While making this list, I just realized how impossible it is to really jot down every single track that wowed me in 2018 or even remember all the ones that left a lasting impression. Still, the 25 tracks below I’ve chosen stood head and shoulders above the rest, by far the favorites off every project I’ve listened to this year.
25. J.I.D – “151 Rum”
J.I.D is a one of a kind wordsmith. His double-time flows and enunciated bars are reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar or a young Eminem. Clearly a rap superstar in the making, “151 Rum” also sees him flexing his storytelling prowess on the song’s sole verse. A strong match of technical ability and commercial ability, things are only looking up for J.I.D.
24. Kali Uchis – “After the Storm (feat. Tyler, the Creator & Bootsy Collins)”
Matching contemporary soul with Latin-inspired R&B, Kali Uchi crafts the funkiest track of 2018. Working together with Tyler, the Creator, it’s obvious that his Flower Boy album has a hand in crafting the song’s sound. It’s a song that both your eccentric uncle and 5-year old cousin can vibe to. “After the Storm” is a bop that’s a perfect blend of modern trends and past glories.
23. Kodak Black – “If I’m Lyin’, I’m Flyin'”
Since his release from prison this year, Kodak has seen matured rather significantly and that’s never been more evident than on “If I’m Lyin’, I’m Flyin'”. It’s a humble (for Kodak standards) reflection of his rise to fame and a surprisingly candid look at his environment. Songs like these are reasons why Kodak is set up to be the spiritual successor to Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane.
22. Lil Wayne – “Mona Lisa (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”
One of the greatest to ever do it and the greatest rapper alive right now on a single track. It is was never in doubt that this track would show up on this list. Running through a tale on an ill-fated love story, the duo brings their very best in terms of their technical ability and storytelling chops. Especially Kendrick who absolutely nails the alley-oop from Wayne, effectively launching the track straight pass the stratosphere.
21. Ariana Grande – “God is a Woman”
This song’s influence as a feminist anthem may be debatable, but there’s no denying the powerhouse charisma of Ariana’s voice. Blasting through the trap-influenced instrumentals, she brings a much-needed change of pace to pop music. Gracefully navigating new contemporary trends while still very much remaining true to her sound (ahem Taylor Swift), this is a pop song for the ages.