Honorable Mention: Meek Mill ft Miguel - Stay Woke
“When I talked to Em and Hov they said ‘I'm proud of you/ you stood tall back when everyone doubted you,’ my reply is ‘I did what I gotta do’... and I need that verse fore you retire too"Some of the best lyricism on the Legends of the Summer EP is found right here on this track that was actually premiered by way of this monumental performance at the BET Awards last month, and I say monumental on behalf of the amazing stage design and visual effects above anything. Over the years I’ve noticed the quality of live performances dramatically rise especially through the camera lens that now captures the imagery like never before, and thus reminiscent of recent performances by Kendrick Lamar this was another powerful moment that’s as cinematic as a major motion picture or Broadway show <<< the production value right here is the future of live performances.
10) Phonte - Such Is Life
“My people listen to me and say when they listen to me all they hear is the greats/ but I can't listen to it cause all I hear is mistakes…” 💎💎💎 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 preceded by the ill setup this gem alone makes this one of the best verses of the year thus far, found on the No News Is Good News album that’s reminded us all why Phonte is truly one of the GOD MC’s 🙏
9) Nipsey Hussle ft Puff Daddy - Young *****
“It's eighty-somethin degrees in LA/ fuck it, time to throw some jet skis on the lake” 🔥🔥🔥 all facts and this is where the album really starts to elevate, with Nipsey running through about 100 bars of fire over crazy production, amplified by Puff Daddy ad-libs that are always both entertaining and motivational.
8) JID - Off Da Zoinkys
“Tell my little ****** lay off the stuff/ Ronald Reagan, I can't thank him enough/ Nah, I'm playin', ***** racist as fuck/ Told my ***** if he leave a pack of ports around me, I'ma take em' and throw em' away/ He smoke em' around me I'ma break em’ and we almost had got into fightin, 'I'm talkin' 'bout dead that, finna fade it, but shit, but maybe I did too much/ but fuck it, I love my *****, I'ma save him/ and he prolly thinkin' I'm a player-hater, I don't hate a player, I just need all my ****** to wake up/ and take a real good look, we a long way from Decatur” Produced by Christo this is easily the standout track on J.I.D.’s sophomore album DiCaprio 2, as he floated on this and cemented himself as one of the most notable artists on the Dreamville roster.
7) Fabolous, Jadakiss - F vs J Intro
“Be my guest, go ahead and hide, I can’t miss you/ you already know I reside at Camp Crystal/ Lake/ dismantle your face, revamp tissue/ Power from the hockey mask, James St. Patrick/ three bodies in one night, that’s a hat trick”Visuals are finally being released for the Friday on Elm Street project that came out a few months ago, and while I’m unsure why Jason and one of his victims are wearing the exact same red flannel, the music video overall compliments the record well. [Meanwhile, I think I’m ready to call this duel another respectable draw, as opposed to my previous thoughts that Jason decidedly edged it]
6) Phonte - Cry No More
“I get it you're the one, who did the raising I'm the son/ but I'm not ready to cry at your Lorraine Hansberry-al (burial)/ you can't undo it you either succumb to it/ make the adjustment or just become numb to it/ looking over your life like ‘what have I done to it’/ knowing your bloodline is the river that runs through it/ my sons look at me these days and think I'm certified/ preparing them for a world they'll be deserted by/ internalize/ black man if you get a teaspoon of compassion that's more than double the serving size/ I get impatient shit is taking too long/ they don't get it I really lived it you can say what you want/ cause by the time you realize that your father was right, you'll probably have your own son telling you that you wrong/ but be his ride or die/ even if you two ain't seeing eye to eye/ teach him how to throw a punch, ride a bike, tie a tie/ hold on to em while you can, this is just what I advise…” 💎💎💎💎💎💎💎 timeless gems from one of the most talented, unsung heroes of this art form, Phonte Coleman embodies everything that a true MC should be. Lyrical ✔️ Smooth Delivery ✔️ Creativity ✔️ Thought-Provoking ✔️ and incredibly introspective, this one can’t help but remind me of anotherclassicfrom another time period, yet the penmanship and the author could only be one in the same. This one hits home and that I’m sure that was his every intention, like the former this record will likely stay with me forever.
5) J Cole - BRACKETS
“And the curriculum be tricking them, them dollars I spend,/got us learning about the heroes with the whitest of skin/ one thing about the men that's controlling the pen, that write history, they always seem to white-out they sins/ maybe we'll never see a black man in the White House again/ I'll write a check to the IRS, my pockets get slim/ damn, do I even have a say bout where it's goin?/ Some older ***** told me to start voting/ I said ‘Democracy is too fuckin' slow’/ if I'm giving y'all this hard-earned bread, I wanna know/ better yet let me decide bitch it's 2018/ let me pick the things I'm funding from an app on my screen” 💎💎💎 Tell me that isn’t the gospel and doesn’t make more sense every time you hear it smh 💎💎💎💎💎 those are crazy jewels and honestly the genius of J Cole might change the world in more ways than one. This record is complete with Richard Pryor excerpts and ‘Lil Cole’ interludes in addition to infectious melodies that complement his flawless verses, this is my vote for the best record off Cole’s 5th studio album KOD.
4) Wale ft J Cole - My Boy
“Have a ***** screaming ‘Lord, why me? Why me? Cole did me grimy, he took it too far, he treat them bullets like they Siamese’/ back to back, I clap like that's a wrap but/ no video shoots just hoodies and boots/ puttin your troops in pine boxes, I blew a million on white tees and Calvin Klein boxers, this ***** silly” 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 Cole’s been in his duffle all 2018 and this production right here from him is silly… This J Cole instrumental is ridiculous... so let’s be clear that he’s as underrated in the producer category as much as anywhere else. Meanwhile, Wale has just released his latest ep Free Lunch and at 5 tracks it’s definitely a more inspired listen thanShine, and of course, together with Cole they always come correct, where right next toBeautiful Blissthis is probably their best collaboration to date.
3) J.I.D. ft J Cole - Off Deez
“Pull up on the block, eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you and every ***** that you know is getting popped/ fuckin' with a ***** ass sitting in the box/ tryna sneak diss then I'm pickin' up the Glock/ I squeeze this, they be pickin up the top/ Styles, Sheek, Kiss, yeah, I'm pickin’ all the locks/ pickin' on a ***** way bigger then I got/ bigger than the ***** that was Kindergarten Cop/ Terminator shit, I'm a robot, with the chrome .45 that most don't got” 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 J Cole with the rapid flow delivery and honestly it’s versatility like this that exemplifies why he’s second to no one, where just speaking objectively he could easily rap like any of your favorite artists and probably take their style and do it better, and all cool-table-hypebeast talk aside this is why he continues to be one of the three most iconic emcees of the time period. Meanwhile, Dreamville’s own J.I.D. of course holds his own on the first single off his upcoming sophomore album DiCaprio 2, and really the only surprise here is that the production is not Cole himself yet instead is a 21-year-old producer from St Louis known as ChaseTheMoney.
J Cole ft KiLL Edward - The Cut Off
“Yeah, I got some ****** that still owe me an apology/ I'ma be the bigger man just like I always be/ eventually but right now that's hard for me/ I'm dreaming violent I can't tolerate disloyalty/ so I'ma see you when I see you, know that day comin'/ I pray that on that day you slip and say something/ I never fantasize bout murder cause I'm still sane/ but I can't seem to fight this urge to make you feel pain/ I know that vengeance is for Lord's and it's not for me/ I know the punishment for you is that you not with me/ you place your value on the bitches that you got with me/ and now the bitches ask you daily ‘why you not with me?’/ I had to cut some people off cause they was using me/ my heart is big I want to give too much and usually/ I send the bread and don't hear back for like two months now/ you hit my phone, you need a loan, oh I'm a crutch now/ I had to learn I never had shit, you never would split, you was hood rich/ I couldn't get a dollar from you I remember that/ it was blurry for a while but now it's coming back (coming back)”One of my favorite Cole verses ever and this one really hit home, I needed to hear this for all it’s accuracy, honesty, and poetry in its purest form. Cole really is the poet that the educators and scholars from yesterday don’t know about, yet for this art form, he’s truly one of the most important voices of our time. And speaking of voices, if that KILL Edward on the hook sounds familiar it’s because that’s Cole taking his artistic license even further, altering the pitch of his voice to embody an alter-ego influenced by his real-life stepfather. Cole has often rapped about the disdain for his stepfather and the absence of his real father (although the two have seemed to mend their relationship in recent years), yet he’d never put a name on the former until now, and that revelation was only revealed when his brother Zach uncovered the truth in a spontaneous YouTube review. Those that have followed the music throughout the years know that all these people mentioned are incredibly significant, and it’s almost surreal to see Cole process those demons with such a grim pseudonym inspired by murder. Nonetheless, this is not only a work of art but it’s a masterpiece, and that verse will continue to play in my head indefinitely.
21 Savage ft J Cole - a lot
“I been playing it back from a lack of promotions, I never was one for the bragging and boasting/ I guess I was hoping the music would speak for itself but the people want everything else”🔥 🔥 🔥 there’s not enough I could ever say about this verse so I’ll keep it simple. This right here was timeless Cole, as he absolutely floated on this DJ Dahi production with NBA bars and the perspective and flow of a god emcee.