15. Jorja Smith – “Blue Lights”
UK born singer Jorja Smith brings the hollow, desolate streets of Walsall across the ocean with “Blue Lights”. Her voice reminiscent to soul singers of old wonderfully adapts to the sing-rap flow of contemporary R&B. Paired with the haunting keyboards, hip-hop drums and themes of police injustice; it’s an amalgamation of styles that propel this track into one of the year’s best R&B songs.
14. Drake – “Nice for What”
An artist that needs no introduction, Drake’s women empowerment anthem is a Lauryn Hill-sampling masterpiece. Though almost running the risk of the sample overshadowing his performance, it serves as the perfect complement to his monotone delivery. A welcome break away from the traditional Drake formula. Considering his influence in the industry, hopefully, it leads to more tracks of similar production qualities.
13. Saba – “PROM/KING”
The year’s best biography comes in the form of a 7 minute 30 second song by Chicago rapper Saba. Retelling a gut-wrenching tale about his fallen cousin, Saba bears his soul and brings you into his youth, doing so with a dash of grace and respect. Proudly carrying the torch of Chi-town alongside his peers – Noname and Smino, this track should be more than enough to convince people that Saba is one of the new school’s best.
12. Anderson .Paak – “Bubblin'”
It boggles the mind how this song was left off Oxnard. Easily the best piece of work that Anderson .Paak drooped this year, “Bubblin'” is a swagger-filled rap track that oozes charisma and humor, easily topping anything on his latest album. An all rounded look at everything that makes .Paak great (except for his soulful crooning), it’s these very qualities that Oxnard sorely lacked as well.
11. Pusha T – “Santeria”
On an album already filled with disgustingly cold-blooded songs, “Santeria” is the most disgusting and cold-bloodiest out of all of them. Arguably Kanye West’s best beat contribution on the record, in addition to 070 Shake’s haunting hook, Pusha runs laps around both of them. A scathing performance that would put most horror-core rappers to shame, Pusha T is not someone you would want to mess with.