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Never has hip hop music been as varied and divergent as it was in the 2010s. Coming into the new decade, the kings reigning over the Billboard charts were, predictably so, Eminem, Hov, Kanye, and Lil Wayne.

By the end of the 2010s, we had names like Juice Wrld, Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott, Pop Smoke, and Lil Baby now dominating the culture. This wasn’t like the ’90s going into the ’00s, it was a harder and sharper turn.

So for us to try and come up with the 50 best rap songs of the 2010s was almost an impossible task, given the countless classics and genre-defining tracks that were released during the decade. Nevertheless, we gave it a shot.

From Young M.A’s “Ooouuu” to Future’s “Codeine Crazy” to Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like,” here are the 50 best hip hop songs of the 2010s.

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50. Big Sean ft. E-40 – “I Don’t Fuck with You”

Released: September 19, 2014

Album: Dark Sky Paradise

Producer: DJ Mustard, Kanye West, Mike Free, DJ Dahi, Key Wane

Big Sean, E-40, Kanye West, DJ Mustard – the collaborators on the Detroit rapper’s 2014 single seemed random, but it worked. Combining a lush soul sample of D. J. Rogers’ “Say You Love Me One More Time,” the song was a smash, peaking just outside of the Billboard top 10, and propelling Big Sean’s third album, Dark Sky Paradise, into his first number one.

49. Young M.A – “Ooouuu”

Released: May 12, 2016

Album: Herstory

Producer: U-Dub of NY Bangers

During a time when Atlanta hip hop had seemingly taken over every region, relative newcomer, Young M.A, came out with a song that was so infectiously New York that even 50 Cent had to take a break from producing TV shows and jump on the remix.

48. YG ft. Young Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan – “My Nigga”

Released: September 17, 2013

Album: My Krazy Life

Producer: DJ Mustard, Mike Free

YG and Young Jeezy both deliver solid performances on here, but the real stars of “My Nigga” are DJ Mustard, at the peak of his production career, and Rich Homie Quan, who had already established himself as 2013’s breakout MVP with “Type of Way.”

47. Nicki Minaj ft. Lil Herb – “Chi-Raq”

Released: April 8, 2014

Album: N/A

Producer: Boi-1da, Allen Ritter, Vinylz

“Chi-Raq” was a little reminder from Nicki Minaj to rap fans that underneath all the bubble-gum pop singles and award shows, was a Queens MC who could rap circles around her peers whenever she wanted to. The beat, supplied by Boi-1da, Allen Ritter and Vinylz is murderous, and the G Herbo (going by Lil Herb at the time) was just the icing on the cake.

46. Nas ft. Amy Winehouse – “Cherry Wine”

Released: July 13, 2012

Album: Life Is Good

Producer: Salaam Remi

It’s sad that it had to take divorcing Kelis for Nas to make an album as good as Life Is Good – which belongs in his top five no doubt – but it is what it is. The album’s penultimate track, “Cherry Wine”, finds the rapper lamenting a lost relationship, while optimistically looking forward, with Amy Winehouse’s haunting vocals floating in and out.

45. Travis Scott ft. Drake – “Sicko Mode”

Released: August 21, 2018

Album: Astroworld

Producer: Hit-Boy, Oz, Tay Keith, Cubeatz, Rogét Chahayed, Mike Dean

“Sicko Mode” was a straight blockbuster event when it first dropped. The two biggest rappers in the game linking up for an epic 5-minute track (when most songs these days are 2-3 minutes long) with two beat changes and sampled woven in from Biggie’s “Gimme the Loot” and Uncle Luke’s “I Wanna Rock.” It hasn’t gotten bigger than this song in a long time.

44. Young Jeezy ft. Jay-Z – “Seen It All”

Released: July 1, 2014

Album: Seen It All: The Autobiography

Producer: Cardo

Whenever Jay-Z and Young Jeezy link up, magic on the record happens. Whether it’s the “Go Crazy (Remix)” or “I Do” (which also features an incredible Andre 3000 verse), the two pre-eminent coke rappers of their generation always manage to cook up some shit. “Seen It All” is no different. Over a soaring Cargo track, Hov and Jeezy go back and forth with some of their most introspective verses to date, and created one of the best hip hop songs of the 2010s.

43. Kendrick Lamar – “Humble”

Released: March 30, 2017

Album: DAMN.

Producer: Mike Will Made It, Pluss

For all the acclaim and success that Kendrick Lamar achieved with his previous three albums, what was still missing from his catalogue was a bonafide, hit single. That all changed a week before DAMN. dropped. Once you heard the guitar riffs opening up the song and Mike Will Made It’s drums kick in, it was a wrap. “Humble” gave Kendrick his first number one single and is undoubtedly his catchiest song to date.

42. Eminem – “Rap God”

Eminem – Rap God

Released: October 15, 2013

Album: The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Producer: DVLP, Filthy

“Rap God” was just a little reminder from Eminem that nearly 20 years into his recording career, he can just about out-rap anyone else in the world. On a technical level, this song showcases Em’s lyrical abilities at an incredibly high-level, all while managing to sound pretty catchy. Well, as catchy as a 6-minute lyrical, miracle rap song can sound. This is Em’s greatest lyrical performance from recent history and one of the best rap songs of the 2010s.

41. Lil Wayne – “6 Foot 7 Foot”

Released: December 16, 2010

Album: Tha Carter IV

Producer: Mr. Bangladesh

Two years after the magic that was “A Milli”, Lil Wayne re-connected with Bangladesh (one of the most underrated hip hop producers ever), to create more magic. While “6 Foot 7 Foot” might not get the same acclaim as the 2008 single, listening to Wayne spit hot fire over a sample of “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” is about as good as it gets. “Real Gs move in silence like lasagna” is still one of the greatest hip hop lines of all time.

40. Ghostface Killah ft. Black Thought – “In tha Park”

Released: December 21, 2010

Album: Apollo Kids

Producer: Frank Dukes

Two veteran spitters who came into the hip hop game during the early ‘90s linking up over this grimy Frank Dukes production to talk about their fondest hip hop memories. What could you possibly not love about this song? Ghost goes off on the first verse talking about classic breakbeats and Black Thought closes the show beautifully with bars about the old school Philly hip hop scene.

39. Tyler, the Creator – “Yonkers”

Released: February 14, 2011

Album: Goblin

Producer: Tyler, the Creator

Tyler, the Creator has quite possibly the greatest artistic transformation in hip hop history. The 2021 Tyler is completely different from the 2011 Tyler, save for the DIY-aesthetic and boundary-pushing ethos. But as far as Tyler has come in his recording career, and as much as he has accomplished, there’s nothing more iconic than the black-and-white image of him eating a cockroach while rapping “Yonkers.” One of the best hip hop songs of the 2010s? Absolutely.

38. Lil Uzi Vert – “XO Tour Llife3”

Released: February 26, 2017

Album: Luv Is Rage 2

Producer: TM88, JW Lucas

Lil Uzi Vert was already bubbling up around 2017, but once “XO Tour Llife3” dropped, he became a bonafide superstar. The beat – courtesy of TM88 and JW Lucas – a haunting banger, and Uzi bounces around it all sorts of different flows and melodies.

37. Schoolboy Q ft. A$AP Rocky – “Hands on the Wheel”

Released: January 14, 2012

Album: Habits & Contradictions

Producer: Best Kept Secret

What rap fans would have given for a collaboration project between Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky around that 2012-2013 period. Featuring a Lissie cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness”, “Hands on the Wheel” finds Q and Rocky exhibiting their natural-born chemistry that would propel this song and many others into cult hits.

36. Jay-Z – “4:44”

Released: June 30, 2017

Album: 4:44

Producer: No I.D.

No I.D., one of the greatest producers in hip hop of all time, managed to do something with Jay-Z that no other producer has managed to do in history – produce a full-length album by himself. Having one producer on 4:44 is a huge part of what makes this album work so well, and the title track is just one example of that. Over a mournful sample of Hannah Williams & The Affirmations’ “Late Nights & Heartbreak,” Hov digs deep and bares his soul for all to listen.

35. Waka Flocka Flame – “Hard in da Paint”

Released: May 13, 2010

Album: Flockaveli

Producer: Lex Luger

The opposing forces of Waka Flocka Flame and Lex Luger on “Hard in da Paint” was just almost too much, the energy on this track was bonkers. After this song came out, for a few years, everyone in the industry wanted to catch the Lex Luger sound, including names like Kanye, Jay-Z and Rick Ross.

34. Lil Wayne ft. Drake – “Believe Me”

Released: May 6, 2014

Album: N/A

Producer: Vinylz, Boi-1da

Unfortunately we’ll never know what it would have been like if Lil Wayne had dropped Tha Carter V right after this single. The hype was insane. Floyd Mayweather previewed a snippet on his Instagram and I remember Wayne walking the boxer out for his fight against Marcos Maidana rapping his verses. Both Weezy and Drake snap on this song, delivering some of their hardest bars ever, and the combo of Vinylz and Boi-1da doesn’t disappoint, as expected.

33. Rich Homie Quan – “Type of Way”

Released: August 22, 2013

Album: Still Goin In: Reloaded

Producer: Yung Carter

If you remember back in the beginning of 2014, after a year of scene-stealing features, Future’s sophomore album Honest was poised to be his superstar moment. That wouldn’t happen. Not in 2014 anyway, Future’s time would come a little later. Instead, Rich Homie Quan took the energy that was meant for Future at the time and transferred it to the undeniable “Type of Way,” then parlayed that into featuring on the defining song of 2014 – Rich Gang’s “Lifestyle.”

32. Run the Jewels – “Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1”

Released: September 2, 2014

Album: Run the Jewels 2

Producer: El-P

The magic of Run the Jewels, over the course of their four albums, is the way they can sound old school and futuristic at the same time. Take “Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1” for example, the lead single off their excellent sophomore release.

It has the raw, dense aesthetics of a Public Enemy record, but mixed with the apocalyptic funk of El-P’s paranoid production. Lyrically, Killer Mike and his Brooklyn homie stomp all over this dystopian track, trying to one-up each other with the most menacingly absurd lines.

31. Rich Gang ft. Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan – “Lifestyle”

Released: June 5, 2014

Album: N/A

Producer: London on da Track

“Lifestyle” was a fucking moment. Baby really had us believing he was going to resurrect the prime days of Cash Money with Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. But like most things Birdman-related, things didn’t exactly pan out. Still, we got this incredible song, which features Thugga and Quan rapping at the height of their chemistry, and the ensuing classic mixtape, Rich Gang: Tha Tour Pt. 1.

30. Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert – “Bad and Boujee”

Released: October 28, 2016

Album: Culture

Producer: Metro Boomin, G Koop

It took a while for the Migos to achieve their truly superstar moment. “Versace”, dropped in 2013, was a moment, and bolstered by a Drake verse, became a minor hit. But it wasn’t until late 2016 when “Bad and Boujee” hit that the Atlanta trio reached the levels they were destined for all those years. Once you heard Metro Boomin’s foreboding production and Offset setting it off with “raindrop, drop-top,” it was all over for every other rapper.

29. Westside Gunn – “Mr. T”

Released: November 23, 2015

Album: Flygod

Producer: Apollo Brown

As dope as Westside Gunn’s rapping, and voice, and adlibs are on this song, the real star of Mr. T” is Apollo Brown’s gorgeous production. Weaving in a sample from The Smith Connection’s “Under My Wings,” the producer laces West with the perfect canvas for him to flex and threat.

27. Kanye West ft. Chance the Rapper – “Ultralight Beam”

Released: The Life of Pablo

Album: February 14, 2016

Producer: Kanye West, Mike Dean, Chance the Rapper, Swizz Beatz, Rick Rubin, Derek Watkins, Plain Pat, DJDS, Goldstein

For all the talk over the decades about Kanye’s monstrous ego, as an artist, he’s actually one of the more generous one. In Ye’s mind, it’s all about what makes the song great, not who raps on what. On “Ultralight Beam,” Kanye mainly plays the background while letting the likes of Chance the Rapper, who delivers a stunning performance, The-Dream, Kelly Price and Kirk Franklin shine.

26. Young Thug ft. Millie Go Lightly – “Family Don’t Matter”

Released: June 16, 2017

Album: Beautiful Thugger Girls

Producer: Wheezy, Rex Kudo

There’s probably a dozen Young Thug songs that I could have included on this list, which really is a testament to his insane run during the 2010s. “Family Don’t Matter” and his album Beautiful Thugger Girls is just another example of Thugga’s pure artistry and disregard for any type of artificial boundaries that people have tried to put around hip hop music.

25. Lil Wayne ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Mona Lisa”

Released: September 28, 2018

Album: Tha Carter V

Producer: Infamous, Onhel

Storytelling is rap songs is a bit of a lost artform. Of course, there are still rappers who can still do it very well today – Conway immediately comes to my mind – but for the most part, artists just aren’t weaving stories into their rhymes like back in the ’90s. Then you have “Mona Lisa,” a vivid narrative told in picture-perfect detail by two premier lyricists who manage to capture and hold the listener’s attention for the entirety of the track.

24. 21 Savage ft. J. Cole – “A Lot”

Released: December 21, 2018

Album: I Am > I Was

Producer: DJ Dahi, J. White Did It

After making his debut in 2015 as the cold-hearted trapper-turned-rapper, 21 Savage really started to separate himself from the pack during the late-2010s. The rapper’s second album, and first number one record, I Am > I Was showcased his continual growth and maturity as an artist. On the J. Cole-featured “A Lot,” is honest, confronting, and vivid, and paired with the lush sample of “I Love You” by East of Underground, made it absolutely one of the best hip hop songs of the 2010s.

23. Rick Ross ft. Styles P – “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)”

Released: June 29, 2010

Album: Teflon Don

Producer: Lex Luger

This is peak Rick Ross and peak Lex Luger. There’s no other rap song released in the 2010s that is as bombastic and absurd as “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast).” Hearing Ross yell at the top of his lungs “I think I’m Big Meech, Larry Hoover” just a couple of years after he was revealed to be a former correctional officer perfectly encapsulated the MMG boss’ career in a nutshell.

22. Future – “Mask Off”

Released: April 18, 2017

Album: FUTURE

Producer: Metro Boomin

Riding high from the momentum of his 2014-2015 resurgence which saw Future drop three classic mixtapes and a classic album in less than 12 months, the Atlanta rapper set out to separate himself from the rest of the trappers in 2017. Dropping Future and Hndrxx in back to back weeks, he was able to capture his dual personality – the trapper-turned-rapper and the R&B crooner – and with “Mask Off” running the streets, clubs and radio, 2017 was Future’s year.

21. Cardi B – “Bodak Yellow”

Released: June 16, 2017

Album: Invasion of Privacy

Producer: J. White Did It, Laquan Green

Cardi B is the definition of a hustler-turned-rapper taking advantage of an opportunity. As the breakout story of the latter half of the 2010s, the South Bronx rapper used “Bodak Yellow” to position herself as the hottest thing coming out of NYC. Riding a simple but infectious beat, Cardi B interpolates Kodak Black’s flow from “No Flockin'” with her aggressive flow and personality propelling the song all the way to number one. Bardi!

20. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib ft. Pusha T & Killer Mike – “Palmolive”

Released: June 28, 2019

Album: Bandana

Producer: Madlib

On “Palmolive” you’ve got three lyrical killers joining forces over a choppy, soulful Madlib beat. What more could you ask for? Pusha T is especially in top form here, having come off Daytona album mode and proceeds to drop the best rap guest verse of 2019. Even with Killer Mike only sporting the hook, he makes his presence more than felt.

19. Bobby Shmurda – “Hot Nigga”

Released: July 25, 2014

Album: Shmurda She Wrote

Producer: Jahlil Beats

Hip hop, more than any other music genre, has been built off the latest, hottest thing coming off the streets. So when a young Brooklyn rapper going by the name of Bobby Shmurda dropped his debut single, “Hot Nigga”, combining a recycled instrumental from the Lloyd Banks song “Jackpot” and an infectious dance, it was all eyes on him. 

18. Mac Miller – “Self Care”

Released: July 13, 2018

Album: Swimming

Producer: DJ DahiI, D Labs, Nostxlgic, Nice Rec

Mac Miller dropped this last big hit just two months before his death of an accidental drug overdose on September 7, 2018. That tragedy added a final and dismal irony to the rapper’s laid-back and soulful mea culpa in which he promises to make better choices for his health, life and relationship.

17. Travis Scott ft. Justin Bieber & Young Thug – “Maria I’m Drunk”

Released: September 4, 2015

Album: Rodeo

Producer: Allen Ritter, Travis Scott, Frank Dukes, Maneesh Bidaye, Mike Dean

This trippy downtempo ode to getting lit had an air of mystery about it before it even dropped. An early version (sans Beiber) was leaked online before the release date. When the album hit the streets Justin was on the track, however, the version was inexplicably held from streaming services for nearly 4 years. “Maria I’m Drunk” is the best song off Rodeo, the best Travis Scott and Young Thug collaboration to date, and absolutely one of the best rap songs of the 2010s.

16. Killer Mike – “Reagan”

Released: May 15, 2012

Album: R.A.P. Music

Producer: El-P

Before Run the Jewels, Killer Mike and El-P collaborated on the former’s fifth album

Just one year before his debut as half of Run the Jewels, Atlanta emcee Killer Mike dropped this hard as nails assessment of institutional racism and socio-economic disparity in America. In a 90s-style socially conscious rap he examines the impact of an 80’s president’s policies on the modern age.

15. Griselda – “Dr. Bird’s”

Released: October 18, 2019

Album: WWCD

Producer: Beat Butcha, Daringer

For nearly a decade the trio of Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine and Benny the Butcher established themselves as indie hip-hop legends in their hometown of Buffalo. In 2017, they signed with Eminem’s Shady Records and dropped their debut album WWCD and this gritty posse cut named after their favorite Jamaican restaurant.

14. Drake – “Know Yourself”

Released: February 13, 2015

Album: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Producer: Boi-1da, Vinylz, Syk Sense

Electric piano arpeggios and psychedelic vibes float above a slow rolling trap groove on this 2015 hit. Drake steps to the mic with a wistful examination of a philosophical concept that runs through many of his songs, namely Socrates’ notion that self-knowledge leads to enlightenment. During a 2015 cover story with The Fader, Drake explained the importance of “Know Yourself” to his catalogue.

Drake: I always used to be so envious, man, that Wiz Khalifa had that song ‘Black and Yellow,’ and it was just a song about Pittsburgh. Like, the world was singing a song about Pittsburgh! And I was just so baffled, as a songwriter, at how you stumbled upon a hit record about Pittsburgh. Like, your city must be elated! They must be so proud. And I told myself, over the duration of my career, I would definitely have a song that strictly belonged to Toronto but that the world embraced. So, ‘Know Yourself’ was a big thing off my checklist.

Peak Drake | Fader

13. Meek Mill – “Dreams and Nightmares”

Released: October 30, 2012

Album: Dreams and Nightmares

Producer: The Beat Bully

Meek Mill put in his time before dropping his debut album in 2012. After grinding on the indie scene in his native Philly he hit big with high profile singles and mixtapes. This title track to his debut full length looks at the yin and yang of hip-hop stardom, and is competition for one of the greatest rap intro songs of all time.

12. Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

Released: March 15, 2015

Album: To Pimp a Butterfly

Producer: Pharrell Williams, Sounwave

Kendrick’s tale of salvation and redemption from his 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly made an immediate visceral connection with fans. With its message of hope, historical references to the black struggle in America and verses about police brutality it became an anthem for BLM protesters.

11. Kanye West – “New Slaves”

Released: June 18, 2013

Album: Yeezus

Producer: Kanye West, Ben Bronfman, Mike Dean, Travis Scott, Noah Goldstein, Shama Joseph, Che Pope

Kanye came at the world hard in 2013 when he dropped the incendiary and mysterious album Yeezus. Along with some clever guerilla marketing,”New Slaves” layed out the record’s premise in no uncertain terms. West addresses white and corporate America with no holds barred over a dark, pounding beat.

10. Juicy J ft. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz – “Bandz a Make Her Dance”

Released: September 11, 2012

Album: Stay Trippy

Producer: Mike WiLL Made It, J-Bo

Three Six Mafia were important in the ’90s, they were important in the ’00s, so it only makes sense that Juicy J

On this 2012 hit Juicy J gives a shout out to all the ladies working the pole. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz join the Memphis rapper for some late night dirty South trap in the club. Ten years later, with over 125 million streams the track is still one of Juicy’s most popular tracks.

9. Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver – “Monster”

Released: October 23, 2010

Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Producer: Kanye West, Mike Dean, Plain Pat

A rhythmic and acoustic beat pounds at the heart of this classic ensemble rap featuring superstar guest appearances by Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, indie-folk star Bon Iver and Jay-Z. All players deliver solid performances, but needless to say, Nicki blows them all out the water with a once-in-a-lifetime guest verse. Think Busta Rhymes on “Scenario” or Nas on “Live at the Barbeque” when you think Nicki Minaj on “Monster.”

8. A$AP Rocky – “Peso”

Released: November 16, 2011

Album: Live. Love. ASAP

Producer: ASAP Ty Beats

A$AP Rocky came into the game as a fully-formed artist with an aesthetic down-pat. Even while his peers like Drake, Cole and Kendrick took a couple years to find their footing in the rap game, but it seemed like Rocky had everything mapped out from the onset. Released at the dawn of the decade, “Peso” is the record that made a legend. Rocky captured the hearts and minds of fans around the world with his slick Harlem talk, memorable hook and ASAP Ty Beats’ infectious production.

7. Lupe Fiasco – “Mural”

Released: January 20, 2015

Album: Tetsuo & Youth

Producer: Wiz Buchanan, Keyz, Quality Kid

Featuring nearly nine minutes of straight rapping and no hooks, “Mural” is probably the greatest lyrical performance on this whole list. The Chicago lyricist created an unconventional classic in the artistic and visionary 2015 single “Mural.” For nearly nine minutes he rhymes without pause over a boom-bap beat and a cinematic classical music sample. The rapper delivers a stream-of-consciousness freestyle about everything from comic books to gang violence and slavery.

6. Drake – “0 to 100 / The Catch Up”

Released: July 15, 2014

Album: N/A

Producer: Boi-1da, Vinylz, Frank Dukes, Nineteen85, 40

Drake’s 2014 hit “0 to 100 / The Catch Up” is really two separate songs combined into one. Through the first act, Drake delivers a classic braggadocio rap over a sparse hip-hop beat. Through the second half he adds a bit of soul with a spoken-word delivery and a James Blake sample.  

5. Future – “Codeine Crazy”

Released: October 28, 2014

Album: Monster

Producer: TM88

Emotionally and musically complex, “Codeine Crazy” is a dark and psychedelic meditation on Future’s experiences with purple drank and the emotional issues that come with the territory. The song fits within the theme of the rapper’s 2014 mixtape Monster which dealt primarily with the aftermath of his breakup with singer Ciara..

4. Pusha T – “Numbers on the Boards”

Released: May 10, 2013

Album: My Name Is My Name

Producer: Don Cannon, Kanye West, 88-Keys

“Numbers on the Boards” is a gritty rap from Pusha T’s sophomore album My Name is My Name. With a minimalist beat, sparse old-school samples and a non-nonsense solo freestyle, the rapper takes it to the street corner. There’s no hook and no features. It’s just a rapper coming at you hard. Every now and then, a song will come out that ignores all type of trends going on, couldn’t care less about the charts, or getting on the radio. This is the most Pusha T song of all Pusha T songs.

3. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Niggas in Paris”

Released: August 8, 2011

Album: Watch the Throne

Producer: Hit-Boy, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Anthony Kilhoffer

From their 2011 collab “Watch the Throne,” Jay and Ye drop a slice of high roller life in this shoutout to the City of Light. They rap about their own escapes and allude to the city’s history as a cultural oasis for black artists from the US and around the world.

2. Kendrick Lamar ft. MC Eiht – “M.A.A.D City”

Released: October 22, 2012

Album: good kid, m.A.A.d city

Producer: Sounwave, THC, Terrace Martin

Not since fellow Compton natives NWA dropped their historic debut has anyone more accurately reported life in LA’s hood better than Kendrick. However, whereas Eazy-E and crew glorified the lifestyle, Lamar sings its woes. This song and the album it came from, good kid, m.A.A.d City were regarded as instant hip-hop masterpieces, and set the course for Kendrick to become the best rapper of the 2010s.

1. Chief Keef ft. Lil Reese – “I Don’t Like”

Released: March 11, 2012

Album: Back from the Dead / Finally Rich

Producer: Young Chop

In many ways, Chief Keef’s monumental “I Don’t Like” defined a whole generation of rappers. From the raw, DIY approach of uploading your own music and filming your own videos, to Young Chop’s banging yet melodic production has influenced countless artists making their come-up after the Chicago innovator. This was the one that started the Chicago takeover during the early 2010s, the effects of which we’re still feeling today as we watch rappers like Lil Durk top the Billboard 200 charts on a regular basis. Bottom line is: Chief Keef’s Lil Reese-featured “I Don’t Like” is the best hip hop song of the 2010s.

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