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.
• Rvssian – Pablo remix (ft. Rich The Kid, Moneybagg Yo, Lil Baby & Sfera Ebbasta)
The Pablo Remix by Rvssian is one of my surprise finds of the year. At the time that I found it, I had never heard of Rvssian, so to see three fairly big names featured on one track was a bit of a shock. The true surprise came in the quality of the features, with Moneybagg Yo, Rich The Kid and Lil Baby all delivering my favourite features of the year from each of them, and that’s really saying something.
The Rvssian produced beat is well crafted and compliments each verse amazingly. Each verse starts with the rapper rapping over just a piano for a few bars. The piano sounds like something you would hear in a saloon in an old western movie. As each verse progresses, the drums kick in and the true star of the beat, the spanish trumpets, begin. The trumpets are used sparingly but take this best to the next level, giving the whole thing this spanish/Mexican vibe. The hook is delivered by Sfera Ebbasta, totally in spanish, but it is extremely catchy and really adds to the cohesion of the song and that spanish vibe created by the trumpets and piano.
Rich The Kid has the first verse, and one of my favourite features of his ever. What makes this verse great is his delivery and flow throughout. A lot of people paint Rich The Kid as a real one dimensional rapper, and this song is a great example that he is anything but. He changes up his tone and his flows as the verse goes on, sometimes almost even singing with a melodic rap flow. It’s lyrically quite impressive too, with Rich starting his verse with;
“My plug is speaking nothing but that espanol,
I’m trapping hard I’m tryna be Pablo,
My mamacita cookin, whip some more,
Mucho Guala, it’s an overload”.
Rich The Kids verse jumps straight into Moneybagg Yo’s verse (love this little shift in song structure), and Moneybagg comes straight out the gate with the heat, rapping;
“Hey, get it in like Escobar (Pablo),
New money like a Tesla car (skrrt skrrt),
Made too much cash today (I did),
I got to flex tomorrow (Let’s go)”.
Even just in this first section, Moneybagg shows why he is so good, with some incredibly solid bars, an exciting flow, smart use of ad libs and a great delivery. He continues this quality for his entire verse which makes it one of my favourite features of his in 2018.
After another hook, Lil Baby makes his appearance, entering with a quite melodic flow, rapping;
“Me casa ain’t you casa, no offence don’t post my crib,
I’m tryna get high as Callabassas where I live”.
Lil Baby continues on changing up his flow and delivery as the verse progresses, with more spanish references and references to Pablo. His verse just sounds really nice, and is one of his best of the year.
Overall, the Pablo Remix does an excellent job of creating the awesome spanish vibe throughout the song. This is done not just through the beat and the actual spanish hook, but is enhanced by each rappers lyrical content, all of which makes references to Pablo Escobar and spanish culture. This is just an extremely well made finished product from 5 seemingly unrelated artists, and although it was a surprise, it was such a pleasant surprise and well deserving of a top 50 spot
• Bun B – Blood On The Dash (ft. Gary Clark Jr.)
Bun B’s ‘Blood on The Dash’ is one of the standout tracks from his ‘Return of The Trill’ album, and is one of my top 2 story telling songs of the year. The song itself is about a topic that has been rapped about many times before, to the point that it’s very rare to hear anything new in regards to the topic, and that is the police brutality problem in the US, and in particular white cops on black victims. What makes this song stand apart from the competition is the extremely creative manner in which Bun B has crafted the song, which is rapping as the perspective of both the cop and the victim, and detailing what goes through the head of each.
I won’t touch too much on the actual lyrical content of this one because it really has to be heard as a whole to appreciate. The first verse is from the perspective of a black man who has gone for a drive to buy some weed. The second verse is from the perspective of a police man who pulls over the man in the first verse for buying weed. The third verse details the thoughts of each in the few seconds between the police pulling the man over and approaching the car, and is structured with 4 bars from the black man, then 4 bars from the policeman and back and forth. The story throughout is extremely well told and well delivered, with the lyrics being clear and concise, and the story being easy to follow. Buns flows are pretty simple, which I think helps with the ease of listening, but his delivery on the whole song is very strong. My personal favourite bar in the song is;
“ I pull over to the side tryna stay calm,
Whole car smelling like fire straight napalm”.
The whole song is brought together by the hook, which is delivered by Gary Clark Jr. The hook is simple, and just has Gary repeat;
“ I think there’s blood on the dashboard of this old school”,
And although it is simple, it is very effective at setting the tone of the song. The beat is simple for the most part, just composing of some piano and some boombap drums. The only real change up to this is the end, when after the final line; “I walk up to his car with my hand on my firearm”, there is a long guitar solo to close the song, possibly signifying that that is where the story ends.
In summary, this is easily one of the best story telling songs of 2018, and one of the best to tackle to topic of police violence ever. The basic beat and simple yet effective hook really set a nice canvas for Bun B to really illustrate his ideas and show them in the most creative way possible, and he does so in such an accessible, and enjoyable manner. Highly recommend this to anyone who likes good lyricism or storytelling in music.
• Lil Wayne – Big Bad Wolf
Lil Wayne’s ‘Big Bad Wolf’ is yet another example of absolutely stellar rapping from Wayne’s D6: reloaded. Big Bad Wolf features Wayne rapping over Blac Youngsta’s ‘Hip Hopper’ beat, and is an incredibly impressive show of rap skill. This song has undoubtedly some of the best rapping of any song in 2018.
The beat is no different really to the ‘Hip Hopper’ beat, which is basically just some heavy 808s and hi-hats. Despite the original having a chorus, Wayne’s version does not, and is therefore much more focussed on his bars. And on that note, Wayne’s bars on this whole song are ridiculous. The way he flows and changes up his flows, the way he increases his intensity as the song goes on, and the way he rhymes so well while also delivering a truck load of great lines is flawless.
One of the best parts of this song is that there are so so many good lines, I seem to pick up on something else great I missed on each listen. I’ll do my best to just quote a couple of my favourite bars, but this song is just packed to the brim with them. Some favourites are;
“Throwin pool parties, she don’t have a swimsuit,
Neither of her friends do, I think that’s official,
Got my neighbours eyes looking like the Simpsons”
“Yeah, cannibalism, Goin animalistic in a land of civilians,
These n*ggas clones, copycats and chameleons”
“N*ggas talking out their bowel movers,
Turn their homies into flower choosers,
Turn your kids into father choosers,
Make your bitch a widow and your mum a cougar”
And I’m going to stop there, these few examples are 3 of many that show Wayne’s skill when it comes to wordplay and funny one liners.
Overall Lil Wayne does an amazing job at turning a basic beat into a spectacular song. With so much solid wordplay and such impressive flows, this is a song I could see myself coming back to for a long time, and is a standout among standouts on an incredible mixtape
• Kanye West & Lil Pump – I Love It
There’s probably not a whole lot I can say about this one that you don’t already know. ‘I Love It’ is probably also the best known song in my top 50. When I saw Kanye had premiered a song featuring Lil Pump for the 2018 Pornhub awards my hopes weren’t too high, despite loving Kanye and enjoying Lil Pump as a feature artist. So, when I actually heard the song, I, like most others was pleasantly surprised.
‘I Love It’, a collaboration between Kanye West and Lil Pump combines a bunch of qualities that make the 2 artists great in their own right. It features quite an electronic beat, composed mainly of a baseline which fluctuates throughout the song. The hook is delivered by Lil Pump and is catchy, flows nicely, and is quite different to Pumps usual high energy delivery. One thing I’ve always loved about Kanye is his ability to utilise other artists well, and bring out their true potential, and I think this is no exception.
In terms of the rapping on the song, neither Kanye or Pump take themselves too seriously, both delivering funny bars in a comedic tone throughout their verses. They both have enjoyable flows and have verses that are fun to rap along to. It even features a spoken female vocal snippet at the start and end of the song which is quite funny, and doesn’t take away from the song at all.
Although I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, my favourite part is in Kanye’s verse where he spits;
“I’m a sick fuck, I like a quick fuck,
I like my dick sucked, I’ll buy you a sick truck,
I’ll buy you some new tits, I’ll get you that nip tuck,
How you start a family? The condom slipped up”.
Overall, this song is a real bop, and there’s no better way to put it. It’s simple, but it’s very well made. I find the song fun and it goes down well at a party, and it may even be my favourite Kanye song from the last 2 years. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s hilarious too, so check it here. And if you haven’t seen the hilariously bad live performance, give that a watch here.
• Jaden Smith – GOKU
Despite loving all of Jaden’s projects, both in 2018 and before, ‘Goku’ which was a non-album single was my favourite song from him in 2018. If it was included on his 2018 project ‘The Sunset Tapes’ it would have been the highlight, but also doesn’t fit the vibe of the tape, so I can understand it being left off. Goku is a banger, the beat is hype, Jaden sounds hungry and raps his ass off, and even the lyrics are hype (I FEEL LIKE IM GOKU!).
One thing that makes this song as great and as hype as it is, is the beat. The beat is like a concoction of hip hop trap drums, some electronic synths and some wicked dubstep like drops. Although I’ve heard similar beats before, GOKU really stood out in the soundscape of 2018. What the beat does great is what any good EDM or dubstep beat does, and that’s the awesome build ups, which build up excitement for the drops or ‘big moments’, another facet of the track which is done extremely well.
Jaden’s vocal performance on this track does the beat justice, with his hungry, fast paced delivery and solid bars doing well to keep the hype high. This track is probably the best example of Jaden being a solid rapper in 2018, considering his project was more so based on his singing and melodic side. He really flexes his skills here, utilising the fast paced beat to deliver a number of high energy flows, and a bunch of great lines and quotables. He also does the hook which is one of the most hype parts of the track and features my personal favourite line, the hype; “My credit card card didn’t go through, I’m ballin’, I’m feeling like Goku”.
Overall, GOKU is one of the most hype songs of 2018, and I feel like this is mainly due to 2 main things; the grandiose electronic beat, and Jadens high energy delivery throughout the track. This is a great song for the gym, for a party, for a festival, it’s just a great song all round really and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is into that electronic/hip hop blend mastered by artists such as Flume.
Have you heard any of the above songs before? What are your opinions on them?
If not, I’d love it if you were to check them out and let me know what you think in the comments or via Instagram dm!
– Shan –