The 37 Best Popular Dubstep Tracks of 2011 [Best of 2011 Series]

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2011 saw the rise of a new sound in popular music, much to the consternation of long-time 2-step and garage fans familiar with the darker, deeper, sparser sounds of dubstep circa 2007. While the masses called it (and Skrillex, Datsik, Feed Me, Zeds Dead, Flux Pavilion, Knife Party, and so many other stars of 2011) dubstep, these ‘purists’ insisted that the kids should get off their lawn. Or at least call it electro-dubstep.

Whatever you want to call these tracks, popular will suffice. These are the biggest, baddest, grittiest, dirtiest, filthiest and most importantly, widely listened to, dubstep tracks of 2011. Wherever you went in North America, be it festival, 500+ person dubstep night, or frat party, you heard these songs at some point.

Ranking them was a monumental task, and while I had my selection compiled by early December, I have fretted and waited til today to publish for one simple reason – it’s hard as hell to do, and totally subjective. And by subjectivity I don’t even mean “your order or selection would be different”; my tastes change, and my selection criteria even for this particular list has changed a number of times.


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2011, the year of bass, in one easy-to-digest mix

To celebrate the completion of this monumental list, I’ve put together a mini mix with the year’s finest electro-dubstep, moombahcore, and moombahsoul!

(right click to download)
Cal - Year of Bass

Tracklist:
Nero – Promises (Skrillex & Nero Remix)
Zeds Dead & The Killabits – Bassmentality (Original Mix)
Dillon Francis – Beautician
Dillon Francis – Beautician 2.0
Diplo & Dillon Francis – Que Que feat. Maluca (Torro Torro Remix)
Dillon Francis – Brazzers Theme (Munchi Remix)
Feed Me – Pink Lady
Porter Robinson – Unison (Knife Party Remix)
Munchi – Hope
Jeremy Glenn – New Life (Torro Torro Remix)
Toddla T – Take it Back (Dillon Francis Remix)
Emalkay – When I Look at You (Heartbreak Remix)
Emalkay – When I Look at You
Trolley Snatcha – Rocco’s Revenge
Zeds Dead ft. Omar Linx – Rude Boy (Original Mix)
Knife Party – Fire Hive
Giant – Party Starter

I also suggest you check out my most popular mix ever, Summer of Dubstep, which is comprised almost wholly by tracks from this very list (aka the most popular dubstep of the year).

 

37. Zomboy – Organ Donor

When I talked to Skrillex at EDC this year about Zomboy he said “I KNOW he sampled me” How? “…I just know”.

Zomboy - Organ Donor.mp3

 

36. Modestep – Sunlight (Jacob Plant Remix)

Jacob Plant has all the ingredients to have a big 2012 – solid production and interesting use of vocals, plus the backing of some serious heads in the business.

Modestep - Sunlight (Jacob Plant Remix)

 

35. Xilent – Choose Me II

Same story as Jacob Planet. Watch for him in 2012.

Xilent - Choose Me II

 

34. Bare Noize – Twilight Zone

My friend in LA remarked a few weeks ago “Why play Skrillex? His sound is his.. if you like it, at least do something new and throw down some Bare Noize”.

Bare Noize - Twilight Zone

 

33. Thrice – Broken Lungs (Adventure Club Remix)

Big productions and bigger gigs for AC in 2011.. can’t wait to see what 2012 holds in store for my fellow Canucks.

Thrice - Broken Lungs (Adventure Club Remix)

 

32. Doctor P – Watch Out

Circus was unstoppable this year. The focus was on Skrillex in North America, but Nero’s album was a drop in the UK bucket where Circus made waves.

Doctor P - Watch Out

 

31. InContext – Just Believe (Skrillex Remix)

Debuted at EDC this year, Dallas if I recall correctly. I heard it first at EDC Vegas, as Skrillex’s opening track.

InContext - Just Believe (Skrillex Remix)

 

30. Foreign Beggars ft. Noisia – Contact (Trolley Snatcha Remix)

One of my favourite tracks from the Summer of Dubstep mix I dropped this year.

Foreign Beggars ft Noisia - Contact (Trolley Snatcha Rmx) (Never Say Die)

 

29. 12th Planet + Plastician – Westside Dub

Are these guys officially OG status yet or what? Huge collabo at the intersection of LA bass and UK dub.

12th Planet + Plastician - Westside Dub (Original Mix)

 

28. Foreign Beggars ft. Skrillex – Still Gettin’ It

Unforgettable hook “10 years in the game, still gettin’ it!” Wish I had seen these guys on the Mothership Tour.

Foreign Beggars - Still Getting It ft. Skrillex

 

27. Chase & Status – Time (Queensway)

Chase & Status proved they didn’t have to make festival tracks to have success in the 2011 dubstep arena.

Chase and Status - Time (Queensway)

 

26. Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Phonat Remix)

Most innovative remix of this track by far. No surprise – Phonat is an incredible musician!

Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Phonat Remix)

 

25. Jason Falkner – Only You (Zeds Dead Remix)

Everything Zeds Dead touched this year turned to gold.

Jason Falkner - Only You (Zeds Dead Remix)

 

24. Noisia – Gutterpump (Matta Remix)

One of the lesser known, yet biggest tracks (crowd response wise) in my 2011 dubstep dj sets.

Noisia - Gutterpump (Matta remix)

 

23. Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend (Feed Me Remix)

A thousand remixes of Robyn in 2011, and Feed Me had the best. I can’t believe how far this guy has come with his bass in 2011.

Robyn - Call Your Girlfriend (Feed Me Remix)

 

22. Noisia – Tommy’s Theme

Best sample of the year, hands down.

Noisia - Tommys Theme (Original Mix)

 

21. Jakwob – Right Beside You (VIP)

Another favourite from my Summer of Dubstep mix.

Jakwob - Right Beside You (Jakwob V.I.P. Mix)

 

20. Flux Pavilion – Bass Cannon

One of the most recognizable Circus jams of the year.

Flux Pavilion - Bass Cannon

 

19. RacknRuin feat. Janai + Illaman – Dazed & Confused (SKiSM’s Baroque Out Remix)

Love the classical feel of this track.. similar appeal as Wolfgang’s Symphony.

RacknRuin feat. Janai + Illaman - Dazed and Confused (SKiSMs Baroque Out Remix)

 

18. Skrillex – First of the Year (Equinox)

Up for a Grammy, for best short video.

Skrillex - First of the Year (Equinox)

 

17. Trolley Snatcha – Rocco’s Revenge

A late addition to my set that is pure fire.

Trolley Snatcha - Roccos Revenge

 

16. Blue Foundation – Eyes On Fire (Zeds Dead Remix VIP)

Bar none, the biggest VIP of the year. The original remix was sick and these guys managed to let their audience experience the track for the first time again, at a live show with a swelling + crazed audience. Dizzying drops.

Blue Foundation - Eyes On Fire (Zeds Dead Remix VIP)

 

15. Rusko – Everyday

Not sure if this one was on the radar in North America, but it was huge. Crowd reaction to this track in Rusko’s dj sets was crazy!

Rusko - Everyday

 

14. Cassius – I 3 U So (Skream Remix)

Skream mastered this classic.

Cassius - I 3 U So (Skream Remix)

 

13. Nero – Me & You (Original Mix)

One of the most epic tracks of the year. Possibly the epic-est.

Nero - Me and You (Original Mix)

 

12. Zeds Dead – Rude Boy feat. Omar LinX

Most innovative track of the year, sick rap, and the energy in dj sets was unstoppable. Anthem.

Zeds Dead - Rude Boy feat. Omar LinX

 

11. DJ Fresh – Louder (Feat. Sian Evans) (Flux Pavilion And Doctor P Remix)

The climbing bass noise at the beginning is bigger than 100 reggae horns. The biggest Circus jam of the year by far. Flux and Doc P nailed it. Anthem.

DJ Fresh - Louder (Feat. Sian Evans) (Flux Pavillion And Doctor P Remix)

 

10. Benny Benassi Feat. Gary Go – Cinema (Skrillex Remix)


The most recognizable anthem of the year. Nuff said.

Benny Benassi Feat. Gary Go - Cinema (Skrillex Remix)

 

9. Feed Me – Strange Behaviour ft Tasha Baxter (Original Mix)


Somewhere between mid and up-tempo, this song’s climbing vocals, incredible dynamic range, and enormous winding drops make it one of my favourite tracks of the year, and the opening track off my Summer of Dubstep mix.

Feed Me - Strange Behaviour ft Tasha Baxter (Original Mix)

 

8. Skrillex – Ruffneck (FULL Flex)


While the Cinema remix converted the masses, for the initiated this was the real Skrillex anthem at this summer’s festivals.

Skrillex - Ruffneck (FULL Flex)

 

7. Bare & Datsik – King Kong


These guys managed to nail this collabo somewhere between the popular modern talking sound of this year and the too-grimy chainsaw sound of yesteryear. I dropped this in literally every dubstep set I played in 2011. I saw Datsik drop this on the third day of Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, and I can say definitively I saw fewer than five crowd reactions as powerful all year.

Bare and Datsik - King Kong

 

6. Knife Party – Fire Hive


Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen are coming in for a takeover in 2012, and their we can do it better attitude has secured them a place in all the big festivals. You’ll see them first at Ultra in Miami, and that’s just the beginning.

Knife Party - Fire Hive

 

5. Giant – Party Starter


The biggest track that no one knew. Rusko dropped it in almost every set he did this year, as did I. No wonder, it sounds like classic Rusko. Watch for this Russian trio in 2012.

Giant - Party Starter

 

4. Dillon Francis – Beautician


Dillon Francis is one of the best AND most important artists of 2012 for having several of the biggest tracks, for being at the forefront, and contributing to the maturation, of a nascent genre (moombahton), and for having one of the best/only online personalities. I have a hard time deciding if I like 1.0 or 2.0 better. Fortunately I don’t have to decide in this article.

Dillon Francis - Beautician

 

3. Deadmau5 – Raise Your Weapon (Noisia Remix)


One of the most beautiful tracks of the year with an incredible flip by Noisia. These guys are a rare and truly talented group of musicians. If you are afforded the opportunity, see them live.

Deadmau5 - Raise Your Weapon (Noisia Remix)

 

2. Nero – Promises (Skrillex & Nero Remix)


The biggest collaboration of the year. A combination of the most epic vocals, from the UK kings of epic bass music, with the grimy modern talking bass sound that propelled dubstep and Skrillex to the mainstream (and the Grammys) in 2011. Just think of how many people this track converted.. nuts.

Nero - Promises (Skrillex and Nero Remix)

 

1. Zeds Dead + The Killabits – Bassmentality

The holy trinity of excellent percussion, non-derivative synths, and high production values were hard to find in dubstep in 2011. No surprise though, that these four extremely talented musicians would get it done. Bassmentality is many things – the two duos’ most popular collaboration, one of the biggest dubstep anthems of the year, the namesake of the weekly party they founded in Toronto, and a description of the rise of popular dubstep in 2011, and the disposition of its new fans.

Kudos to these gentlemen for making one of the finest tracks of the year – a gem, and a true classic!

Zeds Dead + The Killabits - Bassmentality (Original Mix)

 

Your Turn: What were your favourite dubstep tracks of the year?

 

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