Lil Wayne’s ‘A Milli’ And More Top Hip-Hop Songs Of 2008; 50 Cent Pledges Loyalty To Eminem: Mixtape Monday

Plus: T.I. doesn't plan to make another 'Swing Ya Rag' video.

Family and friends, we’ve had a beautiful 2008. The year is almost over, and when you see what we’re bringing to the table in ’09, you’ll be proud and entertained.

But before we get to next year, let’s reflect a little on the last 350-plus days. A lot of MCs stepped up with quality material, and, wow, so many records floated around that disintegrated the dance floor, straight disrespected the speakers in your car and just about ignited your iPod. Our usual suppliers (Weezy, Jeezy, Rick Ross, Hova, ‘Ye, Fif, Tip) delivered crack music, while new connects (Mr. L.O., Maino and even overseas princess M.I.A.) dropped off face-numbing product.

We sat back, consumed everything and came up with a list to reward the best of the best — choosing from songs that were commercially released as singles and had videos. Tell us in the comment section what we got right and who we omitted. Next week, we’ll be handing out our own year-end awards and naming the top mixtapes of 2008. (And, of course, we’re still bringing you Streets Is Talking news below.)

28 In ’08: Commercially Released Hip-Hop Singles

1. Lil Wayne – “A Milli”
2. Kanye West – “Flashing Lights”
3. Shawty Lo – “Dunn Dunn”
4. M.I.A. – “Paper Planes”
5. Fat Joe (featuring J. Holiday) – “I Won’t Tell”
6. T.I. (featuring Rihanna) – “Live Your Life”
7. Lil Wayne – “Lollipop”
8. Snoop Dogg – “Sexual Eruption”
9. Young Jeezy (featuring Nas) – “My President”
10. Rick Ross (featuring T-Pain) – “The Boss”
11. Plies (featuring Ne-Yo) – “Bust It Baby Pt. 2″
12. The Game (featuring Keyshia Cole) – “Game’s Pain”
13. Young Jeezy (featuring Kanye West) – “Put On”
14. David Banner (featuring Chris Brown and Young Joc) – “Get Like Me”
15. Maino – “Hi Hater”
16. Shawty Lo – “Foolish”
17. Rick Ross (featuring Nelly) – “Here I Am”
18. T.I. – “Whatever You Like”
19. Lil Wayne (featuring T-Pain) – “Got Money”
20. The G-Unit – “Rider Pt. 2″
21. Busta Rhymes – “Don’t Touch Me”
22. Lupe Fiasco – “Hip-Hop Saved My Life”
23. Jay-Z – “I Know”
24. Kanye West – “Heartless”
25. Lil Wayne (featuring Bobby Valentino) – “Mrs. Officer”
26. Red Cafe (featuring Fabolous, Fat Joe and Jadakiss) – “Paper Touching” remix
27. Ron Browz and Jim Jones (featuring Juelz Santana) – “Pop Champagne”
28. Busta Rhymes (featuring Ron Browz) – “Arab Money”

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

As the February 4 release date of his Before I Self Destruct nears, the possibility of 50 Cent leaving the Shady/Aftermath/Interscope fold is becoming more of a reality. Still, even if his business relationship with Eminem comes to a halt with failed renegotiations, Fif said Curtis Jackson and Marshall Mathers will always be friends.

“I’m a loyal person. I’ll always be down with Em, regardless to what the scenario is,” 50 explained recently in London while talking to MTV UK. “My album requirements will actually be done, and it’ll be time to renegotiate. So if things work out, I’ll end up staying with Em and Aftermath/Interscope. If the negotiation doesn’t go right, then I’ll go elsewhere. It won’t change our relationship, because Em’s so rich it doesn’t matter. That’s why he’ll just take off for two or three years, and you don’t hear nothing or see nothing from him and then he comes back, because he can afford to do that.”

At the end of his video for “Get Up,” 50 pays tribute to Em and Dr. Dre, showing their images in the lab coats from the “In Da Club” clip. The two were supposed to be frozen in the futuristic clip.

“The actual music video [for 'Get Up'] took place within the same place I started, and it actually makes perfect sense for my album to release at the time period it’s going to release,” he explained. “If you remember correctly, I released Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ in February 2003, and [Before I Self Destruct] is actually my final album requirement, so I’m finishing exactly where I started. The music video was me going back to the very beginning again and back to the things that people appreciate me for initially. I was able to capture things from a perspective that they could embrace from me, because they knew that I actually had prior experiences going through different portions of my actual life. So I went back to some of the things that I’ve experienced that haven’t been so pleasurable.” …

OK, we can stop asking. T.I. said he’s not shooting a different video for “Swing Ya Rag,” and he’s not releasing the one he has in the can. A few months ago, you remember Tip revealed to us exclusively that the anticipated clip had been relegated to the vaults because Gucci and Louis Vuitton protested having their products shown.

“We spoke to them,” Tip said. “The video, it’s done. But I guess it’s one of those corporate things where they don’t wanna be associated or affiliated with a certain type of brand. A T.I. video ain’t the best look in their eyes right now. No harsh feelings. At the end of the day, it’s gonna be a time when somebody is gonna have to sit at my table, and we gonna have the same type of conversations. It might be something as simple as just a party or endorsement. One thing is, the world goes around and comes back. I can take it when it’s my turn.”

For other artists featured in Mixtape Monday, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.