Led by the early release of their third album, RTJ3 , Run the Jewels set the standard for a politically explosive year in hip-hop. Throughout the first half of , the genre has lived up to the mandate as the musical force most likely to stick it to the new administration in America. On top of that, has already marked releases from the three biggest names in hip-hop. Amid a dazzling year, these are the best hip-hop songs of so far. There's something so fascinating with what Frank Ocean does rhythmically here. But the way that his voice comes and goes and pulses in and out and stretches at its own whim, cutting himself off and crescendoing at unexpected moments, he pivots what could could be a simple song into something that's challenging for reasons you can't quite put your finger on. What begins as a vivid description of the dying embers of a party becomes a splendid confessional.
Looking for a common thread for the best rap songs of , it almost seems more daunting than it really is. There is tremendous diversity there, so much so that it seems almost like they have nothing in common. But if you look just a hair closer, you start to see it. If his sometimes growling melodies can turn into subversive riot starters at his live shows, they can have the reverse effect when listening by yourself. All flexes. Flexing is all he wants to do now. Meek even tossed in some extra bars for Drake for the extended, radio edit of the track on the clean version of Wins And Losses.
When the going gets tough, the art gets even better. Here, 20 of the year's baddest and boujeest rap songs. We emphasize: "of BUY IT. On the other hand, we've got this other runaway hit that sent the year-old soaring all the way to the top of the charts. An anthem for women hustling everywhere. For anyone who still thinks rap is just about pills and private planes, here's a critique of international politics that's dividing audiences—but also getting them talking. Total K. Still listening in October, mostly because of that hook with Swae Lee.
If there's one thing that we learned in , it's that hip-hop is definitely in good hands, courtesy of so many young and hungry stars. The beautiful thing about all the records that made tremors this year were the stark differences in sounds and content. Detroit MC, Tee Grizzley , won the streets over with his honesty and grit, while Lil Uzi Vert grabbed the minds of hapless teenagers grappling with their adolescence.