How do you define “the best”? Songs you listen to the most because they’re good or songs with the most critical acclaim because they tell you something you need to hear? Qualifiers of being the plateau in any particular thing will come with a few wide eyed glances, a couple shots here and there but that’s the beauty of lists – they’re made purely for discussion purposes.

Earlier this week, two of Day & A Dream’s younger members came up with their ten favorite songs of 2011 so far (click here for Part One & here for Part Two). Now as the OG (or that dude who clogs your timelines up with link after link, I have no shame) prepares his, it’s only another addition into a long and somewhat trying year for records in general. Highs, lows and in betweens . So here’s the last of our lists – and mine went 26 songs deep. Without further adieu…

26. Common – Ghetto Dreams (f. Nas) – Decades in the making, Lonnie & Nasir come to make beautiful music together. | Download

25. Yung Truth – Money By The Ton (f. KAB Tha Don & Lil Jeff) – By all means Yung Truth remains one of the oddest things about the Houston scene, since he’s closer to 30 than most and kinda sounds like Bun B. Regardless, he reached to a Monster and a rapper who was Dallas enough to make From The Dirt a solid tape. | Download

24. A.Dd+ – Sober (f. Dustin Cavazos) – By following it up with DJ Sober’s “I’m So Dallas” mix, the Dallas duo along with Cavazos bridge the gap between 1996 Atlanta and 2011 D-Town reality. | Download

23. Rockwell Knuckles – Silly Human – True, Rocky’s mashup of Rick James & Fat Pat dropped somewhere in 2010 but it reappeared louder and more in your face this year when it found itself as a staple on You’re F*cking Out, I’m F*cking In. | Download

22. hasHBrown – Forgive Me Not – When they finish writing about obscure love/hate songs in 2011, hasH’s EP will be featured somewhere and this it’s crown jewel. | Download

21. Dante Higgins – H.A.M. (f. Doughbeezy) – It’s better than Kanye & Jay’s original, so much so that I could be one of the most quoted Higgins songs out (and there are plenty) and it’s the song that immediately made Twitter pay attention to Doughbeezy. | Download

20. Wiz Khalifa – Phone Numbers (f. Trae Tha Truth & Big Sean) Rolling Papers probably left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth but the freebie that was Cabin Fever got plenty of people thankful for Wiz’s mixtape glory. While the topic is still money (and old girls for Khalifa), the double time verse from Houston’s own Tha Truth & Sean Anderson made for a hell of an opener. | Download

19. SBTRKT – Wildfire (f. Little Dragon) – The masked producer from the UK with the disemvoweled name and one of indie pop’s darlings made a hell of a team with its electro mix of dub step and soulful vocals. | Download

18. Ace Hood – Hustle Hard [Remix] (f. Rick Ross & Lil Wayne) – Lex Luger tried to find magic beyond his “B.M.F.” creation and Ace Hood became the unlikely supplier of radio listeners stuttering out “Hustle”. A win for Ace indeed. | Download

17. Outasight – Losing My Mind – When it first arrived, a friend of mine was thankful I caught onto the Outasight train. There was a healthy clash of singing, rapping and melody all of which make the NYC artist a worthy inclusion to the list.| Download

16. Forte Bowie – Decatur (f. Aleon Craft) – Watching Bowie grow as an obscure artist from Atlanta to regional buzzmaker has been a joy, not to mention finding his biggest hit from Something About #Bowie came from a dude who resides on the Mothership Dectaur. | Download

15. Nas – Nasty – What exactly do you need to give Nas to have him come out of relative hiding with a verbal middle finger to the critics saying he fell off? Apparently a dusty beat and a chip on his shoulder. | Download

14. James Blake – Limit To Your Love – The current king of dubstep let a piano and some serious bass set the stage for his self titled LP. It rises through his vocals and then dips heavily once he’s off the keys for a second. Like a high really.

13. Curren$y – Scottie Pippen (f. Freddie Gibbs) – Obviously when you get Spitta, you’re going to have at least four projects before the Fall comes. Luckily for us, Spitta’s comfort zone this year included trading bars on Alchemist production with Gangsta Gibbs. | Download

12. Frank Ocean – Novacane – When it was released in March, it was the first single we told everyone to listen to from the Odd Future affiliate. Now it’s made its way onto radio as the oddest song about love and drugs considering that everybody else in R&B just wants to f*ck. | Download

11. Stalley – Slapp – The working class man from Massolin not only gave a hell of a show at SXSW, he also gave something funky to ride to. Rashad’s singing on the chorus is addictive and implementation of the Beastie Boys made whips knock some groovy Intelligent Trunk Music. | Watch

10. Dom Kennedy – Graduate – The Cali native went from Lemiert Park Legend to OG on the end of From The Westside, With Love II putting together arguably its most polished and needed track. | Buy

09. Delo – Khloe (f. Jack Freeman) – The Houston native gets a little deeper than most on this ode to his daughter, telling the sort of story that makes you want to hold your little girl (if you have one) tighter with every breath. | Download

08. Pulled Over By The Cops – Authority – Here’s what you need to know about this supergroup: it features Bun B, The Cool Kids, Chip Tha Ripper & Freddie Gibbs. It’s lone offering so far in 2011 made bloggers began picking and digging the infamous “Can You Give Us More” topic from its coffin. Chuck Inglish line about his record being cleaner than your grandmother’s house is still a gem. | Download

07. DJ Khaled – I’m On One (f. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne) – It’s the song of the summer, a Khaled track that features him at his most minimalist and Drake at his most braggadocios (not counting “Dreams Money Can Buy”). I still have no earthly idea what vacation even smells like some three months after the song dropped. | Download

06. AWOLNATION – Sail – Heavy synths and drums accompany Aaron Bruno’s scratchy vocals about blaming everything on attention deficit disorder. The piano following all of that chaos is probably what balances this thing out, much like Ritalin.

05. Big K.R.I.T. – The Vent – There is no chorus but only raw emotion from the Mississippi native, so much emotion that you may find yourself starring at your speakers in disbelief that you heard such a thing. K.R.I.T. did his best to make sure you remember the Return of 4eva and I can’t complain one damn bit about it. | Download

04. The Weekend – What You Need – Obviously this song could be interchanged with a number of tracks from House of Balloons but this one stuck from its opening Aaliyah riff to a hypnotizing sort of audible seduction from the Toronto group. | Download

03. Zo! & Phonte – Return Of The Mack – If you can sit through numerous runarounds of Rick Ross doing the same thing over various forms of production then you can live with these two soul brothers giving Mark Morrison some newfound rub. As well as a little Geto Boys for good measure. | Download

02. Tyler, the Creator – Yonkers – On the wee hours of the morning in February, when the buzz was still slightly miniscule to a degree – Tyler, the Creator hopped on Jimmy Fallon’s back after performing “Sandwitches” with Hodgy Beats. Then the world discovered the “Yonkers” video and sh*t changed for Tyler & his crew. Guttural drums and macabre storytelling about stabbing Bruno Mars and making Stevie Wonder the second coming of Jerry Rice made Tyler’s loudest commercial salvo enough to be hip-hop’s most wanted figure in 2011. | Buy

01. Kendrick Lamar – HiiiPoWeR – In the span of four minutes and thirty nine seconds, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole combine to create the most stirring record of the year so far. There’s Kendrick, half prophetic and militaristic with chants towards the legacy black political figures and then there’s Cole’s production, sparse strings, nailed drums and eerie Monk-like hymns. When Lamar echoes “Thug Life” at the very end, all that’s left is silence and a yearning for more. | Download