Breakout Rap Songs 2018

June 24, 2018

Super Producer Aron Devon & DJ Handcuffz have teamed up to deliver one of their most creative concepts in music history! In a successful venture to merge hip-hop & comedy together, DJ Handcuffz took a cartoon approach when releasing these jaw-dropping visuals for his latest single, “Drink Drink Smoke Smoke.” A full animated music video perfectly captures the song’s theme while surprising viewers with its funny storyline. This record is a club banger! Make you laugh so hard. Now on YouTube & veg311.com

The latest signee to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, Valee shares his fellow Chicagoan’s I’ll-do-it-myself mentality. As the New York Times described him recently, “He does carpentry, construction and electrical work, and builds koi ponds, too. He customizes fast cars—full-size and remote control—and cooks. He’s tattooed others, as well as his own arms and legs.” And that type of attitude is clear in his music, which is playful, curious, and multifaceted. A natural pairing with Jeremih, Womp Womp is an effortless exploration of hip-hop at its most laid-back and fun.

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Cardi B – “I Do”

Cardi B ends her brilliant debut album with a call to action about men: “If they can’t make you richer, they can’t make you come.” It’s a song that sums up the running theme of female empowerment from the album, where Cardi raps, “I think us bad bitches is a gift from god.” The album highlight also brings in SZA, the breakout star who released one of the best albums from 2017, to explain that she just leaves dudes on read because she feels like it. Hell yes.

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Drake – “Nice For What”

With a spinning sample of Lauryn HIll’s “Ex-Factor,” Drake doubles down on his good-guy thing, rapping about female confidence—both online and IRL. He tells the story of a woman doing her own thing: paying bills, going to clubs, living life without a partner or “without a mention or a follow.” In fact, it’s a song so good, it even got the Lauryn Hill approval when she covered it in concert in late April

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Saba – “Logout”

There’s something so poetic about a Chicago rapper singing about just logging the fuck off. “If you press log out, you get forgotten / What’s a post, but a reminder just how boring our lives ar-ar-ar-are / Look at how much fun I’m havin’ / Ain’t no beauty in the absence, of broadcastin’ to your followers.” In hindsight, that seems like such an insightful statement given what Chicago’s most prominent rapper did in late April. Alongside Chance the Rapper, it’s good to know that a new generation of artists from Chicago gets it.

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Tyler, The Creator – “OKRA”

Two months after his first nomination for Best Rap Album at the Grammys, Tyler, the Creator returns with an absolutely dizzying boast track. In includes some of Tyler’s most impressive wordplay, with an assault of references, jokes, and brags. In just a single line, he jumps from referencing shoe sponsorships to a Robert De Niro pun: “Red Ones look like Aidan Mackey, spent dinero like Taxi Driver.” In another just before that, Tyler once again slyly addresses his own sexuality, which was a major point of discussion on his critically acclaimed 2017 album Flower Boy. Tyler isn’t going to let you forget the year he had—no, he’s going to make you bask in it with him.

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Vince Staples – “Get the Fuck Off My Dick”

A day before releasing “Get the Fuck Off My Dick,” Staples set up a GoFundMe campaign called #GTFOMD where he asked fans to fund his early retirement. “No songs, no interviews, no anything,” he said. “Get off of my dick or fund my lifestyle.” While he didn’t end up retiring (the GoFundMe was actually pulled down by the site), he did release a song with the same kind of sentiment. In it, he touches on the hypocrisies of the entire entertainment and media industry, rapping “I ain’t takin’ no more calls, might think ’bout callin’ it quits / Press is tryin’ to block my blessings, no more talking to Vince / NPR and XXL, man, I can’t tell which is which.” He follows that by calling out his own record label, along with the Grammys for snubbing his 2017 critically acclaimed album Big Fish Theory. He proves nothing is off limits, continuing to be one of the most punk rock rappers out there today. And isn’t it just therapeutic to tell everyone and everything to “Get the fuck off your dick” once in a while?

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Juice Wrld – “All Girls Are the Same”

Juice Wrld’s “All Girls Are the Same” is an excellent example of our era of the vulnerable rapper. While hip-hop was once dominated by materialistic boosterism, a new generation has rebuilt the genre on a basis of sad beats and an oversharing of feelings. If anything, this type of life is a lot more relatable. Take this song for example, where Juice Wrld agonizes over how he can’t fall in love. That’s almost the exact opposite of our traditional understanding of rap. “I just want real love, guess it’s been a minute / Pissed off from the way that I don’t fit in, I don’t fit in / Tell me what’s the secret to love, I don’t get it,” he raps on the track. It’s tragic, it’s universal to everyone, and it’s honest.

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Saba – “LIFE”

With a few mixtapes and his debut studio album, Saba has made an early case for himself as one of the most inspiring new voices in Chicago hip-hop. On “Life,” Saba incorporates the sounds of R&B and jazz for a stunning track that tosses bursts of brilliant social commentary. Saba goes in hard right away in the first verse, rapping: “They want a barcode on my wrist / To auction off the kids that don’t fit their description of a utopia (black) / Like a problem won’t exist if I just don’t exist / If I grew up without a single pot to piss in / Pardon me for venting / Congress got the nerve to call itself religious / Rich just getting richer, we just tryna live our life.” He offers vivid critiques of the black experience, one that comes in a flow that Saba switches up in the moment—sometimes a breathless rapid fire, sometimes slow, thoughtful and analytical.

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Lil Yachty – “66”

Lil Yachty is less of a rapper and more of a big kid who someone gave some cool beats and a microphone. And that’s why his music is always so airy and playful. And “66” almost feels like the music equivalent of the movie Blank Check, in which Yachty is some teen who randomly got a bunch of money, “High school, servin beans,” Yachty raps, “dropped out, now I’m rich, flexin’ ‘till I’m 66.” He goes on to discuss his Bentley truck that he bought “ain’t no rentin’.” And, honestly, good for Yachty: He creates music that’s become the epitome of pop rap, based not really on what he says, but how he says it.

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Drake – “God’s Plan”

Whether he means to or not, with every new release Drake is able to out-Drake himself. With “God’s Plan,” he played up his nice guy schtick with a truly touching philanthropic music video. And since this is Drake, fans took it and packaged the idea into the pervasive God’s Plan Starts Playing meme. And plus, this might be the most Drake line of all time: “I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry.” It’s impossible not to love Drake, I’m sorry.

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Mozzy with Sjava and Reason – “Seasons”

In one breath, emerging Sacramento rapper Mozzy talks about the corrupt justice system, racism, classism, police brutality. On “Seasons,” he raps, “I cried when lil’ brotha died, got high and watched the sunrise / Wiggle on ’em if it’s one time, they done hung all of my people / I love all of my people, I’m in the slums with all of my people / They trynna tell us that we all equal / We gettin’ no justice so it ain’t peaceful, yeah / Think they bluffin’, they ain’t gon’ beat you / Paid attorney, we gon’ need it.” It’s a beautiful and powerful verse, one that’s shocking to hear on a soundtrack for a Disney movie. It’s just another stunning contribution to popular culture from Kendrick Lamar and Black Panther.

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Migos – “Made Men”

Migos didn’t hold anything back releasing Culture II on the anniversary of their groundbreaking major label debut. It’s a massive dump of 24 songs, which indicates that they could have maybe used some discretion while pairing down that final album. That’s precisely why there are a number of forgettable tracks along with some truly great ones. Obvious standouts are the Pharrell-produced “Stir Fry” (which technically came out last year, so we can’t include it here) and “Made Men.” On the latter, the beat is a glittering and classy late-night boast. Taking the phrase from classic American mafia, Takeoff casually brags in his first verse, “Not Toby, but we slave for it / No Kunta Kinte, but we slave for it / I waited some days for it” in a brilliant Roots reference.

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Rae Sremmurd – “Powerglide”

The melodic vocal gymnastics of Rae Sremmurd are usually something most rappers don’t mess with. Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee play around in those upper registers that make for truly addictive pop-rap. And they can do it over any type of beat, from a bleary trap beat to a driving beat like “Powerglide” featuring Juicy J.

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JPEGMAFIA – “Macaulay Culkin”

I’ll be the first to admit that JPEGMAFIA might not be for everyone. He embodies the true punk aesthetic of SoundCloud hip-hop. He’s artistically hyperactive—he’s already released three albums this year of frenetic lo-fi rap. These albums have songs like “I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morrissey Dies” and “Libtard Anthem.” But beneath that abrasive provocateur is a compelling lyricist, and when he tones it down a bit, like on “Macaulay Culkin,” that writing truly shines. Over a lost, melancholy guitar, he raps Orange is the New Black references and admits, “I play my albums front to back and make it feel important.”

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SAINT JHN – “I Heard You Got Too Litt Last night”

As hip-hop has statistically taken over as the dominant genre of popular music, it’s sometimes difficult to find the line between R&B, pop, and rap. SAINt JHN incorporates all of it, with the woozy, low-end beat and the melancholy sing-song flow so popular. But, like a hazy hangover, the Brooklyn rapper recounts a night out as if it’s a morning drained of dopamine.

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SOB X RBE – “Lifestyle”

There’s a perfect balance at play on SOB X RBE tracks. Yhung T.O.’s seductive club choruses are the perfect packaging for forceful, dangerous verses. Take “Lifestyle” for example, where Yhung T.O. sings in the chorus, “I remember late nights all alone / I remember long talks with my cousin through her phone / RIP all of my niggas dead and gone / Give it all to bring you back and to bring my niggas home.” It’s followed by an opening verse from Slimmy B where he raps about people getting murdered at stoplights.

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cupcakKe – “Cartoons”

Quite possibly the greatest hype track ever written solely dedicated to cartoon references. There’s certainly no greater joy in hearing the sex-confident chorus dedicated to giving Smurfs blue balls when she raps: “I’m a snack so I attract Scooby Doo’s / Give ’em Smurf dick, that’s balls blue / I don’t look for niggas so fuck Waldo / Bitch, I’m cocky like Johnny Bravo.”

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Maxo Kream – “Roaches”

On “Roaches,” Maxo Kream comes out firing with an opening chorus rapping, “Back when the face tatts was for OG killas / Now I’m seein’ tear drops on you Soundcloud niggas / Remember back when music had content and metaphors / Way before the mumble nonsense and poppin’ handlebars.” It’s a visceral attack on a new era of rappers finding pop stardom like Post Malone. What follows is vivid account of his childhood shooting guns, watching his uncle get shot.

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Tee Grizzley feat. Meek Mill – “First Day Out Remix”

Meek Mill is currently incarcerated for violating probation—a sentence that’s caused mass outrage, even causing Jay-Z to pen a New York Times op-ed. And the bitter irony is that Mill’s latest verse comes on a remix of a Tee Grizzley song called, “First Day Out.” Likely recorded when he was out on probation, Mill’s verse touches on everything from Nicki Minaj to his beef with Drake, “I made a milli from rappin’ and I ain’t look back / I brought that Dawn in my hood, they was like, “What’s that?” / They tried to tell me I lost, nigga, I shook that (shook),” he raps. Anyway, free Meek Mill.

Article from https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/g19100722/best-rap-songs-2018/

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