Handily, for a list of hip-hop tracks that defined the s, rap music can be shoehorned fairly neatly into thematic decades. And finally the s, a strange sort of decade, where the music seemed to turn its back on both the big-budget gloss of chart rap and self-consciously worthy "real hip-hop", and enter its awkward art-school punk phase -- dressing weird, taking drugs, forgetting how to rap properly and making strange, spooky beats on its laptop. So that, in , hip-hop is no longer part of the pop mainstream, it is the pop mainstream -- a chart-devouring, genre-blurring beast borne out of bedrooms and built on the good old internet. Entirely subjective but also correct , here are the 30 best and most important songs that helped it get there. Rich Homie Quan's near-incomprehensible breakthrough was a mumble-rap milestone -- 35 years of rhymes, metaphors and punchlines refined to their purest essence: a series of joyous noises. Yonkers — Tyler the Creator Tyler, the Creator wore a lot of hats and wigs in the s: Odd Future svengali; Golf Wang streetwear entrepreneur; sonic experimentalist and introspective wise old head by the age of But its his earliest incarnation -- verbose and foul-mouthed bundle of dirt-rap contradictions -- that produced his most dramatic musical intervention. Lurching, queasy, and darkly funny, "Yonkers" was four-ish minutes of precisely zero fucks being given. XO Tour Llife3 — Lil Uzi Vert Of all the stylistic twists you might have expected of hip-hop at the start of the decade, becoming more emo was probably low down the list. But then along came of clutch of face-tattooed, hair-dyed introverts making drug-addled bedroom sing-rap about feeling alienated and girls treating them badly, and it was… something.
This decade's popularization of free internet mixtapes allowed a whole new crop of rappers to compete with the mostly-stagnant rap mainstream of the late s and eventually overthrow it, and so many different types of rap emerged or had resurgences in the process. We saw Kanye West hit his highest peak and fall hard. We saw Drake become the decade's most omnipresent rap superstar. The genre started out in the underground, but it quickly rose to the mainstream as megastars like Beyonce, Rihanna, and Justin Timberlake started incorporating it into their own work and often started collaborating with the smaller artists who helped pioneer it. So your favorite artist might not be here, and since all lists are subjective, some of my personal bias of course factored in. But I aimed for this list to present a wide scope of music, from the poppy and popular to the underground and experimental, and plenty of the in-between. Hopefully you gain something from the list, and if not, feel free to leave glaring omissions and hate mail in the comments. The Chicago rap scene thrived this decade, and one of the most delightfully weird albums to come out of the whole scene was Joey Purp's Quarterthing.
Rap took over the s. Nearly every genre, from pop to jazz, embraced instruments like the hi-hat and drums. This was also the era of the super-producer, larger-than-life characters who build beats, like Metro Boomin and Pierre Bourne. This was the era in which song production was crucial to success. Combining synth chords with southern trap drums, the southern duo Rae Sremmurd creates a somewhat genre-bending track.
Skip to Content. A lot can change in 10 years, and the hip-hop landscape and the artists that mold and influence its direction, is no different. Hip-hop remains one of the genres that dominates the charts and most importantly evolves, as it continues to be blended into other genres of music. Pioneers like Dr. Dre, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and Nate Dogg paved the way for newcomers and continue to influence the sounds we hear today. Some would argue that what makes an artist or a song influential is how quickly they dominate the internet, nightclubs or the messages they spread.