50. RUBY IBARRA- HERE
Ruby Ibarra has been a favourite on the underground scene for a while, her style is refreshing and exactly what the game needs. Here has Ruby spitting over a sample of Tearz by Wu-Tang Clan in a way that completely reinvents the beat and lets Ruby demonstrate her skill. She’s definitely a name that needs to be recognised due to the sheer talent she possesses.
49. ROBB BANK$ – FALCONIA
Upon initially signing to Cash Money at the beginning of the year, a video was posted and had a snippet of this in it and people were pining for its release. Months went by and live performances were posted and finally in April it was put out. The beat is reminiscent of a dystopian 90s dance song and Bank$ uses that laidback, suave flow that’s made him famous to make one of the year’s most underrated hits.
48. 21 SAVAGE – BANK ACCOUNT
21 Savage had a great year and this track played a significant role in that. Following on from viral hits like X and No Heart, he blew up the internet with this one. The smooth melodic tones in the beat, the way he rides the beat, the simple and catchy hook draws you in too. What makes this song even better is the fact 21 handled most of the production too, it’s a summer banger that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
47. G PERICO – KEEP BALLIN’
G Perico wouldn’t be out of place if he was on Death Row Records in the 90s he’s that much of a West Coast gangster, his location is key to his music. The South Central LA native is one of the more talented and respected names coming up at the moment, he channels the rawness he sees and brings an old school feel to everything he does – but he does that in the best way. It’s not like he’s recycling old stuff and trying to be a Tupac or an Eazy-E, he’s G Perico through and through, he has his own sound and Keep Ballin’ evinces the realness of life on the streets perfectly.
46. KHADIJAH LOPEZ – ALLUVIT
Khadijaz Lopez’s voice is so passionate and that’s makes me love this song so much. The soft sounding beat in the background compliments Khadijah’s sensual, intimate lyrics in a way similar to what The Weeknd was able to do on the Trilogy project. Surprisingly enough she’s another Toronto native and she’s living proof that they just can’t stop producing talent! Alluvit is one of those songs built for late nights and should be on your rotation.
45. CALVIN HARRIS FT. FRANK OCEAN AND MIGOS – SLIDE
Such a feel good song delivered by these guys here, it’s part of a surprisingly dope feature heavy album from Calvin Harris and it’s the best on there. Frank Ocean’s at his best here, his vocals are delivered in such an excessively laidback cool manor whilst Migos’ Quavo and Offset deliver their verses as only members of the Migos can – fast triplets, with multiple pop culture references thrown in as well as talks of money. It’s a nice little summer number made for driving round with the sun glaring down on you.
44. A$AP MOB – FEELS SO GOOD
Any time you get Mob members on a track it’s gotta be something you listen to, this is one you put on repeat. It’s catchiness is almost unparalleled and the lyricism is quite good, they all bring a distinct approach to the beat which is what gives them such a massive appeal. The Harlem crew really excelled on this however and it’s clear to see how much they’ve developed their own styles with this one, Rocky’s autotuned singing, Nast’s abrupt approach, Ferg’s pitter patter flow, Ant’s cloud trap and Twelvyy’s old school New York meets grime sound. Feels So Good is one of the Mob’s finer works.
43. SAMPHA – (NO ONE KNOWS ME) LIKE THE PIANO
Sampha is already one of the hottest names in music and songs like this make it clear to understand why. Such raw emotion is on display here, a piano backed instrumental and a profoundly heartfelt voice make it a very emotional song. The South London artist’s song is about the piano from his mother’s house and helped to shape his life, it’s truly a beautiful song with authenticity to it that cannot be matched.
42. DIVINE COUNCIL – DIRTBAGS IN DISTRESS
Divine Council are, to put it simply, very ahead of their time. The music the group make is out of this world and they’re all so young too. $ilkmoney, Lord Linco, Cyrax! And IcyTwat are 4 guys making music together that is phenomenal and the best part is there’s no real frontman, no one taking the spotlight away from others and this song helps to show that. The 3 rappers of the group (everybody who isn’t IcyTwat) share verses as they rap with their idiosyncrasies that help distinguish one from the other perfectly, but they’re still so coherent as a unit. The song sees them rapping about spending their advance money from Epic on lavish shit be it weed or other things, but they do it in such a way that you don’t think “oh fuck these guys” you just think “yeah these guys are actually pretty fucking cool”. It sounds corny but take a listen and you’ll be able to understand why guys like Andre 3000 also think so highly of them.
41. TYLER, THE CREATOR AND A$AP ROCKY – WHO DAT BOY
Tyler and Rocky is a perfect pairing, it’s a pairing I didn’t think would work before they ever did anything but it seems like they’re a music match in Heaven. Both arguably the two biggest influencers on new age Hip Hop, one from L.A one from New York, and when they come together they make bangers. Who Dat Boy is no different, they both rap with their distinguished styles, Rocky with nonchalant and swanky bars and Tyler with intelligent bars that interpolate popular culture into music like nobody else can. When this was released the internet was rife with nothing but love for the duo and it’s clear to see why.
40. GORILLAZ & KALI UCHIS – SHE’S MY COLLAR
I didn’t know what I expected this to sound like, Gorillaz continued their rampant power of getting the best features on the planet by enlisting songstress Kali Uchis whose voice has been heard millions of times over on various streaming platforms. This song is one of my favourites on the Humanz album, Damon Albarn’s slick personality that he crafted for the virtual frontman 2D is on show in the best way “I don’t take her number just don’t think I’d call her” , the coolness that oozes from this one line alone is phenomenal. Kali’s feature is one of the shining lights on the album with her sublime voice stealing the show on this one.
39. THE XX – DANGEROUS
The xx were welcomed back earlier this year with open arms, the band’s music has long be thought of as some of the best that the UK has to offer and their new album didn’t disappoint. Dangerous opened the album with the startling sound of horns which are also heard on the hook, the Chris Isaak-esque vocals that have become synonymous with the group quickly follow suit as well as a brilliant drum loop. The xx have masterfully blended R&B with indie pop and even ballad-like music, they haven’t put out a bad project yet and this is worth all your time.
38. SLICK DON – HIGHS AND LOWS
The Birmingham artist came out of the blue with this as it’s not something like his old bassline stuff, including tracks with Leeds’ own Wittyboi. The instrumental produced by Walter Ego is something you feel like you’ve heard from an early grime radio show, the artificial nostalgia it creates is sublime and is one of the best beats I’ve heard in a long while. Put Slick Don’s skippy but outstanding flows over this and you have a grime anthem for the new school. What I like so much about Highs and Lows is the realism of the lyrics, I’m not talking about the road rap realness that’s portrayed by so many artists but bars like this: When I hit my shop gotta get munchies, gotta get a KA. The authenticity behind it all resonates with me more than most songs I’ve heard.
37. N.E.R.D & RIHANNA – LEMON
N.E.R.D’s return saw them gather a lot of features and this with Rihanna was the crown jewel, the bouncy beat throughout isn’t the only thing that holds your attention as Rihanna spits one of the craziest verses showing her versatility as an artist. She rides the beat like a well versed rapper, mixing up flows and rhyme schemes. The track’s been recorded/in the works since at least 2015 but is still one of the freshest sounds I’ve heard.
36. MIGOS – GET RIGHT WITCHA
Culture was one of 2017’s biggest albums and Migos were one of the year’s biggest artists captivating the music scene one song/feature at a time. They seemed virtually everywhere and had some of the most memorable tracks about, but this to me was their sleeper hit. Although it still blew up it wasn’t remembered as frequently by most people but it sees them deliver some of their best verses to date – especially Takeoff. His ability to ride the beat so gracefully is part of what makes him the best of the trio and Get Right Witcha illustrates this perfectly as his approach to Murda Beats’ production is different to what Quavo and Offset bring. Ultimately however one must realise the success of the trio is due to the unity they bring to their music, long live The Migos.
35. KODAK BLACK & XXXTENTACION – ROLL IN PEACE
The two rappers from South Florida might be two of the most controversial figures in the scene but they did strike gold with this one off of Kodak’s Project Baby 2 mixtape. Roll In Peace sees the two exchange verses in the best way, London on the Track’s production is done justice with a catchy hook and bars from the often criticised names. They both seem to meander off into irrelevancy every now and then only to come back with a banger so it was fitting they have a collaboration that blew, regardless of your thoughts on their personal actions it’s almost undeniable to admit they are capable of making hits.
34. BIG K.R.I.T – CONFETTI
This heavy cut from K.R.I.T sees the Mississippi rapper rap about his disdain for bad rappers as well as how he’s one of the Kings of the game. He spoke in an interview on how the song is about him knowing his place in the game as one of the best lyricists and he’s not wrong, this song is proof of that statement. The beat change halfway through feels like it’s a part of K.R.I.T’s thought process as it turns darker and somewhat angrier. Don’t sleep on the King of the South.
33. DIZZEE RASCAL – THE OTHER SIDE
Dizzee’s return to grime was a glorious one, it was well received and saw some of the best British music in a while. The Other Side is arguably the most entertaining and interesting track off of the Raskit album however, as it added further fuel to the Wiley/Dizzee beef. The lyrics that caused the controversy justify its place on the list better than I could so here you are… “Why these bredders beggin’ a re-union?
Why’s the Godfather touchin’ on the kids?
Why you actin’ like you never knew and he’s movin’ new again?
There ain’t ever gonna be another crew again
So tell Willy that I don’t need a pen pal
Stop writin’ me these letters cos I don’t know what to do with them
It ain’t ever gonna be ’03 or ’02 they don’t do it how I did it
Somebody tell me what I’ve gotta prove again”
32. SZA – DREW BARRYMORE
TDE’s only female signing blew up to the max this year and with hits like this it’s easy to see why. Named after her favourite actress, the song is an amalgamation of what TDE have been doing for years, amazing beats and engineering etc and also now a perfect voice to sing over them. In Drew Barrymore we hear SZA battling with low self-esteem in a relationship filled with power struggles, the questions it raises throughout are alone worth your time but SZA’s beautiful vocals add yet another reason.
31. KENDRICK LAMAR – DUCKWORTH
Duckworth is some of the best storytelling you will hear in a long time, the final track on DAMN. sees Kendrick detail the story of how Top Dawg himself, TDE CEO, Anthony Tiffith could have killed Kendrick’s father when he was robbing the KFC he worked in. It’s an incredible story, beautifully coincidental and resulted in Kendrick being able to grow and live a life that would lead him to be the greatest rapper ever… In my opinion of course. The track needs to be heard just you can hear how the level of elocution in the story.
30. NORTHAZE – GIPTON WOOD ROAD
Northaze have quickly been building a name for themselves on the UK scene as one of the most inventive and creative forces out there, their project Sabre Series Volume. 1 exemplified this and it was this track that was the highlight of the project. The track is dark, brooding, grimey so it is quite aptly named after a road in Leeds (right next to my barbers might I add). The duo’s verses are separated by a Tekken sample and it’s the only break you get in this tour de force from the Leeds pairing.
29. GOLDLINK FT. BRENT FAIYAZ AND SHY GLIZZY – CREW
I’ve followed Goldlink’s career for a while now and I was so happy to see how much this track blew up. Brent Faiyaz’s voice is ridiculous on the hook and is what drew a lot of people to the song, but Goldlink excels in his verse. The artist hailing from Washington DC spits with such precision and so effortlessly that it’s nearly impossible not to like it, his voice is so distinct and there’s no rapper that sounds like him at the moment, this Grammy nominated track is definitely up there with his best work.
28. GIGGS FT. DAVE – PELIGRO
What a collaboration to behold, two of the UK’s best in their own rights teamed up to deliver possibly one of the best collaborations in UK rap history – not to overhype it at all. Both rappers play to their strengths and they share a common one which happens to be punchlines whether it’s Giggs’ “Pink top, I stepped out in flamingo” or Dave’s “Them man sell diet coke, that food’s got zero calories” there’s enough of them to go round. However undoubtedly the best line in the song is from Dave when he spits
“I’m with guys that are ridin’ solo
That’ll do it like Ralph Lauren
That’s one long stick and a blacked out polo” That line blows my mind everytime.
27. MIKE WILL MADE IT FT. RAE SREMMURD, GUCCI MANE AND KENDRICK LAMAR – PERFECT PINT
The 4 artists that made this song have had so many hits between them not just this year but throughout their careers so when this song was released you know I stopped what I was doing and check it straight away. Swae Lee’s hooks is one of the best this year, Slxm Jxmmi’s verse is pretty impressive and Gucci comes in with that undeniable charisma that I can’t get enough however, obviously Kendrick has the best verse here and it’s easy to see why they kept him till the last verse. Kendrick’s brag raps are some of his best and this is one of them, it even had a possible Drake shot in it with “I got a smaller team, got a bigger ring” which flips a Drizzy line from Big Rings.
26. BROCKHAMPTON – GUMMY
I’d seen Brockhampton creeping around on my YouTube suggestions for a while and it was only when reading somebody else’s article that featured them that I decided to lo listen and I’m so glad I did. GUMMY to me is their crown jewel however, a g funk inspired beat with these guys going back to back, it’s ridiculously impressive the level of creativity these guys have. Completely different styles you wouldn’t think would match are all on show from the different rappers here and Kevin Abstract even does his best M.I.A impression on the hook of what is one of 2017’s hottest tracks, the self-proclaimed boyband seem set to take over the world in 2018.
Be sure to keep your eyes open for 25 – 1 next time!