Best Rap, 2018 by noz on 12/14/2018

Life’s been better.

1. Kodak Black – “When Vultures Cry” (Helluva)
2. Jay Rock f/ Kendrick Lamar & Future – “King’s Dead” (Mike Will, Teddy Walton, 30 Roc, Etc.)
3. Yhung T.O. – “Leave The Hood” (YodaYae1k)
4. DaBoii – “Onna Gang” (??)
5. Saba – “Life” (daedaePIVOT, Daoud & Saba)
6. Sada Baby f/ Drego – “Bloxk Party” (Von Jose)
7. Cardi B – “Be Careful” (Boi-1da, Frank Dukes, Vinylz)
8. Rico Nasty – “Trust Issues” (Kenny Beats)
9. Sheck Wes – “Mo Bamba” (16yrold & Take a Daytrip)
10. City Girls – “Period (We Live)” (Castro)
11. FMB DZ f/ Sada Baby – “Planet Of The Apes” (Pooh Beatz)
12. SOB x RBE – “All Facts Not 1 Opinion” (Link Up)
13. 70th Street Carlos – “Change On Me” (Trel Itz A Hit)
14. Mozzy – “Do It For Dooterz” (??)
15. Jean Grae & Quelle Chris – “My Contribution To This Scam” (Quelle Chris)
16. Meek Mill – “Ooodles O’ Noodles Babies” (Butterbeats)
17. Chief Keef – “Black Proud” (DY Krazy)
18. Payroll Giovanni f/ Doughboyz Cashout – “BYLUG Outro” (Cardo)
19. Shy Glizzy – “Make It Out” (Balik & Trauma Tone)
20. Earl Sweatshirt – “Red Water” (Thebe Kgositsile)
21. Trippie Redd f/ Tadoe & Chief Keef – “I Kill People” (Dez Wright & OZ)
22. Tay K – “After You” (Ahlecks)
23. Milo – “Stet” (The Jefferson Park Boys)
24. XXXTentacion – “Moonlight” (John Cunningham)
25. Molly Brazy – “Trust None” (Pooh Beatz & Go Grizzly)
26. Kur f/ Lil Durk – “Credit” (Kyduh)
27. J.I.D. – “Workin Out” (2Thirty5)
28. Lil Baby f/ Gunna – “Drip Too Hard” (Turbo)
29. Roc Marciano – “Saks Fifth” (Roc Marciano)
30. Roddy Ricch – “Die Young” (London on da Track & Rex Kudo)
31. Bbymutha – “BBC” (Rock Floyd)
32. Rich The Kid – “Plug Walk” (JRHitmaker, Taz Taylor & TheLabCook)
33. Guapdad 4000 – “Scamboy” (Guapdad 4000)
34. JPEGMAFIA – “1539 N. Calvert” (JPEGMAFIA)
35. Valee f/ Jeremih – “Womp Womp” (Cassio)
36. Lojii – “Lo In The Jungle” (Thook)
37. Skooly – “Dope Fiend” (Ducko Mcflii)
38. Playboi Carti – “R.I.P.” (Pi’erre Bourne)
39. 21 Savage – “Don’t Come Out The House” (Metro Boomin)
40. Ski Mask The Slump God – “Unbothered” (Kenny Beats)
41. E-40 f/ Yhung T.O. – “These Days” (ProHoeZak)
42. 03 Greedo f/ Shoreline Mafia & Drakeo – “Wake Me Up In Traffic” (Beatboy)
43. Rae Sremmurd f/ Young Thug – “Offshore” (Mike Will & Marz)
44. YNW Melly – “Risk Taker” (Kilo, ForeignGotEm & Yung Lan)
45. Boosie Badazz – “I Know How To Have A Good Time” (??)
46. Maxo Kream – “Roaches” (Wlderness)
47. Smino – “HOOPTI” (Sango)
48. Q Da Fool f/ Gucci Mane – “Bodyguard” (HB The Engineer)
49. Babyface Ray & Peezy – “Fuck Rap” (Ko Goloud)
50. Doja Cat – Mooo!” (Troy NōKA)
51. Lil Tracy f/ Lil Uzi Vert – “Like A Farmer (Remix)” (Gren8)
52. Drego & Beno – “Recipe 2” (??)
53. Black Milk – “Laugh Now, Cry Later” (Black Milk)
54. OMB Peezy – “Fuck My PO” (Mouse On The Track)
55. Glokknine – “I Don’t Need No Help” (Timeline Beats)
56. Lil Yachty f/ Offset & Lil Baby – “Mickey” (30 Roc)
57. Lil B f/ Deezy Dolla – “Return Of The Mac” (Lil B)
58. DJ Taye – “Trippin’” (DJ Taye)
59. Benny The Butcher f/ ElCamino – “India” (Chup)
60. Quando Rondo – “ABG” (BigBoyTrax)
61. Pink Siifu – “proud/pray” (Budgie & Adé Hakim)
62. ALLBLACK f/ DaBoii – “07 Lynch” (Charisma 808)
63. Future f/ Young Scooter – “Doh Doh” (Zaytoven)
64. Open Mike Eagle – “Southside Eagle (93 Bulls)” (Dead Boy Yo)
65. Black Fortune – “DMV Anthem” (??)
66. BlocBoy JB – “
No Velcro” (Infamous & Ben Billions)
67. Husalah – “Bad Young Thang” (Rob Lo)
68. Cuban Doll – “Bankrupt” (League Of Starz)
69. YBN Nahmir f/ YBN Cordae – “Pain Away” (Ty Savage)
70. NBA Youngboy – “Diamond Teeth Samurai” (DJ Swift)
71. Lil Uzi Vert – “New Patek” (Dolan Beats)
72. Shootergang Jojo – “Fresh Out (Freestyle)” (L-Finguz)
73. Boogie – “Self Destruction” (Dart, Mario Luciano, etc.)
74. Yella Beezy – “That’s On Me” (Shun On The Beat)
75. Denzel Curry, IDK, Zillakami & Zombie Juice – “Please Forgive” (Powers Pleasant)
76. Melii – “Icey” (CT Beats)
77. Bandhunta Izzy – “Sauce Walk” (NasaGotThatHeat)
78. Gunna f/ Lil Baby – “Sold Out Dates” (Ghetto Guitar & Turbo)
79. WNC RamBam- “90’s Baby” (Hits Wit La’Keith)
80. TisaKorean – “Dip” (TisaKorean)
81. Homeboy Sandman & Edan – “#NeverUseTheInternetAgain” (Edan)
82. Blueface – “Fucced Em” (FBeatProductions)
83. Polo G – “Finer Things” (DJAyo)
84. Saweetie – “B.A.N.” (Hassan Khaffaf)
85. Vince Staples f/ E-40 – “FUN!” (Hagler & Kenny Beats)
86. A.G. – “Magical World” (The Bossmen)
87. Maine Musik – “Soulja Slim Flow 2” (Timothy Hill)
88. G Herbo – “Who Run It Freestyle” (DJ Paul & Juicy J – “Who Run It“)
89. Flipp Dinero – “Leave Me Alone” (Young Forever & Cast Beats)
90. Mach Hommy – “Floor Seats” (Alchemist)
91. Key Glock – “Clowns” (King Ceeo)
92. Young Nudy – “In Da Street” (CuBeatz & Maaly Raw)
93. Lil Durk – “Durkio Krazy” (DY Krazy)
94. Drakeo The Ruler – “Musty Freestyle” (Ron-Ron – “Musty“)
95. Styles P – “Different Shit” (Dayzel the Machine)
96. Femdot – “0’Something” (Charles Lauste)
97. Sixpress – “Facing My Fear In The Mirror” (Adé Hakim)
98. YG – “Deeper Than Rap” (BOUVÉ & Lil Rich)
99. Starlito – “Where I’ve Been” (Bandplay)
100. Pusha T – “Story Of Adidon” (No ID – “The Story Of OJ“)

See also: Park Blvd Charts 2018

  1. 12/14/2018Hamish says:

    Thank you very, very much for taking the time to make these lists every year (and the Park Blvd newsletter). Always so exciting when they pop up.

  2. 12/14/2018carlo says:

    does 100 songs mean 2018 was a good year I hope it does

    (thank you for this list as always, it’s the only eoy list I look forward to)

  3. 12/14/2018Mitchell Prettyplace says:

    Salute to you, Noz. These lists are an important part of each year. Ive got a lot to catch up on.

    Thanks for keeping up and good luck in the small business world.

  4. 12/14/2018icebergsweater says:

    I was wondering what song would end up taking the #1 spot this year given how all over place rap on a whole seemed in 2018 (in a good way). It seemed like a lot of newer rappers had really strong years this year.

    Now to carve out some time this weekend for looking through all the stuff here that’s new to me (as any good year-end list makes me do).

  5. 12/14/2018Noah says:

    Thanks for the list. Why’d you decide to double the length? Is it because there were twice as many albums this year?

  6. 12/14/2018Joseph Miller says:

    always look forward to these. other than Kenny Beatz & Tay Keith what producers you think had a great year?

  7. 12/14/2018StuntKockSteeev says:

    Really thrilled this list still made it up, despite what seems like some recent hacking (super dispiriting). Haha, also glad that even with a double-stuffed list, that increments of ’50’ are always the gimmick records.

  8. 12/14/2018bc says:

    thanks for continuing to do this, i look forward to it every year. surprised that, especially given that the list size has doubled, there’s no kevin gates here. luca brasi 3 continued the plateau he’s been on since after islah, but i thought there were still some sparks on the ep he put out.

  9. 12/14/2018Joseph Miller says:

    good to see Durk on this list. seems like he’s been forgotten but he still make quality music. also an old faithful fav like Starlito (even though i think At War With Myself Too was kinda weak becuz of the beats)

  10. 12/14/2018noz says:

    “Thanks for the list. Why’d you decide to double the length? Is it because there were twice as many albums this year?”

    I was looking at a lot of these other lists and it seemed like almost all the rap I listened to this year was being being overlooked.

    Also I’ve been listening to the new Earl album a lot and felt inspired to make something that was overwhelming and impenetrable to passive consumption.

  11. 12/14/2018BradC says:

    Just wanted to drop in and give my thanks. 100 songs 0_0. Also congrats on the getting a dedicated channel on redbull, I hope more people listen now. I truly think the show is one of the best things going in rap.

    Hope you have a great holiday season!

  12. 12/14/2018DannyBrownsGap says:

    I love that it was expanded to 100 songs as it fully encompases the scope the genre for 2018, but with that I feel like there were some artists missing like Key!, Tierra Whack, KA, and Thouxanbanfauni.

    Any reason why you left them off the list this year Noz?

  13. 12/14/2018DannyBrownsGap says:

    Oh add Lil Dude & Goonew to that too

  14. 12/14/2018hotbox says:

    Onna gang is the beat of the year and 8 months later we still have no idea who made it

    Thank you for doing this. Are you going to bless us with a best of sob as well

  15. 12/14/2018FAKERAPSCEO says:

    glad i wasn’t the only one who thought 2018 was too good to condense into 50 songs. it really was a fantastic year for so many rappers. only major omission to me is ka, he dropped a really crazy album that improves with every listen. may not be as emotional or left-field as earl’s release, but pretty much on par as far as the rapping is concerned.

    who do you think was on top of the game this year when it came to production? it was harder than ever for me to track down producer credits this year! personally thought helluva ran this year along with kenny beats, dtb, pierre, and a few others.

  16. 12/14/2018ds says:

    thank you for doing all the raps and for listing all these raps

  17. 12/14/2018dflanz says:

    Amen x100 to “Like a Farmer”, “My Contribution To This Scam” and “Do It For Dooterz” (really enjoyed ‘Gangland Landlord’ but felt this and “Pure In the Pack” were his two strongest songs of the year).

    Curious what your thoughts are on the years that Pusha and NBA YoungBoy had.

    Know you only do one song per artist and “Adidon” is worthy but were you not feeling DAYTONA? For all the shitty rushed music Kanye worked on this year its pretty incredible how focused and consistently just good the record is.

    Really impressive that NBA was able to churn out music at such a high level over essentially 4 full length albums. He’s basically a higher volume “Kevin Gates-lite” at this point which I’m all for. [FWIW I thought “Diamond Teeth Samurai” was one of his weaker tracks if only because it felt like a lazy “let’s do what everyone is doing to Project Pat songs but to Hot Boys” moment.]

  18. 12/14/2018Ezra says:

    thanks for the list, noz. i had a difficult time this year trying to understand what’s going on with rap, and it’s really nice to see a list as thorough and diverse as this. i compiled it and uploaded it for anyone who wants the .mp3s

    1-50
    https colon slash slash www63 dot zippyshare dot com slash v slash 8Xpk9a98 slash file dot html

    51-100
    https colon slash slash www63 dot zippyshare dot com slash v slash 21AcWoTe slash file dot html

  19. 12/14/2018FAKERAPSCEO says:

    NBA had a fantastic year and he’s dropping another project on the 20th! he’s had one of the highest quality / quantity ratios of anyone this year, seriously had a ton of his songs in rotation. my favorite one is probably “i am who they say i am” though. of course i barely saw any coverage of his music by major outlets, which sucks but it’s what you expect at this point.

  20. 12/14/2018hotbox says:

    update: apparently onna gang is produced by link+up same dude that did all facts not 1 opinion !!

  21. 12/14/2018noz says:

    tbh i had a hard time parsing the youngboy catalog this year. every time he’d pop up on some tape by an artist i like more than him – sob, glizzy, gucci – he would absolutely kill it while they half assed their verse. but then whenever i listened to the solo tracks of his that were trending on audiomack or wherever always sounded extremely flat in comparison. does he have a consensus project on the year? or is the good shit just spread arbitrarily across a half dozen eps and that bloated album?

  22. 12/14/2018nnxsgny says:

    glad to see so much detroit rap this year. the city had a great year and we deserve better household names than, like, big sean and eminem.

    also, it’s impossible to miss the radical drop off in quality young thug music. i agree his feature on offshore was the best thing he did this year, but i’m wondering if you heard/liked any of his stuff that leaked throughout the year? even if they’re not as good as the 2015 stuff, a lot of the leaks this year are miles better than his official releases.

  23. 12/15/2018dflanz says:

    More of the latter. ‘Until Death Call My Name’ (original version…the ‘Reloaded’ bonus tracks aren’t worth checking) was my favorite overall but the best stuff was hiding on his other releases.

    If you’re looking to sift through I’d recommend:

    TTG (feat. Kevin Gates)
    Showdown
    What You Know (feat. Lil Uzi Vert)
    Preach
    No Love
    Astronaut Kid
    Top Down
    Trap House
    Head On (feat. Kevin Gates)
    We Poppin’ (feat. Birdman)
    Location

  24. 12/15/2018sr says:

    Thank you based Noz

  25. 12/15/2018RankNFil says:

    YES That BbyMutha BBC track is mesmerizing, glad its getting some shine.

    looks like Cuban Doll is the hardest doll of them all this time around… I remember your tweet saying how XXL fresh 10 could be all women, but not seeing too many contenders on this list

  26. 12/15/2018FAKERAPSCEO says:

    re: youngboy

    to be honest i subbed to his youtube channel early in the year and most of my best discoveries were just from clicking around the youtube recommendations. it was tough because that 4444 project was actually 4 EPs confusingly stapled together and besides those there were a few great songs that never made it to any album of his. really confusing rollouts. he made a lot of crazy shit regardless and i personally think he’s one of the best rappers in his age group (or in general)right now. here’s an obligatory top 10 for anyone interested.

    i am who they say i am f/quando rondo & kevin gates
    solar eclipse
    genie
    drawing symbols
    astronaut kid
    through the storm
    nobody hold me f/quando rondo
    dropout
    akbar
    black cloud

  27. 12/15/2018David says:

    surprised no “Slide”

  28. 12/15/2018Matt Fastow says:

    Glad to know you enjoy the 70th St Carlos record as much as I do. His best song so far. Hope to hear him with Mouse soon 😉

  29. 12/15/2018Tom says:

    thank you again – look forward to this every year.
    curious as to noname’s omission, though? room 25 was stunning…

  30. 12/15/2018devvvine says:

    thanks for doing this noz, always love going through these lists. (and thanks ezra for the zippys)

    34. JPEGMAFIA – “1539 N. Calvert” (JPEGMAFIA) OR?

    ^^ was there controversy about the prod attribution of this or am i over-reading this?

  31. 12/15/2018Noah says:

    Haha! I like that. That earl album is a whirlwind. I really like Red Water. It reminds me of rhymes like dimes. It’s a perfect circle of logic. But earl is even more openly confessional than doom. What a fucking wallop!

  32. 12/15/2018FAKERAPSCEO says:

    @Matt Fastow

    he just dropped a song with mouse a couple weeks ago

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ16A-2jFx4&t=14s

  33. 12/16/2018tim says:

    just while youngboy is being talked abt i feel i need to throw into the mix my fav song i heard from him this year (also came across it via youtube rec @FAKERAPSCEO) —

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX6O7bI1ZLU

    it has like 5 million views on yt but i don’t think i saw it get a single mention anywhere online, but it felt almost like a sequel to “untouchable” to me and was def one of my most listened to songs of the year.

    thanks for the list as always noz, enjoying making my way through the (many) songs here that i hadn’t heard. hope you’re doing well.

  34. 12/16/2018noz says:

    “34. JPEGMAFIA – “1539 N. Calvert” (JPEGMAFIA) OR?

    ^^ was there controversy about the prod attribution of this or am i over-reading this?”

    lol no i just forgot to edit out the note i had made for myself that i might want to swap in a diff jpeg track.

  35. 12/16/2018noz says:

    daytona is perfectly competent boring dad rap that no one will remember ten minutes from now, the 2018 only built for cuban linx 2. it’s certainly not worth lifting my kanye shadow ban for.

    i think the only thug leak i got into this year was the track with meek mill where he goes full cookie monster. otherwise he just sounded tired even when he was explicitly trying to not sound tired. it’s been so depressing hearing all these new scrubs build careers off more restrained takes on his style.

    and thanks for all the youngboy selections, i’ll put them on my winter break playlist.

  36. 12/16/2018noz says:

    btw you guys are going to have to bring some better comments than just “THANKS NOZ”/”WHAT ABOUT…” if you expect me to do this again next year.

    i don’t feel great about having finally alienated every person who might actually want to argue with me.

  37. 12/16/2018Scotty Mac says:

    A few times this year you’ve mentioned the Sada Baby and SOBxRBE Youtube channels topping just about every rap album/mixtape this year, which I agree with.

    Do you see this as a good medium for recording artists, almost in a “Youtube channel as a mixtape” sense? It seems there’s no shortage of quality video producers for these guys to link with, Onna Gang/Bloxk Party/Leave the Hood all being prime examples of great videos accompanying incredible songs.

    It’s definitely been enjoyable from a listeners perspective, getting a notification of a great new SOBxRBE video 1-2x a week for the past few months on the one platform that has the most complete collection of unreleased/uncleared music etc. It feels more polished and different from, say, the self-recorded/recorded on iPhone Lil B era, and has the added bonus of existing entirely outside the other streaming services.

  38. 12/16/2018ANU says:

    Hey noz did you hear the new joi and witchdoctor albums that dropped this year, and if so what did you think of them.

  39. 12/16/2018Aquanthologies says:

    I would really like to know how Noz felt about J.I.D & Travis Scott’s latest albuns (if he even listened to it)

  40. 12/16/2018max says:

    thank you omg.

    what i love about this list is all the bad centers of gravity shaping it from the outside like what did rap manage to do this year in spite of astroworld and 6ix9ine existing. the scuzz that’s left out elevates what’s included because anything that mattered in 2018 had to squeeze its way into your eyeballs as never b4.

    i do wonder if massive performative fandom is as detrimental as all that in some cases though like valee feels low at #35 and I was half-sure “drip too hard” would be #1.

    no young dolph gets a camouflaged fleet of chinstroke emojis from this reader. also famous dex “japan” was almost as big a hit as plug walk and shaped the sound even more but the canadian sullied it i guess so maybe it comes out under the collective drake/kanye/ travis scott shadow ban.

  41. 12/16/2018universes says:

    I will never understand the appeal of Moonlight by X I just feel like it’s a song that goes nowhere at all. Surprised there’s no Trouble on here I thought Edgewood was a fantastic album. And you could put 10 songs in the Carlos slot, the Change on Me pick is interesting to me

  42. 12/16/2018AK says:

    “King’s Dead” – is this in spite of Future’s *waves hand vaguely* whole thing, or is there a contrarian take about how his verse is actually good?

  43. 12/16/2018hotbox says:

    on second thought I’m not sure if Link+Up did Onna Gang the only credit I found was on Genius and it doesn’t sound much like his other work. It actually sounds a lot like Soulja Slim Flow 2 which is also a production mystery. They both have prominent basslines maybe it’s the same mysterious producer? This is a real problem for rap right now.

    Also a youtube comment on Onna Gang says this:

    PROD. 1K 0 l l
    P l l p
    L0 ll
    0
    0
    Lop lasp

  44. 12/17/2018xanax fantasia says:

    i cannot believe u included 3 whole songs produced by kenny beats! i find his production completely devoid of any originality or feeling and i don’t understand how so many people have gotten suckered into his whole schtick.

    also sheck wes just makes watered down soundcloud rap for 40 year olds on the internet and people clinging 2 the idea of nyc one day again being the most important rap city

  45. 12/17/2018xanax fantasia says:

    “trust issues” is cool tho i guess…

    i don’t really get how “womp womp” is being heralded as the best valee song of the year given it’s like 3/4ths jeremih doing the valee flow. he didn’t put out much new material this year but still

  46. 12/17/2018noz says:

    “A few times this year you’ve mentioned the Sada Baby and SOBxRBE Youtube channels topping just about every rap album/mixtape this year, which I agree with.

    Do you see this as a good medium for recording artists, almost in a “Youtube channel as a mixtape” sense? It seems there’s no shortage of quality video producers for these guys to link with, Onna Gang/Bloxk Party/Leave the Hood all being prime examples of great videos accompanying incredible songs.”

    It’s always been that to some degree right? Maybe now that Livemixtapes and Dat Piff are all tumbleweeds and the mixtape format is over Youtube has taken on a greater importance as the only platform that can actually surface a certain type of street artist, particularly an independent one.

    Also I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my three favorite Youtube acts this year – Sada, SOB, Carlos – come from the three American cities that are still mostly sealed off from national trends aesthetically. How would Rap Caviar even sequence more than a few of these uptempo, rappy and at least occasionally joyous records alongside all the wavy sing song 60 bpm downer Post Malone type shit that they are usually pushing?

    Obviously there are huge problems with the Youtube algorithms but at least it’ll take me to Babyface Ray eventually if I’m listening to a lot of Sada. Spotify “curated” playlists are middlebrow payola hell spaces and their “discovery” service is laughable. Soundcloud algos are always gradually nudging you back towards the most Soundcloudish rap. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR COMETHAZINE AFTER KODAK.

  47. 12/17/2018noz says:

    “Hey noz did you hear the new joi and witchdoctor albums that dropped this year, and if so what did you think of them.”

    No! How the hell did I miss both? The internet is so fucking useless now.

    “i do wonder if massive performative fandom is as detrimental as all that in some cases though like valee feels low at #35 and I was half-sure “drip too hard” would be #1.”

    i mean, yeah, those were the two songs most likely to be bitten by famous rappers this year but i don’t know if that makes them the best songs necessarily. they’re cool though, and certainly significant.

    “I would really like to know how Noz felt about J.I.D & Travis Scott’s latest albuns (if he even listened to it)”

    He felt that the J.I.D. album was too much of a Kendrick cosplay and thus far inferior to The Never Story but the track “Workin’ Out” was nice and the cover is cool. He even listened to the Travis Scott and felt that it was a waste of some good beats on one of the most emotionally bankrupt artists in the history of this great genre.

  48. 12/17/2018noz says:

    “Moonlight by X I just feel like it’s a song that goes nowhere at all.”

    yes and that’s why it’s good, circular styles, just like the earl song.

    ““King’s Dead” – is this in spite of Future’s *waves hand vaguely* whole thing, or is there a contrarian take about how his verse is actually good?”

    well it’s on here because the jay rock verse is probably the best rap performance of the year, i’m not sure if anyone else noticed this but he seems to purposely be fusing 56 nights era future repetition with the typical tightening kendrick/tde anxiety style. future’s verse is definitely good too, if only because it’s essential for relieving that tension for a bit. if it was just rock and kendrick going super hard for five minutes it would be completely unlistenable like, y’know, a lot of the songs on kendrick’s last album. also.

    “i cannot believe u included 3 whole songs produced by kenny beats! i find his production completely devoid of any originality or feeling and i don’t understand how so many people have gotten suckered into his whole schtick.”

    i wouldn’t go as far as to to trash kenny on this level but i will say that all three of those songs are on here more because of the respective rap performances than anything particularly excellent about the beats. i was shocked to see him trounce tay keith in the twitter poll i put up when keith has a more distinctive sound and produced some of the biggest actual hits of the year (but then i just realized there are no keith beats on here either so maybe i am part of the problem or maybe drak shouldn’t have ruined them all) i do think there’s a bit of an early metro boomin thing going on with kenny’s ascension, him being really charming and well branded and working with the right people. but then who knows because metro made savage mode after years of me lightweight dismissing him for the same reason. there’s something to be said about making understated beats and letting the artist shine.

    “also sheck wes just makes watered down soundcloud rap for 40 year olds on the internet and people clinging 2 the idea of nyc one day again being the most important rap city”

    i felt this way at first – there’s definitely a “bitch u guessed it” sort of art school thing going on with his performance that rubs me the wrong way – but i don’t know the whole package eventually clicked once it became a thing that i started hearing in public. i’m pretty sure lots of people much younger than 40 who are enjoying that song but then i’m damn near 40 myself so who am i to say?

    i don’t especially like young dolph or famous dex, don’t dislike them either, can’t care. and “plug walk” was a much bigger irl hit than “japan.”

  49. 12/17/2018bronc says:

    i still can’t believe how kenny beats has completely ducked any sort of backlash for always being where the money is

  50. 12/17/2018bronc says:

    also no song of the year or anything but i’ve been so so stuck on this track from the latest peewee longway https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2eiIVmQdII

  51. 12/17/2018Grant Baker says:

    Pretty good list, surprised at the Jojo song over Kony’s output this year; “Location on the Flyer” and the TO song on the new EP are great.

    Mozzy single output definitely better than the albums.

    The Armand Hammer album was one of my favorite projects of the year, specifically Alternate Side Parking and If He Holla.

    Where I’m From is a solid Starlito pick, but I felt “You Don’t Know the Half” was far and way the best, an unusually interesting Bandplay beat. The best Starlito verse from this year is on Lil E “Letter 2 the Game,” unfortunately it is not on Youtube, though it is on all DSPs. The Starlito verse on this random Jelly Roll song is fantastic as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8-7u5Mxf2U . Both songs mention youth sports, for whatever thats worth.

  52. 12/17/2018hotbox says:

    Tay Keith co-produced don’t come out the house tho

  53. 12/17/2018RankNFil says:

    If you keep putting kodak at the top of these lists he’s going to get sloppier and sloppier, and i’m not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing

  54. 12/17/2018danny says:

    How you feelin about MIKE? I know last year you said he was too stylistically indebted to Earl, but curious where you’re at now that Earl is at least a lil stylistically indebted to him.

  55. 12/17/2018Truman says:

    Always an interesting list. I was wondering, what’s your position on Zillakami? Even if it’s not really rap tbf

  56. 12/17/2018Shadowy Enemy says:

    “Care For Me” was a helluva accomplishment as a long player. I haven’t listened to it often this year – such intense purging isn’t something I can consume all the time – but it’s Art if anything is. That and the Playboi Carti album were probably my favorites of the year for entirely different reasons.

    Glad to see “Doh Doh” make it, that was by far the best solo Future song to come out this year. The fucking “Get Yo Roll On” flow made me jump around my efficiency. “Beast Mode 2” made me flip at the time – “the man’s finally back!,” etc. – but I don’t find myself returning to it, which is the real test.

    I guess it is a measure of encroaching age (at 32 lol) that I kinda don’t give a shit about Lil Baby and Gunna. Both are obviously competent and know how to rap, but Gunna’s delivery is so softly uncompelling and Lil Baby is so obviously watered-down Thug that I just find it hard to care.

    I wish 70th Street Carlos was a star. That guy’s sense of fun is downright infectious. All the loosies he released this year were heaters and I even liked it when he experimented with a hectic offbeat flow, which is some kind of accomplishment.

    “Story of Adidon” was a huge charge at first just because I hate the Canadian so much, but then the gleam wore off ultra-fast and as my friend AK did say at the time, I’m not sure the best points that a diss track scores should be points that would be just as damaging in an actual case. Anyway the difference between “you left out the G cause the G ain’t in you” and “you are hiding a child” should be obvious.

    I had a jokey conspiracy theory this year that Pitchfork was trying to bring back New York rap. Sheck Wes doesn’t do much for me but I’m glad he does it for other people.

    I really need to get more on the SOB x RBE wave because everything I’ve heard has been awesome but I haven’t had or made time to pursue it. Stupid.

    Weird year.

  57. 12/18/2018xanax fantasia says:

    ah you’ve got me there with sheck wes. tho someone called mo bamba “faneto for white people” which i can’t get out of my head lol/ makes me wonder if a lot of the younger people who like him are too young to have considered chief keef any kind of factor musically?

    i may have been too harsh on kenny beats but also genuinely nothing he’s done has ever made me feel anything! i really wanted to like “FM!” but idk vince still sounds as bored as he did on big fish theory to me. in general the narrative around kenny is starting to remind me of that with alex tumay, where whether intentionally or not, people are looking for a white dude behind the scenes to explain why something is “good.”

    i’d be curious to know how yu ended up picking “stet” by milo over something on “sovereign nose of (y)our arrogant face” which i strongly preferred to anything else he released this year

  58. 12/18/2018Shadowy Enemy says:

    ps you wanted someone to argue so okay, there is no fucking way “plug walk” is better than “new patek”

  59. 12/18/2018ketan says:

    thank you for another list. thank you for listing the producers. non-rap list in the works?

    i didn’t know about your redbull show, and am really looking forward it.

    sorry to hear that life’s been better. i feel you through the anti-design of your front page.

    now onto some dumbass questions:
    – is slowed Mike Paradinas the most precise reference for the vibe that unfolds on Strawberry Kush by Fetty Wap? or what? my memory is getting terrible. i know he’s not rap, so this is super off-topic, but Toast Up (zoomix) was in steady rotation this year.
    – what are you favorite samples from this year? that’s Mother’s Finest joint that Oodles… samples is nice. That New Birth track that Swizz sampled on Echo – didn’t know that album.
    – was it hard to pick Oodles… over Championships?

  60. 12/18/2018ketan says:

    A couple more thoughts:
    – I’m glad you put something from RR2 instead of Behold a Dark Horse – I thought it was better Roc Marci album in 2018
    – I usually not a big fan of Royce – lots of talent with few good songs imo – but Power and Cocaine of his album were on repeat for while.

  61. 12/18/2018Threetall says:

    Did anyone check out the Reese Laflare self titled this year?
    I think it was one of the most curved projects of the year and one of my favorites. It has stylistic ATL flavors from all over the year/scenes , which upon first listen felt like a grab for listeners but then it really grew on me, but he’s been one of yet another of the ATL indie artists that’s gotten overlooked over the years. Seeing him perform live in 2010-2011 also probably has a huge impact on my perspective of him as an artist, and it’s definitely something that’s colored my opinion on rap/a particular scene. Probably why I don’t feel as strong a pull to Chicago artists even though I like a fair amount of them. To this end, wasn’t really a Boosie fan until I saw him perform a couple weeks after his prison release.

  62. 12/19/2018AK says:

    I gotta say song of the year for me was probably “Wake Me Up In Traffic” – beyond the weirdly mournful sound of the whole thing and the dynamite hook, the best musical experience for me was when Greedo opened with it during his last LA set (free 03!) and even though it was just a youtube demo the audience POPPED and everyone knew every single word. That was a moment.

    Also, is anyone making a zip or?

  63. 12/19/2018RM says:

    Thanks for making the list again, Noz

    Did you consider slotting ‘I Like It’ over ‘Be Careful’ (which felt like a skippable track on its own album)? Also, have you listened to any Bad Bunny or other Spanish-language trappers?

  64. 12/19/2018Ketan Shankardass says:

    “Did you consider slotting ‘I Like It’ over ‘Be Careful’ (which felt like a skippable track on its own album)?”

    Haha, I was actually going to comment on how interesting it was that no one in a room full of rap nerds seemed to have an problem with that being in the top ten. Personally, I ride for Be Careful. I even purchased a clean version to play around my daughters.

  65. 12/20/2018landslide says:

    Do it for Dooterz beat of the year? Probably my most listened to song of the year, even though Mozzy isn’t all that remarkable on it.

    I’ve been pretty disappointed that the guitar sound Lil Baby and Gunna have been using this hasn’t helped Ghetto Guitar blow up at all. The work he did with SD (‘Burn One’) was some of the most interesting sounding rap music i’ve heard in the last couple years.

    My top Carlos song from the year was Wake Me Up. Nice to see him get really soulful while still keeping that goofy style.

    Did you hear anything that Que Almighty put out this year? Overall he kinda let me down because I thought this would be his year after Put That On Gang, but not many songs stuck with me besides Plucker. He just needs better beats but he’s very talented. I don’t know why more people aren’t utilising TrelitzAHit. The beats he posts on his instagram and youtube are just nuts and would be so fun to hear Carlos, Que or someone new go off on (Carlos seems to go for the slightly more toned-down Trel beats these days)

  66. 12/20/2018D says:

    yipee!
    2 tapes you put me onto this year that i wonder if anything off them almost made it?
    SahBabii – Squidtastic
    Nef the Pharaoh – The Big Chang Theory
    thanks Noz!

  67. 12/20/2018StuntKockSteeev says:

    Really hoping that @maynholup shows up at some point to weigh in on the new Z-ro

  68. 12/20/2018noz says:

    wow i hadn’t even made the connection that ghetto guitar was the one who did all that old sd grunge shit, but yes of course that makes sense on multiple levels. weird how that sound blew up but only in so much that the two gunna and lil baby songs were huge. the travis and sixnine rip offs seem like pretty minor records even amongst their respective cults. it’s sort of a relief to know that [i]culture trickles upwards[/i] type biting doesn’t always stick. i guess it helps that the gunna and baby tracks were extremely visible on the rap caviar circuit, etc.

    zillakami is cool, probably the member of his generation with the best actual grasp on the growly metal vocal technique, rather than just going all throaty as a fashionable gimmick ala six nine. but yeah i don’t know if his other stuff qualifies as rap music or for that matter as music i ever actively want to listen to as an adult. he is really styling his ass off on that powers pleasant song that i listed though, which is why i listed it. (it’s funny to me because city morgue was also the name of a crew that used to run with nj legend yz circa “the ghettos been good to me.”)

    i had no idea that kenny beats was so controversial. or is it just one dude here who is mad and posting under three names?

    most of the cardi album was boring but “be careful” was damn near a perfect rap song, i don’t care what you guys say. it feels like an ’03 nas album cut or something. tonally it was the only rap on the radio with even a hint of brightness this year. i mean my man ketan can play the clean version for his daughters! try doing that with “sicko mode.” it’s really well structured too, with an actual concept, nice symmetry in the verses, the kind of stuff that i miss in most other contemporary rap music. respect to the writer and cocaine blunts recent adds alum pardison fontaine.

    “i like it” will always be a burger king commercial to me.

  69. 12/21/2018JPC says:

    i know its technically a 2017 song and/or not really a rap song but boo’d up (plies edition) had my favorite rap performance of the year. there’s something about the beat or flow of the song that worked really well with rappers (plies most successfully but t-pain had a pretty good stab at it as well)

  70. 12/22/2018sub ill says:

    Doh Doh is the best choice from beast mode 2, but racks blue sounds like future rapping over a kk slider song from animal crossing and for that I love it

  71. 12/22/2018hotbox says:

    Soulja Slim Flow 2 is Timothy Hill his beat tag is on the 5.56 mixtape version but not in the video, which is almost always how I listen to the song until now.

    If you make a list next year I promise I’ll contribute more than just producer credits

  72. 12/23/2018xanax fantasia says:

    lmao i swear i didn’t leave comments under a bunch of different names disparaging kenny beats! he isn’t even bad or anything i just find a lot of the hype around him weird and misplaced. i can’t tell if it’s cool that as a producer he gets his name in title of all the rico nasty youtube videos or if it’s sort of lame?

    it is entirely possible the music video has been ruining “mo bamba” for me thus far

  73. 12/24/2018icebergsweater says:

    @landslide

    Honestly I fucked with “Don’t Start No Shit” & “How We Play It” more than “Plucker” when it came to Que’s shit this year. “Don’t Start No Shit” is pretty much my favorite song from this year.

    I do agree with you that Carlos should do more shit over actual Trel beats instead of some of the imitation-Trel type beats he’s been rapping over.

  74. 12/27/2018Bryan says:

    Wassup Noz, thanks for these lists as always – the most important year-end list for me and always a place of discovery. Look, I know you don’t consider rap albums so much as singles and have said as much before, but does Pusha’s get-off-my-lawn vibes really overshadow how nice his album was? Maybe it’s off-putting that he’s talking shit about young dudes ruining Pateks and meanwhile more relevant young dudes like Uzi drop good stuff like “New Patek”, but I’m still biased towards sonically and thematically cohesive albums and Daytona is a good example of that. So… what about the albums? Solid top-to-bottom, with good editing (so glad the 80 min albums are out of fashion now!), like..

    Pusha T – Daytona (22 min)
    Sheck Wes – Mudboy (50 min)
    Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs (25 min)
    Ka (with Animoss as Hermit and the Recluse) – Orpheus vs. the Sirens (33 min)
    Future – Beastmode 2 (32 min)

    These were my favorites of what I heard. In a fragmentary digital world it’s still nice to have longer works to vibe to, to get lost in another world for half an hour or so. Even if it hasn’t always been rap’s forte, there are clearly still artists that focus on albums (Danny Brown, hope to see one from you next year).

    Ka shoulda been on your list, man.

  75. 12/28/2018xanax fantasia says:

    yooo ghetto guitar had a fucking incredible remix of bodak yellow that i strongly preferred to the original (that beat is so lame), but he sadly appears to have taken it down.

    can’t tell if there’s some sort of internet glitch where a trance artist named SD frequently gets credited as the rapper from chicago or if he just also makes a shitload of trance songs now… not really my thing but it’s still pretty cool in theory/ i respect the experimentation! “burn one” was the shit

    today i relistened to “masion musick” by chief keef and was pleasantly surprised to hear nard & b’s tag on i think “handmade.” he was teasing a whole project with them at one point but it’s sadly, to my knowledge, never materialized. still pretty bummed future seems to have stopped working with them / migos left them off culture 2… has anyone else been feeling the lack of nard & b productions on more mainstream releases? i think they had beats on 1017 thug as well, is it possible young thug seeming not as good lately is production related?

  76. 12/29/2018Dee Ess says:

    Thank you Noz. Still missing Cocaine Blunts but thanks for keeping the Year end list going. I’ll mmake sure to cop from the store this year.

  77. 12/30/2018VM says:

    only name i feel like got left off is YungManny. to me bonfire pt. 2 embodies how exciting a syncopated / elastic flow that pushes, pulls, and dances around the beat can be

  78. 01/4/2019W2. says:

    Thank you. We owe you money.

  79. 01/9/2019bad bob says:

    hey take that back about only built for cuban linx 2