50 of the Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2018
2018 was a confounding year in hip-hop. Songs called "I Like It" and "I Love It" coexisted. As did "Lucid Dreams" and "Barbie Dreams"; "Sad!" and "Bad!"; and "Feefa," "Fefe," "Keke," "Bebe" and "Zeze." Yet artists more than made up for the occasional lack of originality with some unabashedly enjoyable music—go-to records for fans on aux cord duty. Tyga and Offset's "Taste" goes up at any function. Ditto for Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode" and Rich The Kid's futuristic "Plug Walk."
Indeed, it was a year when hip-hop had fun, dominated by certified vets and hungry newcomers alike. Drake padded playlists with inescapable No. 1 hits like "God's Plan," the Lauryn Hill-sampling "Nice For What" and "In My Feelings," with its direct homage to New Orleans bounce. Meanwhile, newbies like YBN Cordae made their mark, too. The traditionalist spitta with a millennial's edge put hip-hop on notice when he stood up for his generation with "Old Niggas," an indirect response record to J. Cole's finger-wagging "1985 ('Intro to the Fall Off')."
For all of the party records, diss tracks captivated fans' attention as well. From the aforementioned Cole shot at Lil Pump to Eminem's MGK diss "Killshot," which leapt to No. 3 on the pop charts immediately after its release, listeners couldn't get enough of rappers calling out names and dropping big bars on each other's heads.
This year we partied with Cardi, hit up the ATM at the big bank, praised the lord (and the rap devil) and even went apeshit from time to time. From diss tracks to future karaoke staples, hip-hop offered shock, excitement, the Shoot dance and a whisper song for a new generation. Now, XXL rounds up the best, most lasting tracks of the year (in alphabetical order). If you like it, we love it.