2017 was one hell of a year for music. From crazy collabs, to the return of greats, to new stars coming out of nowhere. As the year comes to a close, it’s become tradition that we cap it off with our Top 50 Songs Of The Year list. It’s a collective effort from our writing team that ranks the year’s best music based on popularity, impact, support, and of course quality. Dive into this list below and be sure to let us know what you think.
50. Sumthin Sumthin – Moves (feat. Snowy)
Quality Goods Records’ sumthin sumthin was responsible for some of the most interesting and heavy-hitting bass records of this year. Easily his biggest standout to date is the Snowy assisted ‘Moves’. It’s grime meets trap in the filthiest way imaginable. Snowy’s aggressive, slap you in the face bars are backed by a beat that’s just as abusive. This is a flamethrower of a record that scorched everything in its path.
49. Karluv Klub – Love Addicted
Dubbed The Dark Lord by labelmates and Kannibalen Record’s founders, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Karluv Klub is not for the weak of heart. This hardstyle, dark-electro artist crafted ‘Love Addicted’ as some heinous franken-bass monster for Kannibalen’s annual All I Want for Christmas is Bass compilation. With driving, growling bass, and barking dog samples stitched throughout, the rhythm only breaks to showcase Karluv Klub’s ominous sound library, like the gentle tinkling of broken glass, heart-beat-like percussion, and shrill chimes which melt back into the swelling tide of the second drop. There are plenty of surprises to be had that only make fans more eager for a reported fresh original release in 2018.
48. DMVU – Bloccd
Despite being released last December, this was easily one of THE Deep, Dark & Dangerous tunes of the year! A large number of bass artists would drop this one when things were beyond hyped up, and everything would instantly subdue into a super-low, warbling mess of darkness for a brief moment – subwoofers, vibes, and dancers alike. Mad respect to the low-frequency explosions heard throughout, for making the track stand out in the way that it does.
47. Tchami – Adieu
Holy father of house, Tchami built on his continued success primarily through his label, CONFESSION, and killer collaborations (with AC Slater, Malaa and others). However, arguably his biggest impact came from the solo single, ‘Adieu.’ It is a truly divine dance number that while pulling from house’s past, still succeeds in striding ever so confidently forward. His strength in sound design is ever present and all powerful. The supernatural thread runs further with the echoing vocals being cast down through the breaking clouds. In a year when things have seemed darker than ever, it’s comforting to know that house is in such hallowed hands.
46. Richfellow – Rouse
Jadū Dala has made an indelible impact not just on how labels operate, but the overall quality of trap and club tracks. One of its most important members, Richfellow, has not just contributed on the back end as co-founder, but brought about one if its most inventive and game-changing releases. ‘Rouse’ is like much of Jadū, an incredible mixture of sci-fi and magic. Richfellow’s success stems from his ability to turn utterly alien sounds into a viable club killer through ingenious interplay. We’ve said it before but it warrants another go: do not sleep on Jadū Dala.
45. thook – 8 Zone
There are some rare talents on this list but no one but thook could draw comparisons to the inimitable master of Moogs and sovereign of the synth, Wendy Carlos. Their efficiency in experimentation is unparalleled. They are both able to draw out dozens of feelings with each subsequent sound. Just like the iconic title music of A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, ‘8 Zone’ instantly transports you to an intelligently crafted landscape, chalk full of colourful characters and wild peculiarities. In this case I see it as an insane mixture of medieval and neo-noir, with just a sprinkle of steampunk. But don’t let me cloud your crazy journey, flip off the lights, crank thook and disappear into his ‘8 Zone’ for yourself.
44. TroyBoi – Tender Love
TroyBoi basically took over the world this year. Not only did he release his much anticipated debut album Left Is Right, but he added an obscene amount of other material including several that narrowly missed out on this list. Whether it’s the strings or the ballsy bass, TroyBoi’s productions always ooze with an unprecedented aplomb. They are upright and proper while still being able to invoke all kinds of unkempt and indecent dance moves. ‘Tender Love’ is the perfect example of this. You can’t help but feel the strings swell in your heart, as TroyBoi’s tenacious percussion and effects pulverize you like some kind of patsy.
43. Falcons – Want Your Body
When we wrote about this track in July we said it had a “day time drinking on the white sand vibe.” While the white sand has been replaced with fluffy snow, the jungle warmth still runs deep. It works just as well striding through the urban jungle as it does an actual one. Its energy ignites images of old school raves and banging block parties, full of love and frivolity. If it brings about familiar feeling, it’s probably because you heard it in RL Grime’s Halloween mix or maybe even ahead of its release, courtesy Ekali’s episode of Diplo and Friends.
42. Whethan – Love Gang (feat. Charli XCX)
2017 saw the genres of electronic music and pop blending more so than ever before. While we would usually write off this fusion, there were a handful of artists who proved pop music can actually be great (really). With ‘Love Gang,’ Whethan made this undeniably clear. Hooking up with Charli XCX, it combines syrupy sweet vocals, killer guitar riffs and festival ready drops. Even if you usually veer toward harder hits, this one will have you claiming that ‘Love Gang’.
41. Wiley – Speakerbox
With Grime’s popularity at an all time high globally, Wiley returned to remind the world that he is The Godfather. The standout single ‘Speakerbox’ perfectly encapsulates Wiley’s grind and come up on wax. From the days when he, “used to push buj with the flake out,” to booking flights to New York and going nationwide and now global. The storytelling, unchained delivery, rugged beat and inspiring hook equate to a record that’s part club banger, part street banger and part motivational. More than anything it’s a heavy reminder that Wiley is the OG of the grime scene and is still as sharp 15+ years deep.
40. Black Tiger Sex Machine – Hell Motel
This highly anticipated single was released early on in 2017 by none other that the dark priests of electro, Black Tiger Sex Machine. ‘Hell Motel’ is a fierce and fiery track centered around droning synths, punching snares, and of course, lusciously dark bass. Along with a quick tempo, blistering effects, and ghoulish howls, the only lyrics implore you to ‘take the shot’. The energy of this track is other-worldly, and is even more enigmatic live – trust me. Released ahead of festival season, BTSM made heads bang and roll at all the festivals they played for with this atramentous anthem.
39. Marten Hørger & Neon Steve – You Don’t
You don’t want to fuck with this one! Straight off of Shambhala’s 2017 Fractal Forest Compilation is a club favourite you likely heard several times in DJ sets – particularly around the time of its inception, in the dead heat of festival season. Steve and Marten made a catchy banger which went off more than people came to realize, but instantly recognized, especially when it was unleashed at Shambhala Music Festival’s 20th anniversary celebration this past summer.
38. A-Trak & Baauer – Fern Gully
Two names not just at the top of the alphabet, but at the top of both the production and DJ games. Their B2B tour must’ve been all kinds of 90s nostalgia, since it spawned ‘Dumbo Drop’ and its A-Side ‘Fern Gully.’ Right from the get go, the wild and enchanted rainforest springs to life with heaps of magic animal energy. And like its namesake rainforest, it’s chock full of previously undiscovered organisms; the list of elements used in ‘Fern Gully would run longer than this countdown. Just be careful not to get lost in gorgeous grooves, or groves for that matter.
37. Grandtheft ft. Delaney Jane – Easy Go (Pham Remix)
Is it possible for a single sound to make a track can’t miss? The answer is yes. Sure Grandtheft and Delaney Jane’s ‘Easy Go’ was already a hit, but Pham’s phantasmagorical sound design, especially in the drop, takes the pop production to a whole new world. The once bright and burnished tune gets turned on its head with an even more emotive and ridiculously warped feel. There’s just something indefinable about what Pham’s done with this. It’s more than just the cold atmosphere, the almost electric crackling mood, the deadened drums or even that twisted and tortured synth. It is yet another example of the sum being greater than the whole of its parts. Good luck trying to get through this one without some sort of heart palpitation or emotional outburst.
36. DJ Khaled ft. Drake – To The Max (Thugli Remix)
This track remains a bit of a mystery. First, the original experienced legal issues due to uncleared samples. This may have led to its surprising low performance on the airwaves and elsewhere, as it was largely forgotten. We even called it the “summer smash that never quite happened.” But then came Thugli with one hell of a resuscitating remix. Where the original bumps, this one bangs. It used to be club friendly, but now it’s a club classic. Whether you love or hate him, kudos have to go out to Khaled for cultivating the various samples, and further to Thugli for propelling them to their full potential.
35. ODESZA – Late Night
ODESZA has outdone themselves again for yet another successful year, especially with the release of their latest album, A Moment Apart. The magical vibe that they inject into each song stands out excellently here, especially paired with the bold guitar riffs lurking closely behind. Song aside, the accompanying fan-made music video also brings fond memories of what we went through this past year, whether by ourselves, or together with those around us.
34. DJ Envy, DJ Sliink & Esentrik – Text Ur Number (feat. Fetty Wap)
Press play and let all that Jersey goodness glide over you. This is just about as all-star a lineup as you’ll ever see. Each one of these artists is elite in their own right so it’s only fitting that such a collaboration would result in such a success. There’s that unmistakable Fetty croon, and boy does it work with the triple production threat’s fantastically fun foundation. It’s equal parts pop pleaser and club killer. The best part: it never gets stale. Envy, Sliink and Esentrik each keep the track fully fresh and oh so fun. And that’s truly the most important element of music, fun.
33. Lido – Murder (Alexander Lewis & Y2K Remix)
Our love for Lido is well documented, and his Everything remix package served up several nominations for this list. However this one rubbed the rest, a la Tony Soprano. 2017 has been the year brass found its way into EDM, and boy did the likes of Brasstracks and Alexander Lewis prove its viability. The allure of Lido’s original still stands strong throughout, while Lewis and Y2K work their magic adding trapped out tricks and treats. The first drop is nice, but the second is what cements this as one of the tracks of the year. The mixture of brazen brass and diabolic drum work transforms ‘Murder’ into a meritorious masterpiece.
32. Zeds Dead x Illenium – Where The Wild Things Are
This was a flawless blending of two artists who generally contrast each other quite widely. Illenium’s mystical transcendence leads up the song with an air of absolute serenity in his future bass style, whereas Zeds Dead follows through and brings down the roof in the best way they know how – with forward-thinking space-inspired bass, reminiscent of their Bassmentality days. The powerful vocals tie together everything perfectly, creating a hybrid masterpiece that should not be looked over.
31. A-Trak – Believe (ft. Quavo & Lil Yachty)
Don’t let the toy box opening fool you, this is no mere plaything. A-Trak once again shows his he’s not just a world class DJ, but a potent producer to boot. His ability to straddle EDM and Hip Hop is largely unparalleled. The bed he build for two of the hottest commodities in Quavo and Lil Yachty is nothing short of genius. While it may seem relatively simple, it’s actually quite intricate and suits their respective flows perfectly (check out the making of video here). Once again we’re treated to a masterful mix of pop appeal and club consciousness.
30. Stormzy – Big For Your Boots
While Wiley may be The Godfather of grime, Stormzy is looking like the prince. The lead single off his debut Gang Signs & Prayer, ‘Big For Your Boots’ was a massive smash clocking over 40 million plays on YouTube alone. The production is both infectious and epic, perfectly pulling back to punctuate his bars and then coming back harder. Stormzy shines bright coming with a forceful delivery and strong bars. ‘Big For Your Boots’ was a strong reminder that grime has arrived and isn’t going anywhere soon.
29. Brasstracks – Brownstone (feat. BXRBER)
Brasstracks had another massive breakout year in 2017. After picking up a Grammy for their 2016 work on Chance The Rapper’s ‘No Problem,’ their star was burning brighter than ever before. They took the newfound fame in stride, pushing it aside and doing what they do best: creating incredible music. While their entire For Those Who Know Part 1 EP was stellar, ‘Brownstone’ stood out above all. The production is masterful, fusing their signature future brass sound with elements of hip-hop and R&B. BXRBER dances over the beat, singing a beautiful ballad dedicated to Brasstracks’ true love: New York. It’s an incredible concept record filled with clever wordplay like, “And now I can say that I stayed the night, and I got the t-shirt I paid the price, and you look so damn good that they say you twice, cause you be the blueprint like when Jay Z rhymes.” You’d be hard pressed to find a better written and produced record anywhere.
28. Big Sean – Sacrifices (feat. Migos)
Coming off Big Sean’s I Decided, ‘Sacrifices’ sees the Detroit MC as sharp as ever as he runs through the ‘Sacrifices’ he went through to get to where he is. From his rapid-fire opening with bars like “It’s some homies I grew up with that’s dead to me, It’s some niggas that I just met in debt to me, What’s in common is they both pay respect to me,” to much heavier content, “I know my great, great, great aunty was a slave, I could only imagine all the sacrifice she made, I could only imagine all the shit she had to take, I’mma make sure all the blood she gave wasn’t in vain,” Sean shows his range and talent is up there with the best. Add in a Metro Boomin’ produced beat and a Migos feature and it’s an inspirational anthem that’s also a smash. It doesn’t get much better than that.
27. Cozway – Windbreaker
Technically a 2016 track, but this bad boy dropped after we published last year’s list, so here it is. For many this was their introduction to Jadū Dala, and what a wild welcome mat it is. ‘Windbreaker’ brings an alien appeal that doesn’t dissipate in the slightest. It still sounds as just as fresh and fire as the first time you heard it. It could survive just as its intoxicating beat and drop, but Cozway crafts quite the killer progression and soundscape. Part sci-fi space battle, part slicing/dicing samurai swords, all amazing.
26. Valentino Khan – Pump
Valentin Khan’s knack for bringing us overtly fun bangers is in full effect with ‘Pump’. For those waiting for an apt follow-up to his previous smash ‘Deep Down Low,’ this is it. The combination of simple and catchy vocals with mind-blowing sound design and production made this a crowd killer. Whether it was festivals or clubs, when this dropped, people lost their minds. There were very tracks in the 128 bpm range with the originality and energy contained in ‘Pump’. Whether you’re at the club, the gym or in the bedroom, this will make you pump just a little harder.
25. Hudson Mohawke – Cbat (Boombox Cartel Remix)
One of two Boombox Cartel remixes to make the list – admittedly, this one was on the fence for a few of us, while the tune played in the back of our minds on repeat. However, there’s no way you can deny that unforgettable point right before the drop. All summer, fall and winter long, this would creep up in several DJ sets, and those who recognized the buildup would shout with one another to the famous Ice Cube sample, “The motherfuckin’ world is a ghetto!”, right before losing all sense of composure to its shrill, bass-riddled drop.
24. Herobust – Dirt Heater Tea
2017 saw Herobust rising from a bass prince to the king of the turn up. The blend of rap, trap and dubstep had been adopted by many, but no one does it as well as Herobust. ‘Dirt Heater Tea’ not only flexes his wild sound design skills but also sees him hopping on the vocals. The bars are on point perfectly walking between party-ready raps and some slick references to his past records. With nearly a million plays on SoundCloud and practically every DJ dropping this throughout the year, this was one of the biggest bangers of the year. This one slaughtered stages and proved that Herobust owns a spot at the forefront of bass music.
23. Drake – Gyalchester
Drake’s More Life “playlist” had a significant amount of notable songs, but ‘Gyalchester’ was easily one of its best. It was undeniably in every single car and club when it dropped. Further to that, Baka’s ad libs were so well delivered on this track that it never failed to set crowds off. And how can we forget that unreal Billboard Award show performance. If you didn’t chant “hermes link, ice blue mink” then you didn’t have fun that night.
22. Future – Mask Off
2017 was the year for “flute beats”. Thanks to Metro Boomin’s great ear for melody and affinity for hard-hitting drums, he crafted a beat that perfectly fits as Future’s canvas. The sample comes from Selma’s ‘Prison Song’ and though it belongs to a powerful musical about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s life and Civil Rights movement, the melody is now better known for Future’s hit ‘Mask Off’. As if the beat wasn’t enough, Future’s chant worthy “percocet, molly percocet” hook went viral becoming one of the year’s biggest hits. Following its immediate success, Kendrick Lamar also remixed the track delivering another stellar verse in 2017. Coming in at number 22, Future’s ‘Mask Off’.
21. REZZ – Relax
REZZ’s debut album was one of the hottest buzzes this past summer, and it all started with re-kindling an old flame that was never forgotten. ‘Relax’ has been well-known for over a year, since REZZ dropped it in a few of her sets that summer; it wasn’t until this July that she revealed the title of the deep, semi-cryptic tune that had her cult hooked, to kick off the month-long weekly teases up to her grand album debut. Even if you’re amongst those who don’t “understand REZZ”, you have to admit – this one is quite mesmerizing, especially thanks to the iconic hypnotist heard throughout the tune.
20. TroyBoi – Flamez
TroyBoi continued his takeover of the electronic scene with a slew of incredible loosies, a massive headlining tour and his debut album. A good portion of Left Is Right could’ve found itself on this list but it’s ‘Flamez’ that claims the 21st spot. A perfect embodiment of what makes Troy so special, the track features one of the hardest and most brain-bending drops of the year. A combination of rugged bass and fun-house madness collide for a sound that’s nothing short of insanity. The vocal sample “everything I drop flamez” is as true a statement as I’ve ever heard. Making this even more special is the stunning break and outro. It’s beautifully cinematic and transportive, providing the perfect contrast to the aforementioned abrasive sounds. This is genius level music.
19. Mura Masa – 1 Night (feat. Charli XCX)
Mura Masa is one of the great producers of our time. On the Charli XCX assisted 1 Night,’ Masa creates a song that is nearly perfectly. It’s super poppy, yet incredibly unique and true to the signature sound that made fans fall in love with him. A touch of a emotion, a wealth of catchiness and an absolute abundance of fun make this the type of track you can’t help but dance to regardless of your surroundings. You’ll be walking down the street in the rain and start two stepping mid-stride, singing along, giving zero fucks. How this wasn’t one of the biggest songs of the year (commercially) is beyond comprehension but it was definitely one of the best.
18. Vince Staples – Yeah Right
It’s records like this that prove why we’re living in the best time ever for music. Collaboration has never been in a better place. Vince Staples pulls together two of the most inventive and talented producers in electronic music (Flume & SOPHIE), the best rapper right now (Kendrick Lamar), and stellar singer from Australia (Kučka). On paper this sounds insane, on wax? Even more so. A near a capella intro gives way to one of the hardest beats ever crafted. Vince skates over the boomin’ bass with the swag that only he can. Just when you think it can’t get any harder it doesn’t, instead it does a complete 180 as Kučka drifts in under an elegant backdrop. But that’s not it. Kung Fu Kenny comes through to close things out bodying the track as the beat comes in just as hard before. This is what creativity and a disregard for the norm sounds like in its greatest form.
17. Joey Bada$$ – Land of The Free
“3 K’s, Two A’s 3 in Amerikkka.” 2017 saw the rise of woke Joey Bada$$; a new chapter in his evolution as artist unfolded on ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$. The politically charged ‘Land Of The Free’ was the most powerful and impactful cut. Lyrics like, “Sorry America, but I will not be your soldier, Obama just wasn’t enough, I just need some more closure, And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over, Let’s face facts ’cause we know what’s the real motives” are poignant and accurate, especially given Trump’s dismal first year in office. From highlighting systematic and overt racism, to prompting listeners to find change within themselves, to larger social issues, Joey addresses these topics with a poetic maturity that feels beyond his years but comes off so naturally. ‘Land Of The Free’ is a strong recap of what 2017 felt like.
16. Sinjin Hawke – Onset
Considering the insane quality of Sinjin Hawke’s debut album, First Opus, there was no question it would be represented on this list. Just which track? ‘Onset’ is the obvious nod as it totally took the world by storm. The horns heralded the return of Hawke’s eminence, releasing his own material for the first time since 2013. We already knew what the ‘Wolves’ producer was capable of, but ‘Onset’ brought about a new, wider appreciation for his incredible sci-fi, club trap creativity. It is just about as epic a track as you’ll ever hear, making for a mindblowing opening or killer conclusion.
15. M-Phazes x Alison Wonderland – Messiah (Lido Remix)
Lido may have won the remix game this year. Not only did he spin his sublime sounds around ‘Messiah’ but he brilliantly blended in his own vocals, taking the already awesome original to dizzying new heights. The new duet is a potent punch-for-punch affair as the fiery passion of these two lovers rages on. Much like ‘Murder’ or ‘Crazy,’ Lido’s ingenious ability to navigate the fine line between pure power and restrained resonance is on full display. The emotional intensity of ‘Messiah’ is plenty palpable, but never overwrought. It is a true testament to Lido’s position as one of the greatest artists of our generation.
14. Post Malone – Rockstar (feat. 21 Savage)
It’s only been a few months since the release of this one, yet it’s exploded over multiple forms of media – radio, streaming (already half a billion plays on Spotify alone), as well as cover after cover after cover, with each new artist putting their own unique spin to the chill hip-hop hit. Deep down, we all want to be rockstars though, so it makes sense that they would take to this. Its use of monotone vocals make it a tune you can either choose to sing, or even simply “talk” to, which in return gives covering artists free reign on how to make it their own in a plethora of ways. The new year is definitely going to take the brunt of this song’s radiance.
13. Calvin Harris – Slide (feat. Frank Ocean and Migos)
‘Slide’ has some layers to it that are not at all as sparkly as it’s pop-inspired melody that soaks in after one listen. Harris and Ocean wrote the song just after Ocean left Def Jam, Migos provided their vocals, while Harris mixed a genre-defying, critically-acclaimed hit. Lyrics to ‘Slide include references to buying a Picasso from the Rose Period (after emptying their bank account), as well as dreams of mansions and diamonds and dating women that are both beautiful and college educated. This is song isn’t about having it all but imagining it, which has never really been part of the traditional Pop genre-style. These darker sentiments fuel tension with plucky beat, adding a sarcastic undertone to the entire production. It’s poetic and catchy – a true example of modern music mastery.
12. Mura Masa – All Around The World (feat. Desiigner)
Mura Masa has a knack for crafting the most utterly intoxicating tracks, whether uber bangers like ‘Lotus Eater’ or future bass feels like ‘What If I Go?’ We knew he could kill it with rappers too, after the licentious ‘Love$ick’ with A$AP Rocky, but this turn with ‘Panda’ man Desiigner doubled down on that incredible ability. Desiigner’s bars bring the raw unbridled boldness we’ve come to expect with lines like “Hear the ‘Rari, hear it mumble, hear it roar,” and “Engine farted, she hate monsters, Get retarded, I’ve been chillin’.” But more importantly his ad libs were put to perfect use, adding yet another instrument to Mura Masa’s arsenal. However, no weapon was wielded quite as well as the flute in this track. And while it provides much of the magic at the centre of ‘All Around The World,’ it is each subsequent and supporting sound that completes this captivating craftwork. No matter where you are when this one comes on, you’ll soon find yourself dancing on your dream vacation.
11. Kendrick Lamar – DNA
Linking up with Mike Will Made it, Kendrick delivered the unlikely follow up to ‘Humble’ that quickly turned into one of the biggest tracks of the year. The infectious flow over the hard hitting drums come together perfectly. Mike Will revealed that the second verse on the track was sent back acapella with a request from K Dot to build a beat around it. According to Mike, Kendrick wanted the production to sound like “chaos”. Not only is the song politically charged but the video also furthers the narrative. It’s hard to imagine this track not making every best of the year list as it killed on YouTube and dominated clubs everywhere.
10. Jay-Z – Moonlight
With 4:44 Jay-Z made his triumphant return. The album was his most personal offering in his long career and was heralded by many as an instant classic. With its release Jay proved that his longevity truly knows no end. There’s a handful of tracks that could’ve landed a spot on this list but we had to go with ‘Moonlight.’ Just the title itself is pure genius. Playing on the massive Oscars misstep, the hook rings out “y’all stuck in La La Land, even when we win we gonna lose.” What follows is a sharp critique on the current state of the rap game: from rappers using the same flows and bars, to posing with fake guns and snitching on themselves on the gram’. It’s Hov sonning the game with the swagger and sharpness that only he possesses. It’s not only a call for rappers to do better, but for fans to desire more. Do we want to hear more of the same shit in 2018? Oh na na na na, naw, naw.
9. RL Grime – Era
Normally buildups are used to supplement an upcoming drop. RL Grime is changing that with his recently-released beast of a tune however, in which the buildup and all other elements preceding the drop takes the listener to another realm – almost to the point that they forget that there’s one approaching. You’re brought back at the pinnacle, with lyrics that appropriately suggest such – “Go, keep it alive, we go”. Then enter the drop – a wailing, siren-blaring behemoth which will captivate you as the bassline shakes up the whole room. Slap in a reworked amen break sample to the second drop, and you have a masterpiece which was well-recognized and lauded on the dancefloor, successfully turning any sort of event into a momentary trap throwdown.
8. Goldlink – Crew (feat. Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy)
What a year for Goldlink. At What Cost as an album was a great piece of work but the lead single ‘Crew’ featuring Brent Faiyaz and Shy Glizzy set Goldlink up for a year of success. First, let’s acknowledge how great of a job Brent did with the hook. Brent in his own right is an amazing singer with a voice that drips soul and R&B. Goldlink delivered a verse that is akin to mumble rap but actually is filled with great bars. Shy Glizzy’s opening is one for the crowds (see: “Hey! Nice to meet!”). Let’s not forget that this track was remixed by Lido, Richie Souf, Backyard Band and New Impressionz. Overall, this track was everywhere in the clubs, radio and racked up a Grammy nod with a Platinum plaque. If you don’t feel like dancing as soon as the beat hits – you might need to see a doctor, son.
7. Kaaris x Mr. Carmack – Charge (Boombox Cartel Remix)
As a DJ if you want to set a crowd a fire, you can’t go wrong with Boombox Cartel. The duo is responsible for some of the biggest and hardest records in electronic music. Their remix of Mr. Carmack’s remix of Kaaris ‘Chargé’ pretty much defines epic in the trap space. The low key opening makes way for massive brass that sounds like a medieval war cry. As the drums build and we’re hit wit ah countdown and the following drop, it goes from a war cry to an epic battle. It’s armor clashing, flying arrows and fire breathing dragons scorching the earth. The battle teeters for another massive build that leads into a drop that brings back all of the epicness of the first, but with a more triumphant tone. While we thought “3, 2, 1” drops died with Big Room House, Boombox Cartel resurrected them in the greatest way possible. This is the hardest electronic banger of the year.
6. Lil Uzi Vert – XO Tour Llif3
We fucking called it. Five times platinum, 7th on the Billboard Top 100, more than 500 million views on YouTube (animated video and official video combined), 150 million plays on SoundCloud, winner of the Song of the Summer award at the MTV Music Awards and a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. ‘XO Tour Llif3’ is our pick for number 6.
5. Cardi B – Bodak Yellow
Cardi B, the unlikely hero turned crowd favourite. ‘Bodak Yellow’ is that essential banger in every DJs arsenal, and if it’s not in yours…you’re doing it wrong. Cardi’s single became a viral sensation when it hit for a few reasons; it’s raw, it’s real and ruthless. The beat, produced by J White is a cold trap banger that lends itself to a no bullshit approach when it comes to the bars. Cardi uses the production so well, almost as if the beat was built around her lyrics. The build and progression in her inflection, lyrics and flow throughout the track are so perfect it’s uncanny. Her honesty on the track (see: “got a bag and fixed my teeth”) and her ruthless reign on these “other hoes” are her claims to fame. ‘Bodak Yellow’ became an internet sensation further propelling Cardi’s career this year (see: ‘No Limit by G-Eazy – she’s got a stellar verse). The single chilled at the top spot on Billboard for 3 consecutive weeks (the first solo single by a female rapper to hit #1 in 19 years), won Single of the Year at BET’s Hip Hop Awards and earned Cardi 2 Grammy nods. Cardi’s single is 3x Platinum in the US with 369+ Million views on YouTube. “Lil’ bitch you can’t fuck with
me her, if you wanted to.”
4. Skrillex x Habstrakt – Chicken Soup
There’s been a lot of news circling around Sonny Moore, a.k.a. electronic powerhouse Skrillex, since the start of the year – whether it was focused on Sonny reuniting with From First To Last, he and Boys Noize’s collab, Dog Blood, playing their one and only show for this year during HARD summer, as well as this – a song with simple-to-follow-along lyrics, and a playful yet hard demeanor to it. It was played by seemingly every other DJ during this past festival season. If it didn’t naturally captivate you at first, then it likely annoyed the hell out of you; as event after event passed by, the soup was fed to you over and over, until you became well-accustomed and a little bit favourable to it – if not a lot more. (That, or this track was killed for you entirely.) Hate it or love it though, everytime this song went off on the speakers, so did everybody around you. Hats off to Skrillex and Habstrakt for this one.
3. Cashmere Cat – 9 (After Coachella) [feat. MØ & SOPHIE]
This year saw Cashmere Cat delve deeper into pop music than ever before. Working with artists like Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, and Camila Cabello, Cashmere went full pop while still staying true to his incredible unique sound. No song showcases that balance better than ‘9 After Coachella’. Connecting with MØ and SOPHIE, the trio defy all genre barriers and quite possibly what your mind can comprehend sonically. What begins with a fun and friendly, almost cartoon-like bounce, stretches into a powerful and emotional ballad. Just as you begin to get comfortable with the emotive vibe, drums saunter in and it drops into a pop meets hip hop hybrid. The evolution continues as the vocals are replaced by mind-bending metallic sounds that build an insane anticipation. When the drop finally hits it’s unbridled insanity. One of the grittiest and filthiest sections you’ve ever encountered. It’s this extraordinary juxtaposition that carries throughout, making this one of the most impressive and astounding releases of the year. ‘9 (After Coachella)’ is at times the most beautiful song of the year and at others the ugliest and most aggressive. And that’s something incredibly special.
2. French Montana & Swae Lee – Unforgettable
Considering his own line of Ciroc Vodka (thanks to pal Puff Daddy), a solid tour run and chart performance, this has been a big year for French. A lot of this years’ success is thanks to the lead single ‘Unforgettable’ from his album Jungle Rules. ‘Unforgettable’ dominated the radio and clubs and became a “must-play” for DJs worldwide. The afrobeat production met with Swae Lee’s infectious hook made the song everything it is – melody and movement. Not only did French celebrate his African roots through the music, but he shot the video for the chart topper in Uganda with a group of up-and-coming child dancers (who absolutely killed it). The single peaked at number 3 on Billboard’s Top 100, has since gone on to be 4x Platinum, has spawned 6 official remixes and garnered 555 Million views on YouTube. Truly unforgettable. Congrats, French!
1. Kendrick Lamar – Humble
When Kendrick Lamar dropped ‘Humble’ it shut the internet down and gave fans a taste of what he had in store with DAMN. Connecting with Mike Will Made-it, the two crafted the hottest record of year. The beat is ice cold and slapping while Kendrick skates over it, illustrating why he’s the best rapper right now. From the production, to his flow and delivery, to the lyrics, this song is pure perfection. Clocking nearly 400 million plays on YouTube alone, Kendrick once again proved that quality music still commands major attention. It’s the record that a DJ would throw on and the entire club would rap bar-for-bar with an electric ferocity. ‘Humble’ was so hot that super-producer Skrillex had to put his own touch on it with what became one of, if not the biggest remixes of the year. From pop appeal, to raw quality, impact and support, this one checks all the boxes making it the clear choice for #1. Oh and the visual was just as impressive. Be Humble.
Word by Colin, ck, Kash, mekabeth, & Oggie James.