The 50 Best Rap Songs of 2018

By Maxwell Cavaseno

To conclude 2018, we acknowledge that this has been one of the more fruitful years for rap this decade. There’s been an immense shift in the genre as we find it now past 40 years of Rap, Hip-Hop, or however you’d like to call it, with multiple generations and movements across the nation pushing and expanding the field in as many directions as one can track — perhaps too many. With the 2010s starting to come to a close and a whole new decade of the genre to anticipate, few genres emerging feel on track to achieve the success and seeming universality of rap. For now, rap remains one of the cutting edges of music, destined to do its best to keep that up and exceed expectations.

While not a commonly followed scene by more general rap enthusiasts, it should be noted that 2018 should be observed as the year that the UK Rap Scene finally felt like a legitimate climate for the genre to deserve notice on its own terms, as well as internationally. No longer was the momentum merely upheld by a dance-genre with talented MCing to suit (a la jungle or grime) or one singular rap movement like Road Rap, but it was now a multitude of styles. Be it the controversial (both in origin and intent) UK Drill, the afro-swing movement, or the rapidly developing left-field underground movement, England was finally producing a rap scene that, while reflective of US trends on occasion, could also manage to sound like its own individual voices the likes of America have not resembled.

This isn’t to indicate that the narrative has somehow managed to shift to UK dominance for the genre, however, as the main field for the cutting edge of rap still manages to remain in the US. However, it’s interesting to note that 2018 felt like the year where the supposed “rootlessness” of rap that many a publication and pundit kept loudly announcing over the past few years (despite evidence to the contrary whenever one stopped listening to male models badly sampling Memphis Rap) took hold in its modern capital: Atlanta. Despite productive showings from multiple generations of rappers, from your TIs to your Gunnas to nearly everything in between, the city felt remarkably lacking for creativity and newfound momentum. Instead, one could look to the likes of California, New York City, Detroit, and even other smaller scenes that’d rarely become national conversation topics for rap, and see intriguing new talents.

While there is no guarantee that any of those we’ve focused on this year will remain as prominent in the next, here we have 50 selections of rappers and their most distinctive material to focus on. Lists are usually often less interesting when considered in the dialogue of authoritative statements, so simply hold Tone Glow’s Top 50 up against the likes of your favorite outside rap writers, experts, and if you feel so eager to regret, “tastemakers”; those you may recognize already are only further acknowledged for their special qualities, and hopefully those you do not recognize may stand a chance to win your favor by their own unique recommendation. In the meantime, to a happy and fruitful 2019, should we manage to survive.

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Tone Glow’s 50 Best Rap Songs of 2018

1. Headie One - The One
2. YG - Deeper Than Rap
3. DaBoii - Back 2 Skoo
SOB x RBE - All Facts Not 1 Opinion
4. Tay-K - After You
5. MIKE - Time Ain’t Enough
6. Playboi Carti - Fell In Luv (feat. Bryson Tiller)
7. Dee Aura - Ice Cap
Shawny Bidladen - Letter to Shoota (feat. Pablito & Four50)
YTO3 - Running Through O3
8. Roc Marciano - The Sauce
9. Bryson Tiller - Canceled
10. Jay Rock - King’s Dead (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Future & James Blake)
11. Valee - Juice & Gin
12. Diplo - Wish (feat. Trippie Redd)
13. Sheff G - Play For The Members
14. K-Trap - Edgeware Road (feat. LD)
15. Husalah - Bad Young Thang
16. Kojo Funds - Who Am I? (feat. Bugzy Malone)
17. Scrappy Doo - Jugg
18. Cadell - Roman
19. YoungBoy Never Broke Again - Traumatized
20. Deem Spencer - “i was talking to God”
21. 1TakeJay - Hello
1TakeQuan - New Olympics
22. Drakeo the Ruler - Ion Rap Beef (feat. 03 Greedo)
23. Metro Boomin - Don’t Come Out The House (feat. 21 Savage)
24. DigDat - Air Force
25. Asian Doll - Talk
26. Desiigner - Hood
27. Lil Yachty - NBAYOUNGBOAT (feat. YoungBoy Never Broke Again)
28. Hermit & The Recluse - Atlas
29. Mozzy - Dead Homies (feat. E Mozzy)
30. Sada Baby - Cheat Code
Sada Baby & Drego - Bloxk Party
31. Rich Blue - Hands Hands
32. T Face - Hermione
33. Lil Gray - Woosa // Money Counter
34. Maxsta x Inch - Guns and Roses
35. Mist - Uber (feat. MoStack)
36. Future - When I Think About It
37. BandGang - Ain’t No Problem (feat. SOB x RBE & ShredGang Mone)
38. Swoosh - Swoosh Me Up
39. Lil Uzi Vert - New Patek
40. Blueface - Next Big Thing
41. ZMoney - Stove On
42. NyNy - Arco (feat. DaBoii)
43. Flee - She Fucked My Son (Interlude)
44. GlokkNine - Jit
45. AzChike - Licked Up (feat. Almighty Suspect)
46. Queen Key - Ha (feat. Dreezy)
47. Jay Critch - Robin Hood
48. Baby Blue - WITH ME//AGAINST ME (feat. Zatin)
49. Dee Gomes x Lil Tjay x King OSF - Replay
50. 67 - 67
Dimzy - Profit (feat. Youngs Teflon & Blade Brown)


The following songs are not on Spotify:

7. Dee Aura - Ice Cap
Shawny Bidladen - Letter to Shoota (feat. Pablito & Four50)
YTO3 - Running Through O3
31. Rich Blue - Hands Hands
42. NyNy - Arco (feat. DaBoii)
44. GlokkNine - Jit
48. Baby Blue - WITH ME//AGAINST ME (feat. Zatin)
49. Dee Gomes x Lil Tjay x King OSF - Replay