Hip Hop fans are faced with a constant barrage of new music on a daily basis, making it all but impossible to truly keep up with everything that’s notable. But despite the overflow of songs, certain tracks break away from the pack and becoming defining sounds of the year.
With 2019 coming to an end, HipHopDX discussed and debated what songs stood above the rest before narrowing it down to 20 songs. From hit singles to undeniable album cuts, these made an impact and helped define the year in Hip Hop.
At the end of every year, the team at HipHopDX likes to review and recap the most important things that happened in our culture. We look back at the Beef’s, the best social media moments, some of the best rap lyrics in the game, as well as recognize the overall best. So check all that happened in Hip Hop in 2019 or click here if you want to see the full list of Hip Hop Awards, nominees and winners.
So without further ado, here is DX’s list of the best rap songs of 2019.
20. Offset f. Cardi B – “Clout”
It was only right that Kulture’s parents put their chemistry on wax for one of the year’s most topical tracks. “Clout” is as catchy as it gets and a warning for Mr. & Mrs. Offset’s haters. – Scott Glaysher
19. Lil Tecca – “Ransom”
With its shimmering Trap beat and effortless Auto-Tone flow, Lil Tecca’s “Ransom” is an infectious hit that was bound for streaming and chart success. – Daniel Spielberger
18. Rapsody – “CLEO”
Rapsody masterfully juggled carefully crafted lyricism with power-punching statements that confront the industry, “sheep” fans and tell her individual story. – Victoria Moorwood
17. NLE Choppa – “Shotta Flow”
“Shotta Flow” marked the catalyst to NLE Choppa’s come-up — the certified platinum single gave way to a viral video, Blueface remix and sparked a record company bidding war over the budding star. – Victoria Moorwood
16. Rapsody f. D’Angelo & GZA – “IBITHAJ”
Rapsody paid tribute to bronze medalist fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad — who was the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab during the Olympics — and GZA with a 9th Wonder-flipped sample of the Wu-Tang Clan MC’s classic “Liquid Swords.” – Victoria Moorwood
15. Drake & Rick Ross – “Money In The Grave”
Though Drake inexplicably chose to release a two-pack of songs that had absolutely nothing to do with Toronto Raptors’ historic win, the aggressive Rick Ross collabo was the cream of the crop from his Best In The World Pack and peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. – Riley Wallace
14. Gang Starr f. J. Cole – “Family & Loyalty”
Gang Starr is a group that many purists hold in the highest regard, so when it was revealed their first new song in 16 years would feature J. Cole, skepticism was extremely high. Luckily for the Dreamville capo, he delivered in spades. – Riley Wallace
13. Travis Scott – “HIGHEST IN THE ROOM”
Following Travis Scott’s colossal 2018, the Texas-bred star maintained momentum with another psychedelic smash that shed some light on even his most intimate relationship details. – Scott Glaysher
12. Dreamville – “Costa Rica”
Nine rappers (J. Cole, J.I.D, Bas, Ski Mask The Slump God, Smokepurpp, Guapdad 4000, Reese, Buddy Johnson, Mez and Jace) linked up for an epic posse cut — a standout on the stellar Revenge Of The Dreamers III album. – Kenan Draughorne
11. Polo G f. Lil Tjay – “Pop Out”
Equal parts catchy and contextually tragic, Polo G and Lil Tjay’s triple-platinum selling single tore up radio airwaves and set the stage for Polo’s debut album Die A Legend. – Riley Wallace
10. Lizzo – “Truth Hurts”
Though it originally came out in 2017, Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” was one of the most profoundly impactful — and ubiquitous — bops of 2019. Due to its clever, meme-worthy lyrics and empowering message that can make anyone feel like a superstar, the song spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. – Daniel Spielberger
9. Denzel Curry – “RICKY”
Denzel Curry delivers a tornado of a performance on “RICKY,” the biggest song on a pivotal album in his career. Carol City should be proud. – Kenan Draughorne
8. Megan Thee Stallion f. DaBaby – “Cash Shit”
One of the most integral tracks of Megan Thee Stallion’s Hot Girl Summer was “Cash Shit,” which got even hotter thanks to DaBaby’s scorching verse. – Scott Glaysher
7. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – “Crime Pays”
Madlib, one of Hip Hop’s elite loop diggers, simmered a Walt Barr sample to absolute perfection for Freddie Gibbs on “Crime Pays” — the lead single for their acclaimed album Bandana. – Riley Wallace
6. Young Thug f. Gunna – “Hot”
Young Thug’s “Hot” proves that simplicity pays off. Boasting impeccable production from Wheezy and solid contributions from Gunna and Travis Scott, the track shows it takes true talent to make it all seem so effortless. – Daniel Spielberger
5. Tyler, The Creator f. Playboi Carti & Charlie Wilson – “EARFQUAKE”
Tyler, The Creator isn’t known for radio-friendly hits yet “EARFQUAKE,” a single off of his Grammy-nominated album IGOR, fuses his distinct, off-kilter style with a catchy, pop groove. – Daniel Spielberger
4. Nipsey Hussle f. Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy – “Racks In The Middle”
Anchored by a smooth Hit-Boy-produced beat and featuring buzzing newcomer Roddy Ricch, this Grammy-nominated collaboration found the late Nipsey Hussle excelling on a melodic record while maintaining his gritty lyricism. – Victoria Moorwood
3. Young Thug f. J. Cole & Travis Scott – “The London”
J. Cole’s killer run of features hit Young Thug’s So Much Fun with “The London.” The Dreamville boss and Travis Scott helped Thugger secure what was, at the time, his highest-charting single as a lead artist. – Kenan Draughorne
2. J. Cole – “Middle Child”
J. Cole’s “Middle Child” arrived as a warning shot and rap credo while fans waited on The Fall Off, which is due out in 2020. – Kenan Draughorne
1. DaBaby – “Suge”
In 2019, DaBaby proved to the world that less is more, especially with his smash hit “Suge,” earning him our award for Top Rap and Hip Hop song of 2019.
The lead single from his Baby On Baby project instantly stood out as one of his personal best performances for the simple fact that it was, well, simple. Jetsonmade used some easy chords, claps, and 808s to craft a trunk-ratting beat that DaBaby could rap to shreds and ad-lib to his heart’s desire. Embodying the once menacing Suge Knight, DaBaby gets off some terrifically terrifying bars himself — all while lacing the chorus with his bouncy “yeah yeah” ad-lib. The song is the perfect placeholder for car rides, gym sessions, club nights or any situation where you need to go, baby. – Scotty Glaysher
That’s our selections for the Top 20 rap songs of 2019, but what are your picks for the best of the year? Let us know in the comments and check out all of the awards and top Hip Hop songs of 2019!