As 2019 comes to an end, it is safe to say that it has been a great year for rap music. Hit songs like Suge by Da Baby, or Lil Tecca’s “Ransom” broke the charts, ending up on radio stations and Spotify curated playlists, showcasing all types of new sounds from upcoming artists and veterans of the genre. However, there were plenty of solid tracks that were greatly overlooked.
“Voices” – Kembe X
Chicago rapper Kembe X let his raw emotions take control, as he both sang and rapped addictive hooks throughout much of his album, I Was Depressed Before I Made This. “Voices” sets the theme for this album as the rapper discusses what it was like growing up without parents and being unable to fit in with society. Having close ties with Top Dawg Entertainment members like Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Zacari, Kembe X has the connections and talent to make it big.
“slop” – bbno$
When the viral internet hit, “ Lalala”, blew up on social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram, Creators bbno$ ( pronounced “baby no money”) and producer Y2K did not stop there. The Canadian rapper makes cheerful, witty music full of playful rhymes and laidback boasts about newfound fame, girls, and his love of money. On slop, Y2K’s upbeat acoustic trap instrumental fits perfectly with the random yet solid vocals, creating a fun captivating song.
Down Bad – Dreamville, JID, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, Yung Nudy
The action-packed Down Bad from Dreamville’s collaboration album, Revenge of the Dreamers III was a gripping track, showing the skills that J. Cole’s record label has. The clean production that has some stands out, and verses from each artist are unique. The song starts with a screechy violin, similar to Brockhampton’s high pitched strings. Bas jumps in first, setting the mood of the song with his thick vocals. JID’s repetitive hook is captivating, making the song even more addictive. The combination of JID’s funky flow, EARTHGANG’s distinct bars, and J. Cole’s smooth vocals are what makes the song so great.
3 Tearz – Danny Brown, Run The Jewels
Detroit rapper Danny Brown and rap duo Run The Jewels linked up on a funky jazz beat produced by A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and Baltimore rapper JPEGMAFIA. The polished yet jumpy production on the song is just what contrasts with Brown’s distinct, choppy voice and usually bold lyrics. The song seems to lack serious structure, but that’s exactly what Brown’s goal for this song was, just like most of his music. Run The Jewels’ El-P does his thing, with concrete rhymes and even an MF DOOM reference.
Because there were hundreds of other excellent rap songs that weren’t put under the spotlight in 2019, this list is just a small fracture of them. Hearing the same group of songs everywhere, whether it be on the radio, TV, or a playlist, gets boring. Not to discredit the rap radio hits from this year but, it is always a good idea to dive deeper into an artist’s discography and see their other work. Who knows, you might discover your new favorite song.