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 thought-provoking, socially conscious hip hop and everything in between. The countdown continues today with 30-21 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.
30. Baauer – Kung Fu (ft. Pusha T & Future)
From bedroom producer to one of the most highly regarded beat makers in the industry, Baauer continued to impress in 2016. Everything Baauer touches is assured to be excellent, so having him connect with Future and Pusha T was a guaranteed smash. Sure it’s another coke record but the combination of Future’s infectiousness and energy, Pusha’s razor sharp bars and Baauer production made it something special.
29. Logic – Wrist (ft. Pusha T)
Logic’s work ethic is impressive and he only continued to prove that with the release of Bobby Tarantino. Leading up to the release of the commercial mixtape, Logic dropped ‘Wrist’ featuring G.O.O.D. Music President Pusha T. As you can imagine, 6ix produced a banger that Logic and Push flowed over effortlessly telling tales about their hard work and success. The lyrical prowess and delivery from both of these cats is something that is admirable and impressive.
28. Destructo – 4 Real (ft. Featuring Ty Dolla $ign and ILOVEMAKONNEN)
Destructo has become the ambassador of the G-House genre. With the assistance of Ty Dolla Sign and ILoveMakonnen he crafted the G-House anthem of the year. It’s catchy, upbeat and well produced. Despite dropping in the winter, it instantly made it feel like summer (or Winter in LA). Additional remixes from Drezo and Joyryde made it a staple in every major DJs set and kept it alive and well for the bulk of the year.
27. DJ Khaled x Jay Z x Future – I Got The Keys
2016 was DJ Khaled’s year. Known for being a “connector” Khaled flexed his immense buzz to put together some of the biggest collabs of 2016. For ‘I Got The Keys,’ Khaled managed to put together one of the year’s hottest rappers in Future, with greatest of all time (Jay). The track will serve as a time capsule, playing on the full catalog of Khaled’s signature lines. Even the hook is a double entendre that references Khaled’s ‘keys’ while tilting its hat to Jay and Future’s drug dealing pasts. Hov verses are few and far between these days and seeing him stunt on a trap record with his signature swag was truly some special cloth.
26. Travis Scott – Pick up the Phone (Ft. Young Thug and Quavo)
Travis Scott’s Birds in the Trap Sing Brian McKnight was one of the best albums of 2016 and leading up to the release, Scott blessed fans with this banger right here. ‘Pick up the Phone’ is a trap banger that mixes in steel drum samples to give it a dancehall vibe. Thugger and Quavo really shine on the track with their respective verses and Travis Scott adds the element that’s perfect for when you’re trying to turn up in the club.
25. Knife Party & Tom Morello – Battle Sirens
Knife Party and Tom Morello thrilled fans with the jaw-dropping and drool worthy banger that hybridized the thrashingly dark genre of bass music and heavy guitar. This demonic anthem was 2016’s Frankenstein-ed dubstep/guitar lab experiment that the mad scientists felt they could no longer keep quarantined. ‘Battle Sirens’ was performed by both collaborators at the Ultra Music Festival on September 30th 2016, and fans never thought they would see the day that rock and trap could be bred to form such a beast. With over one million views on YouTube, Knife Party and Morello can say that their creation has certainly reached the masses.
24. Mura Masa – What If I Go
Mura Masa is an absolute genius. Connecting with frequent collaborator and tour mate, Bonzai, the two managed to create a record that embodies both the feelings of a perfect summer day and true love. It feels like the best day you’ve had with your significant other, while knowing that it will only be topped several times over in the following years. It’s a magical blend of pop, R&B, hip-hop and future bass. When it comes to fusing those things together, you’d be hard pressed to find a song that tops ‘What If I Go,’ in 2016 or ever.
23. A$AP Ferg – New Level (Ft. Future)
At the top of the summer, Ferg dropped ‘New Level’ to support his Always Strive And Prosper album featuring Future and the track did not disappoint. Future kills the joint with his flow and Ferguson hypes the track to a whole new level (Ooh-Ooooh!). The beats dark and eerie vibe combined with the high energy hook and verses come together perfectly to make this trap banger into a summer anthem.
22. Tory Lanez – Luv
Tory Lanez went from homeless to hitmaker in what seemed like a year even though he had been successful for many years prior. While his debut album I Told You was prepping for release, Lanez dropped his now Grammy-nominated dancehall influenced club banger ‘Luv’. Sampling Tanto Metro and Devonte’s ‘Everyone Falls in Love’ on a beat produced by Cashmere Cat and Benny Blanco, Tory delivered one of the most well known tracks of 2016. The dancehall influence really took hold in 2016 with many artists using elements of the genre in their music – specifically beats but also including their lyrics and delivery. Bringing new life to a classic hook, Tory Lanez found himself with his first major league hit and a spot on the Top 50 coming in at number 22.
21. Kanye West – Real Friends
Kanye’s The Life of Pablo was backed by a couple of single’s, one of which was ‘Real Friends’. With some assistance from Ty Dolla Sign (who sounds great on this record, btw) Kanye walks us through the troubles of being famous and trying to deal with people who call themselves his friends. On this brutally honest and telling track, Ye opens up about friends (insert air quotes, ha) hitting him up for money, stealing his laptop, calling on him for outlandish favours. The production is reminiscent of Kanye’s 808’s and Heartbreak era and the honesty is something we haven’t seen from Kanye since his earlier days.