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What Are The Best Hip Hop Songs Of 2012 What Are The Best Hip Hop Songs Of 2012

Hip Hop

What Are The Best Hip Hop Songs Of 2012

Written by: Twila Wert

Discover the hottest hip hop songs of 2012 that will have you bumping and grooving. From chart-toppers to underground gems, experience the best of hip hop in one playlist.

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Welcome to the world of hip hop music, a genre that has been evolving and leaving an indelible mark on popular culture since its inception. With its unique blend of rhythm, rhyme, and expressive storytelling, hip hop has become a powerful force in the music industry. Each year, countless hip hop songs are released, but only a select few manage to captivate audiences and stand the test of time.

In this article, we will take a journey back to the year 2012 and explore some of the best hip hop songs that graced the airwaves. These songs not only dominated the charts but also made a significant impact on the genre and cemented the artists’ names in hip hop history.

From the infectious beats to the thought-provoking lyrics, each track on this list showcases the unique talents and creativity of the artists involved. So, get ready to groove, reflect, and appreciate the artistry as we delve into the best hip hop songs of 2012.


“Mercy” by Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz

Released in 2012, “Mercy” is a collaborative effort by some of the biggest names in hip hop, including Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz. The track, produced by Lifted, showcases the distinct styles of each artist and creates an infectious and hard-hitting anthem that dominated the charts.

With its pounding bassline and catchy refrain, “Mercy” quickly became a fan favorite and a staple in clubs and parties around the world. The song’s hook, delivered by Kanye West, is instantly recognizable and impossible to resist singing along to. The verses by Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz are equally impressive, showcasing their lyrical prowess and unique flow.

Lyrically, “Mercy” boasts a mix of braggadocious lines and clever wordplay. Each artist delivers memorable bars, solidifying their status as hip hop heavyweights. From Kanye West’s assertive lines such as “Lamborghini Mercy, your chick, she so thirsty” to Pusha T’s slick wordplay like “Swimming in the money, come and find me, Nemo,” the song is packed with memorable moments.

In addition to its infectious beat and captivating lyrics, “Mercy” also stands out for its sleek and memorable music video. Directed by Nabil Elderkin, the video features striking visuals and stylish cinematography that perfectly complements the song’s energetic vibe.

“Mercy” not only became a commercial success, but it also received critical acclaim. The track peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was nominated for several awards, including a Grammy for Best Rap Song. It also helped solidify the careers of both Big Sean and 2 Chainz, propelling them further into the spotlight.

All in all, “Mercy” is a standout hip hop track that showcases the talent and chemistry of its impressive lineup of collaborators. Its infectious energy, memorable lyrics, and captivating music video make it a definitive highlight in the landscape of hip hop music in 2012.


“Swimming Pools (Drank)” by Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” is a track that not only showcases his skill as a rapper but also delves into deeper themes and societal issues. Released in 2012 as the lead single from his critically acclaimed album “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” the song quickly became an anthem for those grappling with inner demons and the temptation of substance abuse.

The production on “Swimming Pools (Drank)” is moody and atmospheric, setting the tone for Lamar’s introspective lyrics. The haunting piano melody and the pulsating beat create a hypnotic backdrop, drawing listeners into Kendrick’s introspective world.

Lyrically, Kendrick Lamar delivers a thought-provoking exploration of peer pressure, addiction, and the damaging effects of alcohol abuse. Through his vivid storytelling and introspective verses, he invites listeners to reflect on their own relationships with alcohol and the consequences it can have on their lives.

Lines like “Pour up, drank, headshot, drank / Sit down, drank, stand up, drank / Pass out, drank, wake up, drank” serve as a cautionary tale and a reminder of the dangers of excessive drinking. Kendrick’s delivery is raw and emotional, capturing the struggle and vulnerability that many individuals experience.

The music video for “Swimming Pools (Drank)” adds another layer to the song’s narrative. Directed by Jerome D., the video showcases various scenarios highlighting the consequences and impact of alcohol abuse. It serves as a visual representation of the song’s underlying message, making it a powerful companion to Lamar’s lyrics.

“Swimming Pools (Drank)” was well-received both commercially and critically. It peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was nominated for several awards, including Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the Grammy Awards.

With its poignant lyrics, atmospheric production, and introspective storytelling, “Swimming Pools (Drank)” solidified Kendrick Lamar as a powerful voice in hip hop. It remains a standout track in his discography and a reminder of the personal struggles many individuals face when grappling with addiction.


“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz

One of the biggest hits of 2012, “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz, took the world by storm with its infectious beat and clever wordplay. Released as the lead single from their album “The Heist,” the song’s unique blend of catchy hooks and social commentary propelled it to the top of the charts and solidified Macklemore & Ryan Lewis as breakout stars in the hip hop scene.

What sets “Thrift Shop” apart is its distinctive sound, combining a thrifty, vintage vibe with modern production elements. The song features a catchy horn sample and funky rhythm that instantly grabs your attention and gets your head nodding. It’s a feel-good track that celebrates the joy of finding hidden gems in second-hand stores.

Lyrically, Macklemore delivers clever and humorous verses that not only pay homage to thrift shopping but also poke fun at the materialistic nature of mainstream hip hop. Lines like “I’ma take your grandpa’s style, I’ma take your grandpa’s style / No for real, ask your grandpa, can I have his hand-me-downs,” showcase his playful and witty approach to the song’s subject matter.

The addition of Wanz’s smooth vocals on the chorus adds another layer of catchiness to the track. His soulful and melodic delivery perfectly complements Macklemore’s energetic verses, creating a memorable and dynamic collaboration.

Aside from its catchy sound and clever lyrics, “Thrift Shop” also garnered praise for its music video. The visuals feature Macklemore and Ryan Lewis sporting wild outfits and cruising through thrift stores, capturing the essence of the song’s lighthearted and fun-loving spirit.

The success of “Thrift Shop” was immense. The song topped the charts in several countries, including the U.S., and earned numerous accolades, including multiple Grammy Awards. Its popularity helped shine a spotlight on the independent music scene and inspired a wave of nostalgia-driven fashion trends.

In summary, “Thrift Shop” is a fun and infectious hip hop track that captures the spirit of thrift shopping while delivering clever lyrics and a catchy hook. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s ability to blend social commentary with mainstream appeal made this song a standout hit in 2012.


“No Lie” by 2 Chainz ft. Drake

Released in 2012, “No Lie” is a collaboration between two heavyweights in the hip hop industry: 2 Chainz and Drake. The track showcases their distinct styles and lyrical prowess, combining catchy hooks with slick verses to create a standout hit.

From the moment the song starts, the infectious beat grabs your attention. The production, handled by Mike WiLL Made-It, features a hard-hitting bassline and melodic elements that set the stage for both 2 Chainz and Drake to deliver memorable performances.

Lyrically, both artists bring their A-game on “No Lie.” 2 Chainz’s bold and confident delivery shines through as he flexes his wealth and success. Drake, known for his introspective and emotive verses, adds depth to the track, seamlessly blending smooth melodies with impactful lyrics.

The chemistry between 2 Chainz and Drake is evident, as they complement each other’s styles and energy. The catchy chorus, delivered by Drake, sticks in your head and adds to the song’s overall appeal.

Aside from its sonic qualities, “No Lie” also gained attention for its music video. Directed by X, the video features striking visuals and showcases the lavish and extravagant lifestyle depicted in the lyrics. The visual elements align perfectly with the song’s themes of success and opulence.

“No Lie” achieved commercial success, peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and becoming a staple in clubs and on radio stations. The track’s popularity further solidified the rise of both 2 Chainz and Drake as influential figures in hip hop.

Overall, “No Lie” is a standout collaboration that showcases the talents of 2 Chainz and Drake. Its infectious beat, memorable lyrics, and captivating visuals make it a standout track in the hip hop landscape of 2012.


“Clique” by Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Big Sean

When three powerhouses of hip hop come together on one track, you know you’re in for something special. “Clique” by Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Big Sean is a prime example of a collaboration that exceeds expectations. Released in 2012 as part of Kanye West’s album “Cruel Summer,” this track showcases the immense talent and chemistry of these three rap giants.

The production on “Clique” is dark, atmospheric, and filled with compelling layers. The haunting synths and heavy drums create a captivating backdrop for the artists to deliver their verses. The beat switches seamlessly between verses, adding to the dynamic nature of the track.

Lyrically, each artist brings their unique style and personality to the table. Kanye West delivers confident and boastful lines, showcasing his iconic flow and bravado. Jay-Z’s verses are filled with clever wordplay and introspection, displaying his mastery of the craft. Big Sean’s energetic and charismatic delivery adds a youthful and fresh element to the track.

With lines like “What’s a black Beatle anyway? A fuckin’ roach?” and “Love me or leave me alone, pussy a n**s I’m grown,” “Clique” tackles themes of fame, success, and the challenges that come with it. The artists effortlessly navigate these topics with precision and skill.

The song’s chorus, performed by Big Sean, is catchy and anthemic. The repetition of the word “clique” creates a sense of unity and camaraderie among the artists, emphasizing their bond and dominance in the hip hop scene.

Although “Clique” was never released as an official single, it received significant radio play and became a fan favorite. It highlighted the collaborative strength of Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Big Sean, and further solidified their status as hip hop heavyweights.

Overall, “Clique” is a captivating hip hop track that showcases the immense talent and chemistry of Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Big Sean. Its dark and atmospheric production, clever lyrics, and standout performances make it a memorable addition to the hip hop landscape of 2012.


“F**kin’ Problems” by A$AP Rocky ft. Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar

When it comes to assembling a star-studded lineup, A$AP Rocky hit the mark with “F**kin’ Problems.” Released in 2012, this track features not only A$AP Rocky’s signature smooth flow but also three other heavyweights in the hip hop industry: Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar. The result is a hard-hitting and infectious collaboration that became a massive hit.

The production on “F**kin’ Problems” is catchy and energetic, with a prominent bassline and a memorable sample from Lyn Collins’ “Think (About It).” The beat creates a party atmosphere, setting the stage for the artists to deliver their charismatic verses.

Each artist brings their unique style and lyrical prowess to the track. A$AP Rocky sets the tone with his suave delivery and clever wordplay. Drake provides a melodic contrast with his smooth vocals and introspective rhymes. 2 Chainz injects his signature charisma and braggadocious bars, while Kendrick Lamar showcases his versatility with a rapid-fire flow and thought-provoking lyrics.

The chorus on “F**kin’ Problems” is undeniably catchy, with A$AP Rocky delivering the memorable hook. The repetition of the titular phrase adds to the track’s appeal and makes it a crowd-pleasing anthem in clubs and parties.

Lyrically, “F**kin’ Problems” explores themes of relationships, fame, and the challenges that come with them. Each artist brings their unique perspective to the table, creating a captivating and diverse narrative within the song.

The music video for “F**kin’ Problems” enhances the track’s energetic vibe. Directed by Sam Lecca, the video features flashy visuals and captures the essence of the artists’ larger-than-life personas. It perfectly complements the high-energy nature of the song and adds another layer of enjoyment for fans.

“F**kin’ Problems” achieved significant commercial success, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It became one of the standout tracks from A$AP Rocky’s album “Long. Live. A$AP” and remains a fan-favorite to this day.

In summary, “F**kin’ Problems” is a standout collaboration that brings together A$AP Rocky, Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar in an energetic and infectious hip hop track. Its catchy production, memorable lyrics, and all-star lineup make it a standout hit in 2012’s hip hop landscape.


“Pop That” by French Montana ft. Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne

When it comes to creating a catchy party anthem, “Pop That” by French Montana featuring Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne is a standout track from 2012. This collaboration brings together some of the biggest names in hip hop and delivers a high-energy and infectious banger that dominated the airwaves.

Right from the start, “Pop That” grabs your attention with its attention-grabbing beat and energetic production. The driving bassline, booming drums, and infectious synth melodies create a party-ready atmosphere that sets the stage for French Montana and his collaborators to shine.

Lyrically, “Pop That” celebrates the lavish lifestyle and excesses associated with hip hop culture. French Montana and his fellow rappers deliver braggadocious verses that flaunt their success, money, and status. With lines like “She got a friend, bring another friend, and another friend” and “Make it rain, turn up, Pop That,” the song encourages listeners to let loose and immerse themselves in the party atmosphere.

The addition of Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne to “Pop That” adds to the track’s star power. Each artist brings their unique style and flow, delivering verses that complement the overall vibe of the song. Rick Ross delivers his trademark larger-than-life persona, Drake adds a melodic touch with his smooth vocals, and Lil Wayne brings his distinctive punchlines and wordplay.

The music video for “Pop That” is as flashy and extravagant as the song itself. Directed by Dre Films, the video showcases opulent party scenes, beautiful women, and a sense of grandeur that embodies the song’s theme. It perfectly captures the essence of the hip hop lifestyle and creates a visual spectacle that adds to the song’s appeal.

“Pop That” became a commercial success, peaking at number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and receiving widespread airplay. It served as a breakthrough hit for French Montana and solidified his position in the hip hop industry.

In summary, “Pop That” is a high-energy and infectious hip hop track that brings together French Montana, Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne in a celebration of the lavish lifestyle. With its catchy beat, braggadocious lyrics, and star-studded lineup, “Pop That” leaves a lasting impression in the hip hop landscape of 2012.


“Turn on the Lights” by Future

Released in 2012, “Turn on the Lights” by Future is a standout track that showcases the unique sound and style of the Atlanta rapper. The song, produced by Mike Will Made-It, is a smooth and melodic anthem that captivated listeners with its heartfelt lyrics and infectious hook.

The production on “Turn on the Lights” provides a dreamy and atmospheric backdrop for Future’s introspective lyrics. The mellow synth melodies and minimalist beat perfectly complement his autotuned vocals, creating a hypnotic and emotional experience for the listener.

Lyrically, Future dives into the complexities of love and relationships. The song explores themes of longing, vulnerability, and the desire for emotional connection. Future’s heartfelt delivery and vulnerable lyrics make the track relatable and resonate with listeners.

The chorus, with its memorable line “I wanna turn on the lights for you,” became an anthem of devotion and romance. Future’s ability to capture raw emotions through his words and vocals adds depth and authenticity to the song.

“Turn on the Lights” became a breakout hit for Future, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song’s success propelled Future to wider recognition and solidified his position as a prominent figure in the hip hop and R&B genres.

In addition to its commercial success, “Turn on the Lights” received critical acclaim. It was praised for its production, Future’s unique vocal style, and the emotional depth of the lyrics. The song showcased Future’s ability to craft captivating melodies and infuse them with genuine emotions.

Overall, “Turn on the Lights” is a standout hip hop track that showcases Future’s artistry and ability to connect with listeners on a deeper level. Its dreamy production, heartfelt lyrics, and memorable chorus made it one of the standout songs of 2012.


“R.I.P.” by Young Jeezy ft. 2 Chainz

Released in 2012, “R.I.P.” by Young Jeezy featuring 2 Chainz is a hard-hitting hip hop track that showcases the raw energy and lyrical prowess of both artists. The song’s aggressive production and catchy hooks make it a standout anthem in the genre.

The beat on “R.I.P.” is intense and infectious, featuring heavy drums and a menacing bassline that sets the stage for Young Jeezy and 2 Chainz to deliver their impactful verses. The production gives the song a sense of urgency and drives the listener to vibe along to its energetic rhythm.

Lyrical performances by Young Jeezy and 2 Chainz take center stage on this track. Young Jeezy’s commanding delivery and gritty lyrics paint a vivid picture of street life and overcoming adversity. Meanwhile, 2 Chainz’s unique wordplay and charismatic flow add a dynamic layer to the song.

The chorus of “R.I.P.” is catchy and anthemic, with Young Jeezy proclaiming, “R.I.P., R.I.P., R.I.P. to the competition.” This recurring hook reinforces the song’s powerful and assertive message, emphasizing the dominance of both artists in the hip hop scene.

The collaboration between Young Jeezy and 2 Chainz on “R.I.P.” was well-received by both fans and critics. The track’s high-energy delivery and memorable verses secured its position on the charts and showcased the chemistry between these two influential artists.

With its aggressive production and captivating lyrics, “R.I.P.” became a standout track in 2012’s hip hop landscape. It propelled Young Jeezy and 2 Chainz further into the spotlight and solidified their status as formidable forces in the genre.

In summary, “R.I.P.” is a powerful and energetic hip hop track that showcases the raw talent of Young Jeezy and 2 Chainz. Its aggressive production, catchy hooks, and impactful lyrics make it a standout anthem in the hip hop scene of 2012.


“B**ch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Kendrick Lamar

Released in 2012, “B**ch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” is a standout track by Kendrick Lamar that showcases his lyrical prowess and introspective storytelling. This song is a powerful and thought-provoking anthem that explores themes of resilience, identity, and the impact of negativity on one’s creative spirit.

The production on “B**ch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” is minimalist and atmospheric, allowing Kendrick’s lyrics to take center stage. The ethereal melodies and subdued beat create a contemplative backdrop that perfectly suits the introspective nature of the track.

Lyrically, Kendrick Lamar displays his mastery of storytelling as he reflects on his rise to fame and the challenges that come with success. He delves into his personal journey and the impact of external influences, urging listeners to preserve their creative energy and protect their inner peace.

The chorus, with its repetitive and catchy line “B**ch, don’t kill my vibe,” becomes a powerful mantra, resonating with individuals who strive to maintain their focus and positivity in the face of adversity.

“B**ch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” received critical acclaim for its introspective lyrics and Kendrick Lamar’s captivating delivery. It became a defining song in his discography and showcased his ability to tackle complex themes while maintaining accessibility and relatability.

Furthermore, the track’s success helped solidify Kendrick Lamar as one of the most influential voices in hip hop. It climbed the charts, received significant airplay, and became an anthem for those navigating their own personal struggles and striving for self-empowerment.

“B**ch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” is a testament to Kendrick Lamar’s artistry and ability to create impactful music with a meaningful message. Its introspective lyrics, atmospheric production, and resonant themes continue to make it a standout track in hip hop, reminding listeners of the importance of staying true to oneself and protecting their artistic vision.



As we reflect on the best hip hop songs of 2012, it becomes clear that this was a remarkable year for the genre. From hard-hitting anthems to introspective tracks, these songs showcased the diversity and creativity within hip hop and left a lasting impact on both the charts and the culture at large.

We explored a range of tracks that exemplified the talent and chemistry of the artists involved. “Mercy” brought together Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz, delivering a hard-hitting collaboration filled with memorable lines. Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” captivated listeners with its introspective lyrics about peer pressure and alcohol abuse.

“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz introduced a playful and nostalgic vibe, celebrating the joys of thrift shopping while critiquing materialism. “No Lie” united 2 Chainz and Drake in a hard-hitting track that showcased their lyrical prowess and chemistry.

The star-studded lineup of Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Big Sean on “Clique” delivered a captivating display of their talents and dominance within the genre. “F**kin’ Problems” brought together A$AP Rocky, Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar, resulting in a high-energy collaboration that showcased their diverse styles and flows.

“Pop That” by French Montana featuring Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne became a party anthem with its catchy hooks and lavish lyrics. Future’s “Turn on the Lights” displayed his unique sound and emotional depth, captivating listeners with its melodic and introspective vibes. Finally, Kendrick Lamar’s “B**ch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” showcased his mastery of lyrical storytelling and became an anthem for self-preservation and creative empowerment.

These songs represented the best of hip hop in 2012, cultivating memorable experiences for listeners and solidifying the artists’ positions within the genre. The combination of stellar production, clever wordplay, and meaningful themes made each track stand out in its own right.

As the years go by, these songs continue to resonate with fans and serve as a reminder of the talent, creativity, and impact of hip hop music. They represent a snapshot of a year filled with remarkable artistry and cultural significance. And with that, we eagerly anticipate the future of hip hop and the new wave of iconic songs it will bring.

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