Artist: Royce da 5'9" Track: "Gorilla Pimp" Album: The Bar Exam Listen

Royce's 2007 mixtape was suggested to me by a friend, and I've been listening to it in advance of my year-end best-of music lists. Overall, it's a solid mixtape, with production by DJ Premier, who's usually reliable in these situations.

Nothing jumped out at me immediately, but Royce seems like the kind of dude who has the stamina to produce rhymes over an extended project. Not among my very top hip-hop favorites this year, but quality stuff nonetheless.