask" album by DangerDoom.

Aside from the fact that MF Doom decided to release this single solely on 12-inch vinyl, Dangermouse's sampling of Don Harper's "Chamber Pop" gives the track an old school Victrola feel that makes this beat the best of 2005.

2006: "Tell Me When to Go" from the "My Ghetto Report Card" by E-40.

This track brought the Hyphy movement of Oakland to the mainstream in 2006. Using samples from Run D.M.C's "Dumb Girl" ('Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! Dumb'), this beat caused a plethora of suburban white kids to post YouTube videos of them 'ghost riddin' the whip and introduced a whole new vocabulary to the hip-hop world.

2007: "The Art of Storytellin', pt. 4" from "Gangsta Grillz: The Album" by DJ Drama.

Produced by Don Cannon, the mastermind behind the ubiquitous "Cannon!" sound bite, "The Art..." was a strong contender against "Cannon (Remix)" featuring Lil Wayne, T.I., Willie the Kid and Freeway. What put it over the top was its simplicity. Oh, and it didn't hurt that Outkast and Marsha Ambrosius blessed the track with sheer greatness.

2008: "A Milli" from "The Carter III" album by Lil Wayne.

You had to have lived under a rock if you've never heard even a snippet from the beat of this song. Hailed as the 'most rapped-over beat in the last 10 years', "A Milli" skyrocketed Wayne's album to multi-platinum status in a matter of months. Produced by Bangladesh, this track sampled hip-hop classic, "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo", and even Gladys Knight and the Pips.

2009: "House of Flying Daggers" feat. Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah and Method Man from the "Only Built for Cuban Linx II" album by Raekwon.

The beat goes all the way! Samples from the Four Tops' version of "Eleanor Rigby" and produced by the legendary J. Dilla, this song solidified Raekwon's latest studio project. Excerpts from some classic martial arts films from the 60s rounds out this amazing song.


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