March 12th marked one year since COVID-19 infected the world. Life has changed drastically for all of us since then but one thing that stayed consistent is quality hip-hop music. Our favorite artists made us dance, inspired us, and spoke for us when we didn’t know how to during this historic year. So many great artists released music since March 2020 but here are the top 10 best songs from the year of COVID.
#10 Gold and Chrome – Curren$y & Harry Fraud
Rapper Curren$y and producer Harry Fraud brought the best out of each other on their first collaboration project. Known for his weed and vintage car references, this track brought out a new found vulnerability in Curren$y’s lyrics. His perspective on life and fatherhood, during a worldwide pandemic, is extremely unique yet universal to all dads out there.
#9 What’s Poppin Remix (feat. Da Baby, Tory Lanez & Lil Wayne) – Jack Harlow
A breakout hit for an exciting up and comer in the game. Jack Harlow dropped his debut album this year with much praise and the help of this track, turned the album into the most anticipated release of the year. With a dream team of features, this track launched the Kentucky native into star status.
#8 Laugh Now, Cry Later (feat. Lil Durk) – Drake
Drizzy season is upon us and it all started with this explosive banger. Showcasing everything that Drake does best: picking impeccable beats, giving us hip hop quotables, and featuring an up-and-coming rapper. It’s a formula that works for Drake and Drake alone. Plus, the music video is five minutes of pure entertainment.
#7 Freeze Tag – Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder & Kamasi Washington
A jazz cut that still carries a strong essence of hip hop. This track comes from a collaborative effort of four of this generation’s best musicians and lucky for us they created a 7 song EP titled Dinner Party. With a strong message and an orchestra of instruments to give you goosebumps, this track gives us a chance to be calm and reflect on the fragility of life.
#6 Scottie Beam (feat. Rick Ross) – Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist
One of the best album names of the last decade, Alfredo is the first Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist collaboration album. With top shelf ingredients like Al’s smooth production, Freddie’s cinematic lyrics and Rozay’s luxurious cadence, this track makes for the perfect dish.
#5 Quicksand – Morray
A true DIY hit. Nobody had ever heard of Morray until this track blew up online. With raw lyricism and a velvety singing voice, the raw talent of Morray makes this track a one of a kind. Grabbing the attention of J. Cole and Da Baby, this is only the beginning of a long successful career for this shining artist.
#4 Lockdown – Anderson .Paak
Released amongst a variety of protest songs in the summer of 2020, this track showcases Anderson .Paak’s uncanny ability to be a true musician during times of uncertainty. Being the purest definition of an artist, Anderson .Paak creates this track as a reflection of life. Even when that reflection isn’t the easiest to look at, this track captures a historic moment in time.
#3 For The Night (feat. Lil Baby & Da Baby) – Pop Smoke
20-year-old Pop Smoke was murdered a month before COVID but his legacy has only grown bigger since his death. Any one of the five hits from his posthumous album Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon are worthy to be on this list. The sheer talent and versatility of the NY drill phenom was something special and his music will live on forever.
#2 WAP – Cardi B & THE Stallion
Whether you love it or hate it, WAP was a cultural staple this year. Everything about this track is rated X. From the lyrics to the sample, to the music video, the two queens of rap joined forces to make the dirtiest smash single ever. It made us forget about the problems of the world but gave us a new one when our mothers asked us what “WAP” means.
#1 The Bigger Picture – Lil Baby
With Black Lives Matter protests taking place all over the country, riots hitting major cities and with the country dealing with a worldwide pandemic, this track is the quintessential snapshot of the summer of 2020. Expressing thoughts in his lyrics that some of us didn’t know how to express but certainly felt inside, Lil Baby gave listeners an outlet during a time of great stress and anger. Similar to Kendrick Lamar’s Alright in 2016, this track ran up numbers on the charts, became the anthem of protests across the country and anointed Lil Baby as the next chosen one.
Grant Boyer is a hip hop head at heart from Chicago, IL. Some of his all-time favorite artists are J. Cole, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, and Biggie. When he’s not writing, he’s playing his Nintendo Switch, watching Seinfeld reruns, and collecting vinyl and cool hip hop collectibles. The coolest hip hop collectible he owns is an original Jay-Z Dead Presidents cassette from 1995. He’s also wondering if anybody has a working cassette player he can borrow.