Top 10 Verses of 2017


List week has arrived! No better time of year. Here at RhymeBeat, we start with the best rap verses. In a year filled with memorable performances, there was a lot to choose from. Take a seat, kick back and thank you for being here!


10) Joey Bada$$ – ‘AmeriKKKan Idol’ – Verse 3. Time: 2 min 20 sec
How else do you end an album of such high tension and emotion? A little clarity. Joey sets in stone the scene in America today, including all of its atrocities regarding racism and inequality. He also sheds light on how he believes his own people can better their situations – coming together for a brutally honest look at why this nation is failing. Three K’s in America.


9) Aesop Rock – ‘Hot Dogs’ – Verse 1. Time: 2 min 30 sec
I’ve been a big fan of Aesop Rock for most of my hip hop listening life. I fell in love with his maddening wordplay back in high school and ‘Hot Dogs’ reignited that love tenfold. Maddening wordplay is right – Sop goes for over two minutes on this one. That “this is G & R announcing Jesus Christ on lead guitar” line left my head shaking for a good week. Shoutout Lupe.


8) Mick Jenkins – ‘House’ – Verse 2. Time: 1 min 10 sec
There are two specific styles I think Mick Jenkins does best. First, I love to hear his mellow, melodic R&B side where he slows things down and sings. Second, I love to hear him snap and go on a verbal killstreak, rapping intensely with multiple flow switches. So, when he combined these two styles on this EarthGang collab, it’s safe to say I was in hip hop heaven. So nasty and unique.


7) Jay-Z – ‘Marcy Me’ – Verse 1. Time: 50 sec
These are the verses I yearn for most from Jay. Storytelling at an elite level. Using context clues and pop culture references, Hov takes us back to his times in the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, New York. He could have been straightforward with the memories, but instead Jay packs them into a dense 16 filled with flurries of the past. You crazy for this one.


6) J.I.D – ‘Never’ – Verse 2. Time: 1 min 10 sec
I had a hard time picking which verse from ‘Never’ was going to be on this list. Ended up going with the second of the two – something about the rapid flow at the end just gets me. Plus, fewer verses got my attention from the jump this year than this one did. Something about that opening line – genius vulgarity. Safe to say that J.I.D has a future of dominance ahead of him after hearing joints like this.


5) Lou the Human – ‘Macklemore’ – Verse 1. Time: 3 min 50 sec
Speaking of promising futures. Bar for bar, there aren’t many verses in 2017 that can rival this one. Hadn’t heard of the dude the first time I pressed play and after the song I was astonished. Over three minutes of pure heat spit. Delinquent rhymes with a mature mind.


4) Jay Electronica – ‘All of Us’ – Verse 2. Time: 1 min 10 sec
Leave it to Jay Elect. Only dude to consistently appear on year end lists without ever dropping an album. This collab Jay did with Kweli moved me. Elect’s imagery is as devastating as it is genius. Few can portray societal scenes like this MC. This is how you end a verse – go out on top.


3) Kendrick Lamar – ‘DNA’ – Verse 2. Time: 1 min
No surprises here. The way Kenny raps after the beat switch on this song is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. There are no pauses, no breaths, no breaks – NO STOPPING! Hell, Mike Will even had to keep extending the beat to match the sheer magnitude of Kendrick’s rapping. When you add in the fact that it actually closes the album when put in the “correct” reverse order then it’s even more impressive. No one has spit a verse like this ever.


2) G Herbo – ‘Malcolm’ – Verse 1. Time: 4 min
Before our #1 spot turned the world on its side, this was my top verse of 2017 for a while. Easily the most vivid four minutes I listened to all year. Herbo paints pictures with the skill of an MC twice his age. Simply put, ‘Malcolm’ is an audio cinematic experience. You’re not listening, you’re watching. I felt sad. I felt hollow. I felt motivated. How do we fix societies’ problems? By identifying them first. Stay humble, young king. Lotta power in these words.


1) Black Thought – ‘Funk Flex Freestyle’ – Verse 1. Time: 10 min
Aight, aight, aight. I know this wasn’t on an album, nor is it even a song. BUT – y’all heard this sh*t right? RIGHT? DO I EVEN NEED TO EXPLAIN?

If this performance didn’t stick in your mind as one of 2017’s illest verses then I’m sorry, we just ain’t eating at the same table. I can’t even fathom anyone trying to do this with such apparent ease – over Funk Flex’s bombs by the way. We all know how loud that man can be – which makes this verse an even more impressive feat. When it’s all said and done I listen to hip hop to hear people RAP. No one did it harder than Black Thought did in these ten minutes. 2017’s best verse crown is his. Bless up, god. Thank you.


Honorable Mention

Tha God Fahim – ‘Saga City’ – Verse 3 (FIRE)
Rapsody – ‘Laila’s Wisdom’ – Verse 1
Your Old Droog – ‘Saga City’ – Verse 2
ScHoolboy Q – ‘Rockabye Baby’ – Verse 2
Jonwayne – ‘These Words Are Everything’ – Verse 4
Katori Walker – ‘Ormoni’ – Verse 1
Lute – ‘Crabs in a Barrel’ – Verse 1
Kendrick Lamar – ‘Duckworth’ – Verse 1
J.I.D – ‘Meditate’ – Verse 1
MIKE – ‘God’s With Me’ – Verse 1
Big K.R.I.T. – ‘Mixed Messages’ – Verse 1
Smino – ‘Sorbet’ – Verse 1
Chance the Rapper – ‘Grown Up Fairy Tales’ – Verse 2
Mach Hommy – ‘Easter Gunday 2’ – Verse 2
Jay Electronica – ‘True Lightyears’ – Verse 1
Freddie Gibbs – ’20 Karat Jesus’ – Verse 4
Ro Spit – ‘JeSoS’ – Verse 1
Danny Watts – ‘Pill’ – Verse 2
Milo – ‘Rapper’ – Verse 2
Tyler, The Creator – ‘Garden Shed’ – Verse 2
Cyhi the Prynce – ‘Closer’ – Verse 2
Killer Mike – ‘Put Jewels on It’ – Verse 2
Westside Gunn – ‘2Stings’ – Verse 2
Vince Staples – ‘Ascension’ – Verse 3
Kendrick Lamar – ‘XXX’ – Verse 1
Mach Hommy – ‘Macho on Coke’ – Verse 2
Frank Ocean – ‘RAF (Version 2)’ – Verse 4
Lil Wayne – ‘Droppin’ Seeds’ – Verse 1
Kevin Abstract – ‘Junky’ – Verse 1
Conway – ‘Cooked in Hell’s Kitchen’ – Verse 1
A$AP Rocky – ‘Ghost Ride’ – Verse 1
J. Cole – ‘AFRICARYN’ – Verse 6


*more honorable mentions to possibly come*





images via Lou the Human, Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images, Joey Bada$$, Dee Frosted, Aesop Rock, Rhymesayers, Jay-Z, Kevin Mazur, Mick Jenkins, J.I.D, Kendrick Lamar, TDE, G Herbo, Black Thought, Ciroc Studios & All rightful photographers


– Benny P

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