50 of the Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2017
What a year 2017 has been. The Lil's have taken over with a vengeance, and their music has taken them to new heights. Meanwhile, seasoned rap artists have provided classics to bump well into the New Year.
Over the last 12 months, hip-hop has witnessed how the genre has transformed from what it once was five years ago. In 2012, 16-year-old Chief Keef broke onto the scene with an erratic flow and fearful presence on "Don't Like," undoubtedly rattling the industry and inspiring other young rappers to step up to the mic. In 2017, we have Tay-K, a now-incarcerated 17-year-old who's amassed over 93 million YouTube views with his real-life getaway video for "The Race."
2017 also introduced us to Lil Pump, who recently broke the record for shortest song on the Billboard Top 10 with his single "Gucci Gang." The song went on to peak at No. 3, which is fairly impressive considering its short duration. Shortly before Pump came Ski Mask The Slump God, 2017 XXL Freshman XXXTentacion and Trippie Redd, all of who have become viral hip-hop sensations over the past year for their crafty, unhinged lyrics and visually appealing, somewhat eerie videos. Millions drew to them, and still do; others are not as impressed.
For those not riding the new wave, rap front runners JAY-Z and Kendrick Lamar came through in the clutch with their deliveries of 4:44 and DAMN., respectively. The albums provided lyrical heat and production hip-hop fans, old and new, can appreciate for decades on end. Their new albums were given over a handful of nominations for the 2018 Grammy Awards, with JAY-Z's project up for Album of the Year.
Then, of course, 2017 is the year Cardi B rose from Love & Hip Hop fame to No. 1 on the Billboard charts for her catchy summer banger "Bodak Yellow." Everyone from Janet Jackson to middle school teachers have pledged their allegiance to Bardi Gang, proving the Bronx rapper is a force to be reckoned with.
Hip-hop has been vastly acknowledged this year from all corners of the entertainment industry. Between that and the number of hits released from acts like Migos, DJ Khaled and A$AP Ferg, rap has become the most consumed genre in the U.S.
We've Milly Rocked in New York with Playboi Carti, created our own renditions of Future's "Mask Off" instrumental and counted millions with 21 Savage all year long. Now, the XXL staff—who sifted through rap songs that took off this year and were released up until today, Dec. 13—presents to you 50 of the best hip-hop tracks of the year, in no particular order. See which of your favorite rappers made the cut below.