2017 has been a very rich year for hip hop music, there’s been awe inspiring albums and singles and artists have really stood up to be counted. Here I start off my top 100 songs of 2017 by looking at 100 through to 76, without further ado, here it goes.
100. LIL BABY SUPLEX – DURDY
New York’s very own Lil Baby Suplex starts off this list with trap heavy single Durdy, I have a slight bit of favouritism towards this because of the strength of his debut mixtape Attitude Era – that and also the fact it’s coupled with wrestling speak. But this song is a standalone banger too, as soon as the beat drops you’re compelled by it all. Honestly a top 10 beat of this year and his flow compliments it so well.
99. MIKE COOK BURST FT. MIKE JONES & JK THE REAPER – DIVIDENDS
Hearing Mike Jones’ voice always brings me such a warming sense of nostalgia, so hearing him on this trap infused track was a real joy. Mike Cook Burst and JK The Reaper deliver a fast pace style of rap whilst Jones controls the hook with that Houston type slang and of course a throwback to what made him famous with “Back then uh, say back then uh”. It was really something to see Mike Jones on this soundcloud hype and makes you wonder what he’d be like if he was just starting out this year.
98. INJURY RESERVE – TEN TENTHS
The opening track off their Drive It Like It’s Stolen EP sees them talk about the rap game and the state it’s in now, and they aren’t really impressed with it. It’s the first I’d heard of these guys and everything from the drum loop to the husky voice from Ritchie with a T got me hooked, and I’ve had it on rotation ever since.
97. CYHI THE PRYNCE FT. KANYE WEST – DAT SIDE
An unadulterated hit from Cyhi and Kanye here taken from Cyhi’s debut No Dope On Sundays saw that the GOOD Music team show that they’re still winning and have such a big influence over the game and the sound of it all. Cyhi’s brusque style makes the song what it is and he is definitely one of the better rappers of the year gone by, who else can throw in the A-B-A-B-B-B Mortal Kombat cheat code into a track and pull it off?!
96. LANA DEL REY FT. A$AP ROCKY AND PLAYBOI CARTI – SUMMER BUMMER
Lana’s album brought about mixed reviews but this was a standout as just a really good song. A$AP and Lana have collaborated before but Playboi Carti’s adlibs brought a new up-to-date feel to Lana’s noir filled music, her solemn voice brings so much to the song and really made it a late night summer tune. To me Lana can’t release a bad album let alone song so I’ll be bumping this for a while along with the rest of her catalogue.
95. JAZZ CARTIER & RO RANSOM – MAKE A MESS
Jacuzzi and Mystery Boy make such a good pairing and the two have been two of my favourite rappers in the past few years so when this track with production handled by none other than Mike Will Made It popped up I had to listen to it. Both of them deliver here, Ro with his harmonious Harlem flow that only he can pull off and Jazz with that aggressive Toronto style, both are set to be big names in the years to come.
94. FREDDIE GIBBS – THE WAVE
Ahead of his European tour this year Freddie Gibbs put this out, it’s important because the last time he was in Europe he was falsely imprisoned due to a woman lying and claiming he raped her. Gibbs spent time in the prison writing 3 albums worth of songs and more, this one has Freddie Kane spit like only he can with a ridiculous breath control and rapping about the drug dealer life he use to lead – painting a vivid picture all throughout.
93. DOMO GENESIS – VINTAGE DOMS
Truly vintage Doms here, arguably the most underrated member from the Odd Future collective he proves his worth to the rap game here with him spitting pure fire in that laidback manor that he’s kept with him since the early days – reiterating the vintage Doms title. “Sparking fear in the heart of the faint, If you ain’t banging then get out of the paint” still some of my favourite lyrics this year.
92.FUTURE – FEDS DID A SWEEP
Future had a lot of hype with Mask Off this year but this song which closed out the same album also caught my attention. The track talks about how he lost a lot of friends to the street – but not so much violence but more police locking them away. It’s a powerful song that details the life, trials and tribulations of a drug dealer in America nowadays, his storytelling is often underrated due to the amount of ignorant bangers he makes but it songs like this that are why I rate him highly. Yes it’s still not a lyrical masterpiece but Future can blend the seams of mumble rap and storytelling rap like not a lot of others.
91. THUNDERCAT FT. KENDRICK LAMAR – WALK ON BY
This pairing will always be on of my favourite in music. Thundercat has an amazing ability to craft music that’s instrumentals are so deep and detail a better story than other musicians lyrics ever could, his voice is one in a million too. This track sees Thundercat delineate his loneliess and Kendrick talk about guilt and wrongs he’s committed, beautiful song.
90. ANTWON – WHAT I DO
Antwon is a cloud rap fan’s dream, the beats he chooses are so mellow, relaxing and blissful to listen to but he adds such a different element to them as he sees fit. What I Do is no different as he spits over an amazing Kaytranada beat, and whilst the lyrics may not be amazing it’s such an easy listening song and Twon’s flow still bangs. If you haven’t, go check out his album Sunnyvale Gardens.
89. A$TON MATTHEWS AND DA$H – NIGHT TO REMEMBER
Two of the underground’s best stars linked for a song to remember – pardon the pun. It’s that new age murder music that reminds me somewhat of Mobb Deep back in the day, moreso New Jersey’s Da$h. His verse is laced with that smack talk style that the East Coast made famous, whenever these two link up it’s always a sight to see and this didn’t disappoint.
88. NINES FT. AKALA – I WONDER
A real heartfelt song from Nines here, I didn’t know what to expect when I saw Akala as the feature but the use of him was so good. Using a sample from Akala’s ‘nature vs. nurture’ debate to address the lifestyle that surrounds not only Nines but a lot of the youth living in urban Britain at the moment – then it turns to Akala addressing and talking to Nines and it brings a very person feel to the song. Throughout Nines’ verses he’s expressing the thoughts and wonders in his head in a fashion that you can’t help but sympathise with, it was a different side to the rapper that I had never seen before.
87. ZAYTOVEN FT. BANKROLL FRESH, YUNG LA AND TWISTA – POSE TO
The first song to be released in this year’s Adult Swim Singles Collection also happens to be the best one. Zaytoven’s production never fails to deliver and the fact he has a posthumous feature from Bankroll Fresh adds a whole lot to it, it’s a grimey deep venture into the trap life. Yung LA and Twista’s features bring a different touch, especially Twista’s distinguishable fast flow and rhyme scheme. I never thought I’d see all these names on one song but here we are and they work so well, you definitely need to check this out.
86. TEE GRIZZLEY – COUNTRY
After dropping one of the hottest singles of last year with First Day Out you knew Tee Grizzley wasn’t gonna disappoint when his tape dropped and he really delivered. My Moment was one of my favourite projects this year and aside from the aforementioned First Day Out this was my favourite on it. His ability to change his flow so quickly and ride a beat with ease is what makes him an exciting name, Country goes through Tee’s life and mindset following his release from prison and documents the type of life him and his friends live, it makes you pull a screw face everytime he switches flow it’s incredible. Tee Grizzley really came into his own this year and 2018 will definitely bring more success for him.
85. SYD – ON THE ROAD
The second song on this list from someone who was part of the Odd Future collective comes from Syd, also part of Grammy nominated The Internet. This song really takes you on a journey – maybe that’s why it’s called On The Road. I digress, but the beat changes on this song are so beautiful and even though they may be melancholy beats there’s something about Syd’s lyricism
84. IAMDDB & SLEAZY F – C O C A
IAMDDB has quickly been making a name for herself in 2017 and one person helping put Manchester on the map with her is her partner Sleazy F. The two linked up for this one which saw IAMDDB’s smooth vocals paired with Sleazy’s brilliantly Northern delivery for a song that shouldn’t be missed, definitely worth the listen.
83. ALQAE – HD CLARITY
Alqae are one of the hottest things coming out England right now, it’s a shame they’re not getting the attention they deserve right now. The Surface was definitely one of the better mixtapes of the year and this was a standout for me. The guitar used was so minimalistic but added a ridiculous amount to the song and the charisma and personality brought by the three really pays off, there’s a new wave starting in UK rap and these guys are about to be at the forefront.
82. REMY MA – SHETHER
One of 2017’s hottest diss records was definitely Remy Ma’s send for Nicki Minaj, there was a bit of controversy flying about that her husband Papoose wrote the song for her but I don’t know about that, regardless it’s still a jaw dropping record, spat all over Nas’ infamous Ether beat too. It was also Remy’s first real banger bar All the Way Up since her release from prison.
81. 2 CHAINZ FT. TRAVIS SCOTT – 4AM
The best song from 2 Chainz’s Pretty Girls Like Trap album has to be 4AM without a doubt. It’s so catchy and one of the most 2 Chainz songs you’ll ever hear – “For my birthday I threw me a surprise party”. He’s grown significantly as an artist however so that’s not a knock to the song at all, he’s been consistently making bangers for the past couple years and this is arguably the pinnacle. Travis Scott’s autotuned hook adds a lot to the song too it’s definitely one to listen to.
80. PLAYBOI CARTI – MAGNOLIA
One of the biggest hits of 2017 is undoubtedly Magnolia. It put Carti on the map and cemented his name as one of the fastest rising stars in rap today. It’s that type of mumble rap you can’t help but bob your head to – the best kind. Production was handled by Pi’erre Bourne and was one of the best beats of the year hands down. It’ll undoubtedly be played for years to come after making waves all over the world being played in pretty much every function I was at, just like he says… Young Carti global.
79. KENDRICK LAMAR – HUMBLE
Kendrick’s 2017 was ridiculous, it was his year hands down and this is one of the tracks that catapulted him straight to the top. HUMBLE. was the first single from the album and launched K Dot into international pop culture glory, everybody knew this as opposed to mainly rap fans knowing his prior stuff. The track was a significant release for Kendrick as it stands still as his most watched video on YouTube and also one of 2017’s most streamed songs. There’s always an argument that commercial rap isn’t real rap but Kendrick has been one of the biggest names to bridge that gap and prove a lot of people wrong.
78. BIG K.R.I.T FT. UGK – RIDE WIT ME
Big K.R.I.T with UGK was always bound to be special, as soon as Bun B started rapping I was nodding my head. It features a great sample of the late Pimp C’s Knockin’ Doorz Down and it was so refreshing to hear someone sample him correctly. K.R.I.T had a good year again and cemented himself as King of the South, the nod from the Southern OG Bun B made this official. Pimp C would definitely be proud of this track.
77. CASISDEAD – THE CODE
The bass in this song is crazy good. CASisDEAD has been a favourite on the UK scene for a while, known for his abstract style with both his lyricism and flow. Nobody can rap like CAS and this was a perfect return to the scene for him this year, he brings a 2000’s twang to an 80s inspired new age realm, he’s incredible although his lyrics may not be for everyone.
76. DANNY WATTS – PILLS
I don’t know too much about Danny Watts but I do know he can 1. Pick an amazing beat and 2. Rap just as amazingly to match it. This song is so deep and reflective it got me hooked on the rapper. My writing won’t do it justice so hopefully these lyrics make you go listen “Ominous how I move to save the presence I knew
But the vision of lost life changes perspectives I view
Perplexing so many ways that a person’s persona flows like the morning Folger’s aroma”
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment coming very soon.