50 Best Singles of 2011


Jay-Z and Kanye West, 'Ni**as in Paris'

jay-z kanye west
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The year's most intense throwdown – minimalist thunder pegged to a tweedling synth line that seemed to taunt potential haters. The lyrics are full of opulence ("gold bottles" rhymes with "scold models"), but this is no breezy highlife jam: Kanye barks about wilding out in France, while Jay imagines the dark fate that could have awaited him had he not become Jay-Z.

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