Now that we’ve closed the book on 2012, we can speak with (a little) more perspective on what it all meant–musically at least. In the world of music as in real life, 2012 was in some ways not as earth-shattering as its predecessor. Yet it was a year in which earth-shattering potential was realized. Specifically the rookies of the millenium–Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, Gary Clark Jr., A$AP Rocky and The Weeknd, to name a few–all delivered complete, mature albums which equaled or outshone the flares sent up by their 2011 mixtape jams and one-offs. Bobby Womack and D’Angelo came out of retirement while Cody ChesnuTT came back out of nowhere. NaS decisively broke the curse of Illmatic‘s blessings after almost a decade and Kanye West made his mostly-theoretical label imprint into a road-ready vehicle for music that was actually good (meaning G.O.O.D., not BAD 25). Alla which is to say that while 2011 may have entered the names of more new artists into the roll-call of musical greatness, 2012 almost certainly added more jams to the canon of classic jams. And this list here is where we separate the peaks from the obsoletes–otherwise known as Okayplayer’s Top 12 Songs of 2012.