We are down to the final two lists. All the glory of #ListWeek has nearly come to an end, but I’ve saved the best for last! This evening we shall go through the top tracks that 2018 had to offer. From moving ballads of memories passed to upbeat funk anthems, we are now about to enter the creme of the crop…
– Benny P
30) Millyz & Statik Selektah x Jadakiss – ‘Let it Go‘
Milly leveled up in unprecedented ways in 2018. He dropped two great projects, one with fellow New England star Statik Selektah. This track is the lead single from their collab effort and it’s as clean as an East Coast collab gets. Verses are pristine, production is elegant and the energy is right. Boston should be proud of this one.
29) Blueprint – ‘Masterpiece‘
Some of the grandest storytelling I heard this past year is featured on this performance. First of all, the instrumental alone will sooth all anxieties on your mind. Add pure poetry to that and Blueprint put out a masterpiece (pun intended). A true veteran.
28) Brother Ali – ‘Sensitive‘
Let’s keep it in the Rhymesayers camp. Brother Ali only dropped one song in 2018 and it was an excellent one. ‘Sensitive’ is that classic earnest rap sound that Ali is known for putting out, but with an ERYKAH BADU SAMPLE on the hook!! That’s all you need to know. Infinite love for this MC.
27) Childish Gambino – ‘This is America‘
Music video of the year? Think it may just might be. Regardless this is one of the most ambitious joints Glover has ever dropped. It’s all over the place sonically, Gambino kills the vocals, and instrumental was both menacing and joyous. I can’t forget the adlibs too! A defining moment from this current rap era…everybody remembers where they were first time they heard this.
26) Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Eclipse‘
Out of all the gorgeous music showcased on Some Rap Songs, I have to give ‘Eclipse’ the crown as my choice cut. The instrumental destroys me for some reason. I want to cry tears of joy and shame and I can’t describe it. Earl’s delivery and bars are 11/10 too. 94 seconds of power.
25) Domo Genesis – ‘Hood Famous‘
Doms had a big year, even though I think he fell a little under the radar. He dropped two ill EPs, with this standing out as my favorite song of his from 2018. Pure bars from the soul over a fantastic piano. Gotta shoutout Evidence on the beat. Weatherman did his thing!
24) Chance the Rapper – ‘The Man Who Has Everything‘
Out of all the fresh loosies Chano released in 2018, I was most enthralled by this performance. “Trying to turn confederate flags into confetti strings” gotta be one of the lines of the year. Chipmunk soul steals my heart every time.
23) DJ Muggs x MF DOOM x Freddie Gibbs – ‘Death Wish‘
We are now entering the DJ Muggs portion of the list. The West Coast legend and Cypress Hill liaison set 2018 on fire, just take a look at this collab. It’s got freaking DOOM AND Gibbs on it! Hey that reminds me….anyone think we’re getting a DOOM feature on Bandaña? Fingers crossed.
22) DJ Muggs x Roc Marciano – ‘Shit I’m On‘
Cleanest piano you heard all year. Roc Marci and DJ Muggs is one of those matches made in rap heaven that I would have never thought of. Authentic, polished street hip hop. KAOS front to back is dope…these two each had MONSTER 2018s. Have to give them their flowers now while they can still smell them.
21) J.I.D. x Joey Bada$$ x Method Man – ‘Hot Box‘
Look at this track on paper. You got one of the game’s hottest MCs in J.I.D, young veteran and trendsetter Joey Bada$$, AND a stupid good guest spot from Method Man himself. One of those collabs that sounded classic right upon first listen. Will age well.
20) 9th Wonder x Rapsody x J. Cole – ‘Sojourner‘
Yet another Cole track featured on these lists. Almost felt like he cloned himself….he was everywhere in 2018. He and Rapsody dropped straight knowledge and poetry on this joint, big props to 9th’s instrumental. Those vocal samples are straight from the celestials. Jamla!
19) Smino – ‘L.M.F.‘
Smino + Sango = success every time. A cornucopia of flows and swagger are emitted from the St. Louis star on this one…might be one of his best songs ever. Impossible to not groove to this joint. Instrumental alone is enough to warm any cold heart.
18) Mick Jenkins x Ghostface Killah x Kaytranada – ‘Padded Locks‘
Mick Jenkins and motherfucking Ghostface Killah. Still a little surprised that two of my all time favs hopped on a collab together. On a Kaytranada beat, no less! Strings on here are godly. Verses are iconic. FUCK THE RULERS!
17) Westside Gunn x Benny x Conway x Pete Rock – ‘Brutus‘
Any time the Griselda crew get together heat can be expected. So, when you throw a Pete Rock beat at them, best bet we’re going to be dealing with a different league of hot shit. This song is measured in calories. Shoutout all my science nerds.
16) Daniel Caesar – ‘Who Hurt You?‘
This song makes me want to do dirty things. Bedroom things. With the heavy breathing and the sweatin’ and the emotion. Audible libido. So much love for the T-Pain feature too. Daniel Ceasar is an R&B titan already. Any other opinion is hearsay.
15) Maxo Kream – ‘Roaches‘
If you peeped the “best verses” list, then you may have seen this coming. Maxo poured his heart and soul out on ‘Roaches,’ dropping one of his most impressive songs to date. Dude can rap, but he was channeling the hip hop deities when he recorded this. Vivid.
14) SiR – ‘D’Evils‘
I haven’t been on vacation in a minute, but the second I touch down somewhere tropical you already know this song is going on instantly. Feels like one infinite stretch of sunny coastline – I can hear the waves crashing softly on the white sands now. TDE is unstoppable!
13) Pusha T – ‘If You Know You Know‘
When you first play DAYTONA and this track hits you, it’s over from the start. Push has your attention and he ain’t letting go. Gotta give Yeezy props too. Beat is INCREDIBLE. From running on the treadmill to getting amped for tedious drives…this song is a true motivator. Punchlines on steroids, too.
12) The Alchemist x Wiz Khalifa – ‘Universal Studios‘
Alan the Chemist. A magical man behind the boards. He laced some of the stupidest strings I heard all 2018 on ‘Universal Studios,’ one of those songs where everything around you stops once you hit play. Now I just want a collab project between these two…
11) Travis Scott x Kid Cudi x Stevie Wonder x Philip Bailey x James Blake – ‘Stop Trying to Be God‘
On paper this may be the most eye-popping collab from 20818. One of Scott’s deepest cuts yet – the verses, the hook, Cudi’s humming, Wonder’s harmonica, Blake’s outro – all other-worldly. Lots of growth showcased on this track.
10) Saba – ‘PROM/KING‘
If this song doesn’t tear you up from the inside out, you might not have a soul. Songs about loss are some of the hardest to make. But what Saba did on this joint was different. It is beyond impressive. The way dude flowed over the production was super saiyan level. And the story itself – don’t get me started. Masterful hip hop. RIP John Walt.
9) Jay Rock – ‘ES Tales‘
Banger of 2018? Just might be. Once it drops you better be shucking and jiving. Jay Rock created yet another hood anthem on ‘ES Tales,’ further solidifying his place amongst the modern West Coast greats. Back in these projects…
8) Noname x Smino x Saba – ‘Ace‘
The chemistry between these three is so organic I almost feel like they were siblings in a past life. Smino’s sauce combined with Noname’s precision combined with Saba’s magma flow is a deadly trio. You gotta peep the Fallon performance if you haven’t yet!
7) Peter Cottontale x Madison Ward x YEBBA x Daniel Caesar x Chance the Rapper x Rex Orange County – ‘Forever Always‘
No matter how many times I spin this, it never gets stale. Song really is that good. Instant mood changer, a flood of sunshine on a day of overcast grays. Fact that Cottontale got Rex, Caesar and Chano all on a song together is kind of mind blowing to me too. They’re three of my favs right now, and they all have a completely different sound. Yet they fit glove-tight. Cohesive is the word.
6) Cam O’bi – ‘Jeri Curl‘
Have yet to find a song that gets me up and moving quicker than this one. Feels like it could have been made in the 70s…’Jeri Curl’ is a timeless composition of funk music. O’bi’s debut album will be a problem whenever it drops. Mark my words.*
5) Bas x J. Cole – ‘Tribe‘
One of two Dreamville tracks to make the top 5. Bas continued his ascension to rap royalty this past year via his Milky Way album; ‘Tribe’ is the track I find myself revisiting the most. It’s so infectious. So positive. So well-delivered. The way it starts a little scattered, but then tightens up once the drums drop is elite. Pun intended.
4) Joey Purp x Ravyn Lenae x Jabari Rayford – ‘24K Gold/Sanctified‘
Now this, this is how you open up an album. Song shines brighter than gold – a blanket of warmth overcomes my body once those drums hit. Thelonious Martin deserves more respect. QUARTERTHING a gem. SAVEMONEY birthed a whole new generation of classic Chicago hip hop. All you need is love. Any questions?
3) Flatbush Zombies x Denzel Curry – ‘The Glory‘
Music that makes me feel will always get supreme respect. For that principle alone I had to give the Zombies their rightful credit on ‘The Glory.’ Any time I feel bad about myself or life I can turn this joint on and get that clarity I so dearly need. The song doesn’t throw it in your face though…it almost makes you search deep in your own mind and find the clarity yourself. Denzel Curry is the star on top. Career defining in some ways.
2) Mac Miller – ‘2009‘
Fuck, man. It hurts to type this. But we have to keep going, for Mac. Dude put his life on the line for his art and that deserves respect. From the moment the strings kick in on ‘2009’ we are brought away to a different world. The rawness of Mac’s lines in this track can’t be understated. He sums up the bittersweet feeling of looking back at the past with the maturity of an artist thrice his age. Immense evolution.
‘2009’ means everything to me. Truly does. Thank you Mac. Your art will live forever.
1) Ari Lennox – ‘Whipped Cream‘
Ari didn’t just kill this song. She massacred it. That’s all that I can really say. Songwriting is damn near perfect. Each note was hit with sheer finessed soul. Instrumental is driving wave of nostalgic power, but with a modernized, polished overcoat. Puts a bow on top of the whole thing. And that VOICE. Truly addictive. Although she is reaching star levels, Lennox still comes off mad relatable on this joint. She just sounds like a human being trying to work on themselves and do their best. Get through the day and hold on to what makes them shine. Every single time I play this song it uplifts my spirit, my existence. And those horns at the direct end of the track…those horns are 10/10.
If the hip hop/R&B world is NFL Street, then ‘Whipped Cream’ is Ari Lennox’s “Gamebreaker.” You feel me?
Thank you my dear readers and friends for going through this list with me. What was your favorite song of 2018? Let me know in the comments, and as always, spread love. Thank you all again!
Honorable Mention (more possibly to come)
Pusha T – ‘The Story of Adidon’
The Internet – ‘La Di Da’
Mick Jenkins – ‘Consensual Seduction’
Saba – ‘Heaven All Around Me’
Smino x Sango – ‘Khlorine’
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Azucar’
Kami x Smoko Ono x Joey Purp x Chance the Rapper – ‘Reboot’
Young Thug – ‘High’
Tyler, The Creator x A$AP Rocky – ‘Potato Salad’
Georgia Anne Muldrow – ‘Overload’
BROCKHAMPTON – ‘1999 Wildfire’
Stro – ‘Steal & Rob’
Prophet – ‘Wanna Be Your Man’
Noname – ‘Don’t Forget About Me’
Latrell James – ‘Today’
Milo – ‘Stet’
Sheck Wes – ‘Mo Bamba’
Sylvan LaCue – ‘Perfect Imperfections’
YBN Cordae – ‘Old Niggas’
J.I.D – ‘Skrawberries’
Rico Nasty – ‘Smack a Bitch’
A$AP Rocky – ‘Black Tux, White Collar’
Khoality x Michael Christmas x meetVoutside – ‘Drunk’
Ausar x Plainro – ‘Wholetime’
Free Nationals x Daniel Caesar x Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘Beauty & Essex’
EarthGang – ‘Nothing But the Best’
Brittney Carter – ‘Cycles’
Travis Scott x Drake – ‘Sicko Mode’
Aesop Rock – ‘Klutz’
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Shattered Dreams’
Huey Supreme – ‘Dolla Bill’
Michael Christmas – ‘Ball’
Kali Uchis x Bootsy Collins x Tyler, The Creator – ‘After the Storm’
Black Milk – ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’
Drake – ‘God’s Plan’
Lou Phelps x Jazz Cartier – ‘Come Inside’
Grim Dave – ‘Grim’
Kaiit – ‘OG Kush Luv Pt. 2’
Evidence x Slug x Catero – ‘Powder Cocaine’
B. Aull – ‘The Feeling’
DrxQuinnx – ‘Greenbacks’
Saba – ‘Logout’
JPEGMAFIA – ‘1539 N. Calvert’
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘Ontheway!’
Smino x Ravyn Lenae – ‘MF GROOVE’
Rejjie Snow x Cam O’bi – ‘Pink Lemonade’
Kendrick Lamar x Travis Scott – ‘Big Shot’
Your Old Drogg x Conway – ‘Cement 4s’
Dirty Sanchez – ‘Heavy Thinker’
O.C. – ‘Live Fast, Die Hard’
Milo – ‘Nominy’
Phonte – ‘Sweet You’
Jay Wood – ‘MILKNHONEY’
Apathy – ‘The Order’
Saba – ‘Calligraphy’
Jay Worthy – ‘Westside Party’
Ab-Soul x Anderson Paak x James Blake – ‘Bloody Waters’
Step Brothers – ‘Lay Some Treats on Us’
Boogie – ‘Self Destruction’
Jorja Smith – ‘I Am’
Childish Gambino – ‘Feels Like Summer’
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘December 24th’
meetVoutside – ‘Between Times’
Lucki – ‘Facts Only’
Swizz Beatz x Kendrick Lamar x Styles P x Jadakiss – ‘Something Dirty/Pic Got Us’
Royce da 5’9″ – ‘Boblo Boat’
Brittney Carter – ‘Paper Crowns’
Tom Misch – ‘Cos I Love You’
Murs – ‘God is the Greatest’
Jorja Smith – ‘February 3rd’
LGP Qua – ‘Hungry’
Delly Everyday – ‘Oh My’
The Citizen – ‘Fujiko’
Mick Jenkins – ‘Gwendolynn’s Apprehension’
Jimothy Lacoste – ‘Getting Busy!’
Method Man – ‘Who I’m Iz Reloaded’
Sketpa – ‘Pure Water’
Playboi Carti x Young Thug – ‘Choppa Won’t Miss’
Milo – ‘Deposition Regarding the Green Horse For Rap’
Mobb Deep – ‘Boom Goes the Cannon’
André 3000 – ‘Me&My’
MIKE – ‘Poseidon’
Smino x Mick Jenkins – ‘New Coupe, Who Dis?’
Baker Aaron x B. Aull – ‘Geronimo’
J’von – ‘Orange Beanie’
Noname – ‘Self’
Mac Miller – ‘What’s the Use?’
Scallops Hotel – ‘Bought My Kid a Highchair’
The Internet – ‘Roll (Burbank Funk)’
August Greene – ‘Black Kennedy’
Sylvan LaCue – ‘Empathy’
Lord Lu C N x Denzel Curry – ‘The Bodega Fucked Up My Hero’
Masego x SiR – ‘Old Age’
Dave B – ‘Bleu’
J. Cole – ‘Kevin’s Heart’
Evidence x Jonwayne – ‘To Make a Long Story Longer’
Eminem – ‘Killshot’
Chance the Rapper – ‘I Might Need Security’
Kwam.E – ‘Es is Kwam’
Reason – ‘The Soul’
Sadhugold – ‘Greatminder’
Smoke DZA x Joey Bada$$ – ‘The Mood’
Lou the Human – ‘Play Your Part’
Remy Banks x Wiki – ‘And More’
The Alchemist x Earl Sweatshirt – ‘E Coli’
DrxQuinnx – ‘Lord Gluttony’
Mick Jenkins x Ben Hixon – ‘Reginald’
Innanet James – ‘Amazing’
Billie Eilish – ‘When the Party’s Over’
Azizi Gibson – ’96 Bounce’
Nicki Minaj – ‘Barbie Tingz’
Pink $weats – ‘Volume 1’
Your Old Droog – ‘Live From NYC’
BROCKHAMPTON – ‘New Orleans’
King Mez – ‘The Shift’
The Alchemist x Westside Gunn x Conway – ’94 Ghost Shit’
Reason – ‘Better Dayz’
Ella Mai – ‘Trip’
Jay Rock x Kendrick Lamar x Future x James Blake – ‘King’s Dead’
Vince Staples – ‘Feels Like Summer’
Mark Battles – ‘Mad’
Drake – ‘Sandra’s Rose’
The Internet – ‘It Gets Better’
A$AP Rocky – ‘Purity’
Mozzy – ‘Black Hearted’
Shang-High x J. Spin – ‘In My Blood’
Saba – ‘Smile’
Jay Rock – ‘For What it’s Worth’
Milo – ‘Mid Answer Trying to Remember What the Question Is’
Aminé x Injury Reserve – ‘Campfire’
J. Cole – ‘Photograph’
Cousin Stizz – ‘Brain Freeze’
Reason – ‘Kurupt’
Smino – ‘KOVERT’
A$AP Rocky – ‘Kids Turned Out Fine’
Delly Everyday – ‘365’
Mick Jenkins – ‘Understood’
Earl Sweatshirt – ‘The Mint’
Mac Miller – ‘Small Worlds’
Anderson Paak – ‘Anywhere’
Evidence – ‘Rain Drops’
Chuck Strangers – ‘Two Pit Bulls’
Saba – ‘Life’
Denzel Curry – ‘Clout Cobain’
B. Aull – ‘You Can Have it All’
Milo – ‘Galahad in Goosedown (Fita Iustitia et Pereat Mundus)’
Jimothy Lacoste – ‘Fashion’
The Internet – ‘Come Together’
images via Noname, Smino, Saba, Andrew Lipovsky/NBC, Earl Sweatshirt, DJ Muggs, Smino, Travis Scott, Sony Music, Saba, Jesus J. Montero, Jay Rock, Dave Free, Peter Cottontale, Cam O’bi, J. Cole, Bas, Dreamville, Joey Purp, Flatbush Zombies, Krista Schlueter/Stereogum, Mac Miller, NPR, Ari Lennox, Paris Cole & All rightful photographers/directors
*’Jeri Curl’ actually dropped in December of 2017. Made a point last year to say that all list content had to be dropped within the same calendar year. Buttt, we’re going to call this the “Obi Exception.” Thank you for your understanding.
– Benny P