Before you begin reading this article I just want to say a few things. Yes, there will ultimately be controversy with my rankings. But when I compile a top 24 listing I'm insinuating that every single one of these songs are definitely worth your time. I could have looked at this list a week later and changed the whole order around, but where it stands, I believe that it's pretty accurate. Another side bar, there is a lot of 2 Chainz, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar on this list. That probably should go without saying if you listen to rap, but there isn't a biased toward one artist or another, these are just what I believe are the best songs. Also, if you're wondering why I did 24 songs, it's because everyone else does top 25 lists. It's all about being different....right?
So with that out of the way, enjoy the fruits of what 2013 had to offer. And, as always, if you do not agree with what I have put down in my rankings, feel free to leave a comment so we can get a good discussion going. Thank you.
#24. “Fork” – 2 Chainz
2012 was a big year for Teddy Two Necklaces, and it rolled right into 2013 with his second studio album BOATS 2: ME TIME. You can see that a lot of the songs on this list feature Mr. Chainz, and for good reason, the guy knows how to make a song hot. “Fork” may not have been the most successful song off of his sophomore project, but it was hands down the hottest track on the album. Who else gives a shout out to their stove? Who else gives a shout out to their wrists? Who else has so much money on them at one time that, when stacked together, they can’t even fold it? Only 2 Chainz does. And this is why he is awesome.
#23 “Rich as Fuck” – Lil Wayne feat. 2 Chainz
I know (at least I hope) what you are all thinking – Lil Wayne sucks. And you should be saying that for good reason. Ever since Wayne stopped puking out multiple mixtapes a year everyone finally realized that they are getting pretty sick of shitty metaphors and bars filled with references to the female genetalia. We get it. It’s old. And I’m glad that he’s taken a step back. But it wouldn’t be normal if Wayne was completely out of the picture. “Rich as Fuck” isn’t a lyrical case study, or containing a verse of the year winner, but the beat (produced by T-Minus) and the ridiculously simple/brilliant hook laid down by 2 Chainz is really what carries this song onto the list. Be honest, if this song ever came on at the bar you were at, you had to start bobbin’ a little. And that is what makes a dope song.
#22. “My N***a” YG feat. Rich Homie Quan and Young Jeezy
2013 gave us some great breakout rappers, but one of the MCs (if you can call him that, and one of those rappers is Rich Homie Quan. This song was his second biggest appearance of the year and it clearly shows that he can make that Future level impact on hooks to make songs hot. This track also features a decent verse by Young Jeezy, which is never a bad thing. White people everywhere had this song blaring in their vehicles with the windows up but also gave everyone an anthem for them and their friends, even if a certain group of people are forbidden to sing the chorus in public.
#21. “R.I.P.” – Young Jeezy feat. 2 Chainz
This song bangs. Enough said. Jeezy brings his signature raspy vocals to a beat that makes it near impossible not to bob your head. 2 Chainz also brings his signature hilarious lines (“Shittin on n****s , need to potty train” or “I got a million in stash, I stack my money so tall That you might need a giraffe, when you was counting this cash, n***a”. Just a great “turn up” song and that’s what everyone really needs, right?
#20. “Rap God” – Eminem
Eminem had another multi-platinum record this year when he released the sequel to his critically acclaimed “Marshal Mathers LP”. This time around, he made a couple sequels to songs, but it wasn’t nearly as gritty or as brilliant as his first go around. The standout track from The Marshal Mathers LP 2 was “Rap God”. On this song, Eminem decides to switch flows a few times, each bringing another level of brilliance to the song. He uses his “I will be able to rap faster and fit more syllables in each line than you” flow most of the time which requires you to listen to it at least half a dozen times to be able to understand exactly what he’s saying, but it’s still awesome. He clearly makes a statement. Yes, Em…You are a rap god.
#19. “Dope Song” – Danny Brown
One of 2013’s greatest surprises was the emergence of Danny Brown as a legitimate powerhouse. “Old” was his third studio release but it was the first one to make people actually stop and say “damn, this guy can rap”. “Dope Song” was the standout track on this album and it brings his crazy rap ability to the forefront. Rapped over a bouncy beat that quickly changes to a banger, Danny Brown made a statement and this is definitely deserving of being on this list.
#18. “Pusha Man” – Chance the Rapper feat. Nate Fox and Lil Kiki
With all the same cookie cutter rap music that is out there today, Chance the Rapper is a fresh face that brings a well needed new style to the table. His unique flow and creative songs have propelled him to the top of the almost everyone’s “must watch” list. His mixtape Acid Rap was brilliant and deserves all the critical acclaim that it has received. He had a lot of incredible tracks on this project but the standout was “Pusha Man”. It's a seven plus minute song that brings you through ups and downs of what rap portrays and what it's really like out there. Take a listen if you haven’t had a chance to check out Chance, because chances are you’ll love Chance.
#17. “Strictly 4 My Jeeps Remix” – Action Bronson feat. LL Cool J and Lloyd Banks
You may know Action Bronson as the Ghost Face sound alike that loves exquisite meals and a high level of THC. But what Action Bronson actually is is an up and coming heavy hitter that can rap with the best of them. With “Strictly 4 My Jeeps” he brings in his fellow Queens MCs LL Cool J and Lloyd Banks and easily out raps them at every level. One of the best parts of this song, though, is the fact that Lloyd Banks makes an appearance and makes a statement saying that he is not dead yet. This is a display of rapping 101.
#16. “5 AM in Toronto” – Drake
Drake is the king of dropping the hottest songs out of nowhere. “5 AM in Toronto” was a freestyle that brilliantly cranked up the anticipation for his upcoming album (at that time) Nothing Was The Same. People who sleep on Drake, or believe that he is soft really need to listen to this track. It’s ferocious, smart, and proves that drake is one of the top (if not the top) rappers in the game.
#15. “Collard Greens” – Schoolboy Q feat. Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick has been the poster child for TDE ever sense he came into the game. But Schoolboy Q deserves some love too. He hasn’t dropped many radio singles, or released heavily downloaded mixtapes, but what he brings is a rap style that makes arrogant rap about bitches and jewelry seem smartly done. He is someone to look out for in 2014. “Collard Greens” is his biggest single yet. Even though it features Kendrick Lamar (which could be a reason as to why it has become his biggest hit), it still shows what Schoolboy can bring to the table.
#14. “Versace Remix” – Migos feat. Drake, Meek Mill, Tyga
Who didn’t love this song in 2013? Be honest. Come on now. Ok, I’ll let you in on a little secret….It’s ok to love Migos! Migos is awesome. I was almost tempted to fill this list up with 24 Migos songs. “Versace” is great just with the Migos. (which, I just learned this year is actually, like, three people I guess?) But what really shot this song into the stratosphere was the inclusion of Drake on the remix. Meek Mill and Tyga add their verses to the song as well, but Drake really solidified it as a banger. “She asked me why my draws silk, I told that bitch Versace”. Classic Migos.
**If you’re really looking for a treat, search for Migos’ video for Hannah Montana on Youtube. You won’t be disappointed.
#13 “Trophies” – Drake
Two days before the end of the year, Drake did as only Drake could and bless us with a song completely out of nowhere. This song isn’t going to win people over with its meaning, but what it will do is give you an anthem to just do you. “This is not a love song/ This a fuck-a-stripper-on-the-mink-rug song”. With this lyric alone you should know what this song is about. Drake makes sure that people know that he did this all himself. “If I was doing this for you then I would have nothing left to prove”. Drake is doing this because he wants to, not because we demand him to. And it’s too bad that there are not any awards for that.
#12. “Upper Echelon” – Travis Scott feat. T.I. and 2 Chainz
Travi$ Scott is a god damn monster. After being signed to Kanye West’s in-house production team, Very G.O.O.D. Music, he signed a deal with T.I.’s Grand Hustle label. Scott was originally known for his production. He worked on a few song on G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer compilation, and helped produce on Kanye’s latest album Yeezus. In May of 2013, Travi$ Scott released his first mixtape titled Owl Pharaoh and it was hard as fuck. “Upper Echelon” is the best song on the mixtape. 2 Chainz closes out the song in only the way 2 Chainz could, and T.I. makes a guest appearance that shows his best raps in a long time. If you listen to this song, play it as loud as you possibly can. It bangs, and Travi$ Scott knows what he’s doing. Don’t sleep on him.
#11. “Type of Way” – Rich Homie Quan
Even. Though. He. Raps. Like. He. Out. Of. Breath. On. The. Song. It’s. Still. Fuckin. Dope. Rich Homie Quan busted out the gates with “Type of Way”. With just this one song, he proves that he can have a Future type impact on making a catchy hook. He claims that he actually sings like this because that’s the only way he can. Think what you want on that topic. But, this is definitely one of the best songs of 2013.
#10b. “U.O.E.N.O.” – Rocko feat. Rick Ross and Future
I think this is the only song that Rocko has ever made. It’s simple, it features Future, and Rick Ross got canned from Reebok because he rapped about “Slipping molly” all in a female’s cocktail. It’s ridiculously awesome. Well, besides the whole rape thing. That makes me feel a little awkward. But we still love ya, Ricky.
#10a. “U.O.E.N.O.” - Black Hippy Version
Now, take everything sweet about the above song, mainly the beat and hook, and actually put talented rappers on it that know how to rhyme. That is a great combination for everyone to enjoy. The Black Hippy Crew (Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, and Schoolboy Q) are trying to outdo each other on one of the hottest songs of the year. Thank god for that, and this song.
#9. “Nosetalgia” – Pusha T feat. Kendrick Lamar
Simplistic Beat + Terrific Rhymes = Stink Face Status. This song will leave your mug looking like you just sniffed baby shit mixed with Indian food. Trust me, that’s a good thing. Pusha-T’s My Name is My Name is a classic and is one of the best albums of 2013. King Push has been doing this for a long time, and rapping about cocaine for an even longer time. Even though the subject matter has not changed, the way the this song is delivered makes it feel new and exciting again. Kendrick Lamar also brings his A game (as always) to the booth spitting some very memorable lines. “You wanna see a dead body?” I think the most obvious dead body is this song, because these two masters just killed it.
#8.“FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt” – Jay Z feat. Rick Ross
A beautiful blend of Rick Ross’s punch lines mixed with Jay’s signature flow makes a terrific hip-hop mixer. Whether it be Rick Ross ending every line in the first verse with a racial slur, or how his chick is a master piece, he brings it. When these two get together it’s hard not to make a hit. And with this beat, and these two O.G’s you know it’s going to be magnificent.
#7. “Ain’t Worried About Nuthin” – French Montana
I know he can’t rap worth a shit. I know that he isn’t your typical lyricist. But god damn it he makes some hot songs. I ain’t worried about nothing you all say, this is a hot song. The End.
#6. “Started From the Bottom” – Drake
At the time “Started from the Bottom” was released, it was the first we’ve heard from drake since he dropped Take Care. It seems as though the world was ready, because as soon as “Started” dropped, it spread like a fire after throwing a lit cigarette into a forest covered in pine needles. As of right now, the official VEVO music video on Youtube is just under 100,000,000 views. That’s insane. Some people might question the meaning behind the song because, well, Drake never really started from the bottom. “Started from Degrasi, now I’m here” maybe would have been a better choice? Or “I’m Jimmy from Degrasi in a chair”? I’m just spit balling here. But all joking aside this is one of the most popular songs of the last year, and Drake has proven time and time again that he belongs in the discussion of one of the Best MCs in the game.
#5. “Shabba” – A$AP Ferg feat. A$AP Rocky
When a rapper bases a song about his incredible high society lifestyle around a gaudy, 90’s Jamaican dance hall musician, you know it’s bound for success. A$AP Ferg has been making major moves in 2013. He proved to be a great counterpart to the A$AP Mobs leader, A$AP Rocky, while also proving that he can hold his own with his own projects. Trap Lord was an impressive debut for the young gun form Harlem, but the standout track was definitely “Shabba”. This song made it perfectly fine to yell “Shabba” out of nowhere and cause an echoed response from everyone in the room. That’s powerful. But the best part of this song is just how fun it. Hurray for you, Fergenstine.
#4. “New Slaves” – Kanye West
When Kanye dropped Yeezus earlier this year it was received with a lot of criticism. It was a love/hate album for many. It was dark, gritty, nasty, and brilliant all at the same time. Kanye has never been hesitant to make something different and Yeezus was definitely that. I listened to this album over and over again, but there was one track that made it really stand out to what it’s motives actually were, and that was “New Slaves”. Kanye addresses the overzealous stunting that Blacks do as a form of becoming, essentially, new slaves to manufacturers of high profile goods, as well as the music industry in general. “What you want? A Bentley? Fur Coat? Diamond Chain? All you blacks, all want the same thing” “Spending everything on Alexander Wang”. This provides a context to his song. He goes after the recording industry in his second verse when he says “Throw on some Maybach keys” in references to a little added bonus for artists to sign. It’s a brilliant song that provides a lot of power and thought while it’s paced out over a simplistic beat. It’s genious.
#3. “Bughatti” – Ace Hood feat. Rick Ross and Future
If we can take a look back at Ace Hood’s career so far you easily see it’s all bark and no bite. In other words, he’s good for one hot single and a less than stellar album. But brilliant works of art is definitely not what I’m looking for when I listen to Ace Hood. I look for hot features and incredibly ridiculous hooks. And guess what? Bughatti is just that. Ace Hood brings a pair of furious verses while Rick Ross blesses us as only The Boss could. But what really stands out with this track is the unbelievably awesome hook that Future provides. It is awesome. It brings this whole song to another level and really brings it to banger status. That’s what Future is the best at – taking a completely average rap song and turning it up to eleven. “One one morning you wake up in the projects, and the next morning you wake up in a 1.2 million dollar car” Yes, that's absurd, but so is this song and that’s why it’s incredible. Turn up, everybody.
#2. “Power Trip” – J. Cole feat. Miguel
J. Cole is a modern story teller at its best. There is punch line rap (which a lot of this list is compiled of) but then there is rap that shares feelings. With "Power Trip", J. Cole shares a tale of a long time love that got away. From his humble beginnings of living in a house with no heat, to essentially being on a power trip after his success, he always had feelings for a certain female in his past. It's something we can all relate to (well, not the incredible success and millions of dollars) and that is message that is hard to convey in today's world of radio friendly rap songs. Miguel also blesses the track with his incredible vocals to put it over the top. He's great. It may be too early to put the title of "New Pac" on Cole, but he is definitly making strides to claiming that name.
#1. “Control” – Big Sean feat. Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica
How could this not be the dopest rap song of 2013? With one verse, Kendrick Lamar put everyone on blast. I have never heard a diss song where someone disses more than a dozen rappers and individually calls them out by name. He even called out Big Sean and Jay Electronica WHO WERE FEATURED ON THE SONG WITH HIM! “King of two coasts, in one hand I juggle them both”…please. That’s hard right there. Kendrick raised the bar to unbelievable heights. Every other rapper out there that wants to be on K-Dot’s level has to put in some serious work because this isn’t getting topped any time soon.
This song clearly shows that 2013 belonged to one man. And that man is Kendrick Lamar.
The Lounge Chair Legends