Some Unpublished Blurbs: Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2018
Drake — Nice for What (2018)
If someone were to ask what the ultimate club banger was for 2018, it's probably safe to say that Drake's booty-bouncing "Nice For What," released in April would have to take the cake. When you hear the first 30 seconds of the single, you notice the bombastic vocals by the Queen of Bounce Big Freedia and the interpolation of Lauryn Hill's hit "Ex-Factor" that came out 20 years prior. The aggressive beat jumps in and Hill's lyrics from the second chorus of "Ex-Factor" where she belts "Care for me, care for me! / I know you care for me! / There for me, there for me! /Said you'd be there for me!" is remixed into a high-pitched voice, rolled into the background as Drake spits endless bars to the girls ready to live their best life at the club with their Instagram post-ready fits.
The Toronto-native, who is no stranger to experimenting when it comes to his music, stayed true to the roots of bounce music, which originated in New Orleans, the same city where Lil' Wayne and Birdman founded Cash Money Records. The unapologetically brash-blaring single would go on to stay at No 1 on the pop charts for eight non-consecutive weeks, while elevating the status of Big Freedia, as “one of the few openly queer rappers to reach such as level of success.” The rules of the rap game are, go hard or go home, Drake has a point. Why should he be nice?
Tyga & Offset — Taste (2018)
Maybe it was his breakup with Kardashian star Kylie Jenner or the repairing of his friendship with his former labelmates Drake and Nicki Minaj, but Tyga snapped this past spring with his summer-ready track "Taste."
Tyga doesn't try to offer in-depth lyrical content or any socially conscious perspective. He's here to provide the quintessential West Coast hip-hop equivalent to "being here for a good time, not a long time," as the trap-influenced club bop hooks in the listeners with it's hypnotic beat. It's not surprising to see why the single, produced by D.A. Doman (Chris Brown, Kodak Black) would go on to become Tyga's first top 10 single in America in six years with three million copies sold. The laid-back yet-aggressive hitting anthem matches up with the time that it was released during a season of pool parties and positive vibes with Offset, one the most sought-after rappers in the industry, on the track.
Childish Gambino — This Is America (2018)
Donald Glover ruled 2018 as a triple-threat in entertainment from acting to dancing to balancing his great rapping and singing talent under the musical stage name Childish Gambino. Last year, the Atlanta star found his breakout hit in the psychedelic soul track "Redbone" peaking at No. 12, spending nearly a year on the pop charts. Now Gambino's success in music tripled with the bone-rattling "This Is America," an honest ode to the plight of a black person living in today's America as well other issues like police brutality and gun violence.
Moreover, instead of making it a moody, emotional track like most stay-woke rap songs are, Gambino flips the script. He makes it an uptempo party song with plenty of catchiness and triplet rap flows while flowing from trap to gospel to folk music. It didn't take too long for the song to be a juggernaut in America, earning over 12.9 million views for its accompanying music video within 24 hours of its release, later turning into an internet meme. This year the song is up for four Grammy nods (Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Music Video). Well deserved.