During the first half of November 2019, I’ll be looking back on my top 50 songs of 2018. This is both in preparation for my 2019 list, and to perhaps help enlighten some others of some great songs they may have missed.
I’ll be doing this in 10 parts (with 5 songs each), with the first being Monday 4th, and another coming out each weekday for the following 2 weeks. So, with that said, read on, listen to some of the songs, and let me know what you think.
• Moneybagg Yo – FWM (ft. Lil Baby)
Moneybagg Yo – Fwm
‘FWM’ is a song from Moneybagg Yo’s 2018 mixtape ‘2 Heartless’, and features some extremely solid and heartfelt verses and hooks from Moneybagg, as well as one of Lil Baby’s best features of 2018.
FWM (which stands for ‘Fuck With Me’) is one of many Moneybagg songs packed full of emotion and great story telling, with both him and Lil Baby rapping about how despite going through so much in their lives, certain things still really fuck with them. Although this is touched on for almost the whole song, it’s made most apparent in the songs hook;
“I went to jail, my mama cried,
It still fuck with a n*gga, yeah,
I really witnessed a homicide,
It still fuck with a n*gga, yeah,
Got the phone call, my n*gga died,
It still fuck with a n*gga, yeah,
I really struggled before the shine,
It still fuck with a n*gga, yeah”
The hook is not only full of emotion and great lines, but it sounds amazing sonically, and is super catchy. Both Moneybagg and Lil baby carry on this narrative throughout their verses, with Moneybagg rapping;
“I really struggled before the shine,
It still fuck with me sometimes,
‘Member then days slept on the dark,
I used to pray for some sunshine”
And Lil Baby starting off his verse with;
“I lost my main man, that shit fuck with me,
She say you don’t love me, you just be fuckin’ me”.
Both rappers do well to stay on topic throughout the song, while both sounding really nice and being versatile with their flows and deliveries. Lil baby’s whole verse was really well written, and includes one of the most unintentionally funny lines of the year;
“Sometimes that shit fuck with me, I damn near cry,
But I’m a man, I can’t let no tear come out my eye”.
Not only is the line and delivery of the line in context of the song hilarious, but I love the irony of something like this being said by someone who calls themselves ‘Lil Baby’.
The beat is quite simple, combining your typical trap drums with some guitar-like synths, some solid bass, and some subtle woodwind like instruments in the background, which make you feel like you’re in the jungle if you concentrate on them too hard (more specifically, it makes me feel like I’m walking to tribal council on an episode of ‘Survivor’). Despite being simple, there are no cons to the beat, it allows the focus to be on the lyrics which is the real highlight of this track.
In summary FWM is not only a great song, but a fantastic showcase of Moneybaggs ability to rap with emotion, and a good example of why Lil Baby has been one of the best feature artists of the last couple years. The chemistry between the two is insane (they already have multiple great tracks together), and I look forward to seeing them work together more in the future
• dopeSMOOTHIES – WAIT (ft. Top Dawg Twin)
‘WAIT’ is a laidback, mellow banger by dopeSMOOTHIES, and has a feature verse from Top Dawg Twin, and is one of only 3 or 4 songs in my Top50 that is by an artist I wasn’t familiar with prior to 2018.
Considering it was my introduction to dopeSMOOTHIES (who I admittedly hadn’t even heard of beforehand), ‘WAIT’ made an exceptional first impression. The beat is extremely well made, sounds super glossy for someone who isn’t very well known. It composed mainly of a real laid back piano like synth, and uses drums sparingly, sometimes limiting the drums to just a clap to mellow out the song and bring the focus to the rapping, and other times it has thumping bass and more trap-like drums, which really makes this song bang, despite the mellow-ness. One thing that is consistent is that the bass hits at all the right times, probably some of the better drums of 2018.
Fortunately, the rapping from both dopeSMOOTHIES and Top Dawg Twin fits the beat amazingly, and does an excellent job at taking this song to the next level. Throughout the song the 2 rappers ride the beat perfectly, with both of them touching on the topic of ‘At the end of the day you can’t really trust anybody but yourself’. Both rappers have a smooth delivery, multiple flows, and some great metaphors and lines to rap along too, such as dopeSMOOTHIES on the first verse;
“Dogs with the strong nose,
Lethal Weapon snub nose,
Danny Glover, Jeffery Thugger,
Childish as Donald Glover”
And Top Dawg Twin on the second verse;
“Now a n*gga grown, gotta run it up myself,
Posted on a block, I ain’t out here for my health,
Move round by my lonely cause these n*ggas for they self”.
The hook is yet another standout moment from the track, and is delivered by Top Dawg Twin I believe. Not only does it sound nice, but it’s got a solid rhyme scheme throughout, and the beat compliments it well, making it one of my favourite hooks to sing along to from 2018. It’s starts off with;
“That bitch told me light another blunt, I told her wait,
Baby girl my drugs are very rare from outta space,
Know that I ain’t trippin’ baby girl, I’ll do the race,
You ain’t with the movement baby girl then get replaced”.
The first hook is at the begginning of the song, and does a great job at setting the mood for the remainder of the song.
Overall, ‘WAIT’ was an excellent introduction to dopeSMOOTHIES and Top Dawg Twin, and has really shown me that both of them have the potential to deliver amazing verses, and create more masterpieces of music. The rapping, the bars, the hook, and the stunning beat come together to form a near perfect track. Admittedly I haven’t dug into a lot of their other work yet (been planning on it for ages), but almost everything I have checked has been very impressive. If you enjoyed this, I would recommend checking out some more dopeSMOOTHIES, particularly ‘Hyperspace’ (off the same project), and ‘Cutting Agents’ (his most recent release.
• 88rising – Midsummer Madness
88rising – Midsummer Madness
When composing this list at the end of 2018, Midsummer Madness from 88rising’s ‘Head In The Clouds’ album had pretty much secured its spot all thanks to the fact it has my favourite hook of 2018. Despite having some minor imperfections in my opinion, the song is almost flawless, with amazing verses from 88rising members Rich Brian, AUGUST 08, and Higher Brothers member DZ, and the stellar hook from Joji.
In my mind Midsummer Madness is the perfect summer song. I feel like when people talk about summer songs they usually mean 1 of 2 things, either that the song has like that upbeat beach party vibe, or that it’s the kind of song you would play on a summer road trip with the squad, pumping loud through the car speakers with the windows down and everyone singing along. This song perfectly fits the second example, with the laid back beat, the mellow flows throughout the verses and the beautiful hook all contributing to this vibe.
The beat isn’t anything special on its own, but sets the perfect vibe for the song and meshes so well with all the vocal performances delivered on the track. The song starts with just a simple acoustic guitar, which goes well with the crooning provided by joji at the start of the hook. As the hook progresses, the drums make an entrance, and the bass hits at the perfect time, just as Joji sings “FUCK THE RUU-UU-UU-UULES”. Never have I heard a hook so beautiful that simultaneously makes you feel like such a boss while singing along. I won’t touch on the hook too much, I just feel like sonically and musically it’s the best hook of the year, can’t flaw it.
All three rap verses on the song are super solid musically, they’re delivered well, the flows are nice, and all 3 rappers ride the beat perfectly. There are a couple lines that are a bit ‘corny’, but it the grand scheme of things this doesn’t take away from the song in the slightest.
AUGUST 08 has the first verse, and is my favourite of his verses on this album (amazing album btw). He flows nice throughout, and has probably the best verse on the song to rap along to. One of my favourite parts of his verse is;
“All these blurry nights feel the same to me,
Heart full of hate, no vacancy,
Only one you’re gonna blame when it’s over,
Can’t look me in my eyes when you’re sober”.
Rich Brian has the next verse, and although it’s probably my least favourite musically on the song, it’s still a very solid verse and is one of Rich Brian’s better features. He changes up his flow multiple times throughout, and the transition from his verse into the ‘Fuck the Rules’ part of the hook is the best on the song.
The final rap verse is delivered by DZ, a member of Chinese hip hop group ‘Higher Brothers’. The verse is a mix of Chinese and English, with probably slightly more Chinese than English. Despite not knowing what the hell he is saying half of the time, this is easily my favourite verse on the track. The drums drop out again for the start of his verse, which has him delivering a real melodic flow seamlessly over the guitar in the background. As the drums come back in, he changes up his flow to more of a rap flow, again fitting the beat perfectly. As a whole he sounds amazing throughout his whole verse and this transitions greatly into the Joji outro.
And just on that note, after the final rap verse Joji takes the reigns again, singing;
“I don’t feel control,
Better on my own,
I’m used to being so gone for way too long”.
This leads us into the final part of the song, some vocals from another 88rising member, NIKI, who just sings the word ‘Rules’ over and over to close it out, which sounds spectacular.
Overall Midsummer Madness is one of the most enjoyable and accessible hip hop songs of 2018, and is one I will find myself coming back to for years to come. It’s an absolutely beautiful track on an album packed full of a whole lot of bangers, and for that reason it really stands out amongst other great songs from the album. Apart from 1 or 2 lines in the first couple verses, a flawless song, and a great showing of the talent on 88rising
• Lil Wayne – New Freezer (ft. Gudda Gudda)
Lil Wayne’s ‘New Freezer’ is one of many songs where Lil Wayne just absolutely murders someone else’s beat and makes it his own. In this case, Wayne enlists Gudda Gudda to help him re-invent the Rich The Kid song ‘New Freezer’, which features Kendrick Lamar. I won’t really comment on the beat on this one, as I don’t believe he really changes it up from the original at all, it’s more so what he (and Gudda) do on the beat that make this amazing.
Gudda Gudda has the opening verse of the song, and is probably one of his best verses ever in terms of bars and flow (and this is from someone who actually used to listen to Gudda Gudda projects). Gudda comes with the fire straight out the gate, rapping from almost the start of the song. A couple lines in he delivers what is probably my favourite few lines of his;
“I took your bitch out to Papadeaux’s,
She tried to order a sloppy joe,
I told her ‘Give me some sloppy toppy’,
Then let her know she a sloppy ho”.
The delivery and the bars themselves in this section are A1, and Gudda continues on the energy for the remainder of his verse, throwing over to Weezy with another couple of great lines;
“If you try to test me, watch you fail n*gga,
D-triple-6 I’m raining hell n*gga” (this song is from Dedication 6 aka D6).
Wayne picks up straight where Gudda left off, rapping bars on bars until the very end of the song (this is one of, if not the only song in the top 50 without any hook). Wayne’s verse starts off pretty slow, but progresses more and more as the song goes on in terms of intensity and impressive lyricism and rap ability. It’s one where you’ll be thinking ‘This Wayne verse isn’t too exciting’ and then 10 seconds later you’ll be like ‘Is this the same song?! This is so fire’, and will pretty much rethink everything every few seconds as the song progresses.
A majority of Wayne’s verse is just him rapping braggadociously, which is something I feel he does as good as anyone else in the game. One of my favourite examples of this is;
“I got pre-rolls I ain’t lit yet,
I got pre-thoughts I ain’t think yet,
I got money I ain’t seen yet,
And they wan’ know why I ain’t blink yet”.
And although it’s far too much to type out, his flows, delivery and rhymes, as well as the bars themselves are absolutely ridiculous from the line; “What am I to do? I’m lovin’ it” to the end of the song.
Overall this song is in a kind of strange spot, where it does have lows (I think the start of Wayne’s verse personally), but by the time I’m at the end of the song I think it’s a song of the year, every time. It just does such an incredible job at progressing and increasing tempo as the song moves on, and Wayne’s versatility on here is on another level. I spent all of 2018 saying that the best rapping of the year was on d6 (released literally the first day of the year I think), and I stand by that. This is just one of multiple songs that prove my point.
Also, this song probably isn’t on Spotify or Apple Music as it was on a non commercial mixtape, so I’d recommend either downloading from Datpiff, or checking it out on YouTube here
• Little Yachty – Yacht Club (ft. Juice Wrld)
‘Yacht Club’, a song featuring Juice Wrld from Lil Yachty’s 2018 album ‘Nuthin’ 2 Prove’, is another song that uses something I feel is super under utilised these days, artists trading bars back and forth. Although there are usually a few songs a year that still do so, Yacht Club is my personal favourite example of it in 2018.
Sonically, the sound is beautiful, with a laid back beat and mellow flows from both Yachty and Juice Wrld throughout, but lyrically, the song is has much more of a comedic tone. The song plays out like a conversation between the two of them, with both of them having a number of funny, memorable lines. The structure of the song itself if quite strange, with the song starting with a short hook from Juice Wrld, and then the next 32-40 bars or so are just Yachty and Juice going back and forth, sometimes 1 line at a time, sometimes 2, and sometimes 4. Finally the song comes to an end with Juice singing the short 4 bar chorus again.
The beat is produced by one of my favourite up and coming producers of 2018, Earl On the Beat, and composed primarily of mellow sounding synths, with the bass dropping in and out to compliment certain parts of the song. It’s a simple song, but is very well executed.
The hook is short and sweet, being only 4 bars and appearing only at the start and end of the song, but it’s the hook which best lays out what this song is generally about, Juice Wrld and Yachty being young and reckless and living life up;
“Runnin Up bands got my guap up,
All the bad hoes wanna top us,
Too many wild parties on the yacht,
Me and Boat got kicked out the yacht club”
As mentioned earlier, where this track shines is not only the fact that the two artists are trading bars, but the fact that they do it extremely well while delivering some of the funniest lines of the year. A couple of standout moments for me are:
Juice: “Lamborghini dreams but you still drive a Lexus”
Yachty: “I’m a young king I might fuck Alexis Texas”
Juice: “But I ain’t on no Drake shit, I won’t get her pregnant”
Yachty: “Damn, Young Juice Wrld, Boy you reckless”
Yachty: “When I get up in it, I might have to stay in”
Juice: “Well if she goin’ like that let’s run a train then”
Yachty: “Fuck, I think I nutted in her, I might need a playpen,
And a stroller,
How I give this dick, we rode her like a rover”
Overall, yacht club is a good example that trading bars is still alive and well, and can be executed amazingly as well. It would have to be one of the funnest songs of 2018, and a standout from an album that was not too well received.
Have you previously heard any of the above songs before? What are your thoughts?
If not, I’d highly recommend you give them a spin and let me know what you think in the comments below.
– Shan –