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I feel like I’ve been drowning in music the last couples of years. It may sound like the wrong problem to complain about but I do, at times, feel paralyzed by all the records and tunes demanding my attention. That’s one reason why I never did a 2011 rewind post even though I had begun to collect my list.

I didn’t want to repeat the same neglect this year, least of all because I actually do enjoy the process of combing backwards through the year to find those songs that stood out the most. I wanted to kick off a series of rewind posts with one of my top songs of the year:

BJ the Chicago Kid feat. Kendrick Lamar: His Pain
From Pineapple Now-Laters (M.A.F.E., 2012)

Straight up and down, my favorite Kendrick Lamar-related song of the year (and it’s not even on his album). It came out in late Feb. but honestly, I didn’t catch wind of it until the last month or so, when my man Hua put me up on it.

This. Is. So. Good on so many levels: the songwriting, Kendrick’s rapping, BJ’s singing, the ways the drums don’t come in until late in the song…but when they do, you get goosebumps.

And then there’s this part of it:

James Brown: Sunny
From Gettin’ Down To It (King, 1968)

Brown’s version of “Sunny” is one of the best things on Gettin’ Down To It…one of his best albums and while it sounds sacrilegious to suggest that “His Pain” somehow improves on Brown’s cover, I will say that this is one of those cases where a loop achieves something greater by being a loop. In other words, “His Pain” uses this loop to perfection, letting it breath with that slow piano and the background bass. I can’t imagine how you could do much better than simply letting this loop unfold and come back on itself.

(While not quite as sublime an example, these two songs also make me think of this 2010 song:

…which flips this track: