Best songs for playing lol #34

The following list, sorted alphabetically, includes rap songs found on’s main year-end tally as well as an additional 16 tracks that did not make that list but are still very much worth your time.

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Listen to lớn selections from this các mục on our Spotify playlist & Apple Music playlist.

Check out all of’s 2019 wrap-up coverage here.

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2 Chainz: “NCAA”

2 Chainz’ Rap or Go lớn the League unpacks a long-held belief: The only two ways for some kids to lớn make it out of the hood are to lớn rap or play ball. The marching, Honorable C.N.O.T.E.-produced “NCAA” is the album’s centerpiece, detailing the rapper’s rise from amateur baller khổng lồ pro rapper while taking on corruption in the sporting world. The tuy vậy marks college players as victims of institutional suppression of opportunity, implicating the system as exploitative of the primarily black stars who earn billions in revenue for others. Until recently, the governing body that oversees college sports wouldn’t let student athletes profit in any way off their talents or likenesses, và 2 Chainz, a former player himself, weaponizes that hypocrisy into a rallying cry. Here, his flows are leisurely as usual but he sounds slightly perturbed, too, as if he can’t believe the unmitigated gall of it all. “NCAA” reinforces a fundamental 2 Chainz philosophy: Balling hard should be rewarded. –Sheldon Pearce


Bad Bunny: “Caro”

When the concept of self-love has been commodified by hucksters selling $500 infrared sauna blankets, it can be tempting khổng lồ toss all of your belongings into a dumpster and welcome a life of self-loathing instead. Luckily, with “Caro,” urbano shapeshifter Bad Bunny offers a more practical solution lớn embracing your worth. The tuy vậy rescues ideas of empowerment from sponsored hashtag hell, with the Puerto Rican star flicking off critics of his androgynous style & class-collapsing brashness over a trap beat that’s as quietly menacing as an alien hovercraft. “Don’t you see that I’m expensive?” he spits in Spanish, voicing the indignance of anyone who’s been made to feel undeserving because of what they wear or who they love. Then, midway, the sinister instrumental evaporates, and Bad Bunny is joined by none other than Ricky Martin—who was once lambasted by Puerto Rican clergy members after he came out as gay—for a cloud-parting bridge that exposes the song’s pristine core: “Why can’t I just be?” they plead. “What harm is it lớn you? I’m just happy.” It’s a startlingly vulnerable moment, one that makes this anthem of acceptance that much more invincible. –Ryan Dombal


Chief Keef / Zaytoven: “Spy Kid”

Zaytoven gets the most out of every rapper. As trap’s preeminent pianist, he has produced inspirational turns for many accomplished stars, playing on career-defining records for Gucci Mane, Future, & Migos. “Spy Kid,” the gleaming centerpiece of Chief Keef & Zaytoven’s collaborative mixtape GloToven, puts the often aggressive rapper under the sway of Zay’s eloquent keystrokes. Amid the glow of shimmering keys, organ swells, và pulsing 808s, Keef turns a day in the life of the youngest rap veteran into a game of I Spy, during which he has a moment of clarity: He’s a trailblazer & he isn’t even old enough to rent a car. –Sheldon Pearce


DaBaby: “Suge (Yea Yea)”

The vi xử lý core of DaBaby’s gauntlet-throwing year, “Suge” is one of 2019’s most fun và infectious hip-hop songs, putting on display the rapper’s signature bounce và his almost goofy, browbeating nature. His talky flows scan as bar-heavy despite most of his raps being filler, simply because their ferocity can raze beats to lớn cinders. Invoking the name of the strongman turned Death Row Records trùm cuối Suge Knight, da Baby’s breakout single is all about graduating from thug to lớn kingpin but still being ready lớn put hands on fools—or, you know, dangle them off of a balcony (allegedly) if need be. He runs rampant, bullying, threatening, and coercing his enemies, his claims brought to life by his bum-rushing delivery. The tuy nhiên made clear that DaBaby was wound up và raring khổng lồ go before he exploded this year, and no one has stopped him yet. –Sheldon Pearce


Danny Brown: “Dirty Laundry”

On any given night in America, there is an xuất hiện mic event where a green comedian jokes about paying strippers with change và inevitably uses the phrase “making it hail.” No one laughs. On “Dirty Laundry,” being a broke, horny schmuck is the thiết đặt instead of the punchline, and Danny Brown kills. He recounts awkward drug sales, a hookup in a Burger King bathroom, & two encounters with a stripper: as a client và as a fellow patron at a laundromat. Skeevy và giddy, he makes the gutter sound lượt thích a theme park.

Brown has been telling offbeat stories his entire career, and Q-Tip’s bouncy production—a funky drip of beeps, gurgly synths, and stretched vocal samples—accents his poise. The rapper sounds at ease over this colorful backdrop, his laundry-themed wordplay as loose and entertaining as it is technical. These gonzo escapades lack the teeth-chattering urgency of Brown’s previous music, but ultimately, his dirty-uncle act comes across as relief. He’s a full showman here, his bits polished, his delivery smooth. Most acts don’t mature this well. –Stephen Kearse

Listen: Danny Brown, “Dirty Laundry”

Dave: “Screwface Capital”

On “Screwface Capital,” the UK rapper Dave recounts his experience growing up with a single mother, and his transition from boy to man of the house. “So many days that I starved myself to lớn make sure my family eats,” he raps over a dramatic beat. Actually, Dave is barely rapping—his slow, pointed cadence borders on spoken word; at one point, that beat drops away altogether, & it feels as though Dave is delivering an impassioned speech. The tuy vậy is tagged with a moody, minute-long instrumental outro, which allows this harrowing origin story to properly sink in. –Matthew Schnipper

Dee Watkins: “Hell Raiser”

Dee Watkins begins “Hell Raiser” with a simple question: “If you ain’t talking money then why the fuck you in my face?” He says the line casually—he’s not angry, just curious. The young Florida rapper keeps up this devil-may-care attitude for the entirety of the track, gliding through a Hot Boys-meets-hyphy instrumental courtesy of type-beat producer Rocktee. The accompanying đoạn clip riffs on the horror flick The Purge, but it’s more carefree than sinister, with Watkins và his buddies kicking up some dirt with their ATVs. “I’m a bad motherfucker ’cause the good die young,” Watkins concludes, & it’s impossible to argue with him. –Ryan Dombal

Listen: Dee Watkins, “Hell Raiser”

Denzel Curry: “RICKY”

Denzel Curry blazed a trail for SoundCloud rap—that gritty, bass-boosted sound that reverberated around South Florida & elevated its young practitioners into rock stars. But despite his fame, he’s grown up with his head screwed straight. The rapper pays tribute lớn his father on “RICKY,” handing down paternal pillars of advice—trust no one but your family, stick up for your day-ones, respect women lượt thích you would your mother—to his followers, some of whom started out doubting him. The directives are austere, but a slowed-down sample of the British electronic producer Lukid’s “Twisted Blood” infuses the tuy nhiên with life. “RICKY” clanks and bounces, as if an airplane climbing toward higher altitudes has just hit turbulence. –Cat Zhang

Listen: Denzel Curry, “RICKY”

Doja Cat: “Rules”

Doja cát is a good rapper, a capable singer, & a skilled troll—but rarely has she put all of her talents together as she does on “Rules.” Compared khổng lồ the L.A. Artist’s viral 2018 hit “Mooo!,” “Rules” is tame, more centered around her fiery rapping and steady melody. Her personality still drips through her verses, which are loaded with offbeat humor and stylish pop culture references khổng lồ Wendy Williams, the Olsen Twins, and Paris Hilton. Since her big break, Doja cat has been trying to stay true to lớn her meme-driven personality while being taken seriously at the same time. “Rules” is that moment. –Alphonse Pierre

Dreezy: “Chanel Slides”

Midwestern upstarts Dreezy và Kash Doll take turns showing off on “Chanel Slides.” They both make the pursuit of luxury seem lượt thích sport, keeping up appearances even when it hurts; Dreezy “graduated from the U of Finesse,” and she’s pushing through the pain of wearing brand new Chanel slides just because they look fly. The performances really sell it: Dreezy with her devil-may-care attitude và Kash Doll with her “you can’t sit with us” energy. All this over a Pi’erre Bourne beat that sounds lượt thích trap Christmas. –Sheldon Pearce

Duwap Kaine: “Flyin’”

Teenage Atlanta rapper Duwap Kaine has been releasing lo-fi bedroom recordings on SoundCloud for about three years with little fanfare, & his music feels almost yawned out, dotted with Chief Keef-inspired Auto-Tune melodies, mumbled punchlines, và featherlight beats. A cartoon fever dream about getting high lượt thích a pilot, liking girls’ pics on IG, and the designer brands he wears while he glides through the streets of Georgia, “Flyin’” is the quintessential Duwap single. It’s hypnotic, effortless. On the song, he sounds like he’s wandering around in a daze, and his music is a perfect soundtrack for doing the same. –Alphonse Pierre

Listen: Duwap Kaine, “Flyin’”

Freddie Gibbs / Madlib: “Fake Names”

“Fake Names” is split into two acts. In the first, Freddie Gibbs recounts dirtying his hands with the drug trade, cutting out on a khuyễn mãi giảm giá that made a close friend a casualty, và the tension is underscored by Madlib’s sinister strings. The second act is ushered in by a subtle beat transition, và over a silky ’70s soul sample, Gibbs relishes the lavish lifestyle such double-crosses have bought him. As a storytelling tag-team, the pair of veterans have rarely been better. –Sheldon Pearce

Listen: Freddie Gibbs / Madlib, “Fake Names”

Gunna: “Who You Foolin”

The beauty of rap music is that just about any source material can be turned into a great song. All it takes is an adventurous enough producer & a rapper who is game. Wheezy, the beatmaker best known for his warped work with Young Thug, ventured even further into left-field for Gunna’s “Who You Foolin,” which samples the Chinese folk-pop of singer Tong Li. The producer affixes trap drums to lớn the song’s guzheng plucks, and Gunna wades drowsily through them, his Auto-Tuned melodies blending in smoothly. Despite the underlying absurdity, it all just makes sense. –Sheldon Pearce

Icewear Vezzo / Babyface Ray: “Champions”

Icewear Vezzo và Babyface Ray are professional shit-talkers. On “Champions,” the two Detroit veterans join forces for a IG-caption-worthy marathon back-and-forth like no other. Icewear Vezzo is flashy without even trying; Babyface Ray is laid back, as if he’s rapping while sifting through stacks of cash. In 2019, Detroit’s hip-hop scene was prolific, và every day seemed lớn bring a new face. But the presence of experienced rappers lượt thích Icewear Vezzo & Babyface Ray is necessary: They’re the connective tissue between the new generation and the city’s funky roots. –Alphonse Pierre

Listen: Icewear Vezzo / Babyface Ray, “Champions”

J Hus: “Must Be”

In April, UK star J Hus made his first public appearance after being released from jail by joining Drake on stage at London’s O2 Arena, briefly turning the world’s most famous rapper into an afterthought. Then, in early November, after months of silence, J Hus made his official return with “Must Be,” a genre blending single with long time producer JAE5. On the single, J Hus pulls from various parts of the diaspora lớn exceed the heavy expectations that were placed on his comeback: an afropop rhythm, comforting reggae horns, and a chill grime delivery. It’s the restart of a run that has no ceiling. –Alphonse Pierre

Lil Keed: “It’s Up Freestyle”

Lil Keed is from the same Cleveland Avenue léman luxury apartments in Atlanta as Young Thug. He has an eccentric and versatile ear for melody similar to lớn Thug, và has even remixed his songs. But Keed is more than just another Young Thug clone. On “It’s Up Freestyle,” Keed perfects his high-pitched delivery, screeching và harmonizing over a beat from JetsonMade that sounds ready for a dystopian sci-fi movie. Whether he’s rapping at an inhuman pace or piecing together his ad-libs, whatever leaves Keed’s mouth is recitable: “Walked in, walked in, this Bentley truck you can crawl in,” he wails on a hook that’s since gone viral on TikTok. It’s that sugary delivery & his control that elevates the track into a standout in a city that has no shortage of hits. –Alphonse Pierre

Listen: Lil Keed, “It’s Up Freestyle”

Lil Tecca: “Ransom”

In his instantly famous Genius “Verified” clip for “Ransom,” teenage rapper Lil Tecca detailed what he made up while writing his not-so-humblebrag of a breakout hit: He has never gone to Europe, he doesn’t wear designer clothes, & he can’t mentally handle being a player. The Long Island MC may have verified these fabrications, but his playfulness was obvious enough from the sound of things. Buoyed by an infectious hook, a sugar-cereal beat, và Tecca’s Auto-Tuned verses, “Ransom” is two glorious minutes of playing pretend. –Matthew Strauss

Lil Uzi Vert: “Free Uzi”

It’s been two long years since Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage 2, và all we’ve had to hold us over is leaks, label drama, và the occasional Instagram fit pic. But for one moment, Uzi slipped không lấy phí of the grip of Generation Now label heads Don Cannon and DJ Drama with “Free Uzi.” Over a classic DJ L drill beat, Uzi explodes for three minutes of bars that feel like a blurry 2000s Philly freestyle—probably featuring Meek Mill with fuzzy cornrows—that you would find in the deepest corners of YouTube. It’s a peek at the direction in which Uzi’s rap is headed, raising his pitch và unveiling his take on the baby voice popularized by Playboi Carti. And truly, Uzi is the only rapper that could confess on record to being a loyal viewer of The Big Bang Theory and still have it slap. Không tính phí Uzi forreal. –Alphonse Pierre

Listen: Lil Uzi Vert, “Free Uzi”

Mavi: “Daylight Savings”

For much of his recent tape Let the Sun Talk, Mavi sounds like he’s caught inside an internal monologue. Then there’s “Daylight Savings,” which feels a bit lượt thích cracking a window to let fresh air rush into a dank attic. He performs less groggily, his lyrics are echoed by a soothing singing voice, & he laments little things like a kiss or wasting away at school. It is the least cryptic of his songs, providing insight into his process and his world beyond his music. Mavi concedes that he’s prone to languishing in his scars, but he takes this moment to lớn sunbathe. –Sheldon Pearce

Maxo Kream: “Meet Again”

Maxo Kream doesn’t glamorize. He doesn’t preach. He tells stories. With a reporter’s sense for detail & a matter-of-fact delivery, the rapper tells of lives marked by crime & poverty with gut-punching pathos và bleak humor. Those abilities were on striking display on his breakout album, 2018’s Punken; “Meet Again,” the lead-off single from this year’s Brandon Banks, take them lớn another level. Borrowing the epistolary conceit of Nas’ “One Love,” Maxo narrates a letter khổng lồ an incarcerated friend. The song hits an emotional peak when the beat drops và Maxo starts talking about his own family, ripped apart by prison sentences & drug addiction. –Marc Hogan

Listen: Maxo Kream, “Meet Again”

Megan Thee Stallion: “Cash Shit”

As a joint thesis statement from two of rap’s biggest breakout stars, “Cash Shit” is almost suspiciously on-the-nose. Megan Thee Stallion & DaBaby—both witty Southerners with distinct if borderline-conventional rap styles—seize the Lil Ju beat as a stage. The production booms and yet is barely there, & actually elevates their vocals. The pair delivers some of the year’s most-recited lyrics: Megan’s capitalist-feminism (“Yeah I’m in my bag but I’m in his too”) was inescapable, both as a club staple và as a trending social truyền thông philosophy. DaBaby, as 2019’s reigning steal-your-girl lothario, made for plenty of Instagram captions, too. But even in its ubiquity, “Cash Shit” didn’t get old—arguably, in part, because Megan và DaBaby both rap about sex like they have plenty of it, a transcendent feat among their peers who’ve been clouded in a low-libido haze. Two much-hyped music videos were subsequently abandoned, making it quite clear: The song itself is plenty. –Rawiya Kameir

Mustard: “Ballin”

After defining West Coast hip-hop with his signature minimalist sound in the decade’s first half, L.A. Beatmaker Mustard has spent the last several years flexing his range behind the boards on chart-topping R&B, moody pop, and glossy rap singles. On “Ballin’,” the centerpiece of his underappreciated album Perfect Ten, he connects all the dots, flipping girl group 702’s 1997 hit “Get It Together” into a top-down smash. Any weed carrier could’ve done this groove justice—it’s that good. But Mustard is a savvy curator, so he taps the West Coast’s premier melodic storyteller, Roddy Ricch, to turn his wizardry into a you’re-broke-I’m-not anthem. Give Mustard his flowers. –Alphonse Pierre

Listen: Mustard, “Ballin”

Naira Marley / Zlatan: “Am I a Yahoo Boy”

In Nigeria, the government has made it their mission to lớn crack down on so-called “Yahoo boys” who participate in online fraud. With “Am I A Yahoo Boy,” UK-based, Nigerian-born artist Naira Marley and Nigerian rapper Zlatan tease the authorities over a track that blends afropop rhythms with trap and UK grime. Though the tuy vậy boasts one of the smoothest grooves of the year, the Nigerian government didn’t appreciate being mocked, or how the two rappers were representing the country. A day after “Am I a Yahoo Boy” was released online, both Naira Marley & Zlatan were arrested on charges related to online fraud. Five days later they were released. Let the scammer anthems breathe. –Alphonse Pierre

NoCap: “Ghetto Angels”

In a year where a certain bold-name rapper tried to use gospel as a part of his performative redemption arc, Mobile, Alabama crooner NoCap provided a more convincing take on hip-hop repentance with “Ghetto Angels.” “Why do I question God but I never pray?/I think about you, I end up cryin’ on my best days,” he lilts on the soulful ballad, và you can hear the pain in his voice. This emotion carries over to lớn the music video, as NoCap forms a street choir who sing an a capella version of the track on the block. It’ll give you chills. –Alphonse Pierre

Listen: NoCap, “Ghetto Angels”

Polo G: “Pop Out”

Chicago rapper Polo G came up listening to lớn local greats lượt thích Lil Durk và G Herbo, whose storytelling balanced titillation and tragedy. His own music is a logical evolution of their writing, even more vulnerable & irrepressibly sad. “Pop Out” was his breakout, the track that introduced his sorrow-stricken voice lớn the masses. Although it’s set against a backdrop of action—the robbery in the chorus is detailed with the kinetic precision of a Brian De Palma film—its real drama is internal, as Polo G processes the toll that playing the villain takes on your psyche. He may be the shooter, but in Polo G’s world, everybody’s a casualty.

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Telling his story, Polo G makes every word matter. It takes a special talent khổng lồ rhyme “poverty” with “animosity,” and an even more special one to bởi vì it so casually that you don’t even really notice. That’s Polo’s great gift: His prose is intricate & purposeful, but it’s the emotion that lingers. –Evan Rytlewski

Listen: Polo G, “Pop Out”

Pop Smoke: “Welcome lớn the Party”

There’s no greater honor in thủ đô new york City than having the song of the summer. Past anthems lượt thích Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot Nigga” and Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” are immortal, and now Pop Smoke’s “Welcome to the Party” can be added to lớn that list. Like Bobby and Cardi, it happened fast for Pop Smoke: At the start of 2019, he was an unknown with only a single remix to lớn his name. Four months later, “Welcome to the Party” dominated the city’s airwaves & guided Brooklyn drill music beyond New York’s state lines. His voice was almost preposterously deep for his age, like some kind of mysterious cartoon villain, and mixed with the haphazard, bass-heavy production, the tuy vậy transformed Brooklyn into a dystopian playground. His was a swagger that couldn’t be imitated, though people tried from every rooftop, apartment window, và car door. –Alphonse Pierre

Quelle Chris: “Obamacare”

“Obamacare” is a retort to anyone who has ever said Quelle Chris’ deadpan songs are too out-there. On this highlight from his latest album Guns, the New York-via-Detroit rapper is more direct in his approach—punchy, unswerving, wryly clever—as he staggers in and out of cadences. Even in his straight-faced state he is the aggressor. The beat he co-produced with Chris Keys is likely his hardest hitting ever, but it isn’t without his signature charms; it sounds like an 8-bit game booting up and then shutting down, with menacing chimes and slapping drums. “I was never weirdo, they just had khổng lồ acclimate,” Chris spits, and this tuy vậy proves his point. –Sheldon Pearce

Listen: Quelle Chris, “Obamacare”

Rico Nasty: “Time Flies”

It was easy to lớn submit khổng lồ rage this year; there was good cause all around. Mercifully, Rico Nasty returned with her dynamic brand of catharsis, smashing through walls like a pint-sized Kool-Aid Man. Anger Management, her collaborative project with the producer Kenny Beats, was released just as spring arrived, but by summer, Rico seemed to have gotten fight music out of her system. In July, she dropped “Time Flies,” a Dee B-produced loosie that appears on the Madden NFL 20 soundtrack. Ironically, the tuy nhiên sounds more lượt thích the brief, intoxicating respite that comes after scream therapy than the dyspeptic fury you’d expect of anything associated with the NFL. Sparkly, melodic, và ultimately optimistic, “Time Flies” recalls the treacly, animated energy of Rico’s early days. As the beat bubbles & then strikes, she catalogs her pain; there is loss, fear, undeserved hate. But even as the reasons for Rico’s anger persist, her own attitude helps spur transformation: “Got tired of complaining/I got up và changed my situation,” she sings. As summer turned into fall, that sentiment proved just as useful as her anger has been. –Rawiya Kameir

Listen: Rico Nasty, “Time Flies”

Rod Wave: “Heart on Ice”

Rod Wave is a 20-year-old from St. Petersburg, Florida, with a voice that belongs in a Sunday morning church choir. The Kevin Gates protégé has quickly become one of the signature voices of the Deep South, singing about his pain và inner demons over country guitars and dreary pianos. “Heart been broke so many times I don’t know what lớn believe,” he sings here, sounding lượt thích a man in the midst of an emotional breakdown. “Heart on Ice” is made up of just a single verse paired with a hook—but that verse is candid enough lớn sound like it was recorded on a therapist’s couch. –Alphonse Pierre

Saweetie: “My Type”

Invoking 2000s nostalgia in a bid to create her own rap hit, Saweetie samples from a crunk classic: Petey Pablo’s Lil Jon-produced “Freek-a-Leek.” But instead of adopting Petey’s suave, come-hither vibe, Saweetie delivers “My Type” with bite: “That’s my type!” she yells, as if she’s just spotted a man at the other over of the club and she’s ready to lớn take a swipe at any woman who dares approach him.

Saweetie’s raucous energy falls in line with another generation of women in rap: Three 6 Mafia’s Gangsta Boo and Crime Mob’s Diamond & Princess, who were exhilarating to lớn listen to lớn because they weren’t meek, pleasant, or well-mannered. Against the throwback beat’s rumbling synthesizers that could get anyone on the dancefloor, Saweetie turns “My Type” into an anthem for women who want lớn be unabashedly loud. –Michelle Kim

Listen: Saweetie, “My Type”

Stormzy: “Vossi Bop”

Two years after Stormzy’s debut record lifted him from emergent grime talent to lớn the all-around pride of London, the first single from his forthcoming second album took it back lớn the basics he built his name on. Best when he’s blustery, he took the raring energy of his early singles and channeled it into an extended brag concurrent with the vibe of the dance that inspired him. In it, he celebrates his success as a musician và activist while hearkening lớn the long tradition of dance-instructive tracks in the UK funky club scene that he’s drawn from. Stormzy's delivery is as stealth & cool as a Lamborghini in a foggy alley at night, further codifying his versatility as an MC and expressing the sweatless confidence of a newly crowned king. –Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Listen: Stormzy, “Vossi Bop”

Teejayx6: “Dark Web”

If you’ve ever woken up lớn see that Saks Fifth Avenue has charged thousands of dollars khổng lồ your credit card, you probably won’t love Teejayx6’s brand of Detroit scam rap. On “Dark Web,” after the government bans Teejayx6 from using those sites, he responds by downloading a Tor Browser so he can get back in, obtains a VPN so he’s untraceable, & purchases a BIN so he can once again go about his scams freely. The hyper-specific details—he makes it sound so easy that credit scams probably quintupled in the wake of this song—are what makes his music both seedy và improbably exciting. It’s the story of an underdog who just wants lớn scam a couple of unaware citizens and department stores so he can acquire some drip he can flex on IG: “I paid five thousand for my fit/ I’m not fitting in,” as he puts it. If you’re going khổng lồ scam, at least make a catchy tuy nhiên about it. –Alphonse Pierre

Young M.A: “Big”

On “Big,” Young M.A runs through her smooth-talking brags at a supremely unbothered pace. She’ll steal your girlfriend while wearing a Fashion Nova outfit và drink carrot juice out of a double cup (the most underrated rap flex is good health). Over a pretty melody & thudding bass, she sounds as if she’s delivering wisdom from a recliner, her feet all the way up. –Alphonse Pierre

Listen: Young M.A, “Big”

Young Nudy / Playboi Carti: “Pissy Pamper”

Even without an official release, “Pissy Pamper” was irrepressible. Left off Young Nudy’s Sli’merre due to lớn sample-clearing issues, the tuy vậy has lived a full life in corners of the internet—uploaded, taken down, then uploaded again, sometimes as only one verse or an instrumental, sometimes under the name “Kid Cudi.” (The real Cudi approved.) The sparkling, Pi’erre Bourne-produced oddity has spawned countless freestyles & remixes, becoming a little phenomenon on its own. Nudy proves a capable leading man, and few rappers sound more untroubled while detailing how they evade cops, but it’s his song in name only: Playboi Carti dominates with his spectacular, baby-voice verse. Only Carti is better at navigating Bourne’s circus beats than Nudy—they’ve both had more practice than anyone—but here, they prove they work best as a team. Nudy is a perfect sidekick, Carti is a born star, & Bourne is the most daring rap producer working now. Even as a leak, this is the new benchmark for the SoundCloud rap elite. –Sheldon Pearce

Young Thug: “What’s the Move”

One of the most consistent sources of joy on Instagram in the past year has been Lil Uzi Vert’s feed, which serves as a running catalog of the rapper’s outfits. There’s something heartwarming about seeing the young talent—his sartorial tastes unbridled and his budget now virtually unlimited—take on looks that range from Resident Evil anh hùng to hypebeast Halloween ghoul. All of Uzi’s various flexes coalesce during his appearance on “What’s the Move,” a highlight from Young Thug’s album So Much Fun. Atop a bed of 808s và bird calls, Thugger’s yearning melodies mix his Philadelphia counterpart up for a captivating (if all-too-brief) guest verse. “Flexin’ on these haters,” Uzi jeers, after rattling off all the designer labels on his person. “Richer than your first, richer than your last.” Success is the best revenge. –Noah Yoo

Listen: Young Thug, “What’s the Move”

Tags2 ChainzChief KeefZaytovenDaBabyDanny BrownDaveDee WatkinsDenzel CurryDoja CatDreezyDuwap KaineFreddie GibbsMadlibGunnaIcewear VezzoBabyface RayJ HusLil KeedLil TeccaLil Uzi VertRapPop/R&B