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Keeping it on the smooth tip, Swizz Beatz wraps up his Monster Mondays with a new joint from wifey, Alicia Keys. This one is called Speechless ft Eve and it rides that Devil in a New Dress beat from Kanye’s album. Hotness.

Click here to download.  If you missed any of Swizz Beatz’ excellent Monster Mondays, click here for a great recap from

Vado and Raheem DeVaughn make some gangsta Quiet Storm hip-hop with It’s You. Check it out.

This one is surprisingly dope.  Vado and Raheem mesh much better than you would expect.

Click here to download.  It’s a fine line between corny and laid back, but when a hip-hip ballad is done properly it’s a good look.  Here are a few others that have straddled the line well:

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You heard how Asher Roth and Nottz get down on Dontcha Wanna Be (My Neighbor). Now check out how they rock the mixtape.

If you missed, Dontcha Wanna Be (My Neighbor), it was on the criminally slept on Nottz album You Need This Music. Click here to download the mixtape and listen below:

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Is 50 Cent done as a rapper? Not if you listen to his new song Sunday Morning.

It’s not vintage 50, but it’s still worth a listen (or a few).

Click here to download.

Respect your roots. Hip-hop was built on jazz, soul and FUNK. Tonight hip-hop lost funk legend Teena Marie.

Teena Marie: 1956 – 2010. There will be many tributes to Ms. Marie, who was known to bring the funk both solo and with her longtime partner in crime, Rick James, but tonight we will let the music do the talking. Tonight, we celebrate Lady Tee:

Behind the Groove

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Square Biz

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Fire and Desire

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And, of course, her classic Ooh La La La

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…which spawned these hip-hop classics:

The Fugees – Fugee-La (the sample starts at 1:07):

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Grand Puba – Fat Rat (the sample starts at 1:32):

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Props to for the sample info.

10 reasons why 2010 was the best year ever in hip-hop: #5 Big pimpin’…there’s a lot of big money talk in hip-hop but in 2010 the money did the talking.

Why is it not a surprise that Jay-Z is all over this one? Jay-Z has been talking about Dead Presidents ever since Reasonable Doubt in 1996 and his relentless pursuit of C.R.E.A.M. has been documented thoroughly on every album. In 2010, he was associated with some major firsts for hip-hop and was (again) at the vanguard for advancing the levels of wealth and power achievable through the culture:

1. Forbes Magazine – On the 2010 edition of the Forbes 400 issue, Jay-Z became the first rapper to ever grace the cover of the venerable magazine which has come to be synonymous with wealth and power. As a further symbol of the heights to which hip-hop has ascended, he was accompanied by Warren Buffet, the 3rd wealthiest person in the world (at an estimated net worth of $47 Billion). Jay is not there (yet), but in that Forbes 400 issue, he was estimated to be worth a cool Billion by 2015, putting him on track to be hip-hop’s first billionaire. Check out the conversation between Jay-Z and Buffet here and click the pic above to read the article:

2. Decoded – The Forbes Billionaires (and soon-to-be billionaires) list wasn’t the only list Jay-Z graced for the first time in 2010. He launched a state of the art marketing plan for his semi-autobiographical book Decoded, in which he deciphered some of his most famous lyrics. It included a global scavenger hunt for pages of the book. The result? He became the first rapper to have a book debut on the New York Times Best Seller list, landing at #3.

3. Home and Home Tour – 4 nights, $15 million. Nuff said. The per night average of $3.75 million was BY FAR the highest per show average in hip-hop history and was only topped by 1 act (Metallica) in 2010. That’s BIG, pimpin’.

Click here for more reasons why 2010 was the best year ever in hip-hop.