Oski – Lose It (feat. Hydraulix & Macntaj)
Oski’s production style takes the leftfield “pots and pans” of a producer like Cashmere Cat and SOPHIE and takes it to the world of electronic trap. Macntaj aggressively spits over a track that’s as abrasive as it is banging, and features a drop that could sound right of a Baauer song.
Dumbfoundead – Water (feat. G.Soul)
Dumbfoundead, a Korean rapper from LA, collabs with a Korean singer named G.Soul. They both work their magic over the song’s stellar instrumental, a bass-heavy composition with some pretty wild percussion. The video is a delicious pale wave that perfectly fits the song’s K-pop inspirations.
Swet Shop Boys – Birding
Cashmere was one of 2016’s forgotten albums, a political project that had some of last year’s best beats. They managed to drop a damn good EP this year too that also kinda went under the radar. Birding is my personal favorite off the EP, a track that features Heems rapping over a beat that samples a bird call (I don’t know which bird because I know nothing about birds). He ends the song naming a bunch of songs, eventually gushing over the birds there (“Yo, that’s a bird!”). It’s hilarious, revealing some of that classic Das Racist style that we all know and love.
Dave – 100M’s
I’m pretty glad Drake put Dave on the map in the states. I much prefer the original Wanna Know, but I’m happy that people know his name now. 100M’s is definite proof he can more than handle a track by himself. It’s nearly nonstop spitting, only being broken up by a great pre-chorus and chorus. The beat is a fast-paced and synth-filled, fitting Dave’s rapid fire delivery. Give it a listen.
Kool G Rap – World is Mine (feat. KXNG Crooked, Willie The Kid & Pearl Gates)
Kool G Rap is probably one of my favorite 90s rappers. He’s usually forgotten in the normal conversations about the legends of that area, and it’s a shame, because he has a fair share of classics. More than two decades later, he’s still serving greatness. His newest album, Return of the Don, is really solid, and did not disappoint me. My personal standout was this track with some damn great verses, a chill hook, and a really nice instrumental. It’s really all I can ask for from a legend all these years later.
Snakehips – Right Now (feat. ELHAE, D.R.A.M. & H.E.R.)
Snakehips are possibly the best producers right now. They bring out the best in their features, with All My Friends, Cruel, and Don’t Leave getting serious rotation from me. They hit it out of the park with this all caps collaboration that features 3 unlikely musicians that all work seamlessly on this absolute banger of a beat. It’s really hard to explain but all 3 of them sound unique yet blend well, and the instrumental is a monster, it’s simple but it just slaps.
Gallant – Bourbon (feat. Saba & Lophiile)
If you’ve somehow missed Gallant’s gorgeous debut Ology last year, don’t miss this. Bourbon is a track that feels tremendous, never showing its cards until they’re necessary. There’s a beautiful marraige of some massive horns with dancey synths, and after Gallant has your chest caved in, Saba comes in with a fast verse that exhibits what he’s best at. It’s a beautiful way to reimagine one of the best songs on Ology, and a rare case where I like it more than the original.
G4shi – Turn Me Down
“Swear they ain’t never gonna slow me down, when I’m in your city people hold me down, ain’t no bitch in this place gonna turn me down.” Turn Me Down is an ignorant banger, plain and simple. Totally not a bad thing. G4shi nearly yells over pinprick minimalist production, and frankly, you can’t help but yell the chorus with him.
Andy Mineo – KIDZ (feat. Wordsplayed & Magic & Bird)
I’ll just go out and say it. Andy Mineo is a Christian hip hop artist. Before you run away, just give this track a listen. It’s a monster of a song, just some dope verses over a hard beat. Sure, it has zero expletives, but you don’t really notice because it bangs. That’s all I care about, and KIDZ delivers in spades.
Michael Da Vinci – Get Money
Michael Da Vinci is probably known to most of you as the guy who’s featured on Isaiah Rashad’s Brad Jordan. He’s more than that though, and his new track Get Money is a strong solo effort – it’s a lyrical slapper, and his flow is what shines here.
The-Dream – Summer Body (feat.Fabolous)
The-Dream and Fabolous collaborate once again on this tropical pop rap song that’s perfect for summer. It’s a bit more substantial than some of the rap-infused tropical pop I’ve heard lately, and The-Dream sounds amazing here. Fabolous drops a solid verse, and the rest is The-Dream, but it never gets stale.
Jarron Benton – The One (feat. Demrick)
Jarron Benton is a rapper right out of Georgia that frankly spits, and his newest record The Mink Coat Killa LP is just underrated flames. The One is a classic hip hop beat, with some rare scratching, and a vocal sample that comes after fourth that just adds to the list of small details that make this song so riveting.
Krayzie Bone – Suck in My Ways (feat. Young Noble)
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s Krayzie Bone dropped a really nice LP this year called Stuck in My Ways. The third song, Stuck in My Ways, is a chill track that simply exhibits lyricism. It’s not quite a return to form, but it’s a hell of a song to play with the windows down, and I really enjoy the smooth chorus.
Lando Chill – Ain’t for Us
Lando Chill’s 2017 album The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind, is well, chill. Ain’t For Us is my favorite effort on the record, an airy approach to an entrancing synthy beat with Lando rapping in a hypnotizing manner, seemingly rapping for infinity as the beat goes on and on, eventually fading away with a sung monologue from him getting cut off at the end.
Lunice – Distrust (feat. Denzel Curry, J.K. the Reaper, & Nell)
Lunice’s newest single off of his upcoming debut album, CCCLX, in September. Distrust takes the strength of all 3 artists and pits them against each other in this dissonant, dark, and noisy track that proves why Lunice is one of the best producers in the game. It’s experimental, messy, and weird. But it works.
French Montana – Bring Dem Things (feat. Pharrell Williams)
At the time of adding this song, French Montana’s Jungle Rules wasn’t out, and Unforgettable wasn’t in the Billboard Top 10. I still maintain that this is the better song, and easily one of the highlights of the album (although A Lie really slaps). Harry Fraud frankly murders this beat, sampling some unlikely sources. The result is phenomenal, a hip hop banger that features one of Pharrell’s best verses in a long while, and French holds his own too. Definitely an album standout.
Statik Selektah – Man of the Hour (feat. 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa)
Statik Selektah and 2 Chainz doesn’t seem like a collaboration that should work as well as it does. 2 Chainz spits one of the best verses he’s done this year, and yes, that includes his album. I’m also not a big Wiz fan but he does his thing here and I’m a fan. The beat is great, obviously, and that’s to be expected by one of the best producers still in the game.
Leikeli47 – Miss Me
“Miss me with the bullshit” Leikeli mutters. That’s a good summation of her career. She’s no gimmicks, an outspoken rapper who vibes on her newest record, a short but sweet track that is as eclectic as it is electric.