As 2016 draws to a close you know we had to end the year by highlighting the best songs of 2016. As you’ve come to expect, this year’s list contains a broad array of musical styles and genres. We’ve got everything from ignorant turn-up bangers to though-provoking, socially conscious hip hop and everything in between. The countdown continues today with 40-31 and will continue throughout the week, ending on Friday. Check out our selects below and be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.
40. Marshmello – Alone
Marshmello is the mystery man of 2016. His identity remains a mystery, even after the whole Tiesto prank, but what isn’t unclear is how much fun he must be having with us. Music fans were delighted and found Marhsmello’s single “Alone” a perfect follow up from his remixes of Jack Ü and Zedd which gave him his first international attention. Many suspect Marshmello is actually Dj Chris Comstock, but with fresh beats and killer mixes who really cares what’s under that big, blank, mello stare?
39. NGHTMRE – Burn Out
NGHTMRE’s dark wizardry soaks through this spacey track. The key board synthetics and snappy snares merge into one wave. Cresting with a mane of white foam the melody rushes to the drop. At the shore of NGHTMRE’s ‘Burn Out’ the percussion’s currents meet and there is another frothy hit. NGHTMRE has been cruising through the masses being it down at each of his touring stops. You might have seen him at Safe in Sound 2016, or you might still have a change during his current trek across the US and Australia which will in end in February. ‘Burn Out” is a great example of his attention to detail in his music, unique choice of sound, and his ability to create a disturbingly good beat.
38. 21 Savage – X (Ft. Future)
21 Savage had a great 2016. The Atlanta rapper found success with his collaborative album Savage Mode featuring Metro Boomin and secured himself a spot on the XXL Freshman list. Linking up with the monster that is Future, 21 Savage goes in on his ex-girlfriends and openly stunts on them all. Lines like “hit her with no condom, had to make her eat a Plan B” live up to the rappers name and though they’re borderline cringe worthy they are also a part of the reason so many people fuck with him. 21 coming in at number 38.
37. D.R.A.M. and Lil Yachty – Broccoli
“Hey lil’ mama, would you like to be my sunshine, n*gga tough my gang we gon’ turn this shit to Columbine” – lyrics heard around the world. D.R.A.M. hit big last year with his joint ‘Cha Cha’ and this year he continued to stay on top with his Lil Yachty collaboration. Lil Boat has been able to amass a loyal following for his take on the Migos flow and somewhat clever but mostly funny bars. ‘Broccoli’ was a big summer hit and rang out anytime it played at a club and hearing the Big Baby yell out how beyond the fuck shit he is easily became one of the biggest chants of the year.
36. Young M.A. – Ooouuu
Young M.A. did her thing this year. Over an infectious beat M.A. spit her New York flow, rapping “Yo Eli why they testing me, like I don’t always keep the hammer next to me”. These two bars lead into the biggest ‘Ooouuu’ moment where any girl named Stephanie (who heard the song) probably hated. Credited with giving rise to the return of NY rap (alongside some others), Young M.A. continues to heat the streets up with freestyles and new joints but its safe to say ‘Ooouuu’ was her best to date.
35. GTA x Vince Staples – Little Bit Of This
GTA’s Death To Genres mantra has helped to serve as the gospel for breaking down barriers in music. Their debut album embodied this to fullest extent with one track taking it to the next level. Connecting with Mr. Feature (Vince Staples) they cooked up the insane ‘Little Bit Of This’. The track blends weird nature samples, squealing tires, deep bass and a trippy as fuck loops, for a sound that is unlike anything else. And that’s without even mentioning the stellar bars from Vince Staples. Over this mind-bending beat, Vince does what he does best, be himself. From street tales, to smirk inducing bars this is Vince Staples at his finest.
34. Major Lazer – Cold Water
Major Lazer is still producing hits and partnering with songbirds from every continent and genre in music. ‘Cold Water’ was 2016’s concoction of pure pop-melodies and bass music’s sassy electric modernity. With over 99 million views on the music video for ‘Cold Water’ on their official YouTube channel, Major Lazer’s staying ability is unquestionable. Both vocalists on this track, Justin Bieber and MO, release the lyrics echoing the same island feel that the beat carries, bringing it in with everything but steel drums in true MJ fashion. This catchy jam was Major Lazer’s hit of this year, and the world can look forward to more of their music and performances in 2017. They have dates booked in Jamaica, France, Germany, Mexico- everywhere.
33. Kid Cudi – Surfin’
What happens when Kid Cudi and Pharrell link up? You get a feel good song that motivates you to “do your thing”. ‘Surfin’ encourages everyone to ride their own waves rather than others. Skateboard P brings some of his ‘Happy’ magic to the track by giving it that extra oomph that makes the track stand out against other pop tunes. With Kid Cudi battling his depression, this song serves as a reminder that not only is he a dope artist but he’s realized that he needs to and can be great on his own.
32. Dj Sliink – Higher
Ever wondered what would happen if the Jersey Club King connected with the hype man of the century? Thankfully this year we got to find when DJ Sliink connected with the legendary Fatman Scoop. ‘Higher’ is a record of epic proportions. It’s a perfect blend of Sliink’s signature trap meets club sound. The war ready brass and Fatman Scoop’s intensity collide for the “I Don’t Give A Fuck” anthem of the year. Whether you’re at the club, at work, at school or online, it’s difficult to listen to this without throwing your middle finger up and screaming “I don’t give a fuck.” The video only furthered the impact of this record, taking fans to Jersey and reminding them Jersey still got this.
31. TroyBoi – Mantra
TroyBoi’s ability to blend world music with his bass heavy trap leanings has made him one of the most highly regarded producers out. On ‘Mantra’ TroyBoi takes this talent to another level. Weaving crystal bowl reverberations and entrancing exotic vocals with snapping drums and chest-pounding bass, TroyBoi takes you to another dimension. This is dancing naked under a blood moon while achieving spiritual enlightenment. The track also served as the namesake and theme song for his debut, all original world tour. A massive milestone in his continually building career.