2018, like all other years that came before it, has been a polarizing one for the music industry. A lot of drama has gone done in the industry in the past couple months alone, and great music has come from it. The good new is, we even have more to look forward to for the rest of the year, such as Wiz Khalifa’s just-released album, Young Thug’s “Slime Language,” Nicki Minaj’s “Queen” and Childish Gambino’s final album.
But for now, here are the top 10 songs of 2018 — at least the ones I’ve been listening to avidly over the past six-and-a-half months.
10. “Shoota” by Playboi Carti (featuring Lil Uzi Vert)
Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert, two of the ATL’s hottest artists at the moment, have managed to gel with one another to the point that I can barely tell who’s who anymore.
Carti starts his verse asking, “Woke up with my toolie, what it do?” Damn, this morning I woke up, ate a bowl of cereal, watched some “First Take” and mumbled along to this for nearly 35 minutes.
Premier Lyric: “Don’t talk to me, just talk to my lil’ dude”
9. “Brotha Man” by A$AP Rocky (featuring French Montana and Frank Ocean)
It doesn’t get much better than A$AP Rocky throwing numerous letters and numbers into his lines. He does not disappoint, and this delicately lush cut off his relatively disappointing album hits the mark.
French Montana comes into the mix on an eye-popping feature with vocals that will have you shedding tears of joy, and the iconic Frank Ocean’s voice shines through sporadically.
Premier Lyric: “Album number three and keep it G like Q / Heard you niggas get fly like G, like 2?”
8. “March 14” by Drake
I really, REALLY wanted to choose “Emotionless” for this spot, but he raps about Instagram way too much on there. That, and “March 14” is also a far more important song in terms of how Drake’s 2018 has gone down so far.
As you all know by now, the guy has a child, and this is the only cut on the album that addresses it in full. He lets his fans in on the night he got the news (“Got the news in Miami that now we all got ones that we raisin’) and talks to his son about his father (“You haven’t met your grandfather yet, that nigga a trip”). And the coolest thing of all, the coincidence that is Adonis’ birth month (“October baby for irony’s sake, of course”).
Premier Lyric: “Hopefully by the time you hear this / Me and your mother will have come around / Instead of always cuttin’ each other down”
7. “Nice for What” by Drake
This, somehow, still doesn’t seem as overplayed as “In My Feelings,” and it’s been out for three months longer. Having said that, this is still the best song that Drake released in all of 2018. And it’s also really fucking good.
As an ode to bounce music and its Bayou-based origins, “Nice for What” even pays homage to his Cash Money mentors (read lyric above, and pay some yourself if you weren’t aware).
Premier Lyric: “Everybody get yo mothafuckin’ roll on / I know shawty and she doesn’t want no slow song”
6. “When I Think About It” by Future
Maybe it’s because of the way he says, “Popcorn, movie, nigga snap a pic!” with such bravado that it convinces me to place this somewhere on this list. What am I saying? That’s exactly why I put this here.
Future has never sounded so generous and hopeful, and he is so open-minded and positive on this song! Let’s go Soup Fetch (Super Future)! He dreams of his children’s future (“All these cars my kids inheritin’ when I think about it”), which showcases that there’s simply no reason you can’t love this guy.
Premier Lyric: “Got a million dollars in jewelry when I think about it / Got more guns than a terrorist when I think about it”
5. “Captain Crunch” by Czarface and MF Doom
MF Doom starts the song by eating Captain Crunch for lunch, so I absolutely had to give it a spot on the list. In one of the most intricately worded rap albums you might ever hear, the two stupefying lyricists go back and forth. And this one is as good as it gets.
Premier Lyric: “Don’t deal with the devil on a deep level / They see metal and sound off like a tea kettle”
4. “King’s Dead” by Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and Future
In one of the most ubiquitous flows in the history of 2018, “King’s Dead” led to a meme that was hard to miss. And on top of that, the entire song is genuinely great.
Yeah, Jay Rock had a cool verse, and Kendrick rapped a mean hook, but holy shit, Future took the entire thing left field and made it one of the biggest rap songs of the year.
Premier Lyric: “LA-DI-DA-DI-DA……”
3. “Nights (DEMO)” by Frank Ocean
Although it was not an official release, the leaked demo from Ocean’s 2016 masterpiece, “Blonde,” came to light at the beginning of the summer, and it has been on loop in my routine ever since.
The two verses that did not appear on the album version are witty and, as for the first one, dense in entendres. Ocean’s rapping ability has showcased on social media constantly thanks to that one “Oldie” verse that’s always popping up everywhere. But in terms of what was already one of the album’s most transcendent songs, a couple more stanzas certainly don’t hurt.
Premier Lyric: “Phone drown on the concrete in the summer blaze”
2. “Offshore” by Swae Lee (featuring Young Thug)
Although this is one of three songs that I actually listened to on this album, I couldn’t be any more glad that I did. Being the noble Young Thug stan that I am, there was no way in hell I was going to skip this.
Swae Lee croons up and down the cut while Thugger assists in tossing in some absolutely ridiculous bars. That intro is truly one of the most incredible lyrics he’s ever rapped, and he has rapped so much shit.
Premier Lyric: “They think it’s woman inside me…cause the way I wear my tees and my jeans / Little do they know they women / Got marks all on her knees”
1. “The Story of Adidon” by Pusha T
This might not have been the best song of 2018 sonically, but shit, he got Drake’s ass. From top to bottom, there was no break-pumping, no sympathy (“OVO 40, hunched over like he 80”) alongside a pretty big surprise.
I already talked about Drake’s kid on this list, and the thing is, this guy beat him to it. It does not get anymore ruthless.
Premier Lyric: “The Ms count different when Baby divides the pie, wait / Let’s examine why your music for the past few years been angry and full of lies”